Wrestlers Curry and Fitzpatrick fall in the first round of 2021 NCAA DI Wrestling Championship
Tournament marks the end of a challenging season
Despite the heart they showed, American University wrestlers Tim Fitzpatrick (174 pounds) and Gage Curry (125 pounds) both had first-round exits at the 2021 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships. The odds were stacked against Fitzpatrick and Curry, who were seeded 28th and 27th, respectively. Fitzpatrick lost to 5th-seeded Michigan wrestler Logan Massa while Curry lost to 6th-seeded Jakob Camacho of NC State.
Curry was aggressive early and took a 4-0 lead to start the match, but Camacho surged back, tying the match at 5-5 at the end of the first period. Camacho rode his momentum into the second period, tallying four takedown points and four nearfall points as Curry ultimately lost 21-9. In his second match, Curry lost to 22nd-seeded Danny Vega of South Dakota State via a 21-4 tech fall.
Much like Curry, Fitzpatrick took an early lead in his first-round match against Massa. The first period was competitive, but Massa opened things up in the second, winning the match by fall before the end of the second period. In his consolation match, Fitzpatrick took on 22nd-seeded Jacob Oliver of Edinboro. Fitzpatrick kept it close with seconds remaining in the final period, but ultimately lost 7-5.
AU felt the coronavirus-related absences of redshirt seniors Kizhan Clarke (149 pounds) and Tanner Harvey (184 pounds), as AU failed to score any team points in the tournament.
The end of the NCAA Championships marks an important time for AU wrestling as it looks to move beyond the pandemic and searches for a long-term answer at head coach. After former head coach Teague Moore departed from the University in late January, AU announced interim head coach Jason Grimes would take over for the season and led the Eagles in their two competitions this year. AU has not announced Grimes’ long-term position with the program.
While AU wrestling took a step back from its typical performance in the championships, the wrestlers showed perseverance given the shortened season. With freshmen comprising one-third of the roster, AU wrestling is optimistic about the future.