Day 2: NCAA Wrestling Championships
Going into the final day of the NCAA Championships, Penn State has five wrestlers remaining and leads the overall competition with 114.5 points to Oklahoma State’s 94 and Minnesota’s 86.
Senior Bryan Pearsall started Friday in consolations, where he faced Steven Keith of Harvard. Keith had three takedowns on Pearsall, while Pearsall was awarded three stalling points. Pearsall lost 8-3 to end his run in the tournament.
11th seed Andrew Alton’s second consolation round was against 12th seed Eric Grajales of Michigan. Grajales had a takedown on Alton, which resulted in a 5-point move. Alton was unable to recover and lost 8-1, concluding his tournament run.
8th seed Dylan Alton faced top-seed Jason Welch of Northwestern. Alton had a 3-1 lead heading into the third, but he was thrown by Welch for 5 points resulting in an 8-3 decision. James Green of Nebraska was Alton’s next opponent in consolations. Green dominated Alton for a 14-4 major decision for Alton’s final match of the tournament.
4th seed Nico Megaludis had five takedowns over Appalachian State’s Dominic Parisi, resulting in a 12-4 major decision in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Megaludis had an unfamiliar opponent in top-seeded Alan Waters of Missouri. After a scoreless first round, Parisi and Megaludis both escaped in the second and third rounds respectively. This sent the bout into sudden victory. Neither wrestler could score in the first period, sending the match into tiebreakers, where both wrestlers were rode out. After a second sudden victory period, the match was sent to a second tiebreaker. Parisi had five seconds of riding time to Megaludis’ 18 seconds of riding time. Megaludis’ riding time allowed him to advance to the finals against second seed Jesse Delgado of Illinois. Megaludis has an opportunity to win his first title but can do no worse than match his runner up finish from last year.
2nd seed Matt Brown faced Tanner Weatherman of Iowa State in the quarterfinals. Brown took Weatherman down twice and added two near falls to have an early 6-1 lead, which would end up being a 15-1 major decision. In the semifinals, Brown faced 6th seed Logan Storley of Minnesota, who had pinned him earlier this season. Brown had a takedown, followed by an escape by Storley to lead 2-1 going into the second period. Brown and Storley exchanged escapes in the second and third periods respectively to send Brown into the finals with a 3-1 lead. Today, Brown faces top-seed Chris Perry of Oklahoma State.
2nd seed Quentin Wright pinned 10th seed Scott Schiller of Minnesota in the first period to head to the semifinals. 3rd seed Matt Wilps of Pitt was Wright’s next opponent. After a scoreless first period, Wilps escaped in the second period followed by a Wright escape in the third period. Neither scored in sudden victory and both escaped in tiebreakers. Neither scored in sudden victory again, which sent the match into a second tiebreaker session. Wright rode out Wilps for eight seconds, while Wilps rode out Wright for five seconds resulting in a 3-second riding time advantage, sending Wright to the finals against top-seed Dustin Kilgore of Kent State. Wright lost in the finals last year to Steve Bosak of Cornell and is looking to become an NCAA Champion after winning the title at 184 in 2011.
2nd seed David Taylor was on the mat for 24 seconds against 7th seed Conrad Polz of Illinois before pinning him. In the regular season, Taylor had a 13-7 decision over Polz. Then at Big Tens, Taylor faced Polz again in the finals and won a 9-1 major decision. Looking for his 100th win in the semifinals, after some blood time and an official review, Taylor had a reversal and a stalling point along with an earlier takedown to lead 3rd seed Peter Yates of Virginia Tech 7-1 going into the second period. Within 40 seconds of the second period, Taylor had escaped and pinned Yates. Taylor, looking for his second consecutive title, is facing Kyle Dake of Cornell, seeking his fourth consecutive title today in the finals in what is being dubbed ‘the match of the century.‘
Top-seed Ed Ruth sought his 100th career win in the quarterfinals against Max Thomusseit of Pitt, whom he had beaten in a 17-3 major decision earlier this season. After four takedowns and accumulating five minutes of riding time, Ruth accumulated 11 points giving up only one escape to Thomusseit. Next up for Ruth was 4th seed Steve Bosak of Cornell. Ruth had a quick takedown, but Bosak escaped to give Ruth an early 2-1 lead. Ruth escaped in the second period and rode out Bosak in the third giving him a 4-1 win going into the finals against 3rd seed Robert Hamlin of Lehigh. At NWCA earlier this season, Ruth defeated Hamlin 11-9. Ruth is seeking his second consecutive championship.
While Penn State has five wrestlers heading into today’s finals, third place Minnesota has eight remaining between consolations and finals. Brown’s match against Perry is particularly important, since Oklahoma State currently sits in second place.