By Tim Glon
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Ohio Northern junior All-American Cody Lovejoy placed seventh in the heavyweight class at the 2014 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championshps Friday and Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Lovejoy (43-5), the No. 5-seed in the heavyweight division, defeated Rick Caruso (42-8) of Bridgewater State (Mass.) in the seventh place match Saturday afternoon by a 4-0 decision to finish the Championships with a 3-2 record.
Lovejoy is 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.
His 43 victories this season are the second-most in ONU history.
"It is gratifying to be an All-American," Lovejoy said. "But at the end I didn't want to wrestle for seventh place. My goal was to ba an All-American, but once I reach that, I had hoped for a higher finish. I wrestled a solid match this afternoon and it was nice to avenge an earlier loss."
"Cody took another step this season," ONU head coach Ron Beaschler said. "Last year, the goal was to make it to the national championships and this year it was to be an All-American. Next year the goal is to take another step and finish in the top four.
"He wrestled well all weekend, but he made a couple of mistakes that cost him two overtime decisions and that resulted in a seventh place finish. The goal is to correct those, get back here and compete at a higher level next year."
After a scoreless first period, Lovejoy rode Caruso the entire two-minute second stanza and got a 2-point nearfall to take a 2-0 advantage.
He got a quick escape in the third period and won the riding time point for the 4-0 shutout in his final match of the season.
Earlier Saturday morning, he dropped a 3-1 sudden victory decision in overtime to Mackenzie Green of Trine (Ind.)
Lovejoy and Green each got quick escapes in the second and third periods, respectively, and were tied at 1-1 after seven minutes of regulation competition.
Lovejoy took an early shot in the first overtime period, but Green's counter-attack was efficient and he registered the only takedown of the match to win the bout.
Late Friday night, Lovejoy 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 to clinch a top-8 finish and the All-America honor that goes with it.
Against Kasperick, Lovejoy trailed 2-0 and faced 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," 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 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.
In his first match of the tournament, Lovejoy fell 6-4 in sudden victory to Caruso.
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 nine 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.
This is Lovejoy's second appearance at the NCAA III Championships, as he went 0-2 as a sophomore in 2013.