Fronhofer wrestles to NCAA Championship finals

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Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 12:00 am

Redshirt senior Carl Fronhofer added his name to the record books by defying the odds... Redshirt senior Carl Fronhofer added his name to the record books by defying the odds and making it to the NCAA Championship finals as an unseeded wrestler in his weight class.

"Supposedly it is really hard to do. I didn't think about it," Fronhofer said. "I knew I had the ability to do it."

Only 12 wrestlers are seeded in each weight class and Fronhofer was not seeded.

He became the first Panther since 1989 to make an appearance in the finals.

"It was the buzz of the tournament getting an unseeded wrestler to the finals," head coach Rande Stottlemyer said.

Pat Santoro was Pitt's last wrestler to make the finals. Fronhofer placed second at 174 pounds, falling to Robbie Waller of Oklahoma.

In his last three visits, Fronhofer won just four matches in this tournament, but won five this year before losing to Waller.

Every year, he's wrestled in the pigtail round. Brackets are made up of 32 wrestlers, but a couple of extra wrestlers are drawn to compete to make the final 32 spots in the pigtail round.

"He had a heck of a run. Getting to the [NCAA] finals is tough," Stottlemyer said. "I think the extra match hurt him."

In his first round pigtail match, he avenged a loss from earlier in the season by pinning Ohio State's Blake Kaplan in 4 minutes, 46 seconds.

"After I won that one I felt amazing," Fronhofer said. "Once I got to the semis, I never really thought about it [opponents I previously lost to] because I was having an amazing tournament."

Fronhofer advanced to the first round and won by major decision over Millersville's Curtis Yeager, 11-3.

He moved on to the second round and faced off with Brian Glynn of Illinois. Fronhofer was able to escape with a 3-2 win in overtime over Glynn, which qualified him for the quarterfinals.

Hofstra's Ralph Everett was Fronhofer's next opponent.

Fronhofer defeated Everett 4-1 with a takedown toward the end of the match en route to the semifinals. He met Oregon's Shane Webster, whom he also had lost to earlier in the season. Fronhofer was victorious by a score of 3-2, setting the stage for Fronhofer's match in the finals, which he lost 7-2 to Waller.

Fronhofer finished his career with a record of 123-39, an overall season record of 24-7 and a record of 15-5 in tournaments.

He earned his first All-American honor with his second place finish and is currently third on the Panthers' all-time wins list. Fronhofer became the first Panther in three seasons to earn All-American honors as former Panthers Rob Loper and Mike Ziska finished fourth and eighth respectively in 2000.

"I've been pretty happy with my career," Fronhofer said. "Every year I've been disappointed in not being an All-American. This year I made it to the finals."

"By doing what he did this weekend he has done it all. He's won an Eastern Wrestling League title and wrestled in international tournaments," Stottlemyer said. "The only thing he hadn't fulfilled was standing on the podium. He didn't just stand anywhere; he stood pretty high."

The Panthers finished tied for 19th place overall in the NCAA Championships. Stottlemyer said the team responded well and overcame a lot of adversity this season.

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