Citadel wrestling had a great day Friday, when heavyweight Odie Delaney and 141-pounder Ugi Khishignyam both made All-America at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Delaney pinned Oregon State’s Chan Hanke on Friday night to clinch a top eight finish, and can place as high as seventh in Saturday’s medal round. Ugi became the first Citadel wrestler to make the semifinals and can place as high as third. They became the second and third wrestlers in school history to make All-America.
Reaction from wrestlers and coaches:
“The coaches have put a lot of hard work into me and I have worked really hard for to become an All-American,” said Delaney. “It has always been a lifelong dream of mine and to finally achieve it is overwhelming.”
“When I dropped down to the consolations I knew I needed to pin my ears back and take it one match at a time so I just chopped away until I came out on top,” added Delaney.
“This is one of the greatest feelings I have had in the sport,” said assistant coach Tucker Lane, who was a four-year NCAA qualifier at Nebraska and has worked with Delaney the last eight months. “I came up short the last two years in my career and I know after training with Odie how much it meant to him and to see him go out there and wrestle like that was really special.”
“The first match was a close one and went into overtime but when I won I was pumped to become an All-American and happy to see Odie get it also,” said Ugi, a native of Mongolia.
“A lot of hard work from a lot of people paid off today and it was gratifying to see,” said assistant coach Jeff Ragan.
“I couldn’t have wanted something more for someone than wanting him to win that because no one deserves it more than him,” said Jeff Ragan about Delaney. “There as a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into that and he earned it.”
“I couldn’t be happier for Ugi and Odie,” said head coach Rob Hjerling. “It’s a little hard to put into words but I know how it important it is for them and it was great to see all of their hard work come out with a reward.
“We still have another day and I know Odie wants to finish his career with a win and Ugi wants to get third, but it has been a great weekend for Citadel wrestling,” finished Hjerling.