Four wrestlers at the College flew three hours into the depths of Iowa to face off in a tournament against the country’s elite. While many wrestlers had dedicated their lives to reaching this stage, these four only had a two-day window to make an imprint and hoist a national title.
Sophomore Dylan Thorsen and freshman Kevin Corrigan both made their tournament debuts at 149 pounds and 125 pounds, respectively, and while the results did not go their way, the underclassmen learned what is necessary if they want to return next year.
“Dylan’s (opening match) was against the No. 1 kid in the country, who (eventually) took second, and he lost by a point or two, so he gave the kid all he could,” senior 174-pounder Zach Zotollo said. “Kevin lost his first match in overtime to the kid who ended up taking third, so both were right there with the top three guys in the country so they wrestled really (well) … they will both be back next year and will be making noise.”
As for Zotollo and the returning 184-pound nationalist finalist senior Brian Broderick, both seniors had experienced the tournament last year and knew exactly what to expect coming in.
“We have been there, and when you walk in there, it is a pretty cool arena, so there is a shock value at first,” Zotollo said. “I think just being there before and knowing the environment, it helps you out with the nerves to help you prepare.”
For the 174-pounder, his tournament was filled with close matches, with the main one coming in the quarterfinals against the top seed — and eventual champion — from Wartburg College.
“It was a close match and there was a questionable take down where it was called a take down and then they reviewed it and actually reversed it so that match is going to hurt for a while because I really thought I had that one,” Zotollo said of his 1-0 loss. “I had a lot of close matches and a lot of tough ones, and I came out on the losing end.”
Although it may not have been the ideal ending, Zotollo can still be proud of reaching All-American status for the second straight year after finishing sixth in the country.
“It is not the best way I wanted to finish by any means, but anything could happen out here.Anyone can be beaten and anyone can win matches,” Zotollo said. “Just being out on the podium and being a two-time All-American (is cool) because not many people can get to experience that, so I can’t really get down on myself too much.”
As for Broderick, he was determined to make it back to the national finals. After winning four straight matches, the No. 2 seed was in the same position this year. Unfortunately, the senior lost a close 3-1 overtime decision to the top seed from Wabash College.
“I think that loss is as hard as it gets when you are right there and it is that close,” Zotollo said. “Brian deserved to win and that kid deserved to win because he was a great wrestler, but sometimes it just doesn’t go your way.”
Despite the upsetting finish, there is still a lot that Broderick, who finished with a career record of 108-8, can be proud of.
“Brian is an unbelievable wrestler and one of the best wrestlers that I have watched,” Zotollo said. “He has been a great teammate and a great guy to have around, and he wrestled awesome all weekend.”