USA Wrestling Four NCAA champs tak...

Four NCAA champs take top prize in freestyle at University Nationals, Richards named OW

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | June 05, 2016, 2:47 p.m. (ET)

 Zane Richards shoots on Tyler Graff in the 61 kg finals of the 2016
Freestyle University Nationals in Akron, Ohio. Photo: Sam Janicki.
VIDEO: University Nationals Champion Interviews

AKRON, Ohio – NCAA All-American Zane Richards stole the show in the freestyle finals of the 2016 University Nationals Sunday afternoon by downing U.S. National Team member Tyler Graff in a thrilling three match series.

Graff took match one with his vintage fast attack style, jumping on Richards early to win by technical fall, 10-0. Graff led Richards, 11-9, late in a wild second bout, but Richards was able to secure a match-clinching takedown in the final stanza to win on criteria, 11-11, and force the rubber match. Match three was tight throughout, but Richards held strong to win it, 4-2, and secure his spot on the U.S. University World Team at 61 kg/134 lbs.

“Even after the first match I thought one match at a time, one position at a time. I thought I was better than him. He outwrestled me in the first one obviously, but I believed in myself. I just kept pushing. I knew eventually I’m going to get to my attacks, keep scoring, wrestle smart, good thing will happen,” said Richards.

Richards was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament for his championship performance.

“It’s big. Who wouldn’t be excited? Even if you go out there and tech a guy, 10-0, 10-0, it’s exciting. You’re on a World Team,” said Richards.

Champions in every weight class except 80 kg/176 lbs. qualified for the U.S. University Men’s Freestyle World Team that will compete at the World University Championships in Corum, Turkey, Oct. 25-30.

The four past NCAA champions in the University Nationals field all came through to take top prize in Akron.

Two-Time NCAA champion for Illinois Isaiah Martinez joins college teammate Richards on the University World Team courtesy of a superb overall performance. Martinez topped Chance Marsteller in two matches, 14-10 and 15-5, to take the 74 kg/163 lbs. title.

“I’m aware of my holes right now, so I’m going to go back and work on them before we go overseas. It’s gold or bust. That’s the mentality. It’s first place or it doesn’t even matter. I’m really happy with my progression,” said Martinez.

Sunday marks the first time Martinez has competed in freestyle since finishing as runner-up at the 2014 UWW Junior World Team Trials.

Two-time NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski gritted out two wins over Arizona State NCAA Qualifier Tanner Hall, 3-1 and 4-1, at 125 kg/275 lbs. to make his first U.S. World Team at any level.

Gwiazdowski earned four NCAA All-American honors throughout his collegiate career, the first at Binghamton followed by three at North Carolina State. He was a three-time NCAA finalist during his tenure in Raleigh and finished in fourth place at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in April.

“It was frustrating at the Trials because I’ve been there a lot. I worked on a lot of things and my coaches have helped me a lot. I’ve pushed myself in different ways, so it feels good to win this. It’s been a while,” said Gwiazdowski.

After breaking through to win a NCAA title in March, Penn State’s Nico Megaludis added to his impressive 2016 resume by decisively defeating NCAA All-American David Terao of American in two matches at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. This was a rematch of this year’s NCAA semifinals also won by Megaludis.

2015 NCAA champion for Iowa State Kyven Gadson overcame a moment of adversity in his 97 kg/213 lbs. finals series against Northern Colorado’s Nikko Reyes. Gadson won the first match of the best-of-three finals, 7-2, but Reyes came back with an electrifying pin over Gadson in match two to force a third bout. Gadson stayed solid in round three to win, 4-1.

2016 NCAA runner-up at 197 pounds Morgan McIntosh dropped down to 86 kg/189 lbs. and looked impressive as ever on his way to a University World Team berth. McIntosh downed Iowa’s NCAA All-American Sammy Brooks with two technical falls in the finals.

NC State Assistant Coach Adam Hall went wire to wire to take the 70 kg/154 lbs. bracket with all of his wins coming by technical fall. He won seven matches by a combined score of 74-1 over the course of the tournament. This includes 11-0 and 10-0 technical fall wins over 2016 NCAA finalist Brandon Sorensen in the championship series.

Princeton’s Matthew Kolodzik dominated the 65 kg/143 lbs. bracket to claim the top spot. He ousted Kyle Ayersman, 9-1 and 10-0, in the finals. Kolodzik, who is yet to compete on the NCAA scene, finished in second place at the UWW Junior World Team Trials last month.

Iowa picked up a champion at the non-University World Championships weight of 80 kg/176 lbs. with NCAA All-American Alex Meyer defeating college teammate Burke Paddock by technical fall, 13-2.

Wrestlers eligible to compete in the University age group range from ages 17-28 and must have graduated from high school.

For complete brackets and results from the ASICS UWW Cadet and University Nationals visit

ASICS Men’s Freestyle University Nationals
June 4-5 in Akron, Ohio

Best-of-Three Championship Finals Results
57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Nico Megaludis (Nittany Lion WC) dec. David Terao (American), 9-4
Nico Megaludis (Nittany Lion WC) dec. David Terao (American), 11-2
Megaludis wins series 2-0

61 kg/134 lbs.
Tyler Graff (New York AC) tech. fall Zane Richards (Illinois RTC), 10-0
Zane Richards (Illinois RTC) dec. Tyler Graff (New York AC), 11-11
Zane Richards (Illinois RTC) dec. Tyler Graff (New York AC), 4-2
Richards wins series 2-1

65 kg/143 lbs.
Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) dec. Kyle Ayersman (Boilermaker RTC), 9-1
Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) tech. fall Kyle Ayersman (Boilermaker RTC), 10-0
Kolodzik wins series 2-0

70 kg/154 lbs.
Adam Hall (Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Brandon Sorensen (Iowa), 11-0
Adam Hall (Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Brandon Sorensen (Iowa), 10-0
Hall wins series 2-0

74 kg/163 lbs.
Isaiah Martinez (Illinois RTC) dec. Chance Marsteller (MatTown USA), 14-10
Isaiah Martinez (Illinois RTC) tech. fall Chance Marsteller (MatTown USA), 15-5
Martinez wins series 2-0

80 kg/176 lbs. *Non-World Team weight, one match wrestled
Alex Meyer (Iowa) tech. fall Burke Paddock (Iowa), 13-2

86 kg/189 lbs.
Morgan McIntosh (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 12-2
Morgan McIntosh (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 11-0
McIntosh wins series 2-0

97 kg/213 lbs.
Kyven Gadson (Cyclone WC) dec. Nikko Reyes (Northern Colorado), 7-2
Nikko Reyes (Northern Colorado) fall Kyven Gadson (Cyclone WC), 0:45
Kyven Gadson (Cyclone WC) dec. Nikko Reyes (Northern Colorado), 4-1
Gadson wins series 2-1

125 kg/275 lbs.
Nick Gwiazdowski (New York AC/Wolfpack WC) dec. Tanner Hall (Sunkist Kids), 3-1
Nick Gwiazdowski (New York AC/Wolfpack WC) dec. Tanner Hall (Sunkist Kids), 4-1
Gwiazdowski wins series 2-0

Semifinal Results
57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Nico Megaludis (Nittany Lion WC) dec. Skyler Petry (Minnesota Storm), 8-2
David Terao (American) tech. fall Joseph Deangelo (Blue and Gold), 16-5

61 kg/134 lbs.
Tyler Graff (New York AC) dec. Jered Cortez (Nittany Lion WC), 5-2
Zane Richards (Illinois RTC) dec. Mark Grey (Cornell), 7-5

65 kg/143 lbs.
Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) tech. fall Kevin Jack (Wolfpack WC), 10-0
Kyle Ayersman (Boilermaker RTC) tech. fall Mitch Bengston (BWC), 10-0

70 kg/154 lbs.
Adam Hall (Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Maaziah Bethea (PARTC), 10-0
Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. Michael Kemerer (Iowa), 4-1

74 kg/163 lbs.
Isaiah Martinez (Illinois RTC) tech. fall Tyrel White (NYCRTC), 10-0
Chance Marsteller (MatTown USA) dec. Thomas Gantt (Wolfpack WC), 8-6

80 kg/176 lbs.
Alex Meyer (Iowa) fall Phillip Bakuckas (Scarlet Knight WC), 4:42
Burke Paddock (Iowa) tech. fall Geno Morelli (Nittany Lion WC), 15-4

86 kg/189 lbs.
Morgan McIntosh (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Jack Dechow (Virginia Beach RTC), 11-0
Sammy Brooks (Iowa) tech. fall Peter Renda (Wolfpack WC), 14-4

97 kg/213 lbs.
Kyven Gadson (Cyclone WC) tech. fall Kyle Conel (Golden Pride), 10-0
Nikko Reyes (Northern Colorado) fall Blaize Cabell (Panther WC), 0:44

125 kg/275 lbs.
Nick Gwiazdowski (New York AC/Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Garrett Ryan (Sunkist Kids), 10-0
Tanner Hall (Sunkist Kids) dec. Ty Walz (VA/Southeast), 2-1