He was the favorite to win for the first time and it just didn’t matter.
“I was 100% confident at the Big Tens, especially when I avenged my only loss of the season in the Big Ten finals,” Lugo explained. “I was confident going into Nationals. We were like a week or two weeks out from the National tournament and, yeah, I was calm, confident and I was ready to go until the news hit me.”
Lugo had Sammy Sasso and Austin O’Connor in his crosshairs. Winning a National title would be validation enough, but a win over one of those two would strengthen his elite status even further.
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Yet the news that hit Kollin Moore and Luke Pletcher like a ton of bricks sat confusingly well with Lugo.
“It wasn’t any anger, like, I wasn’t mad at the world because I’d been to the National tournament before. I had my chance before,” Lugo said. “I had three chances at the National tournament before and I only All-American-ed once, so, it wasn’t like I was pissed off. I was more just so disappointed and more sad than anything because of my teammates. I didn’t get to accomplish our team goal. A couple of the guys on the team didn’t accomplish their individual goals; I didn’t get to do it with them, so I kind of felt bad more for them than myself, if you ask me.”