Northern State senior Matt Meuleners’ bid for a third straight national title fell inches shy last weekend evening in Birmingham, Ala., as the two-time defending national champion fell in a tight 4-3 match to Tyrell Fortune of Grand Canyon.
Meuleners hit a flurry of late shots, including one on the edge of the mat late in the third period, but was unable to finish. The Norwood Young America native finishes his career as a four-time NCAA Division II All-American.
Meuleners, who needed a second sudden victory period in the semifinals to get to the title match, handed Fortune his first takedown of the season in the opening period. Fortune managed the escape out of that hold and a second escape to start the second period to tie things up, then scored a takedown late in the second to take a 4-2 lead.
Meuleners took the down position to start the third period and scored an escape to cut the deficit in half. He then took a low shot and nearly finished a takedown that would have given him the lead, but was ruled out of bounds.
Meuleners and Fortune then volleyed a series of shots in a flurry of activity late in the period, but no points were awarded to either wrestler, leaving the final score at 4-3 in favor of Fortune.
Meuleners was making a bid for his third straight title after winning back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012. He was also an All-American at 197 pounds as a redshirt freshman.
He concludes his career as one of the most decorated wrestlers in NSU history, becoming the Wolves’ first four-time All-American. Meuleners also holds the NSU record for most wins in a career and leaves with a 145-32 career record with the Wolves.