Talk about an all-in bet.
Sophomore Freddy Santaite is the only representative of the Boston University wrestling team in the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Omaha, Neb., but now the whole field is watching out for him after his stunning upset of the No. 2 seeded &- and defending national champion &- senior Troy Nickerson of Cornell University Thursday night.
Down one point with time elapsing in the match, Santaite earned a takedown with two seconds left to defeat Nickerson, 2-1, in only the second NCAA match of his career &- the first was earlier that day against Ohio State University junior Nikko Triggas, another gutty one-point victory (8-7).
“We obviously thought that it was going to be a real difficult match,” said BU coach Carl Adams. “We wanted Freddy to just keep competing and keep wrestling hard and get [Nickerson] on a mistake because the kid is really, really good.”
Santaite’s win is an uplifting victory for a wrestling program that has struggled mightily with injuries this season, decimating what Adams saw as a championship-caliber squad and leaving them with 4-14-1 overall and 2-5-0 Colonial Athletic Association records.
“We told Freddy all along that he is capable of beating the national champion himself,” Adams said.
“This just goes to show what can happen if you persevere, if you continue to work hard and you believe in yourself. This is [Freddy’s] first time out here &- lo and behold, he beats the defending national champion.”
With the win over Nickerson, Santaite advances to the quarterfinals of the 125-lb. bracket where he’ll face freshman Cashe Quiroga of Purdue University.