CEDAR RAPIDS, IA — Nolan Whitely remained the last of the Wolves standing and fought his way through the consolation bracket on Saturday, finishing in seventh place in the 133-pound weight class and becoming Newberry’s 34th All-American in 12 years of NCAA competition.
His opponent in the seventh-place match was no stranger to Whitely and Newberry. The senior squared off against tenth-ranked Dustin Kirk of King University. The last time the two met was in a conference dual at the beginning of February. Whitely reigned supreme over Kirk and ran away with the 3-2 win.
This time around was no different. He started off with a hot first period, recording two takedowns within a minute of each other. It was the second period that would be the game changer and essentially put Whitely ahead of his opponent. Choosing the bottom at the top of the second, he would make a quick escape. That put him in the position to make a takedown 30 seconds later, followed by a four nearfall. Kirk would not be strong enough to rack up points on the junior, cementing Whitely’s status as the seventh-place finisher.
Whitely began his day with a close call against Kelan McKenna of Notre Dame (OH). Riding time would prove to be the outlier and the deciding factor in this match. With a one point lead going in to the third, McKenna would choose bottom and escape the hold of Whitely to even the slate. With a significant amount of riding time on his side, McKenna would get the victory.
“Nolan had a fantastic career. To be able to see him accomplish his goal to become an NCAA All-American and put an exclamation point on his career In a scarlet and gray singlet was amazing,” said Head Coach Cy Wainwright.
The Wolves wrap up a successful season, where they shared the ECAC Championship and honed one All-American. Newberry saw many athletes finish the conference slate undefeated. The team finished with 12-6 overall record and went 5-1 in conference play.