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NCAA Wrestling Preview with Robert Jillard
|Robert Jillard is one of three Flames who will be making their first NCAA Wrestling Championships appearance.|
As part of LibertyFlames.com's lead-in coverage for the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships, the website begins a four-part series, checking in with 125-pound qualifier, Robert Jillard.
The Flames have four grapplers headed to Philadelphia, where the national event will be contested at the Wells Fargo Center, March 17-19.
Jillard (Fr., Franklinville, N.J.) may be experiencing his first collegiate postseason bouts, but that didn't show in his NCAA East Regional matchups. Holding the No. 1 seed in the bracket, the Franklinville, N.J., native defeated both of his opponents to grab the 125-pound national qualifying spot.
The two wins brings Jillard to a 20-10 record during his rookie season, ranking second on the team. Jillard is also second on the team in wins by fall, pinning six of his opponents this season.
Jillard started off the NCAA East Regional facing a tough No. 4 seed in Sacred Heart's Billy Chamberlain, who qualified for the NCAAs in 2009 while competing for Duquesne. Chamberlain, a grad student, showed his experience early, gaining a 6-3 edge over the Flames' freshman heading to the final period. Jillard came through in the final period, scoring a reversal before landing three back points in the last ten seconds of the bout. Riding time extended his edge to 9-6.
The 125-pounder then handily defeated Gardner-Webb's Brett Kostern, 14-3 for the title.
Jillard drew No. 3 seed Brandon Precin of Northwestern in the opening round of the three-day NCAA tournament. Jillard and Precin met at the Keystone Classic (Nov. 21), with Precin coming away with the 12-0 major decision. The winner of this matchup faces the winner of Wyoming's Michael Martinez and Rutgers' Joseph Langel, who are both unseeded.
Aside from Precin, Jillard has faced seven other competitors in the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. His record against those opponents is 2-7, picking up wins against UNC Greensboro's Manuel Ramirez (3-2) and Michigan's Sean Boyle (Fall: 0:55).
Tomorrow, LibertyFlames.com continues its preview of the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships, as 133-pound qualifier, T. J. Mitchell talks about looking forward to his first time competing in the national event.