Penn State holds three-point lead after championship's first session
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Three-time national champion Penn State pushed nine into the second round and holds a three-point lead against Oklahoma State after one session of the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
For PSU, national champions David Taylor and Ed Ruth scored falls and Nico Megaludis added a technical fall. Freshman Zain Retherford won an expected tough bout with Citadel's Ugi Khishignyam and senior James English provided an upset of his own, beating Appalachian State's Dylan Cottrell in an overtime tiebreaker. The Nittany Lions dropped just one bout, a head-to-head match with Oklahoma State at 133 pounds.
Edinboro, sparked by Victor Avery's win versus fifth-seeded Ethan Lofthouse of Iowa at 184 pounds, sits in third, tied with Minnesota, who saw second-seeded Nick Dardanes lose a first-round match at 149 pounds. The Fighting Scots picked up a pair of pins from AJ Schopp at 133 and Mitchell Port at 149 pounds.
Nebraska rounds out the top five, getting a technical fall and three major decisions.
Iowa's hopes at a 24th national title took a couple of hits when Lofthouse lost, along with teammate Nick Moore, who fell to Bloomsburg's Josh Veltre 15-7 in a first-rounder at 165 pounds.
As usual, there were some unexpected results.
Missouri 133-pounder Matt Manley, a native of Perry, Okla., beat Kent State's Mackenzie McGuire, the 12th seed. Iowa's Tony Ramos, a two-time All-American and finalist last March, needed a third-period takedown to beat Pittsburgh's Shelton Mack in another 133-pound bout.
The anticipated opening-round match between Retherford and Khishignyam went Retherford's way thanks to a second-period takedown. During Wednesday's press conference, PSU head coach Cael Sanderson thanked a notable member of the media for inspiring his squad with talk of "very tough first-round matches."
"It's a simple sport, simple philosophy," Sanderson said on Wednesday. "Everybody has tough draws. The other thing, too, you motivate people by challenging them."
Another All-American, Minnesota's Chris Dardanes, went to overtime in his 141-pound match. National champion Kendric Maple won a tough bout with Tywan Claxton of Ohio at 149 pounds, scoring a third-period takedown for some breathing room.
"There are very few easy matches in this tournament," Oklahoma State head coach John Smith said. "With the new qualification system, the brackets are very deep; there are tough matches from the first session on."
The second session hits the mats at 6 p.m. ET.