Newman University wrestler Kameron Frame remembers well the sinking feeling he had a year ago on the eve of the 2020 NCAA DII national championships.
After their final practice at the tournament site in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, he and fellow Jet national qualifier Tyler Lawley learned that the NCAA had canceled all winter and spring championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thus ending a chance at winning a national title.
“It was heartbreaking for sure. We got the call while we were heading back to the hotel the night before, we had all practiced, we were all down to weight and then we actually saw on twitter that it got canceled,” Frame said.
Newman head coach Ryan Smith added, “It was absolutely heartbreaking … not just heartbreaking for the two guys that we had there but the other teams that were there too. These guys bust their tail all year long.”
For the redshirt junior from Goddard, Kansas, the news was extra disappointing. Frame was attempting to earn an individual title that evaded him 12 months prior when he suffered a season-ending injury in the national semi-finals.
“This is my third appearance at the NCAA tournament. We don’t have as many competitors this year, not as many people were allowed to qualify due to COVID. I’m grateful to be back,” Frame said.
The two-time All-American is hoping the third time is the charm for his national champion quest.
Smith believes in his star athlete and is excited Frame has another opportunity to be in the national spotlight.
“Some of those goals start at a very young age. We’re talking about a kid who’s probably wrestled since he was probably about 5 or 6 years old. He’s had dreams since then, ‘Hey, I’m going to be wrestling on the big stage and I’m going to win a national title,'” Smith said.
Frame will open the completion in the 165-pound weight class at America’s Convention Center in St. Louis against second-seeded Fred Green of Colorado Mesa University.