Penn State builds on overall team lead after Day 2’s early session
DES MOINES, Iowa - Thursday at the NCAA Wrestling Championships is just a warm-up. Things really get serious on Friday morning in the quarterfinals. Penn State, in search of a third consecutive NCAA team title, and Oklahoma State, looking for a 35th title and first since 2006, kicked into high gear. PSU pushed five into the semifinals and have 75 points; OSU advanced five to the semis and has 65 ½ points. Third place Minnesota is more than 20 points back of the Cowboys. Another round of wrestlebacks began about 2:15 ET. A half a point here, a half a point there - it all matters at this point, especially for Oklahoma State and Penn State.
Illinois' Jesse Delgado had a comeback for the ages. Down 7-4 to North Carolina's Nathan Krasser after a third-period cradle, Delgado, all in the final 20 seconds, reversed Krasser and secured three-near fall points to shock the Tar Heel. A riding time point gave Delgado (24-3) an 10-7 win and trip to the semifinals where an expected meeting with Iowa's Matt McDonough will not happen. McDonough, a two-time champion and three-time finalist, was taken down 10 seconds into overtime by Cornell rookie Nahshon Garrett, who will take a 41-4 record into Friday night's semifinals. Missouri's Alan Waters, the top seed, remained unbeaten (32-0) with 4-0 a victory over Virginia's Matt Snyder. He will meet Penn State's Nico Megaludis (27-3) in the semifinals. The Nittany Lion sophomore hammered unseeded Dominic Parisi of Appalachian State, 12-4.
Defending champion Logan Stieber continued to roll. The sophomore (24-0) had a lightning-quick technical fall against Oklahoma's Cody Brewer. Stieber, who had two pins on Thursday, will face Edinboro's A.J. Schopp, who used a handful of slick turns to build a big lead over Minnesota's Chris Dardanes. Wisconsin's Tyler Graff (31-4), a two-time All-American, beat Missouri's Nathan McCormick. The final quarter saw Iowa's Tony Ramos (30-1) beat Oklahoma State's Jon Morrison, 6-1. Ramos and Graff will square off Friday night.
141 pounds Another fabulous finish saw top-seeded Hunter Stieber of Ohio State get by Franklin & Marshall's Richard Durso. Down late, Stieber (34-0) scored a takedown at the edge that needed video review, then rode out the final 15 seconds. Edinboro's Mitchell Port (33-2) hammered North Carolina's Evan Henderson, 12-4, and will meet Stieber on Friday night. The second seed, Oklahoma's Kendrick Maple (28-0) easily got by Iowa's Matt Ballweg. The final quarter saw The Citadel's Ugi Khishignyam beat third-seeded Michael Mangrum of Oregon State in overtime. A clash in styles, Maple, an offensive machine, and the Mongolian, a brick wall of defense, face off Friday night.
Senior Jordan Oliver (36-0), a champion two seasons ago at 133 and runner-up in 2012, continues to cruise. The Pennsylvanian picked up his third consecutive major decision. Columbia's Steve Santos (29-1) gets the reward, after beating Air Force Academy's Cole VonOhlen, 5-4, of facing Oliver Thursday night.
Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi had a leg up on Boise State's Jason Chamberlain in the first overtime, but could not finish. Chamberlain, whose only loss this season is to Sakaguchi, was able to rally in the tiebreakers. Two unseeded wrestlers, American's Kevin Tao and Missouri's Drake Houdeshelt also needed overtime, this one a marathon. Tao scored a last-second reversal to lead by one, but Houdeshelt's riding time forced extra wrestling. The Tiger (31-9) prevailed in the tiebreakers and gets Chamberlain.
Top seed Jason Welch (33-1) cradled up Penn State's Dylan Alton in the final 30 seconds to secure an 8-3 win. It was one of the better matches of the day as the two played human twister for about 6 ½ minutes. Unseeded David Bonin of Northern Iowa beat Virginia's Jedd Moore, 3-0. The UNI senior has outscored three opponents, 8-0. Oklahoma State rookie Alex Dieringer (33-2) used a takedown in the final 10 seconds to beat Boise State's Georgi Ivanov, 6-4. The sixth seed will face 2012 runner-up Derek St. John of Iowa, who beat Ohio State's unseeded Josh Demas, 4-1. St. John is 29-2. With Dieringer's victory, Oklahoma State took the lead in the team race, 44 ½ to 41.
Anybody hear of David Taylor? The 2012 champion at 157 pinned Illinois' Conrad Polz in 20 seconds. For those keeping score, it put PSU in front of OSU, 50 to 44 ½. Anybody hear of Kyle Dake? The 2010, 2011, and 2012 champion dominated Virginia's Nick Sulzer to the tune of 13-0. Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell (32-4) grinded his way to a 3-1 win over Michigan's talented rookie Taylor Massa. Caldwell, an NCAA runner-up two seasons ago, had over four minutes of riding time. Minnesota senior Cody Yohn and third-seeded Peter Yates of Virginia Tech had a down-to-the-wire affair. Yates nearly had a takedown late in the second overtime, but Yohn hit a standing granby at the buzzer to apparently avoid getting taken down. The flurry went to a video review and Yates (33-1) was awarded the two much to the chagrin of the Gopher contingent. Yates gets Taylor; Caldwell takes on Dake. Scoreboard watcher alert: OSU 51 ½ to Penn State's 50.
Iowa's Mike Evans and Minnesota's Logan Storley, as anticipated, went to the wire with Storley (27-3) winning a 3-2 grinder. Speaking of grinders, top-seeded Chris Perry of Oklahoma State got by Ohio State's Nick Heflin, 3-2, in the first set of tiebreakers. Perry (33-2) rode out the first 30 seconds, then escaped midway through the second. Nebraska's Robert Kokesh (36-3) continued to fly under the radar with a major decision over Maryland's Josh Asper. He meets Perry tonight. Penn State's Matt Brown (28-4) picked up his third bonus-point win of the tournament, whipping Iowa State's Tanner Weatherman 13-5. Brown and Storley, a couple of Big Ten buddies, meet Friday night.
Anybody hear of Ed Ruth? Ruth, a Penn State junior, a champion last March, moved to 31-0 with an 11-1 major decision. Another champion in 2012, Cornell's Steve Bozak, edged Iowa's Luke Lofthouse, 4-1. Ruth and Bozak meet Friday night. The other half saw Central Michigan's Ben Bennett, now a four-time All-American, grind out a 1-0 win against Maryland's Jimmy Sheptock. Bennett (30-0) meets Lehigh's Robert Hamlin, who edged Northern Iowa's Ryan Loder, 2-1. Hamlin (25-3) was second two seasons ago and fourth in 2012. The scoreboard watch showed PSU with 66, OSU 58 ½.
Anybody hear of Penn State? Senior Quentin Wright, a champion two seasons ago, flattened Minnesota's Scott Schiller with a good old-fashioned country headlock. The Nittany Lion (30-0) is now a four-time All-American; he faces Pittsburgh's Matthew Wilps Oregon State's Taylor Meeks (34-5) pinned Wyoming's Alfonso Hernandez to give the Cowboy just his second loss this season. Meeks will meet Kent State's Dustin Kilgore (42-0), who cruised by Penn's Micah Burak, 7-0. The team lead moves to 75 to 58 ½.
Defending champion Tony Nelson toughed out a 1-0 decision against Central Michigan's Jarod Trice. He will face Oklahoma State's Alan Gelogaev, who beat Boise State's J.T. Felix, 10-5. Nelson (31-1) owns two wins against Gelogaev (27-3) this season; the Russian beat Nelson last season. Top-seeded Dom Bradley and Pittsburgh's Zac Thomuseitt went to overtime where Bradley (38-1) earned a 2-1 victory. Bradley will meet Northwestern's Michael McMullen (21-3), who edged Oregon State's Chad Hanke, 4-3.