Cody Reed’s Cinderella run came to a screeching halt at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
After taking down the eighth and ninth seeds last Thursday, the unseeded 197-pound redshirt senior dropped a pair of matches to top competition and fell short of All-America honors. He finished 2-2 in the third and final NCAA championships appearance of his career.
“The tournament is unbelievably brutal. For Cody Reed to come out and beat the eighth and ninth seed right out of the gate, he did a phenomenal job,” BU head coach Matt Dernlan said. “The following day, and there are no easy matches in the NCAA tournament, but he ended up wrestling the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds in the country and losing to both of them. But [Reed] wrestled a phenomenal tournament, and I couldn’t be prouder of him.”
Friday’s competition was a sore cap to Reed’s final year with BU, but his 4-0, 3-1 victories the day before took him where only one other Binghamton wrestler had been before: the quarterfinals.
Though Binghamton has seen wrestlers place as high as third in the NCAAs, a feat Donnie Vinson achieved last year when he won seven in a row after dropping to the wrestle-backs, Reed’s 2-0 start barely had a precedent. It was actually the opposite of his record at last year’s championships, when the 197-pounder dropped to 184 for the season. Though Reed won the Colonial Athletic Association championship in 2013, he lost both his opening bouts of the NCAAs and the subsequent consolation match, ending his junior year with an 0-2 national performance. This came on the heels of his 2-2 record of his sophomore season, during which he wrestled at 197.
The senior finishes his collegiate wrestling career with a 94-62 overall record, after having gone 29-12 this season. In the NCAAs, Reed has accumulated a 4-6 record over his three appearances.
This year, when pitted against No. 1 Nick Heflin of Ohio State, BU’s last man standing kept the majority of the match’s opening three minutes hard-fought and scoreless. But when Heflin managed to score on a takedown late in the first, he was just heating up. In period two, Heflin bumped up his lead to five off an escape and reversal. Reed recorded an escape for his point in the third, but the clock didn’t expire before Heflin jumped up to eight through another takedown.
The 8-1 loss sent Reed to the consolation bracket, in which he was pitted against No. 3 Morgan McIntosh of Penn State with All-American honors on the line.
McIntosh entered with a vengeance after having closely dropped his round two match, 3-2, to the 14th seed. He had the opportunity to redeem himself against the 13th seed in the wrestle-backs, in which he surged for a 15-7 major decision, and continued on to face No. 6 Richard Perry of Bloomsburg, against whom Reed had suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss in the teams’ dual meet on Feb. 22. McIntosh prevailed, 6-4, over Perry, so the No. 3 was on a groove when he and Reed entered the ring.
McIntosh struck early, recording two takedowns in the first to build a 4-0 lead. Reed couldn’t surmount that deficit, and McIntosh advanced off a 13-4 major decision with All-American honors and a chance for third.
“I know Cody’s disappointed that he wasn’t an All-American, but he should be able to hold his head high because he competed like a champion,” Dernlan said.
Heflin finished in second behind No. 2 J’Den Cox of Missouri, while McIntosh fell to the fifth seed and settled for a seventh-place finish.
Binghamton’s only other qualifier, 125-pound junior David White, finished his first-ever NCAA performance on Thursday with a 1-2 record. White dropped his round one match before recording a pin at the 2:34 mark in his pigtail consolation matchup. He dropped the ensuing match against Nick Roberts of Ohio State, 10-5, effectively ending his NCAA competition. But for White, the experience will help him prepare for the next season.
“[White and Reed] both by far had the best seasons of their career,” Dernlan said. “And you want to be on the podium — that’s why you go to the NCAA tournament — but they don’t just give places out on the podium for free. You have to earn them, and we just came up short. But we couldn’t be happier for what the effort and attitude they competed with was.”
As a team, Binghamton finished 49th out of 66 programs, with 4.5 points. Penn State led all programs with 109.5 points, putting up two title winners.