ST. LOUIS – Bucknell’s Tyler Smith came just one win shy of earning All-America honors while going 3-2 at the NCAA Championships at the Scottrade Center. The junior 141-pounder won his first two consolation matches on Friday before seeing his outstanding season end with a loss to fourth-seeded Matt Kolodzik of Princeton.
Smith was the 15th-seeded wrestler in the bracket and went 1-1 on Thursday. He came back on Friday and opened with a 3-0 win over Clarion’s Brock Zacherl, avenging a loss to him in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Smith kept rolling with a third-period pin over Oregon State’s Johnathan Hathaway, taking him to the blood round for the first time in his three championship appearances.
Smith’s run came to a halt with an 11-3 loss to Kolodzik, the EIWA champion at Sojka Pavilion two weeks ago. The Bison junior finished 31-10 on the season. After taking yet another step closer to All-America status this year, he will look to get over the hump when he returns for his senior season.
Senior Victor Lopez had his tournament and phenomenal collegiate career end on Friday. After going 1-1 on Thursday, he opened the day with a 3-1 loss to 15th-seeded Archie Colgan (Wyoming). He finished the season at 28-9.
Lopez closes his career with a record of 108-53, good enough for a tie for seventh on the Bison’s career wins list. He was a two-time national qualifier.
Bucknell had four national qualifiers this season. Freshman Garrett Hoffman and junior Tom Sleigh bowed out on Thursday. They will join Smith to give the Bison a combined seven NCAA Championships appearances in the lineup next season.