Saturday, March 20, 2010

Locals earn All-American status

Lorain native and Elyria High graduate Danny Mitcheff (133) dropped a pair of close bouts in 133-pound action on Saturday, but he still came away with a sixth place finish — good for his first ever All-American selection in his fourth NCAA appearance.
"I feel great, right now I feel blessed, I thank God for everything he’s done for me," Mitcheff said. "It’s awesome. Knowing that all the hard work I’ve put in, finally paid off."

Mitcheff went 4-3 for the week and became the second Kent State wrestler since 1986 to place in the top six at the NCAA Championships.

He dropped his consolation semifinal bout 4-3 to Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver, the No. 4 seed. Oliver scored the opening takedown and led 2-1 after the first period.

Mitcheff then scored a second-period takedown in between Oliver escapes. Trailing 4-3, Mitcheff chose neutral for the third period. Oliver was warned for stalling before Mitcheff got in on a leg at the edge of the mat. Time expired as Mitcheff attempted to drag Oliver inside the circle.

Mitcheff (34-6) then lost to Wisconsin’s Tyler Graff, 5-3 in the fifth place bout. Graf claimed takedowns in the first and second periods, while Mitcheff earned three escapes.

"I lost to Frank Gomez (first loss), who ended up taking third. He’s a real tough wrestler," Mitcheff said. "After that, I had one more match to become an All-American and it was a real tough match. It came down to the last period. I got the takedown at the end of the period to win the match. I was so pumped after that. It was awesome."

He closed out his career at Kent State with 131 victories, the most in Golden Flashes’ history.

Kent State wrestling coach Jim Andrassy has been nothing but impressed with Mitcheff in his college career.

"I’ve been around wrestling a long time and I’ve never seen anyone quite like Danny," Andrassy said through a press release. "He’s the best wrestler we’ve had since I’ve been a part of this program. He’s a very special kid and you can’t replace someone like that. We’re going to miss him."

Despite coming up short of his goal of being a national champion, Mitcheff is happy with his All-American status and leaving Kent State as the all-time winningest wrestler in school history.

"I’m real happy," Mitcheff added. "I wanted to do a little better, but I’m still proud of what I’ve done. I’ve had a great career. I’m glad the way everything turned out. The All-American parade was real cool. It was pretty exciting and emotional. It’s my senior year and it’s all over after this. All the hard work finally paid off and I’m real proud of myself."

Lorain County native and St. Edward’s graduate Lance Palmer came up short of becoming the first ever Lorain County resident to become a NCAA Division I national champion when the No. 1-seeded Palmer lost to second-seeded Brent Metcalf, of Iowa, for the 149-pound national title on Saturday night in the D-I National Tournament at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

Palmer lost 3-2 in an intense matchup against Metcalf. Metcalf was 5-1 in his career against Palmer going into the match with his only loss coming earlier this season.
Palmer defeated Penn State’s Frank Molinaro, 2-0, in the semifinals for his place in the final.

With his second-place finish, Palmer became the first four-time All-American from Lorain County since Amherst’s Jake Percival, who did from 2002-’05 while at Ohio University.

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