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Donnie Vinson won seven straight matches after dropping his opener at the NCAA Championship in St. Louis. The junior placed third overall in the 149-pound weight class.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Vinson takes third at NCAA Championship
March 20, 2012Tweet
Junior 149-pound Donnie Vinson achieved a rare and remarkable feat at the NCAA Championship. With his 12-10 victory over 10th-seeded Cam Tessari of Ohio State on March 17, Vinson capped a grueling run through the consolation bracket to place third. Vinson won seven straight matches - the only wrestler among 330 in St. Louis to win seven - to become the highest-placing Bearcat in 10 years as a Division I program. It marked the first time in six years that any wrestler won seven straight matches at the NCAA Championship and it was just the fourth time in the last 14 years, according to the NCAA.
“Overall it was an outstanding performance from all five of our guys,” sixth-year head coach Pat Popolizio said. “They all went .500 or better. I was extremely impressed with Donnie and Nick (Gwiazdowski). For Nick as a true freshman to become an All-American, just shows his great potential. What a way to start his career!
“Donnie’s performance summed up our season ... he showed the heart, fight and will to win,” Popolizio added. “Watching him win seven straight matches was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever witnessed as a coach. Words can’t describe how difficult it is to come all the way back like that, both mentally and physically. All these guys believe in what we’re about as a program and to get two All-Americans and finish in the top-15 as a team meets our goals for this season.”
Heading into the evening finals, the Bearcats finished in 14th place with 36 points. Popolizio and his staff produced two All-Americans for the first time and now have four All-Americans in the last four years. Binghamton’s five qualifiers went a combined 18-10 at the championship.
In the high-scoring match against Tessari, Vinson scored four takedowns in the first period to forge ahead 8-4. He built riding time in the first period and added a reversal in the second period while maintaining his riding edge. A Tessari takedown at the second-period buzzer tightened the score at 10-9. Vinson escaped to start the third but was hit with a stall point, bringing the margin to 11-10 in the closing seconds. In the final five seconds, Vinson withstood a strong Tessari attack at the edge of the mat and with the riding time finished off a 12-10 win.
Vinson finished his junior season with a 40-5 record and will bring 99 career wins into his senior season (99-24).
In his 7th-8th place match, freshman heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski ran into a tough seventh-seed in Jeremy Johnson of Ohio and dropped an 11-5 decision. Gwiazdowski was tied 3-3 late in the first period before Johnson scored a takedown and secured riding time in the first. Johnson added a takedown in the second and another in the third for the final 6-point margin. Gwiazdowski finished his impressive rookie season with a 30-9 record, including five wins at the NCAAs.
He was the only “true” freshman All-American at heavyweight and one of just six “true” freshmen All-Americans at the entire championship.
Consolation Semifinals (Saturday)
149 - #4 Donnie Vinson (BU dec. #6 Tyler Nauman (Pitt), 5-0
3rd Place Match (Saturday)
149 - #4 Donnie Vinson (BU) dec. #10 Cam Tessari (Ohio State), 12-10
7th Place Match (Saturday)
Hwt - #7 Jeremy Johnson (Ohio) dec. Nick Gwiazdowski (BU), 11-5
Second Round Consolation Results (Friday)
149 - #4 Donnie Vinson (BU) tech fall Corey Jantzen (Harvard), 16-1
157 - #9 Justin Lister (BU) dec. Matt Lester (Oklahoma), 10-7
184 – Nate Schiedel (BU) dec. Ryan Garringer (Ohio), 8-4
197 – Cody Reed (BU) dec. Derek Stanley (Army), 4-2 sv1
Hwt – Nick Gwiazdowski (BU) pinned Peter Capone (Ohio State), 3:49
Third Round Consolation Results (Friday)
149 - #4 Donnie Vinson (BU) pinned Eric Tarrazas (Illinois), 2:32
157 - Joshua Kreimier (Air Force) pinned #9 Justin Lister (BU), 5:33
184 – #12 Jonathan Fausey (Virginia) dec. Nate Schiedel (BU), 5-3
197 – #12 Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) dec. Cody Reed (BU), 6-1
Hwt – Nick Gwiazdowski (BU) major dec. Brandon Williamson (West Virginia), 10-2
Fourth Round Consolation Results (Friday) (All-American round)
149 - #4 Donnie Vinson (BU) major dec. #8 Eric Grajales (Michigan), 12-4
Hwt – Nick Gwiazdowski (BU) dec. #6 Cameron Wade (Penn State), 7-4
Fifth Round Consolation Results (Friday)
149 - #4 Donnie Vinson (BU) major dec. Nick Lester (Oklahoma), 16-5
Hwt – #10 Michael McMullan (Northwestern) dec. Nick Gwiazdowski (BU), 5-3
First-round matches (Thursday)
149 – Nick Lester (Oklahoma) dec. #4 Donnie Vinson (BU), 9-4
157 - #9 Justin Lister (BU) dec. Aaron Sulzer (Eastern Michigan), 7-3
184 – Nate Schiedel (BU) dec. Brad Dieckhhaus (Northern Illinois), 8-4
197 – Cody Reed (BU) dec. #4 Christian Boley (Maryland), 2-1
Hwt – #2 Anthony Nelson (Minnesota) major dec. Nick Gwiazdowski (BU), 8-0
Second Round Results (Thursday)
157 - #8 Frank Hickman (Bloomsburg) dec. #9 Justin Lister (BU), 7-4
184 - #4 Steve Bosak (Cornell) major dec. Nate Schiedel (BU), 10-0
197 - James Nakashima (Nebraska) dec. Cody Reed (BU), 7-5
Pigtail Consolation Results (Thursday)
Hwt - Nick Gwiazdowski (BU) dec. Ernest James (Edinboro), 8-5
First Round Consolation Results (Thursday)
149 - #4 Donnie Vinson (BU) pinned Dan Osterman (Michigan State), 2:55
Hwt – Nick Gwiazdowski (BU) dec. Kyle Frey (Drexel), 8-2