Video: NCAA Championships Athlete and Coach Interviews
ST LOUIS, Mo. – All hail Penn State! The men from State College, Pa., clinched the program’s seventh NCAA championship during the medal round on Saturday morning in front of 18,953 fans at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
The Nittany Lions have now won six NCAA titles over the past seven seasons, furthering the dynasty created by head coach Cael Sanderson and company.
Penn State finished with six individual All-Americans, five of whom will be wrestling in the NCAA finals tonight. Heavyweight Nick Nevills was the lone Nittany Lion to wrestle on Saturday morning, working himself to a fifth-place finish after avenging a quarterfinal loss to Duke’s Jacob Kasper.
The medal round session was littered with premier matchups as 60 athletes duked it out for final placement positions.
Two past NCAA champions graced the medal round session with 2015 NCAA champion Nathan Tomasello and 2016 NCAA champion Myles Martin, both from Ohio State, finishing strong.
Tomasello gritted out tough wins over Nebraska’s Eric Montoya and Michigan’s Stevan Micic to finish in third place at 133 pounds. The Buckeye junior has finished in third place at the NCAA Championships the past two years and owns final NCAA placements of first, third and third as he turns toward his senior campaign.
“It’s all about heart. No one wants to be here. Everyone wants to be in the finals and wrestle on the big stage, but it’s about being tough. Finishing off the way you want to finish off with the highest place you can get,” Tomasello said.
Martin, only a sophomore, posted a 1-1 record on Saturday morning to finish an up-and-down year in fifth place at 184 pounds. He recorded a 10-6 victory over two-time All-American Nolan Boyd of Oklahoma State in the fifth-place match.
There are four wrestlers who earned the title of four-time NCAA All-American this week. Cory Clark of Iowa, Gabe Dean of Cornell and J’den Cox of Missouri all made the finals, while Wisconsin senior Isaac Jordan battled back from a semifinal loss to finish in fourth place at 165 pounds.
Campbell senior Nathan Kraisser navigated to an eight-place finish at 125 pounds under the tutelage of head coach Cary Kolat to become the first Camel All-American in program history.
“I peaked at the right time. I put together a good conference tournament, and it was even better here. I lost to Freddy Rodriguez of SIU-E in the dual meet and the conference finals, but I beat him in the All-American round here, when it counted. It would have been nice to end it on a win, but I went out and gave it all I had. I did what I had to do this weekend to become an All-American,” Kraisser said.
The South Dakota State revival led by head coach Chris Bono broke through with two All-Americans this weekend. 133-pound sophomore Seth Gross qualified for the NCAA finals and senior Alex Kocer wound up in eighth place at 149 pounds to give the Jackrabbits their first All-Americans at this event as a Division I member.
SIU Edwardsville also gathered an individual All-American for the first time as a Division I member institution when 174-pound senior Jake Residori snagged an eighth-place finish. The cougar was a tournament darling after pulling off several early-round upsets. He was upended by two-time All-American senior Kyle Crutchmer of Oklahoma State in the seventh-place bout, 9-4.
Rider head coach Gary Taylor capped off a splendid 39-year coaching career with two Broncos reaching the NCAA podium. 157-pounder Chad Walsh and 197-pounder Ryan Wolfe both came in seventh place to send Taylor out in style.
“This is the first time in our history that we put three in the quarters, so that was a big highlight of the week. To have BJ Clagon beat the eighth and ninth seed and come so close to being our third All-American this year makes me proud of how he wrestled. I am very proud of Chad Walsh, who became only our second two-time All-American this weekend. I am so proud of Ryan Wolfe, who has worked so very hard to be an All-American. To see that accomplished, that is what I take out of this weekend. We brought four, and two became All-Americans and the third one came as close as you can come,” Taylor said.
Oklahoma State led the country with eight wrestlers earning All-America honors. This marks the ninth time in Cowboy history they have earned eight All-Americans in a season and the first time head coach John Smith has accomplished the feat.
31 seniors were able to push through to All-American status in their final hoorah at the NCAA Championships with eight seniors wrestling tonight in the finals.
A total of 13 freshmen found a place in the top eight this week. Penn State freshmen Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall qualified for the finals, while Michigan’s Logan Massa, Arizona State’s Zahid Valencia and Ohio State’s Kollin Moore bounced back from semifinal defeats to finish in third place. The only true freshmen to All-American were Hall, Virginia’s Jack Mueller and Princeton’s Matthew Kolodzik.
The NCAA Division I Championships will conclude at 8 p.m. (ET) on Saturday with the championship finals. The finals will begin at 197 pounds and concluded with the featured bout between two-time NCAA champion Gabe Dean of Cornell and Penn State’s Bo Nickal at 184 pounds. The action will be televised live on ESPN and streamed online on ESPN3.
Complete brackets and match-by-match results for this event can be found on Trackwrestling.com.
2017 NCAA DIVISION I WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
March 16-18 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
1. Penn State 122
2. Ohio State 106
3. Oklahoma State 99
4. Iowa 93
5. Missouri 82.5
6. Virginia Tech 63.5
7. Minnesota 62.5
8. Cornell 60.5
9. Nebraska 59.5
10. Michigan 47.5
125 lbs. – No. 4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh) vs. No. 6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota)
133 lbs. – No. 4 Cory Clark (Iowa) vs. No. 2 Seth Gross (South Dakota State)
141 lbs. – No. 1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 6 George DiCamillo (Virginia)
149 lbs. – No. 1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) vs. No. 3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri)
157 lbs. – No. 1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs. No. 3 Joey LaVallee (Missouri)
165 lbs. – No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) vs. No. 3 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)
174 lbs. – No. 5 Mark Hall (Penn State) vs. No. 3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State)
184 lbs. – No. 1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) vs. No. 2 Bo Nickal (Penn State)
197 lbs. – No. 1 J’den Cox (Missouri) vs. No. 2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota)
285 lbs. – No. 1 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) vs. No. 2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin)
3rd: No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) dec. No. 8 Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma State), 13-6
5th: No. 2 Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) med. for. No. 10 Jack Mueller (Virginia)
7th: No. 7 Sean Russell (Edinboro) dec. No. 16 Nathan Kraisser (Campbell), 10-3
3rd: No. 1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) dec. No. 5 Stevan Micic (Michigan), 5-2
5th: No. 3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 7 Eric Montoya (Nebraska), 5-3
7th: No. 8 Zane Richards (Illinois) maj. dec. No. 9 Scotty Parker (Lehigh), 14-4
3rd: No. 2 Kevin Jack (North Carolina State) fall No. 10 Bryce Meredith (Wyoming), 6:20
5th: No. 8 Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) dec. No. 5 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers), 4-2
7th: No. 4 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) dec. No. 14 Tommy Thorn (Minnesota), 3-1
3rd: No. 5 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. No. 4 Micah Jordan (Ohio State), 4-0
5th: No. 7 Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa) dec. No. 6 Solomon Chishko (Virginia Tech), 10-4
7th: No. 15 Kenny Theobold (Rutgers) fall Alex Kocer (South Dakota State), 1:36
3rd: No. 2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) dec. No. 5 Joseph Smith (Oklahoma State), 7-1
5th: No. 4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) dec. No. 7 Dylan Palacio (Cornell), 6-3
7th: Paul Fox (Stanford) dec. No. 14 Sal Mastriani (Virginia Tech), 13-6
3rd: No. 2 Logan Massa (Michigan) maj. dec. No. 4 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin), 11-2
5th: No. 9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 6 Daniel Lewis (Missouri), 9-6
7th: No. 5 Chad Walsh (Rider) dec. No. 13 Brandon Womack (Cornell), 8-5
3rd: No. 1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) maj. dec. No. 9 Myles Amine (Michigan), 15-5
5th: No. 2 Brian Realbuto (Cornell) fall No. 10 Zac Brunson (Illinois), 1:14
7th: No. 7 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) dec. Jake Residori (SIU Edwardsville), 9-4
3rd: No. 7 Tim Dudley (Nebraska) fall No. 3 Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 2:37
5th: No. 6 Myles Martin (Ohio State) dec. No. 4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State), 10-6
7th: No. 12 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) dec. No. 9 Nathan Jackson (Indiana), 11-7
3rd: No. 3 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) fall No. 4 Jared Haught (Virginia Tech), 2:27
5th: No. 7 Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska) dec. No. 6 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State), 9-0
7th: No. 8 Ryan Wolfe (Rider) dec. No. 10 Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion), 2-1
3rd: No. 7 Tanner Hall (Arizona State) dec. No. 3 Ty Walz (Virginia Tech), 5-4
5th: No. 5 Nick Nevills (Penn State) dec. No. 4 Jacob Kasper (Duke), 4-3 SV1
7th: No. 8 Michael Kroells (Minnesota) tech. fall No. 9 Denzel Dejournette (Appalachian State), 17-2