Kevin LeValley Advances to Finals of 149-Pound Bracket on First Day of EIWA Championships
March 5, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell senior Kevin LeValley went 3-0 and defeated a pair of seeded opponents to advance to the finals of the 149-pound bracket for the second straight year Saturday on the first day of the EIWA Championships at Sojka Pavilion. Guaranteed of a top-two finish, LeValley has clinched an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships. Classmates Rob Waltko and Jay Hahn are still in the running for top-six finishes in their weight classes and possible NCAA berths.
Bucknell is listed ninth in the team standings with 49.5 points following the first day of competition. The Bison will enter Sunday just three points behind eighth-place Army. Four-time defending champion Cornell is in first place with 146 points and has six wrestlers in Sunday's finals. Lehigh stands second in the standings with 105 points and three grapplers in the finals.
In addition to the three veterans guarenteed of placing, Brantley Hooks and Corey Lear will be wrestling for seventh place at 157 and 165, respectively, giving the Bison half of their lineup still in action on day two.
LeValley, who improved to 29-1 this year, will try to become the second Bucknell wrestler to win an EIWA title on Sunday. Andy Rendos, a 2010 Bucknell graduate and two-time All-American, claimed the 165-pound crown last year. LeValley will face Cornell's Kyle Dake in Sunday's championship. Dake, the 141-pound NCAA champion a year ago, is 27-1 this season.
LeValley opened his day with a pin of Franklin & Marshall's Andrew Murano and followed that with a 10-2 major decision against seventh-seeded Daniel Young of Army.
In the semifinals LeValley faced American's Ganbayar Sanjaa, the third seed, and needed to go to overtime to win the heated bout. The final score was 3-2 in the first tiebreaker as an escape by LeValley proved to be the winning point.
A 2010 All-American, LeValley has now won 11 straight bouts and his win over Sanjaa broke Rendos' school record for career victories. LeValley is now 122-38 in his career, while Rendos was 121-32.
Waltko and Hahn both lost in the championship bracket quarterfinals and worked back to the consolation semifinals. Waltko, at 184 pounds, received a first-round bye and was pinned in his first bout, but went 2-0 in the consolations and will face Rutgers' Daniel Rinaldi with a berth in the consolation finals on the line. The top four placewinners at 184 receive automatic berths into the NCAAs.
Hahn, the fifth seed at 197, went 3-1 on Saturday with his only loss by just one point. His three victories were by a combined 42-8. The top five placewinners at 197 receive an automatic NCAA berth, meaning at least one win on Sunday secures an NCAA place. Hahn will face Michael Wagner from Rutgers in the consolation semifinal on Sunday morning.
Hooks and Lear round out the list of Bison in action on Sunday and each will be battling for seventh place. Hooks finished sixth a year ago, while Lear is wrestling at the NCAA Championships for the first time.
EIWA Championship Standings (after day one)
125: Derek Reber
133: Alex Pellicciotti
141: Adam Healey
149: No. 4 Kevin LeValley (No. 2 seed)
157: Brantley Hooks (No. 7 seed)
165: Corey Lear (No. 7 seed)
174: David Thompson (No. 6 seed)
184: Rob Waltko (No. 7 seed)
197: Jay Hahn (No. 5 seed)
Hwt: Joe McMullan