Cheek Bows Out of NCAA Championships

Cheek Bows Out of NCAA Championships

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Junior Evan Cheek of the Cleveland State University wrestling team had a lead in both his matches Thursday at the NCAA Championships but was unable to hang on in his bouts in front of over 18,000 fans at Quicken Loans Arena.

Making his NCAA Championships debut, Cheek was competitive for much of his time on the mat.

In his first bout Thursday, Cheek lost a tight, hard-fought battle to two-time defending national champion Dean Heil of Oklahoma State. Cheek scored first with a takedown, but Heil used an escape and a takedown in the waning seconds of the opening period to take a one-point edge. Heil's escape out of the down position in the second period was the final scoring of the match.

Heil held on for a 4-2 win as he repeatedly was content to force frequent stalemates to see out the bout. Cheek, who held 42 seconds of riding time when the match ended, went for broke in the final seconds and nearly was able to even the match, but time ran out too soon.

In Cheek's consolation bout, he used a takedown within the first minute of the match to take the lead. Cheek, who was on the verge of adding back points, refused to allow an escape as he racked up over two minutes of riding time. His opponent chose the top position in the second period and appeared to content to reduce his riding time disadvantage by remaining on top.

Cheek still led heading into the third period, forcing his opponent to increase his aggressiveness. That proved to pay off for his opponent as he was able to claim a pin near the middle of the period.

Cheek became just the second Viking ever to compete at a NCAA DI Wrestling Championship in the state of Ohio.

Cheek won the Eastern Wrestling League title earlier this month, dethroning an undefeated, consensus top-five wrestler in the final. He was named Outstanding Wrestler of the EWL Championships, making him just the third Viking to ever earn that honor.

Cheek finished with 24 wins on the season, including 16 of the bonus-point variety, and eight pins.

Cleveland State will return four of its top five student-athletes in terms of wins next season, as only three individuals that competed this season have exhausted their eligibility.

CSU Results at the NCAA Championships

First Round: Evan Cheek (CSU) - bye
Second Round: No. 6 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) over Cheek (CSU) - 4-2 dec.
Consolation First Round: Cheek (CSU) - bye
Consolation Second Round: Henry Pohlmeyer (South Dakota State) over Cheek (CSU) - Fall 5:49