NCAA Preview with T. J. Mitchell
As the second part of LibertyFlames.com's lead-in coverage for the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships, the Flames Sports Network's Alan York chats with 133-pound qualifier T. J. Mitchell.
Mitchell is the Flames' second of four qualifiers headed to Philadelphia, where the national event will be contested at the Wells Fargo Center, March 17-19.
T. J. Mitchell continued his impressive action at 133 pounds with two dominating wins in the NCAA East Regional Championship. The redshirt junior has been waiting for his first chance at the regional, since the 133-pound spot has been occupied by national qualifiers Joe Pantaleo and Christian Smith in previous years.
Mitchell's two wins at the regional improved his record to 19-14 on the season, besting his previous career high by six wins, which came during his freshman season when he posted a 13-17 mark. Mitchell enters the national event having won eight of his last nine bouts. His lone loss came to No. 10 ranked Devin Carter of Virginia Tech, who holds a No. 9 seed at the NCAAs.
Mitchell's title run at the NCAA East Regional began with a 13-1 victory over Sacred Heart's Anthony Ricco. The Hazlet, N.J., native held a 7-1 advantage through two periods, before he posted six more points for a 13-1 major decision.
The 133-pounder had a similar match in the finals, defeating Campbell's Gabe Gardner, 13-0, to punch his ticket to Philadelphia.
Mitchell has drawn unseeded Kevin Smith of Buffalo in the opening round of the national event. The two have no prior meetings. The winner of that bout faces the winner between Missouri's Nathan McCormick and No. 2 seeded Andrew Hochstrasser of Boise State.
Mitchell has faced four competitors that have made it to the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships, posting a 0-4 record in those bouts.
Check back in tomorrow for the third installment of LibertyFlames.com's previews for the NCAA Wrestling Championships, when Chad Porter talks about making his fourth trip to the national event.