AP Images - Four teams took a lead during Friday morning's quarterfinals at the Division I Wrestling Championships. Cornell came away with the lead by a half-point heading into the semifinals.
You win some and you lose some. And while another cliché is It ain't over 'till it's over, Cornell's 184lb-er Steve Bosak losing to Lehigh's Robert Hamlin in Sudden Victory coupled with Penn State's Pin Fall win via 184lbs-er Quentin Wright's silky smooth bodylock cradle over Iowa's Gran Gambrall may have sealed the deal for a Coach Cael Sanderson's Team Victory. Cornell's Cam Simaz who had the pin of the tournament just earlier in the Quarter Finals lost in somewhat of an upset to Kent State's Dustin Kilgore 10-9 all but confirming Penn State's name on the championship.
125lb-er Anthony Robles of Arizona State will not be stopped and is set to make (more) history by possibly becoming the first one legged NCAA Div 1 champion competing in an otherwise able-bodied tournament. But Robles says himself he wants to be seen as a great wrestler first and foremost rather than being seen as That one legged wrestler. Understandable as a loss will be excused by some because of it, rather than the 'normal' explanation of The Better Man Won. Give Utah Valley's Ben Kjar credit though, it's not often an Unseeded wrestler makes it to the semi-finals AND has to face the No#1 ranked seed. Kjar himself has made history by garnering All American honours for making it this far, the first such accolade in his University's history. Kjar started conservatively which seemed a good strategy at the time although one where it remained 0-0 after the first 3 minute period had expired. As soon as Kjar tried to push the pace in the 2nd period and to attempt to score with escapes from the bottom Robles was ready and waiting able to build up ride time before scoring with an escape and a takedown in the 3rd period giving him the 4-2 decision victory. Robles takes on #2 seed Matt McDonough of Iowa - who beat Northwestern's Brandon Precin for the 3rd time this year - in the final, while Kjar gets to wrestle for a 3rd place medal later this morning.
If Robles will not be stopped, 157lb-er David Taylor of Penn State might be impossible to stop. For a red shirt freshman to be in the NCAA Div 1 final shows how special this kid is. He's a raw talent being carefully molded by Cael Sanderson and providing he doesn't burn out and continues on his path I can see Olympic aspirations for him in 2016. American's Steve Fittery was to be his toughest test yet but shortly into the 2nd period Taylor took the lead 4-0 after a reversal and nearfall. Taylor soon followed with a takedown and riding time point to close the match 7-1.
Taylor will take on potential MMA prospect and former Arizona State team mate Bubba Jenkins in the final this evening. Things were fairly even between Jenkins and Northwestern's Jason Welch until a 3rd period scramble and takedown near the end netted him an 8-5 decision.
165lb-er Jordan Burroughs of Nebraska has a shot speed that defies his weight class. Ohio State's Colt Sponseller was just another victim falling to 6 takedowns (4 in 1st period, 2 in 2nd) and a 3rd period reversal giving Burroughs a Major Decision of 14-6. He'll meet Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma who upset Wisconsin's Andrew Howe after a lengthy match ended in a third tiebreaker and 18 seconds of riding time to take the bout. The most entertaining part of the match was actually watching a picture in picture of Wisconsin coach Barry Davis freaking out mat-side.
133 Boise State Andrew Hochstrasser beat Penn State's Andrew Long 6-4 Decision, meeting Oklahoma State's & No#1 seed Jordan Oliver - who beat Wisconsin's Tyler Graff - in the final.
141 Boris Novachkov of Cal Poly beat Mike Thorn of Minnesota 9-3 Decision, Kellen Russell of Michigan beat a spirited Montell Marion of Iowa by Riding Time in a closely fought 2nd Tie Breaker.
149 Kyle Dake of Cornell beat American's Ganbayar Sanjaa 4-0 Decision, Penn State's Frank Molinaro beat Boise State' Jason Chamberlain 4-1 Decision.
174 Undefeated Jonathan Reader of Iowa State beat Chris Henrich of Virginia 4-3 Decision, #7 Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford upset Cornell's Mack Lewnes 5-2 Decision.
197 Oklahoma State's Clayton Foster beat Wisconsin's Trevor Brandvold 4-3 and will meet the aforementioned Dustin Kilgore of Kent State in the final.
285 #1 seed Zachery Rey of Lehigh beat Missouri's Dom Bradley in a lumbering 2-1 Decision. He'll meet American's Ryan Flores - who beat Central Michigan's Jarod Trice 4-0 - in the final, a rematch of when they last met at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association final.
Semi Final Preview: A great afternoon of Quarter Final matches earlier, which you can read the quick results I've written over in the Quarter Final thread here
At the time of writing Cornell has sneaked into the lead over Penn State 61.0 to 60.5 after 149 3rd Round of Wrestlebacks which is seriously too close to call and Iowa is surpsingly behind at 51.5, American in 4th at 49.0 and Oklahoma State in 5th at 43.5. Penn State really suffered when two of its wrestlers, 174-er Edward Ruth and 285 Heavyweight Cameron Wade defaulted due to injury while Cornell racked up team points with an awesome Cradle Pin Fall by 197 Cam Simaz over Indiana's Matt Powless, and a Tech Fall for 184lbs Steve Bosak 15-0 (6:24) over Duke's Diego Bencomo.
As mentioned in the other thread, the MUST SEE match in the Semi-Finals has to be at 157 with Penn State's David Taylor taking on American's Steve Fittery. It's an Unstoppable Force meets Immovable Object scale of epicness. I just hope it lives up to what many think it will be.
The other match of course is at 125lbs with No#1 seed and never-say-never success story Anthony Robles of Arizona State taking on the coming-out-of-nowhere Unseeded (!) success story that is Ben Kjar who has beaten No#4 and No#5 seeds to get into the semi-final ensuring his All American achievement for Utah Valley.
SBNation's Luke Thomas spoke with UFC Light Heavyweight contender Phil Davis, a 2x NCAA Champion about this year's tournaments which Davis shared his thoughts on as well as Penn State coach Cael Sanderson who joined the team for the 2009-2010 season.
The Semi-Final Bracket for tonight's matches can be found here, courtesy of NWCAOnline (PDF)
|Weight||Semifinal 1||Semifinal 2|
No. 1 Robles (Arizona State, 34-0)
vs. Kjar (Utah Valley State, 29-6)
No. 2 McDonough (26-1, Iowa)
vs. No. 3 Precin (Northwestern, 33-2)
No. 1 Oliver (Oklahoma State, 27-0)
vs. No. 4 Graff (Wisconsin, 36-3)
No. 2 Hochstrasser (Boise State, 26-1)
vs. No. 3 Long (Penn State, 18-1)
No. 1 Russell (Michigan, 36-0)
vs. No. 5 Marion (Iowa, 12-3)
|No. 2 Thorn (Minnesota, 37-4)
vs. No. 3 Novachkov (Cal Poly, 30-1)
|149||No. 8 Sanjaa (American, 25-6)
vs. No. 4 Dake (Cornell, 29-2)
No. 2 Molinaro (Penn State, 31-2)
vs. No. 6 Chamberlain (Boise State, 27-1)
|157||No. 8 Welch (Northwestern, 29-4)
vs. No. 4 Jenkins (Arizona State, 19-3)
|No. 2 Fittery (American, 31-0)
vs. No. 3 Taylor (Penn State, 37-0)
No. 1 Burroughs (Nebraska, 34-0)
vs. No. 5 Sponseller (Ohio State, 24-5)
|No. 2 Howe (Wisconsin, 24-2)
vs. Caldwell (Oklahoma, 31-5)
No. 1 Reader (Iowa State, 37-0)
vs. No. 5 Henrich (Virginia, 35-2)
No. 7 Amuchastegui (Stanford, 30-3)
vs. No. 3 Lewnes (Cornell, 38-2)
No. 4 Wright (Penn State, 19-6)
vs. Gambrall (Iowa, 22-7)
No. 2 Hamlin (Lehigh, 31-2)
vs. No. 3 Bosak (Cornell, 33-3)
|197||No. 1 Simaz (Cornell, 34-1)
vs. No. 4 Kilgore (Kent State, 36-2)
No. 2 Foster (Oklahoma State, 25-0)
vs. No. 3 Brandvold (Wisconsin, 17-0)
No. 1 Rey (Lehigh, 32-1)
vs. No. 5 Bradley (Missouri, 28-3)
|No. 2 Trice (Central Michigan, 29-3)
vs. No. 3 Flores (American, 25-5)
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
07:00pm ET ESPNU (High Definition) Split-Screen coverage Men's Wrestling Division I Semifinals (Session 4)