ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Sophomore Franklin Gomez posted two wins this morning to finish in third place in the 133 pound weight class at the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships, held at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Gomez, who ends the season with a 33-2 record, is Michigan State's 132nd All-American and the 12th since 2000. He is also the ninth Spartan to place in the top-three at the national meet since 1981. Gomez matched Nick Simmons performance of last year, where he also placed third at 133 pounds.
"You can't diminish a third place national finish in any sport," said head coach Tom Minkel. "Even though Franklin had a tough overtime loss in the semis yesterday, it is a significant accomplishment to finish third and be an All-American as a sophomore in your first NCAA appearance. Franklin got ready today for two outstanding matches and finished strong. The weight class is very talented and he will able to build off this year's experiences."
In a rematch of the 133 pound Big Ten Championship final, Gomez and No. 2 seed James Kennedy of Illinois battled to a scoreless first period. Gomez started the second down and escaped a minute in and added a takedown with 17 seconds on the clock for a 3-0 lead after two periods.
Kennedy started the third down and Gomez rode him for the first 57 seconds, erasing the riding time, before Kennedy would escape. Gomez quickly took down the Illini with 46 seconds left for a comfortable 5-1 lead. Kennedy would escape, but Gomez closed out the bout with a takedown with three seconds remaining for the 7-2 final decision.
In his first bout of the morning in the consolation semifinals, Gomez defeated No. 7 Mike Grey of Cornell, 6-4. For the first time in the NCAAs, Gomez fell behind early, as Grey took him down 1:46 in. However, Gomez would escape with less than a minute remaining in the first and add a takedown with 24 seconds remaining to open up a 3-2 win after the first three minutes.
With Gomez starting the second stanza down, he escaped within the first 15 seconds and quickly garnered a takedown with 1:21 left in the second for a 6-2 advantage. With a minute left, Grey escaped again, shortening the score to 6-3.
Grey started the third down and would escape 30 seconds in, but would not be able to score another point, giving Gomez a 6-4 decision.