BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Trung Duong fought his way through the consolation bracket on Saturday, finishing in fifth place in the 125-pound weight class and becoming Newberry’s 34th All-American in 12 years of NCAA competition.
“Trung is a remarkable kid,” said first-year head coach and former heavyweight national champion Cy Wainwright. “He truly embodies what it means to be a student-athlete. Capping off his career as a two-time All-American and two-time academic All American is quite a feat. He will go down as one of the best to ever suit up in a scarlet and gray singlet.”
His opponent in the fifth-place match was a set to be familiar one. The Newberry senior squared off against freshman Alan Diltz of Seton Hill, his first-round opponent Friday. Diltz won by fall in 2:37, just the fifth time this season Duong had been defeated.
Diltz, however, was forced to forfeit the match due to an injury sustained in an earlier round, cementing Duong’s status as the fifth-place finisher one year after an eighth-place performance during his junior season.
Duong began his day with a dominant performance over Darek Huff of Adams State, earning a decisive 17-4 major decision over the nation’s ninth-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds. Duong was in control from the outset of the match, scoring two takedowns in the first period. He added three takedowns and two nearfalls in the final two periods to secure the lopsided victory.
Duong next drew Brett Velasquez of St. Cloud State, ranked No. 1 in the nation and fresh off a 5-2 upset loss at the hands of Mercyhurst senior Willie Bohince, the sixth-ranked wrestler in the weight class.
Both wrestlers fought for control throughout the first period, going to the mat numerous times and they sought points, before Velasquez notched the match’s first takedown with 20 seconds remaining. Duong began the second period on top and maintained control for 40 seconds, but a reversal made the score 4-0 heading to the third. Duong secured an escape point but would succumb to the nation’s top-ranked wrestler by a 7-1 decision.
"For my last season competing in wrestling, placing fifth at the Division II Wrestling Championships feels like the last moment of a good, close wrestling match when the clock is counting down to zero," Duong remarked following Saturday's session. "When the match ends, no matter how great or bad I wrestled, I look forward to the next match."