Iowa puts five into semifinals to lead Nebraska after day one at Midlands Championships

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Dec. 29, 2016, 11:04 p.m. (ET)
Michael Kemerer of Iowa scores a takedown over Alex Griffin of Purdue in the 157 pound quarterfinals. Photo by Mark Lundy, LutteLens.

EVANSTON, Ill. - Pushing five wrestlers into the semifinals, returning team champion Iowa leads Nebraska by seven points after the first day of action of the 54th Midlands Championships on Saturday at Northwestern University.

The Hawkeyes won five of their nine quarterfinal matches, and end the first day with 85.5 points. Advancing to Friday’s semifinals were No. 1 seed Thomas Gilman at 125, No. 1 seed Brandon Sorensen at 149, No. 2 seed Michael Kemerer at 157, No. 2 seed Alex Meyer at 174 and No. 3 seed Sam Stoll at 285.

Gilman thrashed his first three opponents in the morning session, then continued the assault against NCAA Div. III champion Lucas Malmberg of Messiah, the No. 8 seed in the semifinals. Although Malmberg only gave up a few takedowns in the first period, Gilman kept on the pressure and put on another show. Ultimately, the final score ended up as a 23-7 technical fall.

With the four bonus point victories, including three technical falls and a pin, Gilman has scored a whopping 16.5 team points for the Hawkeyes. Gilman faces No. 5 seed Josh Terao of American in the semifinals.

Sorensen faced unattached Ryan Deakin of Northwestern in his quarterfinal bout, and emerged with a solid 12-4 major decision. His semifinals opponent will be No. 5 seed Sam Speno of NC State.

Gilman and Meyer are seniors, Sorensen a junior, Stoll a sophomore and Kemerer a redshirt freshman. Stoll is making a return to the mat after coming back from a serious leg injury from last season.

The Hawkeyes did not win every quarterfinals in which they were favored, as No. 5 seed Nate Jackson of Indiana edged No. 4 seed Sammy Brooks of Iowa, 3-1 at 184 pounds.

Nebraska’s six semifinalists include No. 1 seed Tyler Berger (157), No. 1 seed T.J. Dudley (184), No. 2 seed Tim Lambert (125), No. 2 seed Eric Montoya (133), No. 3 seed Aaron Studebaker (197) and No. 12 seed Chad Red (141). Red is competing unattached and does not score team points. The Huskers had 78.5 points.

Two of the Husker semifinalists needed to win in overtime during the quarterfinal round. Berger scored a sudden victory takedown to defeat No.8 Josh Shield of Arizona State, 3-1. Lambert also needed a two-point move in overtime to edge No. 7 Brent Fleetwood of Central Michigan, 6-4.

Rounding out the top five are third-place Rutgers with 64.5 points, Arizona State in fourth place with 62.5 points and Illinois in fifth with 58.5 points. Arizona State has three semifinalists, while Rutgers and Illinois each have two.

Arizona State made a strong showing, led by the Valencia brothers, No. 1 seed Zahid at 174 and No. 4 seed Anthony at 165, plus the No. 2 seeded heavyweight Tanner Hall.

2015 NCAA champion Myles Martin of Ohio State, seeded No. 2, was defeated in the quarterfinals by No. 7 seed Jack Dechow of Old Dominion. 7-2 at 184 pounds. The match was tied at 4-4 after the second period. Dechow scored an escape in the third period to make it 5-4, then followed with a clutch takedown for the upset win. He will face No. 6 seed Nick Gravina of Rutgers in the semifinals.

The other two NCAA champions in the field advanced and will be competing in Friday morning’s semifinal round.

Two-time NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez of Illinois was too strong and skilled for young Alex Marinelli of Iowa, the No. 9 seed, scoring a 14-5 major decision in their quarterfinal battle at 165 pounds. Martinez scored at least two takedowns in each of the three periods against the scrappy freshman.

2014 NCAA champion Alex Tsirtsis continued to have a successful return to Northwestern, advancing to the semifinals at 157 pounds. Tsirtsis transferred from Northwestern to Arizona State, where he is on a redshirt and competing unattached at Midlands. He stopped unseeded T.J. Ruschell of Wisconsin, 5-2 in the quarterfinals. His opponent in the semifinals will be Iowa’s No. 2 seed Michael Kemerer.

NCAA Div. III national champion Riley Lefever of Wabash, who came in as the No. 2 seed at 197 pounds, was defeated in the quarterfinals by No. 7 seed Ryan Wolfe of Rider, 5-4.

There are two unseeded semifinalists, Sebastian Rivera, who is competing unattached for host Northwestern at 125 pounds and Lorenzo De La Riva of CSU Bakersfield at 165 pounds

Rivera shocked No. 3 Shakur Laney of Ohio, 10-8 in his quarterfinals and drew No. 2 seed Tim Lambert of Nebraska in the semifinals.

De La Riva beat another unseeded wrestler in the quarterfinals, Caleb Young of Iowa, who is competing unattached. De La Riva edged Young, 10-8. He will face No. 2 seed Chad Walsh of Rider in the semifinals.

The Midlands continues on Friday morning, with the third session, including the semifinals, beginning at 12:00 noon Central Time. The final session, with 1st, 3rd and 5th place matches, are at 7:00 p.m.

The brackets are posted on Trackwrestling, and if you go to the dashboard and click on the video camera icon, you can watch the live feed from BTN2Go of that match. You can also go directly to BTN2Go.com. The finals are scheduled for the Big Ten Network.

MIDLANDS CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Evanston, Ill., December 29

Semifinal pairings

125 pounds
No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) vs, No. 5 Josh Terao (American)
No. 2 Tim Lambert (Nebraska) vs. unseeded Sebastian Rivera (unatt/Northwestern)

133 pounds
No. 1 Zane Richards (Illinois) vs. No. 12 Jamal Morris (NC State)
No. 2 Eric Montoya (Nebraska) vs. No. 3 Seth Gross (SD State)

141 pounds
No. 1 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) vs. No. 12 Chad Red (unatt/Nebraska)
No. 2 Kevin Jack (NC State) vs. No. 3 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers)

149 pounds
No. 1 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) vs. No. 5 Sam Speno (NC State)
No. 2 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan) vs. No. 6 Joey Delgado (Oregon State)

157 pounds
No. 1 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) vs. No. 5 Colin Heffernan (Central Michigan)
No. 2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. No. 3 Jason Tsirtsis (unatt/Arizona State)

165 pounds
No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) vs. No. 4 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State)
No. 2 Chad Walsh (Rider) vs. Unseeded Lorenzo De La Riva (CSU Bakersfield)

174 pounds
No. 1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) vs. No. 4 Zac Brunson (Illinois)
No. 2 Alex Meyer (Iowa) vs. No. 3 Lelund Weatherspoon (Iowa State), 3-2

184 pounds
No. 1 T.J. Dudley (Nebraska) vs. No. 5 Nate Jackson (Indiana)
No. 6 Nick Gravina (Rutgers) vs. No. 7 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion)

197 pounds
No. 1 Nate Rotert (SD State) vs. No. 5 Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion)
No. 3 Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska) vs. No. 7 Ryan Wolfe (Rider)

285 pounds
No. 1 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) vs. No. 13 Jordan Wood (unatt/Lehigh)
No. 2 seed Tanner Hall (Arizona State) vs. No. 3 Sam Stoll (Iowa)

Quarterfinal results

125 pounds
No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) tech. fall No. 8 Lucas Malmberg (Messiah), 23-7
No. 5 Josh Terao (American) dec. unseeded Christian Moody (Oklahoma), 11-4
Unseeded Sebastian Rivera (unatt/Northwestern) dec. No. 3 Shakur Laney (Ohio), 10-8
No. 2 Tim Lambert (Nebraska) dec. No. 7 Brent Fleetwood (Central Michigan), 6-4, tb-1

133 pounds
No. 1 Zane Richards (Illinois) dec. No. 9 Bryan Lantry (Buffalo), 7-3
No. 12 Jamal Morris (NC State) maj. dec. unseeded Luke Karam (unatt/Lehigh), 9-1
No. 3 Seth Gross (SD State) maj. dec. unseeded Billy Rappo (Maryland), 11-3
No. 2 Eric Montoya (Nebraska) dec. No. 7 Cameron Kelly (Ohio), 7-0

141 pounds
No. 1 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) dec. No. 8 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State), 9-3
No. 12 Chad Red (unatt/Nebraska) dec. No. 13 Jack Hathaway (Oregon State), 3-2
No. 3 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) tech. fall No. 6 Russell Rohlfing (CSU-Bakersfield), 18-1
No. 2 Kevin Jack (NC State) dec. No. 7 Topher Carton (Iowa), 8-3

149 pounds
No. 1 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) maj. dec. unseeded Ryan Deakin (unatt/Northwestern), 12-4
No. 5 Sam Speno (NC State) dec. No. 4 Steve Bleise (Northern Illinois), 7-2
No. 6 Joey Delgado (Oregon State) dec. No. 14 Anthony Giraldo (Rutgers), 3-2, tb-1
No. 2 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan) dec. No. 7 Ken Theobold (Rutgers), pin 6:00

157 pounds
No. 1 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) dec. No. 8 Joshua Shield (Arizona State), 3-1, sv
No. 5 Colin Heffernan (Central Michigan) dec. No. 13 John Van Brill (Rutgers), 4-3
No. 3 Jason Tsirtsis (unatt/Arizona State) dec. unseeded T.J. Ruschell (Wisconsin), 5-2
No. 2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) maj. dec. No. 10 Alex Griffin (Purdue), 11-2

165 pounds
No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) maj. dec. No. 9 Alex Marinelli (Iowa), 14-5
No. 4 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) maj. dec. Unseeded Brian Hamann (NC State), 9-1
Unseeded Lorenzo De La Riva (CSU Bakersfield) dec. Unseeded Caleb Young (Iowa), 10-8
No. 2 Chad Walsh (Rider) dec. Unseeded Tyrel White (Columbia), 13-7

174 pounds
No. 1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) maj. dec. No. 9 Micah Barnes (Nebraska)
No. 4 Zac Brunson (Illinois) dec. No. 5 David Kocer (SD State), 4-3
No. 3 Lelund Weatherspoon (Iowa State) dec. No. 11 Austin Dewey (Boise State), 3-2
No. 2 Alex Meyer (Iowa) maj. dec. No. 10 Josef Johnson (Harvard), 11-2

184 pounds
No. 1 T.J. Dudley (Nebraska) maj. dec. No. 9 Emory Parker (Illinois), 14-1
No. 5 Nate Jackson (Indiana) dec. No. 4 Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 3-1
No. 6 Nick Gravina (Rutgers) dec. No. 3 Pete Renda (unatt/NC State), 8-2
No. 7 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion) dec. No. 2 Myles Martin (Ohio State), 7-4

197 pounds
No. 1 Nate Rotert (SD State) dec. unseeded Mason Reinhardt (Wisconsin), 6-0
No. 5 Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion) dec. No. 4 Brett Harner (Princeton), 5-2
No. 3 Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska) dec. No. 6 Shawn Scott (Northern Illinois), 3-0
No. 7 Ryan Wolfe (Rider) dec. No. 2 Riley Lefever (Wabash), 5-4

285 pounds
No. 1 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) pin No. 9 Michael Boykin (NC State), 3:36
No. 13 Jordan Wood (unatt/Lehigh) dec. No. 5 Collin Jensen (Nebraska), 5-3
No. 3 Sam Stoll (Iowa) dec. No. 6 Ross Larson (Oklahoma), 6-2
No. 2 seed Tanner Hall (Arizona State) dec. Unseeded Conan Jennings (Northwestern), 3-1

Midlands Team Standings after first day
1. Iowa 85.5
2. Nebraska, 78.5
3. Rutgers, 64.5
4. Arizona State, 62.5
5. Illinois, 58.5
6. NC State, 56.5
7. South Dakota State, 50.0
8. Wisconsin, 49.5
9. Rider, 49.0
10. Central Michigan, 47.5
11. Iowa State, 37.0
12. Oklahoma, 34.5
13. Indiana, 32.5
14. CSU Bakersfield, 32.0
15. Princeton, 31.0
16. Maryland, 30.5
17. Northwestern , 27.5
18. Oregon State, 26.0
19. Purdue, 25.0
20. Old Dominion, 24.5