NEW YORK — Becoming an All-American has been the life-long goal for UVU senior Jade Rauser and for two periods on Friday night it looked like that goal wasn’t going to be accomplished.
But what happened next might go down in UVU wrestling history as one of the greatest victories to date for the program. In a matter of seconds to start the third period and trailing 5-0 to No. 6 George DiCamillo of Virginia, Rauser got a takedown and then a four-point near fall to take a 6-5 lead. There was potential for the match to go into overtime as DiCamillo had over a minute of riding time that would have given him a bonus point.
However, Rauser didn’t let things come to that as he got another two-point near fall to end the match and become just the second All-American in UVU wrestling history with an 8-6 victory over DiCamillo. Ben Kjar is the other Wolverine to earn All-American honors when he placed fourth at the NCAA Championships in 2011.
“It feels awesome. When the final whistle blew and I realized that I had won the match, I couldn’t believe it,” Rauser said. “This has always been the ultimate goal. I told my teammates that I didn’t have any other choice than to come back with the hardware. I still have one more match, but this is just a phenomenal way to end my career.”
“Jade has been focused all tournament long. I’m just really proud of him and pleased for him that he was able to achieve his goal,” head coach Greg Williams said. “It’s very emotional. What an achievement after working so hard. We’re all very excited for him.”
Rauser lost his final match on Friday night. It was a 9-6 setback to No. 7 Eric Montoya of Nebraska. But that didn’t matter to Rauser as he had already locked up his life-long goal of becoming a collegiate All-American. Rauser will wrestle for seventh place against No. 8 Earl Hall of Iowa State on Saturday afternoon in session six of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
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