Killian Cardinale wrestling for Old Dominion prior to transferring to West Virginia University.

Killian Cardinale wrestling for Old Dominion prior to transferring to West Virginia University.

In his first appearance at the NCAA Championships, junior wrestler Killian Cardinale earned a seventh-place finish and All-American honors.

“Killian is a stud,” said WVU wrestling head coach Tim Flynn. “Many doubted him after a slow start this season, but we didn't. He refuses to lose. He has a tough mindset."

Cardinale transferred from Old Dominion University during the 2020 offseason, and despite starting his career in the old gold and blue slow, he proved his worth to the program quickly, winning six of his last seven matches this season. 

The Bristow, Virginia native earned a 5-1 overall record for the tournament, capping his weekend with a 12-7 decision over No. 19-seed Eric Barnett of Wisconsin. Cardinale scored three separate takedowns in the last five minutes in the match to take the seventh-place victory. 

Cardinale was one of four WVU wrestlers to compete at the NCAA Nationals this weekend, as redshirt junior Noah Adams 197-pound, redshirt freshman Ryan Sullivan 133-pound and freshman Peyton Hall 165-pound also joined Cardinale at the tournament. The quartet led WVU to a 31st-place finish with 11.5 team points, a program-best in the Flynn era.

Hall faced a tough draw against No. 2 Anthony Valencia of Arizona State, ending his tournament. Hall finished his tournament 3-2 and his freshman season 16-4. 

Additionally, both Adams and Sullivan finished their tournaments early on, with a pair of losses in the second round of contests on Friday. Sullivan went 8-5 in his first season for the Mountaineers, while Adams finished his season with a 14-5 mark with multiple losses to Wyoming’s Stephen Buchanan. 

WVU capped their 2020-21 season with an impressive 7-3 overall record and a 9th place finish at the Big 12 championships.