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|Penn State, Oklahoma State keep rolling at NCAA Wrestling Championships|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Penn State’s Quentin Wright records a pin in the quarterfinals on Friday morning. Larry Slater photo.
DES MOINES, Iowa – It has turned into a two-team race at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Top-ranked Penn State and No. 3 Oklahoma State separated themselves from the rest of the field with strong quarterfinal performances Friday morning before 16,131 fans at Wells Fargo Arena.
Penn State, seeking its third straight team title, has maintained its lead with 77.5 points. The Nittany Lions advanced five wrestlers into the semifinal round. The semifinals are set for 6 p.m. Friday.
“Our guys wrestled pretty well,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “The quarterfinals are a pretty big round and obviously the semifinals are an even bigger round. I’m real proud of our guys and excited for them. We just have to keep it going.”
Third-ranked Oklahoma State is in second with 65.5 points and five wrestlers in the semifinals.
The Cowboys actually led at several points during the quarters before Penn State moved back into the lead. Oklahoma State has won a record 34 national titles and is looking for its first title since 2006.
Second-ranked Minnesota is in third with 49.5 points, followed by Iowa (39), Missouri (38.5) and Cornell (37).
Three-time NCAA champion and No. 1 seed Kyle Dake of Cornell dominated No. 8 Nick Sulzer of Virginia 13-0 in the 165-pound quarterfinals. Dake has outscored his three opponents by a combined 26-0 in this tournament.
Dake advances to face 2011 NCAA runner-up Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State in the semifinals. Dake beat Caldwell 4-1 early in the season.
“Everyone says it’s going to be Dake and (Penn State’s David) Taylor in the finals,” Caldwell said. “To me, it’s whoever I have next and just go from there. I’m just keeping my eye on winning each round.”
Dake is seeking to become just the third wrestler to win four NCAA titles and the first to do it in four different weight classes. He has previously won NCAAs at 141, 149 and 157.
Dake has won 75 straight matches for Cornell. He is now 18-0 in this tournament in his career.
Taylor, the returning 165-pound champion and Hodge Trophy winner, cradled and pinned Conrad Polz of Illinois in just 24 seconds to reach the semis.
The explosive Taylor has pinned all three foes in the first period in this event. Taylor, seeded second, will face No. 3 Peter Yates of Virginia Tech in the semis.
“I feel great. I love this tournament and I love this round,” Taylor said. “There is nothing like wrestling in this tournament. Every point counts and those bonus points are huge.”
The NCAA is anticipating a Dake-Taylor finals showdown, with the 165 match moved to the last bout of Saturday night’s finals.
Past NCAA champions Ed Ruth (184) and Quentin Wright (197) of Penn State also reached the semis.
The top-seeded Ruth downed Pittsburgh’s Max Thomusseit by an 11-1 major decision in the quarters. Ruth extended his winning streak to 66 consecutive victories. The junior notched his 100th career win.
The second-seeded Wright headlocked and pinned No. 10 Scott Schiller of Minnesota in the quarters.
The bonus points scored by Penn State have been the difference in this tournament.
“You can’t count on bonus points, but we’re happy about them,” Sanderson said. “Those points obviously make a big difference and we need to keep getting them.”
Two-time NCAA champion and three-time NCAA finalist Matt McDonough of Iowa fell to Cornell freshman Nahshon Garrett 4-2 in overtime at 125.
The sixth-seeded Garrett rode the No. 3 McDonough out in the third period to force overtime before shooting in on a leg attack to score the winning takedown in sudden victory.
“I had nothing to lose and no pressure on me,” Garrett said. “This is an awesome experience. I’m excited to be wrestling here and excited to be in the semis.”
Past NCAA champions Logan Stieber of Ohio State (133), Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State (149), Steve Bosak of Cornell (184), Dustin Kilgore of Kent State (197) and Tony Nelson of Minnesota (285) have advanced to the semis.
Bosak will face Ruth in the semis in a battle of returning NCAA champs at 184. Bosak is the returning champion in that division while Ruth won NCAAs at 174 last year.
TEAM SCORING (Top 10)
Penn State 77.5, Oklahoma State 65.5, Minnesota 49.5, Iowa 39, Missouri 38.5, Cornell 37, Ohio State 30.5, Nebraska 27, Edinboro 27, Oregon State 26
Alan Waters (Missouri) vs. Nico Megaludis (Penn State)
Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) vs. Jesse Delgado (Illinois)
Logan Stieber (Ohio State) vs. A.J. Schopp (Edinboro)
Tony Ramos (Iowa) vs. Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) vs. Mitchell Port (Edinboro)
Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) vs. Undrakhbayar Khishignyam (The Citadel)
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) vs. Steve Santos (Columbia)
Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) vs. Drake Houdashelt (Missouri)
Jason Welch (Northwestern) vs. David Bonin (Northern Iowa)
Derek St. John (Iowa) vs. Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State)
Kyle Dake (Cornell) vs. Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State)
David Taylor (Penn State) vs. Peter Yates (Virginia Tech)
Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) vs. Robert Kokesh (Nebraska)
Matt Brown (Penn State) vs. Logan Storley (Minnesota)
Ed Ruth (Penn State) vs. Steve Bosak (Cornell)
Ben Bennett (Central Michigan) vs. Robert Hamlin (Lehigh)
Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) vs. Taylor Meeks (Oregon State)
Quentin Wright (Penn State) vs. Matt Wilps (Pittsburgh)
Dom Bradley (Missouri) vs. Mike McMullan (Northwestern)
Tony Nelson (Minnesota) vs. Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State)