RIT's King, Winters and Calkins earn All-American honors at 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championship
March 09, 2019


ROANOKE, VA – Junior Dempsey King (New Hartford, NY/New Hartford) earned national runner-up honors at 165 lbs., while sophomore Kaidon Winters (Athens, PA/Athens Area) and senior Connor Calkins (Almond, NY/Alfred-Almond) also earned All-American accolades to lead the RIT wrestling team to an 11th place finish at the 2019 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championship at the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Va. on March 8-9.

King, Winters and Calkins are the 17th, 18th and 19th All-Americans in program history. RIT, who set a single-season program record with 12 dual wins and were ranked No. 19 in the most recent National Wrestling Coaches Association National Poll, finished with 32.5 team points, which is a team record for most points in a national tournament.

Winters finished fifth overall at 157 lbs., while Calkins placed eighth at 285 lbs.

King, the No. 7 seed at 165 lbs., took on Nicholas Bonomo of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the semifinals Saturday morning. King would get an early takedown and then punched his ticket to the championship by getting the pin just 1:45 into the match. King took on top-seed and defending champion Lucas Jeske of Augsburg in the championship bout and put up a tremendous battle before eventually going down in defeat, 6-2. King, who made his second trip to the national tournament, finished the 2018-19 season 27-6 and is 77-23 in three seasons.

Last night, King defeated Nick Renke of Coast Guard, 10-4 and knocked off No. 2 seed Taylor Shay of Roger Williams, 3-2 in overtime.

King will look to become RIT's third individual champion in program history. Darrell Leslie won the individual championship at 142 lbs. in 1983, while Matt Hamill won three straight championships at 167 lbs., in 1997, 190 lbs. in 1998 and 197 lbs. in 1999. Mike McInally was the last RIT wrestler to compete in a championship bout, earning runner-up honors in both 2009 and 2011.

Winters, the No. 3 seed at 157 lbs., went 4-2 on the weekend. He knocked off Dylan Dwyer of New York University, 5-0 in his opening round match Friday, before losing for the first time in 2018-19 to No. 6 seed Bradan Birt of Milikin, 5-3. Winters would end the evening by defeating Christopher Muce of Centenary in the consolation round, 3-2 in overtime.

Saturday, Winters defeated Keone Derain of Elmhurst, 4-1 before falling to the No. 1 seed, Cross Cannone of Wartburg, 11-2. Winters would get another crack at Birt in the fifth-place match, but would be awarded the win, as Birt suffered an injury and could not compete.

Winters, who opened the season by winning his first 32 matches, ends his sophomore campaign with a 35-2 record. He made his second straight trip to nationals and is 77-12 in two seasons at RIT.

Calkins opened the tournament by defeating No. 4 seed Konrad Ernst of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 4-2 in overtime at 285 lbs. Calkins would fall to No. 5 seed Garrett Wesneski of Lycoming by pin in the quarterfinals, but rebounded by defeating Patrick Irwin, 2-1 in overtime in a consolation match late Friday evening.

On Saturday, Calkins fell to No. 1 seed James Bethel in the consolation semifinals. Calkins wrapped up his collegiate career by falling in a rematch versus Ernst to place eighth. He finished the season with a 28-10 record and went 40-16 with two appearances in the national tournament in two seasons.

This marks the second time three different Tigers will earn All-American honors in one season, as Steve Smith (third, 167 lbs.), Darrell Leslie (fourth, 142 lbs.) and Terry Ryan (eighth, heavyweight) did so in 1980.