Outstanding Wrestler Mathers knocks out three NCAA studs for University Nationals title

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | June 04, 2017, 2:29 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Robbie Mathers defeats Tommy Thorn with a 13-4 finals win. Photo by Sam Janicki. 

Video: University Nationals champions interviews

AKRON, Ohio – Sunkist Kids wrestler Robbie Mathers lit up the Stile Athletic Field House on Sunday morning, taking down three of the NCAA’s toughest competitors in less than three hours to win the 2017 University Nationals title at 65 kg/143 lbs. as well as the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award.

To start his morning, Mathers secured a quick technical fall over two-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma State and No. 1 seed Dean Heil (Brunswick, Ohio/Cowboy WC), 11-0. With the momentum, Mathers notched a first-period tech fall against two-time All-American for Iowa State Earl Hall (Ames, Iowa/Cyclone RTC) to earn a spot in the finals.

There, he faced University of Minnesota’s Tommy Thorn (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm). Mathers controlled the match, scoring within the first 20 seconds. From that point, he held onto the lead and won the bout, 13-4, just shy of a tech fall.

“Each match was a battle, of course,” Mathers said. “I just put my will against them and I fought as hard as I could every match and used my technique that I’ve been training for my whole life. I feel great. All my game plans worked.”

Of the eight of other finals matches, two featured upsets over the weights’ top-seeded wrestlers.  

At 57 kg/125 lbs., Luke Welch of Boilermaker RTC knocked off No. 1 David Terao (Washington, DC/DCAC), after trailing at the end of the first period. Three takedowns in the final two minutes gave Welch the advantage in the 8-4 win.

“Coming out, I knew he had a weird feel,” Welch said. “The game plan going in was to snap and move him and get to my offense. I was ready for a dog fight.”

To get to the finals, Welch breezed past the No. 2 seed Ethan Lizak (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) and No. 7 seed Sean Russell (Lawrenceville, Ga./Edinboro RTC) in the quarters and semis.

Missouri wrestler John Erneste outlasted the No. 1 seed and Junior World bronze medalist Taylor LaMont (Mapleton, Utah/Sunkist Kids WC) in the 61 kg/134 lbs. finals, 2-1.

It was his second 2-1 win as he escaped Daniel Deshazer (Wichita, Kan./Minnesota Storm) in the quarterfinals to move on to the semifinals, where he recorded a commanding 10-0 tech over Ian Parker (Ames, Iowa/Cyclone RTC).

One of the most dominant wrestlers of the tournament was Chance Marsteller (Fawn Grove, Pa./Mat Town USA), who teched all six of his opponents. Five of the six tech falls came in the first period of action.

His quarterfinal match was the only bout forced into the second period, but he quickly wrapped it up with a 15-4 win against Cole Walter of Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club.

He spent a total of 3:38 seconds on the mat for his semis and finals, picking up fast tech falls against Josh Shields and Connor Flynn, respectively.

At 86 kg/189 lbs., Myles Martin, the hometown favorite and 2016 NCAA champion, completed a nearly perfect weekend, not giving up a single point until his finals match, where he surrendered only two points to Pete Renda (Raleigh, N.C./Wolfpack WC).

“I just came to wrestle. Coming in, I didn’t expect much of anything,” Martin said. “The coaches just talked about me just competing in the last tournament of the summer and relaxing and training. I just came to wrestle and get some matches in.”

Martin’s morning consisted of a 4-0 win against Nick Gravina of Rutgers in the quarters, a 10-0 tech fall over Keegan Moore of Oklahoma State and a 4-2 win over Renda for the championship.

As expected, No. 1 seed Brandon Sorensen won the 70 kg/154 lbs. bracket, holding off Grant LaMont (Mapleton, Utah/Wolverine WC) in a 4-0 battle.

For the chance to meet up with LaMont, Sorensen, a 2016 NCAA finalist, had to slide by Max Thomsen in the semifinals. The 3-1 win came after a 10-0 quarterfinal victory.

Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club’s Jordan Kutler was crowned the University Nats champ at 80 kg/176 lbs., after a 10-5 finals win over Jacobe Smith of Cowboy Wrestling Club to cap off an impressive morning.

At 97 kg/213 lbs., Jeric Kasunic of the DCAC made his way past Tyler Hoffman, Anthony McLaughlin and Danny Chaid en route to winning the University stop sign.

Garrett Ryan (Phoenix, Ariz./NYRTC) took home the heavyweight win by defeating  familiar foe Michael Hughes (Hempstead, N.Y./Blue and Gold RTC) with a 14-4 tech fall in 1:47.

2017 FREESTYLE UNIVERSITY NATIONALS
at Akron, Ohio

Finals results
57 kg/125 lbs. - Luke Welch (Newburgh, Ind./Boilermaker RTC) dec. David Terao (Washington, DC/DCAC), 8-4
61 kg/134 lbs. - John Erneste (Kansas City, Mo./Missouri Wrestling Foundation) dec. Taylor LaMont (Mapleton, Utah/Sunkist Kids WC), 2-1
65 kg/143 lbs. - Robbie Mathers (Phoenix, Ariz./Sunkist Kids WC) dec. Tommy Thorn (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm), 13-4
70 kg/156 lbs. - Brandon Sorensen (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Univ. of Iowa) dec. Grant LaMont (Mapleton, Utah/Wolverine WC), 4-0
74 kg/163 lbs. - Chance Marsteller (Fawn Grove, Pa./Mat Town USA) tech. fall Connor Flynn (Dardenne Prairie, Mo./Missouri Wrestling Foundation), 10-0
80 kg/176 lbs. - Jordan Kutler (Sparta, N.J./Lehigh WC) dec. Jacobe Smith (Muskogee,  Okla./Cowboy WC/Titan Mercury WC), 10-5
86 kg/189 lbs. -  Myles Martin (Penns Grove, N.J./Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC) dec. Pete Renda (Raleigh, N.C./Wolfpack WC), 4-2
97 kg/213 lbs. - Jeric Kasunic (Washington, DC/DCAC) dec. Danny Chaid (Raleigh, N.C./Tar Heel WC), 8-7
125 kg/275 lbs. - Garrett Ryan (Phoenix, Ariz./NYRTC) tech. fall Michael Hughes (Hempstead, N.Y./Blue and Gold RTC), 14-4

Medal matches

57 kg/125 lbs.
3rd – Gary Harding, Stillwater, OK (OKST/Cowboy Wrestling Club) tech. fall Sean Russell, Edinboro, PA (Edinboro Regional Training Center), 15-5
5th – Ethan Lizak Minneapolis, MN (Minnesota Storm) won by forfeit Skyler Petry Minneapolis, MN (Minnesota Storm)
7th – Austin Miller, Lock Haven, PA (Mat Town USA) dec. Kyle Norstrem, Blacksburg, VA (SERTC-VT), 12-8

61 kg/134 lbs.
3rd – Markus Simmons, Ames, IA (C-RTC) dec. Jake Rubio, Norman, OK (Sooner Wrestling Club), 5-5
5th – Ian Parker Ames, IA (C-RTC) won by forfeit Johnni Dijulius (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club)
7th – Nathan Boston, Buies Creek, NC (Campbell) won by forfeit Daniel Deshazer, Minneapolis, MN (Minnesota Storm)

65 kg/143 lbs.
3rd – Brock Zacherl, Mayport, PA (Clarion RTC) tech. fall Earl Hall, Ames, IA (C-RTC), 10-0
5th – Collin Purinton, Lincoln, NE (Nebraska Wrestling Training Center) tech. fall Nicholas Zanetta (Pittsborgh WC), 14-4
7th – Matt Findlay, Orem, UT (Wolverine Wrestling Club) tech fall Chad Red, Lincoln, NE (Nebraska Wrestling Training Center), 12-1

70 kg/154 lbs.
3rd – Mitch Finesilver, Englewood, CO (Blue Blood Wrestling Club) dec. Troy Heilmann, Chapel Hill, NC (Tar Heel Wrestling Club), 8-5
5th – Max Thomsen, Cedar Falls, IA (Panther Wrestling Club RTC) tech fall Cole Erickson (Coe College), 10-0
7th – Paul Fox, Stanford, CA (Stanford - California RTC) tech fall Jason Tsirtsis, Tempe, AZ (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club), 10-1

74 kg/163 lbs.
3rd – Joseph Lavallee, Columbia, MO (Missouri Wrestling Foundation) dec. Ian Brown, (Lehigh Valley WC), 12-5
5th – Josh Shields, Tempe, AZ (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) won by forfeit Cole Walter (Lehigh Valley WC)
7th – Markus Scheidel (NYC RTC) won by forfeit Jacen Petersen, Tempe, AZ (ASU Wrestling)

80 kg/176 lbs.
3rd – Daniel Lewis, Columbia, MO (Missouri Wrestling Foundation) tech. fall Devin Skatzka, Bloomington, IN (Hoosier Wrestling Club), 13-2
5th – Kimball Bastian, Orem, UT (Wolverine Wrestling Club) NC Nick Becker (Grizzly WC)
7th – Chad Walsh (Broncs Wrestling Club) won by forfeit Kaleb Young, Iowa City, IA (University of Iowa)

86 kg/189 lbs.
3rd – Ryan Preisch (Lehigh Valley WC) tech. fall Keegan Moore (CWC/TMWC), 16-6
5th – Ricky Robertson, Madison, WI (University of Wisconsin) tech fall Dakota Geer, Edinboro, PA (Edinboro Regional Training Center), 10-0
7th – Alexander Deciantis, Mars, PA (Drexel) dec. Jacob Holschlag, Cedar Falls, IA (Panther Wrestling Club RTC), 10-2

97 kg/213 lbs.
3rd – Benjamin Darmstadt, Ithaca, NY (New York RTC) fall Morgan Smith, Lynnwood, WA (Pin City), 1:23
5th – Bobby Steveson, Minneapolis, MN (Minnesota Storm) dec. Anthony Mclaughlin (USAF Academy), 2-1
7th – Tom Sleigh, DuBois, PA (Buffalo Valley RTC) dec. Jonathan Aiello (UVA), 6-4

125 kg/275 lbs.
3rd – Tanner Hall, Tempe, AZ (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) dec. Cory Daniels, Chapel Hill, NC (Tar Heel Wrestling Club), 10-2
5th – Malik Mcdonald, Raleigh, NC (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) fall Michael Boykin, Raleigh, NC (Wolfpack Wrestling Club), 2:06
7th – Rylee Streifel, Minneapolis, MN (Minnesota Storm) tech fall Andrew Dunn, Blacksburg, VA (SERTC-VT), 10-0