Kilgore earns first national wrestling championship in Kent State history

A.J. Atkinson

Dustin Kilgore said he would have an emptiness inside him until he won a national championship.

Saturday night, he filled that void.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” the 197-pound national champ said. “I just wanted it really bad. This is mind-blowing.”

Trailing 5-1 with 30 seconds left in the second period, it appeared Oklahoma State’s Clayton Foster had control of the match. In just a split second, however, Kilgore turned the second-seeded wrestler on his back and pinned him with just four seconds remaining to pull the come-from-behind victory and give Kent State wrestling its first-ever national champion.

“As soon as I saw (Foster) get tired, I knew right then I had to push myself twice as hard — harder than I’ve ever been pushed before,” Kilgore said. “I wanted it and I got it. I’m just thankful my body had the conditioning it does, because without a doubt that’s what got the job done.”

Kilgore’s endurance showed by the number of shots he took. In the nearly five minute match, Kilgore had taken a total of six shots compared to Foster’s two.

Kilgore said he kept his cool even though Foster blocked many of those shots.

“Those shots were probably what were able to wear him out and get him tired,” Kilgore said. “I wasn’t getting frustrated. You don’t do a lot of thinking; the adrenaline does the thinking for you.”

All Kent State coach Jim Andrassy said was how happy he was to be a part of “the most exciting match of the tournament.”

“Best feeling in the world,” Andrassy said. “I was just a spectator. I was just glad I could run out and meet him on the mat.”

Kilgore said he was happy to win Kent State its first national wrestling championship, but was most happy to win it for the program and his coaches.

“What the coaches have done is phenomenal,” Kilgore said. “In the future, this is going to build such a great team for Kent State, I’m hoping, because they deserve it. They put everything towards me getting a National title.”

Contact wrestling reporter A.J. Atkinson at [email protected]