Lefever Wins Wrestling Title
by Brent Harris
March 15, 2014
Freshman Riley Lefever capped an undefeated wrestling season at Wabash College with an NCAA Division III national title at 184 pounds Saturday, defeating Brian Broderick 3-1 in sudden victory to win the title.
"The first day of practice we had goal sheets and I wrote down, first, have fun, then be national champion at 184 pounds," Lefever told NCAA.com reporter Roger Moore. "I am on cloud nine right now, I am so excited. I have so many emotions right now; I am thankful to my parents, my team, my brothers … without them beating the crap out of me every day I wouldn't be here right now.
"The easiest way to have fun is too never lose. I didn't plan on going undefeated, I just wanted to be there in the end."
Lefever, the number-one seed at 184 pounds entering the DIII national tournament, trailed Broderick 1-0 after two periods. An escape in the third period by the Wabash freshman tied the score at 1-1 to send the title match in overtime.
Lefever scored a takedown against Broderick, a two-time national finalist for The College of New Jersey, on the edge of the mat in sudden victory. The win gave Lefever the title and completed his first collegiate season at Wabash with a perfect 41-0 record.
After posting a pair of victories on Friday, Lefever advanced to the championship bout by defeating Christopher Chorzepa from Williams College 9-2.
Lefever is the first Wabash wrestler to win a national title. Chris Healy ’05 was the last Little Giant to compete for a national title, finishing second as a senior in the 174-pound weight class at the 2005 NCAA DIII tournament.
Reece Lefever, Riley’s older brother, became the second Wabash wrestler to claim back-to-back All-America awards with a fourth-place finish at 157 pounds. The elder Lefever finished Friday’s sessions with a 2-0 record and faced the eventual national champion, Nazar Kulchytskyy from Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Lefever gave the champion his toughest bout of the tournament in a 3-2 loss. Kulchytskyy went on to receive the National Wrestling Coaches Association Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament Award after capturing his third national title.
Moving into the consolation semifinals, Lefever faced Everet Desilets from Johnson & Wales for the second time in the tournament. Lefever followed Friday’s 8-6 decision over Desilet with a 7-6 victory in the semis, advancing to wrestle sixth-seeded Jorge Lopez in the finals. Lopez scored a pin late in the second period to capture third place.
Lefever finished seventh at 157 pounds at the 2013 championship tournament to earn All-America honors for the first time in his career. Greg Rhoads ’12 was the first Wabash wrestler to earn back-to-back All-America honors with eighth-place finishes at 184 pounds in 2011 and 2012.
Wabash finished ninth in the team scoring with a total of 36 points, marking the first top-ten finish for the Little Giants in their 19 years of qualifying for the national tournament. Wartburg finished first for the fourth straight season, scoring a total of 103.5 points. A total of 62 teams competed at this year’s championship.