WVU’s Killian Cardinale Finishes Illustrious Career in 8th Place at NCAA Wrestling Championships
TULSA, Okla. — WVU No. 28 fifth-year Killian Cardinale finished his illustrious collegiate career at the NCAA Wrestling Championships Saturday morning at the BOK Center.
Cardinale (13-4) faced off against rival No. 27 Virginia Tech’s Eddie Ventresca in the Seventh Place Match at 125 pounds.
The match featured both wrestlers going back-and-forth throughout. Cardinale started with a takedown, but Ventresca countered with an escape and a takedown. Cardinale then escaped and made a takedown, while Ventresca made another escape to cut the lead to one at 5-4 heading into the second period.
Ventresca built up a lot of riding time in the second period, but Cardinale made an escape to take a 6-4 lead. Ventresca made a crucial takedown in the second period to tie the match at 6-6.
Cardinale took away the point for riding time in the third period, but Ventresca escaped to take a one point lead. Cardinale tried to shoot and score, but Ventresca held him off and won a 7-6 decision.
The loss earned Cardinale Eighth Place at 125 pounds at the NCAA Championships. It also ends his collegiate wrestling career.
Cardinale was disappointed in the loss but that he went through much trial and hardship to make it this far this season. He dealt with a torn ACL in October and had surgery for another injury just four weeks ago and he was glad to just give it his all.
“I just couldn’t get that last takedown in the third [period,” Cardinale said post match. “Bittersweet being my last match. You want to come out with an odd number, but it’s a good way to wrap up the career for sure. Would’ve liked to get the dub.”
Going forward, Cardinale will stay involved with wrestling, but doesn’t know whether he’ll coach or keep wresting on different level.
Mountaineers head coach Tim Flynn spoke glowingly of Cardinale and his collegiate career, especially with how he has battled through all those injuries this year.
“I’ve been coaching a long time and he’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached,” Flynn said. “When you bring that toughness into a program it rubs off on everybody.”
WVU finishes with 8.0 points and 34th in the NCAA Championships. Flynn wished to see better performances from his team as a whole, but is now focused onto next season. He hopes that he will find more determined and gritty wrestlers like Cardinale in the future.
“He showed grit this entire season,” Flynn said. “Hopefully these younger guys see that and I think if everybody had that determination and toughness, we’d be a lot better.