Expectations were high for the three representatives of UC Davis at the NCAA championships in Omaha, Neb. Junior captain Ricky Alcala stated his goals quite clearly before the tournament.
“My goal is to become All-American or national champion,” Alcala said.
“If that’s not your goal as a Division I wrestler then you shouldn’t be competing. You should dream of becoming national champion.”
Unfortunately for Alcala and juniors Barrett Abel and Brandon Low, reality fell short of that dream.
All three wrestlers couldn’t find their rhythm as each member of the trio lost his first two bouts in the tournament and received an early exit.
At the 133-pound slot, Low was narrowly defeated 3-2 in the first round to 12th seeded Steve Mytych of Drexel. Low then went into the wrestleback bracket to take on No. 11 Scotti Sentes of Central Michigan. Low once again lost, this time by an 8-3 margin.
In the 149-pound division, Pac-10 champion Barrett Abel was upset by Central Michigan’s Anthony D’Alie by a 5-2 decision. In the wrestleback match, Abel was defeated by Michigan State’s David Cheza, 9-2.
In the heavyweight class, Alcala suffered a pair of very close losses. He fell by a score of 3-2 in the first match to Scott Steele of Navy and then lost a heartbreaking 2-1 contest to Pac-10 rival Clayton Jack of Oregon State.
In the team event, Iowa took its third straight national title and 23rd overall.
Even though Alcala, Abel and Low didn’t finish with the results they had hoped for they enjoyed very impressive junior seasons and will be back next year as some of the top wrestlers in the country.
The Aggies will also be looking to make strides as a team next year as their young men return with valuable Pac-10 experience.
KYLE HYLAND can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.