By Tim Glon
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Ohio Northern junior Cody Lovejoy guaranteed himself All-America honors with a 2-1 record on the first day of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championshps Friday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Lovejoy, the No. 5-seed in the heavyweight division, got a pair of 3-point nearfalls to build a 6-2 lead and went on for an 11-4 victory over No. 3 seed Cody Kasprick of Concordia (Minn.) in the Consolation 3rd Round late Friday night to clinch a top-8 finish and the All-America honor that goes with it.
Earlier Friday night, Lovejoy used a second period reversal and more than three minutes of riding time advantage to post a 3-1 victory over Zack Gibson of St. Olaf (Minn.) in the Consolation Second Round.
Lovejoy is now the 19th wrestler in Ohio Northern history to be named an All-American and marks the 30th time a Polar Bear wrestler has earned an All-America honors.
Lovejoy is now 42-4 on the year, while Gibson ends his season with a 29-8 mark, while Kasperick ends his season at 25-12.
He will now face Mackenzie Green of Trine (Ind.) in the Consolation Quarterfinals Saturday morning.
Lovejoy trailed 2-0 after the first period and face a 2-minute deficit in riding time entering the second period.
Starting in the top position, Lovejoy got a cradle in and turned Kasperick, earning a 3-point nearfall and a 3-2 advantage.
Lovejoy then rode Kasperick the remainder of the second period, erasing the riding time advantage, and chose to start the third period in the top position again.
Another 3-point nearfall, a takedown and a late 2-point nearfall guaranteed the victory.
"The cradle was a big turning point in the match," an estatic Lovejoy said. "He got the early takedown, but once I got the lead and was in control, I was able to use my strengths in my top game. After the second nearfall I knew that unless something big happened, I was in good shape."
Earlier on Friday afternoon, Lovejoy fell 6-4 in sudden victory to Ricky Caruso of Bridgewater State (Mass.).
Against the unseeded Caruso (41-5), Lovejoy was aggressive throughout, but gave up a counter-attack takedown in the first 15 seconds and had an escape to trail 2-1.
A second-period takedown by Lovejoy tied the match at 3-3.
His third period escape put Lovejoy up 4-3, but it came eight seconds too late as Caruso earned the riding time point with an advantage of 1:08. to tie the match at 4-4 at the end of regulation.
Lovejoy shot early on in the overtime period, but Caruso again countered the move and earned the takedown to post the victory.