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NCAA Wrestling Championships Blog

SESSION TWO - Thursday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.

POST THREE: 149 pounds is loaded with Big Ten stars

The championship bracket at 149 pounds during the second session was loaded with Big Ten athletes.

The first match was No. 1 Brent Metcalf of Iowa vs. Kurt Kinser of Indiana. The second match was No. 9 Lance Palmer of Ohio State vs. No. 8 Jake Patacsil of Purdue. The third match featured No. 5 Josh Churella of Michigan.

The bottom bracket also had three Big Ten wrestlers, including a pairing of No. 6 Bubba Jenkins of Penn State against No. 11 Ryan Lang of Northwestern. The other Big Ten wrestler in the bottom bracket is No. 2 Dustin Schlatter of Ohio State.

After the second round, five of the Big Tenners advanced to the quarterfinals. The only losses came in the head-to-head conference battles where Metcalf beat Kinser, 10-5, Palmer beat Patacsil, 14-6 and Jenkins edged Lang, 4-3. Also winning were Churella and Schlatter.

There will only be one Big Ten showdown in Friday’s quarterfinals, when Metcalf battles Palmer.

By the way, the standings at the Big Ten went like this: 1 – Metcalf, 2 – Schlatter, 3- Churella, 4- Patacsil, 5- Jenkins, 6- Palmer, 7 – Lang, 8- Kinser.

POST TWO: From 10 qualifiers to one, the first session results

Two teams qualified a full team of 10 athletes this year at the NCAA Championships, Big 12 champion Iowa State and EWL champion Edinboro.

A total of 10 teams bring just one wrestler: Boston Univ., Clarion, Delaware State, Duquesne, Eastern Michigan, Michigan State, Millersville, Ohio, VMI and Virginia Tech.

Of the one-person teams, Michigan State has the best possibility for making an impact, as Big Ten champion Franklin Gomez is the top seed at 133 pounds.

Iowa State moved nine of their 10 through the first round. Winners were No. 5 Nick Fanthorpe (133), No. 9 Nick Gallick (141), Mitch Mueller (149), No. 7 Cyler Sanderson (157), No. 6 Jonathan Reader, Aron Scott (174), No. 1 Jake Varner (184), David Bertolino (197) and No. 7 David Zabriskie (HWT). Mueller won two bouts in the session, giving Iowa State 10 wins for the morning. This put the Cyclones in third place with 16 team points.

Edinboro did not fare as well. The Scots lost its first three weight classes, then Daryl Cocozzo (149), No. 1 Gregor Gillespie (157), No. 12 Jarod King (165) and Joe Fendone (HWT) ended up with wins. Edinboro stood in 21st place with 7.5 points.

The first round saw a match between the two 10-athlete teams, as unseeded David Bertolino of Iowa State beat unseeded Patrick Bradshaw of Edinboro at 197 pounds by major decision, 10-0.

Of the schools with one qualifier, only two wrestlers won a bout. Winners included Gomez, who scored 12-3 major decision over Josh Baldridge of UNI, plus Josh Wine of VMI at heavyweight.

POST ONE: Brother acts have mixed results during the first session

There are five sets of brothers who are wrestling in the 2008 NCAA Championships. All of the brother pairs compete for the same college team. They are:
• Headlee brothers of Pitt: Drew (141) and Ethan (165)
• Gillespie brothers of Edinboro: Torsten (141) and No. 1 Gregor (157)
• Schlatter brothers of Minnesota: No. 2 Dustin (149) and No. 5 C.P. (157)
• Sinnott brothers of Central Michigan: No. 5 Brandon (174) and No. 4 Christian (184)
• Smith brothers of Boise State: No. 10 Kirk (184) and Nick (285)

Of the brother acts, the Schlatters and the Sinnotts both won their first matches. All three of the other brother combinations had one win, including Drew Headlee, Gregor Gillespie and Kirk White.

Stay tuned to see if either the Schlatters or the Sinnotts can both qualify for the finals.

SESSION ONE - Thursday, March 20, 11:00 a.m.

POST FIVE: A few more things from Session One
Minnesota had a great early start, winning their first two matches by pin with No. 2 Jason Ness at 125 pounds (1:17 over Marcus Orozco of UC Davis) and No. 8 Mac Reiter at 133 pounds (2:13 over Jeff Schell of Brown) and a technical fall by Manuel Rivera at 141 pounds (16-0 over Torsten Gillespie of Edinboro). The Gopher momentum was halted at 174 pounds, when No. 8 Gabe Dretsch lost to Nathan Lee of Boise State.

Defending NCAA champion Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro brought a new look with him to the NCAA Tournament this year. He cut his hair into little clumps, dying them to make him look like a leopard. Earlier this season, Gillespie had a Mohawk cut. He opened the tournament with 17-0 techical fall over Spencer Manley of Navy.

There are five undefeated wrestlers going into the tournament and all of them opened up with victories. After their first round wins, the records of the perfect wrestlers are: Chad Mendes of Cal Poly at 125 (27-0), Keith Gavin of Pitt at 174 (26-0), Jake Varner of Iowa State at 184 (25-0) and Josh Glenn of American (16-0). Of the unbeatens, Glenn is the only returning national champion, and has the longest winning streak in the tournament with 39 in a row going back to last year.

Getting a good first match is a key for these athletes to keeping their streak alive.

# “I pushed through the Pac-10 and had a hard push until this week in practice. I feel like I am peaking,? said Mendes.
# “It was a good first match; I scored a lot of points. It was a good warmup. It’s good to get this out of the way,? said Gavin.
# “It is good to be back here. I have been looking forward to this all year,? said Glenn.

POST FOUR: More notes as the tournament winds on
The Univ. of Oregon, which plans to drop its wrestling program after this tournament, has two entries in the tournament this weekend. Wrestling leaders among the alumni and fans in the state are waging an active war to try to convince the administration there to reverse the decision and retain the program. The Ducks won their first match of the day when Ryan Dunn captured his bout at 133 pounds against William Ashnault of Lock Haven. Dunn was second at the Pac-10 Championships and entered the tournament with a 23-7 record.

In a battle of All-Americans at 157 pounds, No. 8 Jordan Leen of Cornell defeated unseeded Ryan Hlusack of Drexel, 4-3 at 157 pounds. Both wrestlers entered the tournament with a drop in ranking based upon the conference tournaments. Leen was upset in the finals at the EIWA Championships and Hluschak lost in the finals of the Colonial Athletic Association.

No. 6 Lou Ruggerello of Hofstra won a match which went three overtimes, defeating Univ. of Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Stephen Hromada, 3-2. Chattanooga protested the decision, but it was denied.

POST THREE: Some interesting stuff at the lower weights

There was a wild match in the first round at 125 pounds, when No. 7 Michael Sees of Bloomsburg racked up the points in a 21-10 win over Collin Cudd of Wisconsin to open the tournament.

There were a few upsets, even if considered mild, at 133 pounds in the first round.

Mark McKnight of Penn State stopped No. 12 Tyler Shinn of Oklahoma State, 5-1 in the first round, a match that caught the fan’s attention. McKnight had Shinn on his back in danger early in the match, and kept on the pressure.

No 9 seed Zach Tanelli of Wisconsin also took a first-round loss, dropping a 7-5 decision to Conor Beebe of Central Michigan. Beebe took him down in the last seconds for the victory.

At 141 pounds, Bailey of Oklahoma upset No. 8 Dan LeClair of Iowa, 8-7. As often happens, when a wrestler from a major program like Iowa or Oklahoma State goes down, the crowd makes a big deal of things.

POST 2 of 10: Inspiring Robles wins Bout One of the tournament

Bout one of the NCAA Tournament included freshman Anthony Robles of Arizona State, the athlete with one leg who received tremendous national coverage after winning a national high school folkstyle title. Robles, who had a top 20 national ranking at 125 pounds earlier this year, qualified by placing second in the Pac-10 with a 19-7 record. He drew Brandon Kinney of Columbia in the pig-tail round, bout one on mat one.

Robles, who starts down on one knee on the whistle, took down Kinney on a low leg shot, and turned him twice with three-point tilts for a quick 8-0 lead. Kinney got an escape late in the first period. The second period saw some position changes with reversals and takedown, but Robles held the edge on the mat. The match ended 11-5 with 2:57 of riding time, it ended 12-5. Robles has a much bigger upper body than his opponent and was very strong in the top position.

His reward for winning that first match is a first round bout with No. 1 Angel Escobedo of Indiana.

The first pin of the session came on mat four in the pigtails, when No. 6 Lou Ruggirello of Hofstra put away Cory Vombaur of Wyoming quickly at 133 pounds.

POST 1 of 10: Travel problems plague attendees at NCAA Championships

As often happens at the NCAA Championships, one of the hardest things to do is get all the athletes, coaches, officials and fans to one location. Weather in March can still be pretty harsh, and travel often includes delayed and cancelled flights. This year, the problem in parts of the Southern Plains has been rain and floods.

I (Gary Abbott) ran into some of this on Tuesday, flying from Oklahoma to Missouri. Rain was everywhere in the region, with problems specifically in Dallas, where hundreds of flights were cancelled and the airport closed at times. American Airlines had a system-wide computer problem, which affected Oklahoma City. We arrived a few hours late, but my bag took more than two days to finally get to the hotel this morning.

Leah Howard, SID for Michigan, told of the journey of the Wolverine team, which ran into delays and then a cancelled flight in Chicago. Michigan, which has six entries and some of the top favorites, had to secure a bus to drive down to St. Louis that night.

Ron Good of Amateur Wrestling News tells of his drive through Missouri where many roads were severely flooded. Because he was in a mobile home, police let the AWN group through an especially bad stretch of flooded roads because of the size of their vehicle. Passenger cars were not allowed to pass. Good explains that about an hour after they passed that hazard, the road was closed.

Fans from the east, especially for teams such as Penn and Drexel, were stranded for most of Wednesday in the airport in Philadelphia, many arriving in the wee-hours of the night last evening. In spite of the delays, most have arrived in time for the 11:00 a.m. start on Thursday morning.

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TheMat.com will update its blog each session of the NCAA Championships this year, as permitted by the new NCAA Blogging Policy. Please check regularly each session for updates from the mats in St. Louis

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