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Cougars Make Progress at NCAA Championships

Cougars Make Progress at NCAA Championships

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Freddie Rodriguez became the first SIUE wrestler to record two wins at the national championships since the Cougars moved up to the NCAA Division I level but the 125-pounder was eliminated from the tournament Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Rodriguez, a junior from Lansing, Michigan, won his first match of the day with a major decision over No. 16 seed Elijah Oliver, of Indiana. Rodriguez was relentless against the Big Ten's fifth-place finisher, turning what was a close match into a rout late with back points as the final buzzer went off.

His next match was No. 8 seed Barlow McGhee of Missouri. Rodriguez was unable to counter the takedowns from McGhee and lost 9-5.

"It was still progress, but we had higher expectations coming into the tournament," said SIUE Head Coach Jeremy Spates. "We thought we could win a few more matches, but we're still excited that we had two guys out here."

Spates said he had a number of people compliment his team based on Rodriguez's performance.

"He was attacking the whole time," said Spates. "I had a number of people throughout the tournament say they really like watching the Cougars' 125-pounder. He gained a lot of fans. A lot of people were seeing the SIUE singlet out there and that we were scrapping hard."

SIUE will look to return both 2016 qualifiers (Rodriguez and John Fahy) to the national meet next year when the event returns to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Jake Tindle also qualified for the national meet in 2015.

"We're excited these guys are back. It will be a good building point for next season," said Spates.

2016 NCAA Division I Championships Results for SIUE
125 - Freddie Rodriguez (17-3) scored 2.00 team points.
    Champ. Round 1 - Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) def. Freddie Rodriguez (SIUE) (Dec 8-2)
    Cons. Round 1 - Freddie Rodriguez (SIUE) def. Nick Herrmann (Virginia) (Dec 4-3)
    Cons. Round 2 - Freddie Rodriguez (SIUE) def. Elijah Oliver (Indiana) (MD 18-9)
    Cons. Round 3 - Barlow McGhee (Missouri) def. Freddie Rodriguez (SIUE) (Dec 9-5)

149 - John Fahy (19-11)
    Champ. Round 1 - Matthew Cimato (Drexel) def. John Fahy (SIUE) (Dec 9-3)
    Cons. Round 1 - Colt Cotten (Buffalo) def. John Fahy (SIUE) (Fall 1:03)

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