Following a seventh-place finish in the 125-pound pool of the 2021 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, West Virginia University redshirt junior Killian Cardinale has been named the WVU Student-Athlete of the Week. The Bristow, Virginia native is the first Mountaineer wrestler to earn this honor in 2021.
After suffering a setback to eventual NCAA Champion Spencer Lee of Iowa in the championship second round, No. 17-seed Cardinale fought his way through the consolation bracket, posting a 3-0 record on the second day of competition to advance to the medal round. In doing so, Cardinale took down a pair of top-eight seeded wrestlers in the process, upsetting No. 6-seed Jakob Camacho of NC State in the Round of 12, also known as ‘The Blood Round’ to earn All-America status for the first time in his career.
On the final day of competition, Cardinale followed up his All-America performance with a 12-7 decision over No. 19-seed Eric Barnett of Wisconsin to place seventh in his respective bracket.
A transfer from Old Dominion, Cardinale became the first wrestler in the Tim Flynn era to garner All-America accolades at the NCAA Championships. He scored a team-high 6.5 points for the Mountaineers, helping WVU finish 31st overall with 11.5 team points. It’s worth mentioning that teammate Noah Adams was a 2020 NWCA All-American last season despite the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Redshirt junior Killian Cardinale caps his run at the 2021 NCAA Championships with a seventh-place finish!
— WVU Wrestling (@WVUWrestling) March 20, 2021
Of note, he posted a team-best 17 wins in his first season as a Mountaineer. He also compiled a 5-1 record at his first-ever appearance at NCAAs.
Day One Recap can be found here.
Day Two and Three Recap can be found here.
Updated Brackets and Final Team Scores can be found here.