Two-time All-American (2009, 2008)
2009-10: Redshirted during the 2009-10 season ... Finished second at Midlands at 141 pounds wrestling unattached, falling to No. 10 Alex Krom (Maryland) in the championship bout ... Also went 2-2 at the Sunkist Open freestyle tournament in October.
2008-09: Earned his second All-America honor by taking fifth place at 133 at the 2009 NCAA Championships ... Went 7-2 at NCAAs, winning six consecutive matches after losing his pigtail bout to reach the consolation semifinals ... Finished third at the Big Ten Championships ... Placed third at Midlands ... Won the Las Vegas Invitational ... Defeated Jayson Ness (MINN), 7-5, at the NWCA All-Star Classic ... Went 2-1 against Ness on the season ... Went 2-1 against Daniel Dennis (IOWA) ... Doubled his career falls total with eight ... Started the season 14-0 and 24-2 ... Only Illini wrestler to win 30 bouts.
2007-08: Earned first career All-America honor by placing fourth at NCAA Championships ... Went 4-2 at NCAAs ... Placed second at Big Ten Championships, dropping a 3-1 decision to top-seeded Franklin Gomez ... One of three Illini to top 30 wins, along with Mike Poeta and John Wise ... His 32 wins rank 26th in school history ... Won 14 consecutive matches from Jan. 20-March 9, which included an undefeated Big Ten dual season ... Went 3-0 against Mack Reiter (MINN), 2-0 against Tim Haas (PSU), Eric Metzler (NU), 1-1 versus Joey Slaton (Iowa) and 0-2 against Coleman Scott (Okla. St.) ... Won the Missouri Open and finished fourth at Midlands ... Registered the fastest fall on the team with a 20-second pin.
2006-07: True-freshman full-time starter at 133 ... Finished the season ranked No. 9 ... Qualified for the NCAA Championships by placing fourth at the Big Ten Championships ... Went 2-2 at NCAAs ... Named Amateur Wrestling News' top rookie at 133 in 2007 ... Helped the Illini edge Ohio State, 19-18, by defeating No. 17 T.J. Enright, 4-3 ... Took a 7-3 decision over No. 15 Zach Tanelli of Wisconsin for the 21-16 victory over the Badgers ... Dominated two-time All-American Mack Reiter of Minnesota in a 6-3 decision, despite the Illini's 12-28 loss to the top-ranked Gophers ... Defeated No. 8 Jake Strayer, 4-3, to help the Illini to an 18-16 victory over Penn State ... Added points to a 22-9 defeat of Indiana after being victorious in a 5-4 decision over No. 19 Andrae Hernandez ... Upset eighth-ranked Evan Sola, 3-0, to help the Illini to a 32-3 victory over UNC ... Finished second in his first Midlands appearance, only being defeated by top-ranked Nick Simmons of Michigan State ... Placed third at the UNI Open ... Won the Missouri Open.
HIGH SCHOOL: Won the state title as a sophomore and senior, and finished second as a freshman and third as a junior ... Broke the state takedown record for a season in 2006 with 384 ... Received the 2006 Dave Schultz High School Excellence award ... Earned National Junior All-American honors ... Won the National Cadet championship his sophomore year and finished second as a freshman ... Finished his high school career with a 187-3 overall record.
PERSONAL: Full given name is James Joseph Kennedy ... Born July 7, 1988 ... Parents are Jim and Debby Kennedy ... Majoring in technical systems management ... Biggest thrill in sports was winning Fargo ... Favorite athlete is Dave Schultz because he changed the sport of wrestling ... His father influenced his athletic career because he pushed him to be his best.
Kennedy's Career Record
Year W L F Big Tens NCAAs 2006-07 29 7 5 4th DNP 2007-08 32 7 3 2nd 4th 2008-09 36 6 8 3rd 5th 2009-10 0 0 0 --- --- TOTAL 97 20 16