Grand Canyon pulls away at NCWA Wrestling Championships

By Scott Farrell NCWA | March 15, 2014, 1:35 a.m. (ET)
ALLEN, Texas – Turns out Grand Canyon didn’t need the extra qualifying points after all.
The Antelopes sent seven of their 11 wrestlers into the finals, and along with hefty bonus points earned in each rounds, take a 65-point lead into the final day of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships at the Allen Event Center.

Grand Canyon entered the tournament with 24 points earned from the Collegiate Cup, the association’s national duals tournament in which each team earns points based on its finish that carry over into the nationals. GCU led Liberty by only 10 points after day one, but expanded its lead today by advancing eight of nine wrestlers past the quarterfinals and seven of eight past the semifinals. 

Meanwhile, Liberty wrestlers were only 4-4 in the quarterfinals, and of the four that advanced, only one, Ryan Diehl, moved ahead to the final. Diehl’s (34-0) finals match at 133 pounds is one of the highlights of Saturday’s finals that begin at 3 p.m., as the undefeated freshman takes on another undefeated wrestler in now four-time All-American Sam Shames (39-0) of MIT. Shames is the top seed with Diehl second, and both have won all four of their matches by fall or technical fall. Shames was the national champion at 125 last year. 

Second-place Shorter will have four wrestlers in the finals, starting with 125-pound top-seed Ben Smith, who stayed undefeated at 22-0. Smith will face Grand Canyon’s AJ Salazar (30-11) in the final. Shorter’s Terrence Smith (32-3) will face Grand Canyon’s Austin Gaun (29-10) in the 184-pound final as well. 

Five of the finals matches will pair the 1-2 seeds in their brackets. Besides Shames and Diehl, two other wrestlers, Paul Ardila (13-0) of Georgia at 197 pounds, and Parker Maytrott (15-0) of the U.S. Military Academy Prep School at 174, will take the undefeated records into their respective finals.

Santiago Martinez (39-4) of fourth-place Central Florida will defend his national championship at 157, and is one of two Knights’ wrestlers to reach the final along with Tyrell Walker at 197. Martinez will wrestle Bryant Wood (13-8) of Grand Canyon in the final. Wood is one of three wrestlers with outside the top eight seeds to wrestle in the final. Wood was the 10-seed at 157, but his stay as the lowest-seeded finalist ended quickly as 11-seed Drew Daniels (21-6) of the U.S. Naval Academy Prep School reached the 165 final. Walker, a 13 seed, later reached the 197 final.   

Eight of the 22 finalists are from the NCWA’s Southwest Conference, with representation from Shorter, Central Florida, North Florida and Georgia. North Florida’s Stuart Maddox (29-3) upset top-seed Josh Woods of UCF in the 235 semifinals to get a rematch with SEC mate Andrew Ewers (21-9) of Shorter in the final. 

Middle Tennessee State is in fifth place with 87.5 points, and has its first finalist since 2009 in Rashied Rayford (17-4) at 285. Grand Valley State is a point behind MTSU in sixth with 86.5, and also ended a finalist drought when Kyle Horr (16-1) reached the 141 final. GVSU has not had a finalist since 2011.
Also of note is Texas, which earned its first All-American since 2009 in Antonio Martinez, who advanced to the 141 quarterfinals before securing his national honors with a fourth-round consolation win. He could face Texas A&M’s Austin Souders in the consolation semifinals. Souders also reached the quarterfinals before falling into consolations. Texas A&M’s last All-American came in 2010.

Championship matches, 3 p.m. Saturday
125 lbs. – (1) Ben Smith (22-0), Shorter vs. (2) AJ Salazar (30-11), Grand Canyon
133 lbs. – (1) Sam Shames (39-0), MIT vs. (2) Ryan Diehl (34-0), Liberty
141 lbs. – (1) Zach Zehner (17-1), Grand Canyon vs. (2) Kyle Horr (16-1), Grand Valley State
149 lbs. – (1) Mike Hamel (33-10), Grand Canyon vs. (2) Luke Bilyeu (12-2), West Chester
157 lbs. – (1) Santiago Martinez (39-4), Central Florida vs. (10) Bryant Wood (13-8), Grand Canyon
165 lbs. – (1) Wally Figaro (27-3), Shorter vs. (11) Drew Daniels (21-6), U.S. Naval Aca. Prep
174 lbs. – (5) Parker Maytrott (15-0), U.S. Military Aca. Prep vs. (3) Martin Fabbian (27-13), Grand Canyon
184 lbs. – (1) Terrence Smith (32-3), Shorter vs. (3) Austin Gaun (29-10), Grand Canyon
197 lbs. – (13) Tyrell Walker (24-12), Central Florida vs. (2) Paul Ardila (13-0), Georgia
235 lbs. – (4) Stuart Maddox (29-3), North Florida vs. (2) Andrew Ewers (21-9), Shorter
285 lbs. – (1) Peter Anguiano (26-9), Grand Canyon vs. (2) Rashied Rayford (17-4), Middle Tennessee

STANDINGS AFTER DAY TWO
Division I

1. Grand Canyon 210.5
2. Shorter 142.0
3. Liberty 132.0
4. Central Florida 108.5
5. Middle Tennessee 87.5
6. Grand Valley State 86.5
7. U.S. Naval Prep 72.5
8. North Florida 63.0
9. Apprentice 60.5
10. U.S. Military Prep 52.0
11. Alfred State 51.5
12. West Chester 50.0
13. U.S. Air Force Prep 45.5
14. Mott Community College 42.5
15. Marion Military Institute 36.5
16. Mercer 34.5
16. Penn State - Mont Alto 34.5
18. MD - Baltimore County 29.0
19. Penn State - DuBois 21.0
20. East Tennessee State 20.5
21. Wichita State 19.0
22. Georgia Southern 18.5
23. Penn Tech 17.5
24. Douglas College 17.0
24. New Hampshire 17.0
26. Southern Virginia 16.0
27. Penn State - New Kensington 15.0
28. Tennessee Temple 14.5

Division II
1. Florida Gulf Coast 61.0
2. M.I.T. 57.5
3. South Florida 46.5
4. Montana Western 44.0
5. Central Washington 37.5
6. Washington State 35.0
7. Texas 32.0
8. RPI 31.5
9. Georgia 30.5
10. Auburn 28.5
11. Wayne State 23.5
12. Toledo 21.5
13. Glendale 18.5
14. Dixie State 18.0
15. NW Missouri State 17.5
15. Texas - Arlington 17.5
17. Stony Brook 17.0
18. Michigan 16.5
19. Florida 16.0
20. Southern Cal 14.5
21. Massachusetts 13.0
22. Colorado State 12.5
22. William and Mary 12.5
24. Maine 12.0
25. Saginaw Valley State 11.0
25. Tennessee 11.0
25. Texas A & M 11.0
28. Brigham Young 10.5
29. Henry Ford CC 10.0
29. Slippery Rock 10.0
29. Pittsburgh 10.0
32. Virginia Military 9.5
33. Washtenaw CC 9.0
34. Texas State 8.5
35. Connecticut 8.0
36. Alabama 7.5
36. Memphis 7.5
36. Western Washington 7.5
39. East Carolina 7.0
39. Eastern Maine CC 7.0
41. Yale 6.5
42. Bowling Green State 5.0
42. Lafayette 5.0
44. Montclair State 4.5
45. Illinois State 4.0
45. James Madison 4.0
47. Bridgewater 3.0
47. Evergreen State 3.0
49. Albany 2.5
49. Texas-Pan American 2.5
51. South Puget Sound 1.0
52. Eastern Washington 0.0
52. Florida A&M 0.0
52. Rutgers 0.0
52. UC Santa Barbara 0.0
52. SUNY-Westchester 0.0

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