NEW YORK – Finishing as American University's first top-four placewinner since 2011, senior captain David Terao captured fourth place at the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships held at Madison Square Garden.
Terao, who entered the tournament seeded 15th at 125 pounds, is the ninth All-American in program history, as the Eagles have now garnered a total of 17 All-America honors.
Terao began the day with a bout versus Northern Iowa's ninth-seeded Dylan Peters in the consolation semifinals. He got out to a strong start, scoring a takedown less than a minute into the match. Peters scored an escape, but not before Terao was able to rack up more than a minute of riding time.
Terao, starting the second period on top, was able to extend his advantage time, but Peters recorded an escape to tie the bout at 2-2. Terao regained the lead with an escape early in the third period and increased the margin to 4-2 with an escape after an injury timeout by Peters.
Peters tied the score with a takedown late in the match, but gave up a quick escape by Terao, who added another point for riding time in the 6-4 victory.
"I think the first takedown was really big, because it put David in the driver's seat," said American head coach Teague Moore. "You could see him immediately relax. I felt like we were going to be able to do what we do. He managed the match very well."
Terao's third-place match against top-seed Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State proved to be one of the most exciting bouts of the day. Despite plenty of action in the opening period, neither wrestler was able to score a point.
Tomasello was first to get on the scoreboard, getting an escape 35 seconds into the second period before scoring a takedown. Returning to the center of the mat after going out of the bounds, Terao used a quick flip to earn an escape. While Moore issued a coach's challenge, looking for a reversal and back points, the original call was upheld.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the final period, Terao scored another point with the optional start by Tomasello. Tomasello increased his lead to 5-2 with another takedown, while Terao came up with a quick escape. However, Terao was unable to score a takedown of his own, despite continuing to attack until the final whistle, warranting a standing ovation from the crowd at Madison Square Garden.
"Even though I lost (the third-place match), I don't feel bad about my performance," said Terao. "I gave it everything I had. I put everything on the line against the returning national champ, and I was razor close to coming up with it."
"I don't think there are words to describe (the crowd's reaction)," said Moore. "How does a fourth-place finisher get the arena to give him a standing ovation? David wrestles with passion. He was able to show his passion through his third-place match, and this arena saw it. This arena felt it."
"I'm on cloud nine right now. If at the beginning of the tournament you had told me I would be on cloud nine with a fourth-place finisher, I wouldn't have believed you. But after what I witnessed today, I'm the happiest coach on the planet."
Terao, who closes out the season with a 29-7 overall record, ends his career as the winningest wrestler in program history with 130 victories.
"I couldn't have asked for a better place and venue and crowd to have this kind of performance in front of," said Terao. "It's definitely been the performance of my life. There's almost nothing that compares to this."
Session V Results
125: (15) David Terao dec. (9) Dylan Peters (UNI), 6-4
125: (1) Nathan Tomasello (OSU) dec. (15) David Terao, 5-3