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Kevin Jack earns All-American honors for the third time

Senior Kevin Jack of North Carolina State.

CLEVELAND, March 16 – One of the hardest things to do in wrestling is to go back out onto the mat into the consolation bracket after your dream of winning a championship has been dashed. There isn’t as much attention, the lights are little softer and the mats have more dust on them. And it can be an exhausting, grueling path.

But North Carolina State senior Kevin Jack (141) didn’t flinch. After dropping losing in overtime in the second round of the NCAA Division I tournament to Bucknell’s Tyler Smith, Jack went back to work.

Jack won four consecutive matches Friday, including a victory over Nebraska’s Chad Red in double overtime to earn All-American honors for the third time in his four-year career and move into the consolation semifinals with an eye on a bronze medal.

Jack, who graduated from Danbury, becomes just the fifth wrestler in Wolfpack history to earn All-American honors three times. He is the first wrestler from Connecticut to earn All-American honors three times at the NCAA Division I level.

“After my upset (Thursday to Smith), I told myself that I am not going to stop wrestling from any position,” he said. “I just want to keep wrestling and putting up points. If I do that, it will be hard for (opponents) to stay with me.”

Jack (23-4) began his day on Friday with an 8-0 win over Henry Pohlmeyer of South Dakota State (25-13). Takedowns in the second and third period carried Jack.

In the next round, Jack beat Pittsburgh’s Nick Zanetta, 4-0. An escape and takedown in the second period was the key. Jack earned another point with 2:29 of riding time.

The match with No. 7 Brock Zachri of Clarion was in what wrestlers call the blood round. A win earns you All-American honors and a loss leaves you going home with nothing.

Jack dominated with a 17-2 tech fall in seven minutes to earn All-American honors for the third time. Jack had three takedowns in the first period and two takedowns in the second period along with 3:37 of riding time. It was just third loss of the season for Zachri (29-3).

“I’m just ready to go,” Jack said. “I know I won’t get the gold medal I wanted but I will do the next best thing – wrestle for third place and help my team out.”

Against Red, Jack took a 1-0 lead with a second period escape while Red (25-11) tied the bout at 1-1 with an escape of his own in the third period.

The first one-minute overtime was scoreless. In the second OT session, Jack rode Red for 30 seconds. In the second 30-second period, Jack escaped with five seconds remaining for the 2-1 victory.

Jack will wrestle No. 4 seed Joey McKenna of Ohio State in Saturday’s consolation semifinals. He now has 115 career wins, No. 2 in North Carolina State history.

2018 NCAA tournament results
First round: (5) Kevin Jack, North Carolina State dec. Russell Rohlfing, California State-Bakersfield, 10-0
Second round: (12) Tyler Smith, Bucknell dec. Kevin Jack, 6-4, OT
Consolation 2nd round: Kevin Jack def. Henry Pohlmeyer, South Dakota State, 8-0
Consolation 3rd round: Kevin Jack def. Nick Zanetta, Pittsburgh, 4-0
Consolation 4th round: Kevin Jack def. (7) Brock Zacheri, Clarion, 17-2, tech fall, 7:00
Consolation 5th round: Kevin Jack def. Chad Red, Nebraska, 2-1, 2 OT

Recent Connecticut All-Americans
Division I
Kevin Jack (Danbury), North Carolina State, 3rd, 141, 2017
Kevin Jack (Danbury), North Carolina State, 5th, 141, 2015
Orville Palmer (Middletown), Oklahoma, 7th, 197, 2000
Jim Guzzio (Hand-Madison), Maryland, 5th, 134, 197
John Engel (Stamford), Lehigh, 1st, 118, 1931

2018 NCAA Division I tournament

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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