The first day of the NCAA wrestling championships brought a lot of grappling excitement to Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center yesterday withjust over 17,000 people attending. Arizona State's Anthony Robles and two teammates advanced to the quarter finals but it was only good enough to put them in sixth place as Penn State rolled to an early lead.
Bloody Elbow's K.J. Gould is covering the full event and talked about Robles in particular:
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.
SBNation's Luke Thomas has been covering the tournament and had some commentary on the role of MMA in "saving" collegiate wrestling in the U.S.:
Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and two-time Greco-Roman wrestling Olympian Dan Henderson is attendance for an autograph session. I've said it before and I'll repeat the refrain here: MMA can't save wrestling, but it can buy wrestling some time to help save itself. The more MMA's popularity can help scholastic wrestling in America gain more attention, the better both sports become.
Thomas also had a chance to speak to Penn State alumnus Phil Davis, a former NCAA national champion and now a contender in the UFC's light heavyweight division about his alma mater and their fortunes in this tournament: