A trio of past NCAA finalists earned medals at the 2014 University World Championships in Pecs, Hungary Tuesday.
Tyler Caldwell, who was an NCAA finalist in 2011 and 2014, won the gold medal in men’s freestyle at 74 kilos/163 pounds. Dustin Kilgore, a 2011 NCAA champ for Kent State, received a silver medal at 97 kilos/213 pounds, while University of Iowa two-time NCAA titlewinner Matt McDonough was presented with bronze at 57 kilos/125.5 pounds.
Caldwell – a four-time NCAA All-American for University of Oklahoma, then Oklahoma State -- won two matches to qualify for the finals, beating Robert Olle of Slovakia, 10-2 and Shawn Daye-Finley of Canada, 7-0. He then defeated Shamil-Imam Osmanov of Russia in the gold-medal match, 3-2.
Kilgore, the first NCAA champ in the long history of wrestling at Kent State who also made it to the NCAA finals in 2013, won two matches by technical fall to advance to the gold-medal round, beating Mihaly Szabo of Hungary, 10-0 and Badavi Magomedov of Russia, 11-1. However, in the finals, the former Golden Flash lost to two-time Junior World bronze medalist Fatih Yasarli of Turkey, 0-10.
McDonough, NCAA champ for the Hawkeyes in 2010 and 2012, won a bronze-medal bout by scoring a 12-2 technical fall over 2014 European Junior bronze medalist Petro Bileichuk of Ukraine. Earlier in the day he defeated Ziya Daylak of Turkey by technical fall, 16-6, then lost to Japan’s Fumitaka Morishita in the semifinals, 7-10.
Anthony Ashnault, who currently wrestles for Rutgers, lost his first match at 65 kilos/143 pounds, and was eliminated from repechage when his opponent did not reach the finals.
"Our guys wrestled tough and it is real apparent that, with these new rules, our training methods and conditioning are going to make a difference,” said U.S. coach Dave Bennett. “No one could match the aggression and pace when we really pressured them."
Freestyle competition continues Wednesday.