Penn State holds slight edge over Minnesota and Oklahoma State at NCAA Championships
Penn State’s Nico Megaludis takes control during a quarterfinal win over Oklahoma’s Jarrod Patterson at the NCAA Championships on Friday. John Sachs photo.
OKLAHOMA CITY – There is a reason that arenas sell out every March for the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
And that reason was on full display during an exciting quarterfinal round Friday before a crowd of 15,375 fans Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena
The fans were treated to an amazing show with superb battles and a team race that is shaping up to be a classic.
The top three teams are separated by just five points after the quarterfinal round.
Top-ranked Penn State, seeking its fourth straight team title, leads with 61 points. Second-ranked Minnesota is second with 59 points. Third-ranked Oklahoma State is third with 56 points.
Penn State stars David Taylor (165 pounds) and Ed Ruth (184) continued to put on a dazzling display.
Taylor, an NCAA champion and Hodge Trophy winner, won his third straight match by fall over Iowa State’s Mike Moreno in the quarterfinals. Ruth, a two-time NCAA champion, won by major decision over Minnesota’s Kevin Steinhaus.
Taylor and Ruth are joined in the semifinals by two-time NCAA runner-up Nico Megaludis at 125 and true freshman Zain Retherford at 141.
Minnesota, seeking its fourth team title under Coach J Robinson, advanced four wrestlers into the semifinals. Topping that list is senior heavyweight Tony Nelson, who is looking to become the first Gopher to win three NCAA titles.
“We knew we had to get guys into the semifinals – we knew how important this round is,” Minnesota coach J Robinson said. “We wrestled hard and put a whole lot of effort into this round. We’ve been working on scoring more bonus points and it’s been paying off for us.”
Minnesota’s Dylan Ness turned No. 1 seed James Green of Nebraska to his back during a wild second-period scramble to earn a dramatic fall in the 157 quarters. Ness was seeded ninth, but he’s placed second and fourth the last two years at NCAAs.
The Gophers earned another huge win when No. 6 Logan Storley scored a takedown with one second left to edge No. 3 Robert Kokesh of Nebraska 6-4 in double overtime.
Oklahoma State, winners of 34 national team titles, advanced four wrestlers to the semis. Returning NCAA champion Chris Perry (174) and past NCAA runner-up Tyler Caldwell (165) top the list of Cowboys in the semis.
Fourth-ranked Iowa is in fourth with 42.5 points and three wrestlers in the semis. Fifth-ranked Cornell is in fifth with 39.5 points and three in the semis.
Two-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber of Ohio State (141) made quick work of No. 10 seed Todd Preston of Harvard, recording a first period fall in the quarterfinals
Stieber, a junior, is trying to stay on course to become a rare four-time champion. Just three wrestlers have accomplished that feat.
No. 9 seed Evan Henderson of North Carolina knocked off No. 1 seed Mitchell Port of Edinboro 5-3 in the 141 quarterfinals.
No. 7 seed Brian Realbuto of Cornell upset returning champion and No. 2 seed Derek St. John of Iowa 11-4 in the 157 quarters.
Freshman Jason Tsirtsis, the No. 5 seed, upset returning champion and No. 4 seed Kendric Maple of Oklahoma 2-1 in overtime in the 149 quarters. Tsirtsis made the 2013 U.S. Junior World Team in freestyle.
The semifinals and wrestlebacks are set for 7 p.m. Friday in Oklahoma City.
Team scoring (Top 10)
Penn State 61, Minnesota 59, Oklahoma State 56, Iowa 42.5, Cornell 39.5, Ohio State 37.5, Edinboro 30.5, Virginia Tech 30.5, Illinois 30, Oklahoma 30
Jesse Delgado (Illinois) vs. Dylan Peters (Northern Iowa)
Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) vs. Nico Megaludis (Penn State)
Joe Colon (Northern Iowa) vs. Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
Tony Ramos (Iowa) vs. A.J. Schopp (Edinboro)
Evan Henderson (North Carolina) vs. Devin Carter (Virginia Tech)
Logan Stieber (Ohio State) vs. Zain Retherford (Penn State)
Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) vs. Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern)
Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State) vs. Michael Minotti (Lehigh)
Dylan Ness (Minnesota) vs. Ian Miller (Kent State)
Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) vs. Brian Realbuto (Cornell)
David Taylor (Penn State) vs. Steven Monk (North Dakota State)
Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State) vs. Nick Sulzer (Virginia)
Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) vs. Mike Evans (Iowa)
Andrew Howe (Oklahoma) vs. Logan Storley (Minnesota)
Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) vs. Jack Dechow (Old Dominion)
Ed Ruth (Penn State) vs. Gabe Dean (Cornell)
Nick Heflin (Ohio State) vs. Scott Schiller (Minnesota)
J’Den Cox (Missouri) vs. Chris Penny (Virginia Tech)
Tony Nelson (Minnesota) vs. Bobby Telford (Iowa)
Nick Gwiazdowski (North Carolina State) vs. Adam Chalfant (Indiana)