Tom Labiosa/Penn State - David Taylor and Penn State are unstoppable powering to a 17.5-point margin heading into Saturday's medal round at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia. via NCAA.com
Anthony Robles had a destiny that would not be denied. The No#1 seed toppled last year's champion and No#2 seed Matt McDonough of Iowa in a 7-1 decision taking the 2011 crown for 125lbs. For some McDonough was the favourite with some saying Robles had an easier path to the finals. But when it came to the crunch Robles showed the world how deserving he was of his ranking and brings home the first championship of the night to Arizona State. Much will be written about Robles, his story of overcoming disability likely to take centre stage. More impressively though is knowing how to adapt and be effective as a wrestler at the highest national level. Ignore that he has one leg, he's just proven he's tone of he best wrestlers in the USA period.
In what has to be considered an absolute shock upset, 157lb-er Arizona State and former PSU wrestler Bubba Jenkins PINNED favourite and Penn State's own David Taylor. The first period was a lot of feeling out and distance measuring to see who would drop their guard first but neither did. The 2nd period starts with Taylor in down position, a quick escape and point scored. Taylor soon goes for a deep single leg and possibly over committed giving up a leg of his own to be used against him as Jenkins wrapped up a cradle and knew when to stay relaxed during the pin attempt gaining back points before really cinching it in and getting the shocking fall. Experience triumphs youth and Jenkins as a National Wrestling Div 1 championship to begin his MMA career with.
The Team Competition is over and unsurprisingly Penn State cemented their win after a dominating Semi-Final, finished off with a pin fall earlier this morning during the Medal Round as PSU's Andrew Long bested Cornell's Mike Grey. This is Penn State's first team championship since 1953.
133lb-er Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State has also taken gold beating Boise State's Andrew Hochstrasser 8-4 Decision. Oliver like Robles has gone undefeated this season. Oliver took an early lead with a successful double leg takedown and later had a near fall situation on Hochstrasser not long after he'd scored with an escape. Another takedown and Oliver assured his championship as time ran out.
For the Semi-Final Results Write up, please click here.
The finals are set for tonight in the Wells Fargo Center, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The biggest story has to be Anthony Robles of Arizona State making it to the finals of the 125lbs division, and if you've been following my coverage or the story Kid Nate put up on the front page and don't know who he is by now you must have a serious blind-spot that should be medically looked at. Robles the No#1 seed is set to take on No#2 seed Matt McDonough of Iowa. A win for Robles is a perfect end to a fantastic run of the 2010-2011 season and a story that deserves to break out of and transcend niche sports news. With ESPNU and ESPN3 running dedicated coverage and the final tonight on ESPN HD to possibly capture it, that could very well happen.
The other big story that directly relates to the wrestling competition is Penn State getting a healthy lead in the Team Standings after Cornell started to slide with a few upset losses as well as the continual rise of blue chipper David Taylor and the superbly clean pin of Quentin Wright. Cael Sanderson is already considered one of the best wrestlers America has ever produced and he may join Dan Gable to be included in the best coaches to be ever produced with a win for Penn State, their first since 1953. As mentioned in the results write up, David Taylor is a raw talent and if he wins tonight the sky's the limit in what he could achieve. Sanderson has a potential prodigy on his hands and maybe even a future Gold Medalist. But he'll have to get past Bubba Jenkins, a potential future lightweight MMA fighter once he graduates.
At 141lbs Chuck Liddell's old stomping grounds Cal Poly go without a title this year as Borislav Novachov loses a close decision to the impressive No#1 seed Kellen Russel of Michigan.
1 Penn State 103.5
2 Cornell 89.5
3 Iowa 86.5
4 Oklahoma State 70.5
5 American 65.0
Final match ups for tonight, live on ESPN HD / ESPN3.com (simulcast) 7:30pm ET
125 #1 A.Robles(AZST) vs #2 M.Mcdonough (IOWA)
- 3rd place B. Precin (NW) beat 4th place (UTAHV)
133 #1 J.Oliver (OKST) vs #2 A.Hoschstrasser (BOISE)
- 3rd place A. Long (PSU) beat 4th place S. Sentes (CMICH)
141 #1 K. Russell (MICH) vs #3 B. Novachov (CPOLY)
- 3rd place M. Thorn (MINN) beat 4th place M. Marion (IOWA)
149 #4 K. Dake (CORN) vs #2 F. Molinaro (PSU)
- 3rd place J. Chamberlain (BOISE) beat 4th place G. Sanjaa (AMER)
157 #4 B. Jenkins (AZST) vs #3 D. Taylor (PSU)
- 3rd place S. Fittery (AMER) beat 4th place D. St John (IOWA)
165 #1 J. Burroughs (NEB) vs #3 T. Caldwell (OKLA)
- 3rd place Andrew Howe (WISC) beat 4th place S. Conseller (OHST)
174 #1 J. Reader (ISU) vs #7 N. Amuchastegui (STAN)
- 3rd place E. Ruth (PSU) beat 4th place M. Lewnes (CORN)
184 #9 Q. Wriight (PSU) vs #2 R. Hamlin (LEHI)
- 3rd place G. Gambrall (IOWA) beat 4th place S. Bosak (CORN)
197 #4 D. Kilgore (KENT) vs #2 C. Foster (OKST)
- 3rd place C. Simaz (CORN) beat 4th place T. Brandvold (WISC)
285 #1 Zachery Rey LEHI) vs #3 R. Flores (AMER)
- 3rd place D. Bradley (MISS) beat 4th place J. Trice (CMICH)
Full up to date brackets, including the wrestlebacks to see who will get 3rd place, can be found here courtesy of the NWCA Online (PDF format)
Medal Rounds for third place air this morning at 11am ET on ESPNU (HD).
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.