PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – It\’s been said many times that beating an opponent three times in one season is very difficult, and that was true for Army junior Matt Kyler of Clearfield in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association finals in the Palestra Sunday night.
A takedown at the start of the third overtime period gave Bryce Saddoris of Navy a 5-4 comeback win in another nail-biter between the nationally-ranked top two 149-pound seeds.
Kyler won 4-2 in a mild upset for his third All-Academy Championships crown on Feb. 7 and then nipped the higher-ranked Midshipman 2-1 on a overtime tie-breaker on Feb. 21.
Saddoris was ranked higher by InterMat/National Wrestling Coaches Association/National Wrestling Media Association going into both of those bouts, but he was No. 9 and Kyler was No. 8 after the dual-meet season.
The Black Knight All-American, who was EIWA champ at 141 last year, seemed headed for a third victory over Saddoris with a takedown late in the first period and an escape early in the second period for a 3-0 lead.
However, Saddoris stood for a quick escape in the third period and pressed the attack until, in the waining seconds, finally converting a single into a takedown on which Kyler also gave up a penalty point for a stalling call.
An escape by Kyler with just one second left forced overtime, and neither wrestler could get the winning takedown in the first minute.
Saddoris (40-5) was able to ride Kyler (39-5) for 30 seconds and then broke free at the start of the next period for the tiebreaker victory.
Kyler also had a tough match with fifth seed Kyle Borshoff (26-4) of American in the semis, emerging with a 3-2 tie-breaker decision.
After they traded escapes in regulation, they couldn\’t manage a takedown in the next minute either.
Borshoff escaped in the first 30-second tie-breaker period, but Kyler answered with a reversal in the next period to prevail.
Kyler will be making his third trip to the NCAA Division I Championships, which are set for March 19-21 in the Scottrade Center at St. Louis, Mo.
He will be joined by teammate Richard Starks (33-6), who forfeited his title bout to Cornell\’s Cam Simaz because of an injury sustained during his semifinal win.
A second former District 9 wrestler who had to settle for second place was Bucknell 165-pounder Andy Rendos (28-6) of Brockway.
The junior co-captain, the No. 2 seed, gave No. 1 seed and No. 1-ranked Mack Lewnes (35-0) of Cornell a good match before bowing 5-3.
Rendos placed third and fourth in the last two EIWAs and was 1-2 at the NCAAs both years.
Army finished seventh in the 14-team field with 50 points.
Cornell breezed to the team title with 138 points. Lehigh was second with 103. Next were Bucknell and Penn with 79 apiece, Navy with 70 and American with 68.