Bucknell's Kevin LeValley Wins 149-Pound Title at EIWA Championships, Named EIWA Outstanding Wrestler
March 6, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell's Kevin LeValley (Hugo, Colo./Limon) claimed a hard-fought overtime victory over top-seeded Kyle Dake of Cornell in the EIWA Championships 149-pound title bout Sunday at Sojka Pavilion to become the second Bison to ever win an EIWA crown. LeValley won the bout with a takedown of Dake with 12 seconds remaining in the second sudden-victory period.
Thanks to his title and 4-0 record this weekend, LeValley earned the Coaches Trophy, which is given to the outstanding wrestler of the tournament. He is the first Bison to ever win the prestigious award.
LeValley joins 2010 graduate Andy Rendos as the only EIWA champions in program history. Rendos, who had his career wins record broken by LeValley on Saturday and was on hand to present an award Sunday, won the 165-pound crown last year at Lehigh.
LeValley, the second seed in the field, and Dake both entered their match with just one loss this season. Dake, the NCAA 141-pound champion as a freshman in 2010, fell to 26-2 on the season, while LeValley reached the 30-win plateau for the second straight year and is now 30-1 this season and 123-38 in his four-year career.
The score of the bout was tied 2-2 entering overtime thanks to two escapes by LeValley and a reversal by Dake. Neither wrestler forced the action during the first sudden-victory period. Dake was down to start the 30-second tiebreaker and nearly broke free on a number of occasions, but was unable to do so. LeValley then had a couple close calls, but was also unable to earn the escape point. Finally, LeValley took down what appeared to be a tiring Dake with just 12 seconds left in the second sudden-victory period to score two points and secure the victory.
LeValley, who earned a third consecutive automatic berth into the NCAA Championships, will enter the nationals on a 12-match winning streak. He is now 12-6 in his career at the EIWA Championships and has won seven of his last eight bouts at the 107-year-old event thanks to two straight championship-bout appearances.
Thanks to the strength of five total placewinners, including LeValley, Bucknell finished eighth in the team standings with 59 points, three points ahead of ninth-place Army and four points behind seventh-place Columbia. The Bison have now had 20 placewinners in the last three years.
Other Bucknell placewinners on Sunday included Brantley Hooks (7th at 157), Corey Lear (7th at 165), Rob Waltko (6th at 184) and Jay Hahn (4th at 197). Thanks to his top-five finish in his weight class, Hahn will join LeValley at the NCAA Championships in two weeks in Philadelphia, Pa. It will be the first career NCAA berth for the senior.
Fifth-seeded Hahn went 1-1 on Sunday, defeating Rutgers' sixth-seeded Michael Wagner in the consolation semifinals, 7-6, with a last-second score. He then lost a tight 4-3 decision for third place to American's third-seeded Daniel Mitchell.
Waltko lost his semifinal bout by a 9-2 margin and was then pinned in the fifth-place bout.
A placewinner (6th) at the 2010 EIWA Championships, Hooks earned his second consecutive placing on Sunday as he defeated Lehigh's Sean Bilodeau, 5-4, in the seventh-place bout at 157 pounds. The two grapplers wrestled to seed as Hooks was the No. 7 seed and Bilodeau was No. 8.
Lear, a sophomore wrestling in his first EIWA Championships, needed overtime to defeat Navy's Mason Bailey, but won 3-1 in the first tiebreaker. Like Hooks and Bilodeau, Lear (7th seed) and Bailey (8th seed) wrestled to seed.
Half of the Bison's 10-person lineup was in action on Sunday as Bucknell concluded hosting its first-ever EIWA Championships. An announced crowd of 1,684 watched the after finals.
While LeValley and Hahn are guaranteed positions at the NCAA Championships, nearly 50 additional at-large selections will be announced later this week.
EIWA Championship Standings (final)
Bucknell Results (Sunday only)
157: Brantley Hooks (No. 7 seed)
165: Corey Lear (No. 7 seed)
184: Rob Waltko (No. 7 seed)
197: Jay Hahn (No. 5 seed)