Same as it ever was
Notes: Streaks continue; DIII champs, DI selections on tap
"Streak" was the word of the weekend for college wrestling.
Nebraska-Kearney won a second consecutive Division II championship in dramatic fashion, edging St. Cloud State by four points and DII newcomer Notre Dame (Ohio). It almost was a carbon copy of the Lopers' 2012 run when it came down to finals victories by Dalton Jensen, Raufeon Stots and T.J. Hepburn. During the weekend in Birmingham, Ala., head coach Marc Bauer's squad got finals wins by Daniel DeShazer at 133 pounds and Stots at 149 pounds in the final session; DeShazer beat St. Cloud's Andy Pokorny, also a finalist in 2012, and Stots beat SCSU's Jacob Horn. It was the third consecutive season head coach Steve Costanzo's squad finished as runner-up.
|DIVISION III CHAMPIONSHIPS|
|The Division III championships are set for Friday-Saturday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.|
|• Championship Qualifiers|
|• Championship Brackets|
The Division III championships kick off in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday. Wartburg will seek a third consecutive title for its outgoing head coach, Jim Miller.
Division I saw a few streaks extended last weekend, holding 10 qualifiers for the March 21-23 DI championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Reigning NCAA champion Penn State won a wild Big Ten championship in Champaign, Ill. Four individual champions led the Nittany Lions to a third consecutive league title.
"That's the Big Tens, you really get to see what you are made of in these two days," said PSU head coach Cael Sanderson, who saw all 10 of his wrestlers qualify for the national tournament.
Also, Cornell won a seventh consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association trophy; Oregon State claimed a second consecutive Pac-12 title; Chattanooga wrestlers were victors for a third year in a row in the Southern Conference; Hofstra took top honors in the Colonial Athletic Association for the third consecutive season; and Pittsburgh won the Eastern Wrestling League hardware for a third year in a row.
Missouri started a new streak while ending another. The Tigers won the 2012 Big 12 title before joining the Mid-American Conference for the 2012-13 campaign. Head coach Brian Smith's team won the MAC, ending Central Michigan's 11-year run at the top.
It's just a good mixture of a team that is very focused," said Smith, who saw eight Tigers qualify for Des Moines. "A few days after nationals last year they said they wanted to accomplish bigger and better things. The goal this year was the MAC and doing well at the NCAAs, getting guys on the podium as a team."
• Cornell's Kyle Dake won his fourth EIWA title, claiming top honors at 165 pounds this season. The three-time NCAA champion will take a 72-match win streak to his final collegiate tournament.
• Penn State's Ed Ruth, an NCAA champion last March, won three matches in Champaign to claim the 184-pound Big Ten title. The junior has won 64 consecutive matches.
• Kent State's Dustin Kilgore moved his streak to 58 with the 197-pound title at the MAC championships.
• And don't forget Joey Davis of Notre Dame (Ohio). As a freshman 165-pounder he finished 30-0, beating DI transfer Chase Nelson in the DII finals. Might we see Davis in a Division I program in the near future?
Something must have been in the water at the Division II championships. Upsets bit every bracket.
• Two-time DII champion Trevor Franklin of Upper Iowa went 0-2, losing in the first round at 133 pounds to Anderson's Zachary Hale. Upper Iowa also saw 197-pounder Carl Broghammer, who brought a 41-5 mark to Birmingham, fall in the first round to Central Oklahoma's Znick Ferrell.
• Two-time finalist B.J. Young of Newberry lost in the first round to Adams State's Ryan Fillingame.
• Maryville's John Hagerty, a finalist last season at 149 pounds, lost by major decision in the opening round to James Martinez of Colorado School of Mines.
• 2012 finalist Dillon Bera of Wisconsin-Parkside fell to Justin Pencook of UNC-Pembroke in the opening session.
• The much-anticipated rematch between Northern State's Mitch Mueleners and St. Cloud State's Jake Kahnke never materialized. The two had met in the finals the past two seasons. Kahnke lost to Kutztown's Ziad Haddad in the quarterfinals; Mueleners, a two-time champion, lost in the final to Grand Canyon's Tyrell Fortune.
As one coach put it, "nothing is ever guaranteed in Division II."
Only four wrestlers enter the DIII championships unbeaten: Elmhurst 141-pounder Ryan Early (27-0), Wartburg 133-pounder Kenneth Anderson (24-0), Springfield 141-pounder Joseph Grippi (15-0) and NYU's Brandon Jones (14-0). Ten wrestlers have taken just one loss in 2012-13. ... Twenty-five states will be represented at the DIII championships. ... Oklahoma State scored a Big 12-record 118.5 points to claim its 46th conference title. The Cowboys won eight of the 10 weight classes with 149-pound senior Jordan Oliver (33-0) claiming his fourth league title. First-year participant West Virginia won two of 20 matches in the tournament and gave 84 points in forfeits in the Big 12 Duals the previous day. ... Wyoming won a down-to-the-wire West Regional, edging North Dakota State by three points. Utah Valley's Adam Fager beat NDSU's Evan Knutson in the tournament's final bout, keeping Wyoming at the top of the standings for a fourth consecutive year. ... Virginia Tech's victory at the Atlantic Coast Conference championships came down to the final match. David Marone beat Virginia's Derek Papagianopolis 8-0 in the 285-pound bout to help the Hokies outscore the Cavaliers by five points. Virginia went 0-4 in finals matches against Virginia Tech opponent.s ... On his birthday, Missouri senior heavyweight Dom Bradley picked up his 100th career victory in the finals of the MAC. ... Franklin & Marshall's Richard Durso (37-3) won the EIWA title at 141 pounds. He is the first Diplomat to win gold at the EIWAs since 1994.