(BHS) senior Jack McKeever wrestled to first place in the State Open Championship this weekend, becoming the first Bobcat to hold that title since the State Open Tournament began.
McKeever won four matches in the 152-pound weight class, defeating two former state champions and maintaining his perfect season record, now 44-0.
“It was an outstanding performance,” head coach Mario Bonito said, pointing to the drama of the tournament. “In the semis he avenged a loss from last year,” against the defending champ from South Windsor, and in the final match, McKeever came back to win in overtime against another former state champion from Conard High School in West Hartford, a foe who was also until that point undefeated on the season.
In the final match-up, McKeever found himself down 2-0 going into the third period. A penalty and subsequent escape turned the tables and brought him even at 2-2, prompting a sudden death overtime match. McKeever got the first takedown and took the match and the championship title.
“It was so exciting, I just got lost in the moment,” McKeever said of getting the critical overtime win.
McKeever, generally a more quiet, reserved athlete, couldn’t contain himself.
“Once I won that last match… that was the most excited I’ve been all year,” he said. “I was just smiling and pumping my hands up and down — just so happy all the hard work paid off.”
McKeever, who has been wrestling since the fifth grade, works out 2-3 hours a day, six days a week, both on- and off-season, including training at a wrestling club in New York year-round.
A senior, McKeever said he will “definitely wrestle in college,” he just has to decide where. He has already been accepted to SUNY and is waiting to hear back from Bucknell.
Before then, McKeever will go on to compete in the New England Open this coming Friday and Saturday in Providence, RI.