AP images: Ed Ruth was one Penn State's several freshmen to advance during the first session of the Division I Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia. PSU led the team standings after the opening bouts.
Some great matches today (some of which I finally got to see!).
285's Zachery Rey of Lehigh smelled blood when Penn State's Cameron Wade injured his knee in the first period. After a very brief injury time Rey attempted a sweep single on Wade's healthy leg forcing Wade to post on his injured one and it soon proved too much as Wade had to retire due to injury allowing Rey to move on to the Semi-Finals this evening.
My personal highlight of the day was at 197lbs watching Cornell's Cam Simaz pin Indiana's Matt Powless with a 3rd-time's-the-charm Cradle at 2:20. As a result Cornell have their 4th man in the Semi-Finals and are biting at the heels of Penn State and Iowa. Simaz is set to take on #4 seed Dustin Kilgore of Kent State, who went 10-3 over Iowa's Luke Lofthouse.
Penn State saw another injury out a wrestler before the Semi-Finals when 174-er Edward Ruth defaulted to Stanford's Nick Amuchastegui who had been leading 9-2. Amuchastegui is set to take on Cornell's Mack Lewnes this evening.
Nebraska's 165-er Jordan Burroughs has to be one of the quickest wrestlers on the mat this year typified by his grease lightning reshot double in the 3rd period. The result was a pure ownage of Rutgers' Scott Winston by 23-8 Tech Fall (5:16)
The absolute must see match in this evening's Semi-Final will be at 157 with Penn State's David Taylor taking on American's Steve Fittery. Taylor beat Iowa's spirited Derek St. John 6-3 Decision, while Fittery was relentless in pinning Navy's Bryce Saddoris at 4:11. Taylor looks awesome, Fittery looks unstoppable - miss this match and miss out on a potential all time classic.
I won't cover all the match ups but I have to mention 125's Anthony Robles, the one legged wrestler out of Arizona State continues to defy naysayers as he storms his way into the Semi-Finals tonight with a 9-3 win over Oklahoma's Jared Patterson after a tough beginning to the match. Robles will take on perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament in Unseeded Ben Kjar who today beat No#5 seed Zach Sanders of Minnesota. The Semi-Final placement makes Kjar the first All American in Utah Valley University history.
Right, time to work on the Semi-final thread!Quarter Final Preview:
All the no#1 seeds won their opening matches yesterday including Anthony Robles, the one legged 125lb-er out of Arizona State with a dominating Tech Fall 16-1 (4:23) victory against Virginia's Matthew Snyder. Robles soon followed up with another dominating performance yesterday evening with a 15-0 Tech Fall (3:32) victory against Harvard's Steven Keith.
157lbs favourite David Taylor of Penn State had a brief scare in his opening match yesterday with a near fall situation early on that resulted in a scramble to keep him in the match before storming into the lead and a major decision win 13-2 over Oklahoma State's Robert Erisman. Taylor bounced back in the 2nd Round with a Tech Fall victory 21-3 (5:49) over Northern Iowa's David Bonin.
The other major news of the day has to be past champion Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State bowing out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury suffered in the 2nd round yesterday evening. The Mat has the details:
PHILADELPHIA – The announcement came 45 minutes into the second session of the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
"Doctor to Mat 3," announcer Sandy Stevens said. "Doctor to Mat 3."
Top seed and past NCAA champion Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State was down on the mat in pain, clutching his injured left shoulder during a second-round match with unseeded Eric Grajales of Michigan.
The explosive Caldwell’s highlight-reel college career, which included a stunning upset over Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf of Iowa in the 2009 NCAA finals, came to a disappointing end with the injury. The Caldwell-Grajales match was stopped with 58 seconds left in the opening period at 149 pounds.
Caldwell’s injury overshadowed the rest of the wrestling on Session 2 of 6 on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center. Caldwell, a senior from Rahway, N.J., was given a standing ovation by many in the crowd of 17,289 fans when he was helped off the mat. He was trying to become N.C. State’s first two-time national champion.
Penn State take a narrow lead in team points with Cornell close behind and Iowa & Oklahoma beginning to trail. Penn State had a near perfect day only losing one match before winning their next 15 straight. Penn State coach and Olympic Gold Medalist Cael Sanderson gives his brief thoughts on the tournament so far:
The updated bracket for the Quarter Finals can be found here, courtesy of The Mat (PDF format)
NCAA.com has ESPN3.com (multi mat coverage / angles listed here
And as always for those who can't get ESPN3.com or ESPNU, Flowrestling will be live audio commentating here.
Friday 18th March 10:30am ET ESPNU (High Definition) / ESPN3.com Men's Wrestling Division I Championship Quaterfinals & Consolation (Session 3)
07:00pm ET ESPNU (High Definition) Split-Screen coverage Men's Wrestling Division I Semifinals (Session 4)