Kirk Smith Earns NCAA All-American Honors
St. Louis Kirk Smith became the first Boise State University wrestler to earn NCAA All-American honors in his true freshman season as captured eighth place at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis.
Smith the No. 10 seed at 184-pounds faced the No. 12 seed Jack Jensen for seventh place Saturday, Mar. 22. Jensen took the early 2-0 lead in the first period with a takedown. Smith then escaped to make it 2-1 heading into the second period. Jensen chose down to start the second and escaped to extend his lead to 3-1. Smith chose down in the third period and managed an escape to make the match 3-2 but was unable to convert his two takedown attempts in the final 28 seconds as he captured eighth place in his first trip to the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
“I thought it took a lot of guts by Kirk Smith to agree to have his redshirt pulled this season,” said head coach Greg Randall. “For a true freshman to walk into the meat grinder at the NCAA Wrestling Championships and come away an All-American is incredible.”
Smith’s was the first Boise State All-American since Ben Cherrington in 2006.
As a team, Boise State finished in 24th place with 21.0 points.
“It was a great year for our young team,” said Randall. “We won our conference tournament, and should finish the season ranked in the top 25, we have come a long way in a year. We got a taste of success at the NCAA championships now it is up to us to stay motivated and get back here again next year.”
The Broncos also advanced three unranked wrestlers to the round of 12 or the All-American round.
Nate Lee led the way as he knocked off the No. 8 seed Gabriel Dretsch of Minnesota in the opening round of the 174-pounds championship bracket. He then advanced to the second session where he defeated the No. 9 seeded Brandon Mason of Oklahoma State 2-1. After losing to the No. 1 seed Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh, Lee fell to the No. 6 seeded Alton Lucas of Hofstra 9-5 ending Lee’s run at the NCAA Championships. Lee, a sophomore from Payson, Ariz., posted a 19-6 record on the season including a perfect 10-0 Pacific-10 Conference record en route to the Pac-10 individual title at 174-pounds.
Adam Hall also knocked off two ranked opponents at 149-pounds as he reached the round of 12. After losing his first match of the championships to No. 2 seed Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota and dropping to the wrestleback bracket, Hall posted three straight victories. First he defeated unranked Matt Cathell of Delaware State 8-5, then knocked of the No. 12 seed Morgan Atkinson of Cal State Fullerton 11-3 and the No. 10 seed Scott Ervin of Appalachian State 2-1. Hall then ran into the No. 3 seeded J.P. O’Connor of Harvard and fell 3-1. Hall, a freshman from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, finished second at the Pac-10 champions and posted a 25-7 record in his first season as a Bronco.
Cory Fish beat the No. 12 seed Andrae Hernandez of Indiana 4-3 in the first round of the 133-pound championship bracket to earn another upset for Boise State. In the second round Fish dropped his match to the No. 5 seed Nicholas Fanthorpe of Iowa State 3-1 pushing Fish to the wrestleback. Fish rattled off two victories in the wrestleback but fell to the No. 11 seed Joe Baker of Navy 3-1, ending Fish’s run in the round of 12. Fish, a junior from Spokane, Wash., won the Pac-10 Championship at 133-pounds and registered a 26-10 record including a 9-1 mark in conference.
Tyler Sherfey the No. 11 seed at 157-pounds defeated American’s Christopher Stout 8-5 in the first round of the tournament and knocked off the No. 6 seed Matt Kocher of Pittsburgh 3-3 with riding time. Sherfey then fell to No. 3 seed Dan Vallimont of Penn State in the quarterfinals 10-7 and Matt Moley of Bloomsburg 7-4, ending his run at the 2008 NCAA championships. Sherfey led the Broncos in victories this season with 31 and finished second at the Pac-10 Championships at 157-pounds.
Matt Casperson collected two victories in the wrestleback of 197-pounds. Casperson first defeated Jared Villers of West Virginia by pinfall in 3:24 and he ousted Cayle Byers of George Mason 2-1. His run in the wrestleback was ended by Daren Burns of UNC Greensboro. Casperson, a sophomore from St. George, Utah, appeared at two weight classes, 184- and 197-pouns for Boise State this season. He led the Broncos in dual match victories (11) and dual team points score (48). On the season, Casperson posted a 25-11 record including 10-2 mark in conference.
Levi Jones earned a first round win at 133-pounds over Germane Lindsey of Ohio, 8-2. Jones then fell to the No. 3 seed Kellen Russell of Iowa and Patrick McLemore of Northern Illinois, ousting him from the tournament. Jones, a sophomore from Nine Mile Falls, Wash., posted a 10-9 record on the season including a third place finish at the Pac-10 championships.
Kurt Swartz, a freshman from Auburn, Wash., recorded a 27-9 record on the season including a second place finish at 165-pounds at the Pac-10 Championships but was unable to register any victories at the NCAA championships as he fell in two matches.
Nick Smith, a junior from Boise, Idaho, finished third in the heavyweight division at the Pac-10 championships and posted a 17-11 record for the season. Smith was shutout in at the NCAA championships as he lost his only two matches.
“Everyone came here (the NCAA championships) to win,” said Randall. “We competed extremely hard and everyone wrestled great.”
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