Valley Sports Report
ROANOKE, Va. - Athens grad Kaidon Winters, a sophomore at RIT, won two of three bouts in wrestlebacks here Saturday to place fifth and cement his All-American status at the NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championships at the Berglund Center.
Winters, the third seed at 157 pounds, opened the day with a 4-1 win over Keone Derain of Elmhurst College to advance to the consolation semifinals and assure himself of no worse than a sixth-place finish. (The top eight finishers in each weight class are All-Americans.)
After a scoreless first period, Derain chose neutral, but neither grappler was able to score an advantage and the bout remained in a scoreless deadlock entering the final two minutes.
Derain chose to cut Winters loose to start the third period, but the move backfired when Winters scored a takedown with 1:17 remaining for a 3-0 lead.
Derain recorded an escape with 17 seconds remaining, but Winters prevailed 4-1 after the riding point was factored in.
Winters advanced to a consolation-semifinal match-up against defending national champion Cross Cannone, the top seed from Wartburg, who was upset in the semifinals.
Cannone scored a first-period takedown, but Winters escaped about 30 seconds later, and trailed 2-1 heading into the second period.
Cannon recorded an escape off the second-period whistle, then another takedown in the waning moments to build a 5-1 cushion heading into the final two minutes.
Another quick escape and a third takedown gave Cannone a 8-1 lead with 1:32 remaining i the third period.
After a Winters escape with 29 seconds remaining, Cannone sealed the victory with a takedown in the closing seconds. The riding time point provided the final margin an 11-2 major decision.
Winters was slated to face Millikin's sixth-seeded Bradan Birt, who topped Winters 5-3 in the quarterfinals, but Birt was forced to forfeit due to an injury.
The All-American Winters wraps up his sophomore season with a 35-2 record, and is 77-12 in two seasons at RIT.
IN PHOTOS: Kaidon Winters. ... PHOTOS COURTESY OF GLENN JARVIS.
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