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Is the Scramble Complete? NDSU Grabs the Lead



With the semis in the books it appears that North Dakota State has taken control of the tournament. The Bisons wrestling under the direction of Head Coach Bucky Maughn leads the field with 84.5. The team race in Greeley has been an all out with no fewer than six teams exchanging the lead during the rounds and throughout the two day championships. After the 157 pound weight the Bison trailed the pack in a tie for third place, but the NDSU wrestlers caught fire winning their last four bouts of the session and placing three wrestlers in the championship finals. South Dakota State University stays in contention with two wrestlers advancing to tonight's finals. NDSU holds the largest lead of the tournament with SDSU having only 69.5 points. Southern Colorado moved into third place with two wrestlers going for titles. Central Oklahoma advanced three to the title bouts and holds fourth place with 63.0 points. Nebraska-Omaha had a disappointing round, losing three semi-finals bouts by a total of six points. The Mavericks advance only one wrestler to the championship finals with five wrestlers fighting it out in the consolations. UNO has 62.0 points outdistancing 6th place Minnesota-State with 50.5 points. At 125 pounds, Lester Berrios of Minnesota State failed to reach the final after being the talk of the tournament when he knocked off the #1 seed in the first round. Adam Mars, another unseeded wrestler, from Adams State advances to the finals to face Mack LaRock of UNO. LaRock is UNO's only chance for a champion. The 133 pound class will pit the #1 seed Brian Luna of Southern Colorado against the #3 seed Cole Province of Central Oklahoma. Province pinned Wes Watson of West Liberty in 4:37. SDSU advanced the returning national champion to finals at 141 pounds. Paul Konechne majored Zac Stratton of Western State 11-3. On the bottom side the #6 seed advanced to the finals. Jay Yates of Indianapolis decisioned Jerod Timothy of Southern Colorado 7-4. In the 149 pound weight Gable Sullivan of Central Oklahoma decision Joe Lloy of Pitt-Johnstown 6-5. Sullivan will face the #6 seed, Nick Spencer of West Liberty. Spencer won 7-2 in his semis match. Minnesota-State's lone finalist Matt Petsinger advanced at 157 pounds with a 3-1 decision of Alan Cartwritght of UNO. Lazaro Reinoso of Carson Newman last season's champion at 149 pounds advanced to the finals with a 5-4 decision over the #3 seed. At 165 pounds, Matt Ballard the #5 seed damaged SDSU's title hopes when he upset Tyler Bryant the #1 seed by a score of 3-2. Ballard will face unseeded Dave Vondy of Western State in the finals. NDSU's push to the top of the team race began at 174 pounds when Todd Fuller last year's champion but this year's #4 seed decision Maurice Wright of San Fran St, the #1 seed, 6-2 to advance. Mike Mitchell of American International advanced to the finals with a 3-2 decision of Zach Stalder of UNO. At 184 pounds, NDSU's momentum grew as returning champion Steve Saxlund pinned John Rolling of Central Missouri in 3:35. Saxlund will face Muhammad Lawal of Central Oklahoma for the title. At 197 pounds, Kevin Lochner of Southern Colorado advanced to the finals by defeating the #1 seed, Chad Wallace of UNO by a score of 5-3. Lochner's performance is impressive considering he is only a freshman. Lochner will wrestle Doug Joseph of Gannon the #3 seed. In the heavyweight bracket SDSU's returning champ, Jon Madsen defeated James Garvey of Augustan by a score of 8-3. Garvey will face Nick Severson of NDSU in the finals. If the team race should tighten this bout could have team title implications. Following the conclusion of the wrestle-back semi-finals the team race was back to a tight race. North Dakota State maintained a point lead over SDSU with 84.5 points to 84.0 for the Jackrabbits. UNO moved into third place with 72.5 points followed by Southern Colorado with 69.5 points. Central Oklahoma holds fifth place with 67.5 points. Minnesota-State is a distant 6th with 50.5 points. NDSU has one more finalist than SDSU and both teams have six All-Americans. UNO has six All-Americans with five wrestlers in the consolations. At this time the team race pits NDSU versus SDSU. If the trend continues the two schools will face off at heavyweight for the individual title and possibly the team title. The finals begin at 7:30 p.m.
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