DES MOINES, Iowa — Steve Bosak isn’t sure what’s in store for him next.
The Cornell senior, who’s also a State College High graduate, wrapped up an illustrious collegiate career with a third place NCAA Wrestling Tournament finish at 184 pounds inside the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.
“Coming out of high school I was never a state champ even though I knew that I had the capability of having great success in college,” Bosak said. “I never really had that success in high school but I worked hard and I had a great career in college and it’s been really rewarding.”
Bosak, who won the 184-pound title last season, capped his senior season with a 30-4 record and finished 131-30 for the Big Red.
A four-time NCAA qualifier and three-time All-American, Bosak beat Maryland’s Jimmy Sheptock 3-0 then outdueled Central Michigan’s Ben Bennett 2-0 in the third place match on Saturday inside Wells Fargo Center.
After a scoreless first period against the No. 2 seeded Bennett, the fourth-seeded Bosak earned a point when Bennett was called for stalling on the bottom. Bosak rode Bennett out and then chose neutral to begin the third. Neither wrestler could land attacks and Bosak, with a heavy riding time advantage, won 2-0.
Afterward, Bosak said his emotions got the best of him as he reflected on his college career.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” Bosak said. “I’m not going to be competing in Olympic-style wrestling, so going through the grind of things, you’re not having fun cutting weight or going through the physical aspect of wrestling but after it’s all over you know you’re going to miss it.”
It was an impressive ending for a grappler who feared his career could be in jeopardy before the season began.
In his quest to defend his 2012 title, Bosak was dealt a scary blow right out of the gate. A sore, swollen wrist caused him to seek a doctor’s advice and it was diagnosed as a staph infection that forced him to miss the first month of the season. He didn’t make his return until the Grapple at the Garden. There, an inspired Bosak knocked off two nationally ranked wrestlers in his first bouts having recovered from the serious illness.
He went on to win his first EIWA title at 184 pounds prior to entering the NCAA tournament.
Bosak picked up where he left off last season’s national championship chase on Thursday.
He earned bonus points for the Big Red in his first bout, a 12-0 major decision over Oregon State’s Ty Vinson in the first round and then turned gritty, hard-fought wins over Navy’s Mason Bailey and Iowa’s 12th-seeded Ethen Lofthouse. Bosak ran into Penn State’s top-seeded Ed Ruth in the semis where Ruth edged the Cornell senior, 4-1.
It was the first match Ruth failed to pick up bonus points in for the tournament.
It’s a loss the positive Bosak won’t dwell on. Now, he’s looking forward to the next chapter of life. He could see himself sticking with wrestling in some form or another, he said. Bosak will graduate with a degree in communications this spring.
“I could see myself coaching, I could also see myself going and getting a job in the private sector,” Bosak said. I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but it’s something I’m going to have to figure out.”
Dake makes history
With his 5-4 win over Penn State’s David Taylor in what was billed as “The Main Event” by the NCAA, Cornell’s Kyle Dake made history.
Dake became the first wrestler to win four championships at four different weight classes. His win at 165 followed victories at 157 last season and 149 and 141 the previous two years.
“He’s made me a better wrestler,” said Dake, who beat Taylor for the third time this season — one was an exhibition.
Dake had an uphill battle against the Penn State junior almost right away. Taylor earned the first takedown just 17 seconds in. It was the first time Dake was scored on all tournament. But Dake nearly reversed Taylor and almost cradled him up on the edge of the mat. The two rolled out of bounds and Dake was credited with an escape.
After a neutral restart, Dake worked through a scramble for a takedown and rode Taylor out. Dake added an escape to start the second and Taylor chose down to start the third. He couldn’t escape — although Dake was warned for stalling with 40 seconds left. Finally, Taylor got out but he only had 19 seconds left. Dake gave up a stalling point with three seconds to go to tie it at 3. But he survived Taylor’s last, frantic shots and got the riding time point to secure the win
Other finals results
The highly anticipated rematch between Iowa’s Tony Ramos and Ohio State’s Logan Stieber lived up to its billing.
Ramos, who had suffered only one loss over the course of the season, that coming to Stieber, nearly had the Ohio State wrestler pinned midway through their bout at 133 pounds. But Stieber squirmed away and after a lengthy review, Ramos was not awarded nearfall points.
In the end, Stieber overcame the Hawkeye, 7-3.
At 149 pounds, Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver beat Boise State’s Jason Chamberlain, 3-2. Following that bout, at 157, Derek St. John brought the Iowa-heavy crowd to a crescendo with a 3-2 win over Northwestern’s Jason Welch.
Minnesota heavyweight Tony Nelson won his second consecutive title at 285 with a 6-2 win over Northwestern’s Michael McMullan.
Legendary opera singer wows
Fans in attendance, many of them familiar with opera history considering their responses to the surprise when it was announced, let out cheers when an opera legend was pegged to sing the Star Spangled Banner.
Simon Estes, 75, bellowed the national anthem in his trademark bass-baritone voice.
Although fans were asked to remain silent until the U.S. flag was removed from the floor, they erupted when Estes finished the anthem.