DES MOINES, Iowa -- It was an historic couple of days for The Citadel's wrestling team as K. Undrakhbayar (Ugi) nabbed fourth place, while Odie Delaney took seventh to close out competition at the 2013 NCAA Championship on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
Prior to yesterday, just one Bulldog grappler in the history of the program, which dates back to before the 1930's, has achieved All-America status. Delaney and Ugi added their names to that elite list yesterday when they guaranteed themselves a spot in the top eight of their respective weight classes.
Aside from securing himself seventh place at the tournament, Delaney's final victory left the redshirt senior with 125 career wins, moving him into a tie with Sean Markey (2006) for most wins in Citadel history.
"It was another really good day for us because we wanted them to finish strong and they did," said head coach Rob Hjerling. "Ugi got the pin to place fourth which was very strong and Odie finishing his career with a win, pin and the all-time wins mark was special to see.
"It was a great weekend for the coaching staff and team and I would also would like to thank 157-pound qualifier, Matt Frisch, who was there training through each session with the guys," said Hjerling. "He was a great contributor to the team and we know he has bright future and will be out in the hunt for us in the next couple of years."
Ugi entered the final day of competition with his sights set on the third place match, but needed to get by familiar foe Evan Henderson of North Carolina. Henderson topped the Mongolia native in each of their two bouts this season, once in a 4-3 decision at the Nittany Lion Open and then again in a sudden victory takedown at the Southern Scuffle.
The Bulldog grappler made short work of Henderson in today's bout. Just one minute into the match, the Tar Heel slipped off allowing Ugi to get on top and capitalize with a chicken wing and quick pin at the 1:08 mark to launch him into the third place bout against top-seeded Hunter Stieber of Ohio State.
The Buckeye grappler managed the clock after a couple of early takedowns in the third place bout to take the win and end the 12-4 match, completing Ugi's season with an impressive fourth place finish.
The redshirt freshman closed out his first collegiate season with a 42-6 record, plowing through the three and five seeds at nationals. Ugi's only losses this season came against wrestlers who were ranked among the top 10 in the country.
"It's tough competition here so I learned a lot of things, and I have a lot of things to work on, but I will do my best next year to try and achieve my goal of becoming an NCAA champion," said Ugi. "I really owe this one to my teammates, coaches and trainer because I couldn't have made it without them. It's not about me it's about everyone else who helped me."
Fittingly, Delaney closed out his collegiate career with a pin at the 2:44 mark. The fall is the 61st of his career, which is good for second in Citadel history. Ten of Delaney's 19 Southern Conference-leading pins this season came in the first period.
"I knew that I needed to find a way to get my game plan together so I could beat these higher ranked guys, but Coach Hjerling, Ragan and Lane are great at what they do and have been able to show us how to use our dangerous moves and I was able to get bonus points off of it," said Delaney.
After a hugely productive three-win day on Friday, the Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., product entered Saturday with a seventh place bout set against Iowa State's Matthew Gibson.
A takedown in the first period led to the Bulldog grappler's pin on Gibson just moments later and assured him seventh place in the nation. Delaney closed out his career having won 22 of his last 24 bouts.
"I love this big stage and being here to take what I have worked so hard to earn was amazing," finished Delaney.
Pictures of this week's action can be found here and more will be added after they take the podium tonight.