Little Finishes Career as an All- American
March 17, 2012
ST. LOUIS, Mo.-- Redshirt senior Darrius Little ended his career on Saturday as an All- American after winning to advance to the seventh place match in the wrestleback bracket. Little collected four wins at the 2012 NCAA Tournament, while earning the Wolfpack 6.5 team points.
"We did what we came out here to do and that is produce an All- American," Wolfpack head coach Carter Jordan said. "Hopefully next year we will be in the position to produce more than one All- American."
The Wolfpack senior opened the tournament by collecting a 6-4 win over Luke Goettl of Iowa State. Little then advanced to the championship third round and faced the No. 9 seed Nick Dardanes of Minnesota. Dardanes defeated Little by a close decision 4-2.
With the loss, Little fell to the wrestleback bracket, but did not dwell on the loss and fought back with three straight wins. The All- American wrestler knocked off Stephen Dutton of Lehigh, Zack Kemmerer of Pennsylvania, and Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech en route to collecting the three victories.
"It's a huge deal to be able to have an All- American, as a coaching staff and as a program," said Jordan. "No longer is it a dream, but it now becomes an expectation and we have been able to produce an All- American three of the last four years."
Little received a tough draw after claiming the three wins and faced off against the sixth- seeded Borislav Novachkov of Cal Poly, who went on to claim third place in the 141- pound weight class. Novachkov defeated Little by decision 2-0 sending the Wolfpack wrestler to the match for seventh place. The senior wrestled hard in the seventh place match, but Michael Nevinger of Cornell was too much and went on to defeat Little.
The redshirt senior finishes his career with a record of 102-58, including a record of 37-13 during his senior season while also claiming All- America honors. Little finished his career ranked third in the Wolfpack record books for career victories with 102, behind Sylvester Terkay (122) and Darrion Caldwell (109).
"Darrius was really excited about getting his 100th career victory," said Jordan. "Darrius is just an absolute perfect example of determination, hard work, and character."
He also ends his collegiate wrestling career tied for fourth in single season victories with 37 along with former Wolfpack standout Mike Lombardo. In addition, Little also ties with Mike Lombardo for most victories by a senior (37), good for the second highest total.
North Carolina State sent five wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament: Freshman Coltin Fought, Senior Quinton Godley, Redshirt Senior Darrius Little, Sophomore Matt Nereim, and Redshirt senior Colton Palmer.
"It was great to get so many guys out to the NCAA Tournament, especially the younger guys," Wolfpack head coach Carter Jordan said. "I was also very happy that all of our seniors made it to the tournament as well."
NC State finished the NCAA Tournament with 6.50 team points, which was good for 44th out of the 70 teams that participated in the tournament.
Coltin Fought, 125 pounds
lost to Anthony Zanetta (Pittsburgh), 4-14
lost to Pat Rollins (Oregon State), 2-3
Darrius Little, 141 pounds
defeated Luke Goettl (Iowa State), 6-4
lost to Nick Dardanes (Minnesota), 2-4
defeated Stephen Dutton (Lehigh), 8-5
defeated Zack Kemmerer (Pennsylvania), 4-1
defeated Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech), 5-1
lost to Borislav Novachkov (Cal Poly), 0-2
lost to Michael Nevinger (Cornell), 3-10
Matt Nereim, 149 pounds
lost to Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State), 4-8
lost to Kyle Bradley (Missouri), 5-9
Colton Palmer, 157 pounds
lost to Tommy Churchard (Purdue), 1-11
lost to Matt Lester (Oklahoma), 0-13
Quinton Godley, 174 pounds
lost to Tyler Koehn (Nebraska), 2-3
lost to Peter Huntley (Navy), 3-5