Tonight, at 7 p.m. ET, the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships take place in Philadelphia. You can follow the action right here at ProMMANow.com and watch the matches on ESPNU.
Collegiate wrestling has long been the proving grounds for future MMA stars. Several wrestlers from last year’s tournament such as Lance Palmer, Jared Rosholt and Mark Ellis have already turned to the sport.
Cornell is currently leading the team race with 61 points, but Penn State (60.5) and winner of the last three championships Iowa (52) are still in contention. For the full tournament brackets click here.
The introduction featuring John Irving talking about the connection between wrestling and writing puts the UFC’s gladiator man to shame. Epic stuff.
#1 Anthony Robles (Arizona State) vs. Ben Kjar (Utah Valley)
During the first period, Robles was close to getting behind for two, but could not finish. Kjar starts the second on the bottom. He gets to his feet, but Robles holds on to a leg for a stalemate. 30 seconds down, and Kjar still can’t escape. Robles tries a roll through tilt as Kjar stands, but he does not get the back points. Kjar gets hit for stalling for staying belly down on the mat. Robles rides out the period, so the score is 0-0 heading to the third. Robles starts on the bottom with 2 minutes of riding time. Robles escapes and then defends a Kjar shot for a takedown. The referee restarts them in the middle with 41 seconds left to go. Off the whistle, Kjar gets to his feet and kicks out his ankle for a pont (3-1 with riding time). With 4 seconds left, Robles gets hit for stalling, but he still takes the match.
Robles dec. 4-2
#2 Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs. #3 Brandon Precin (Northwestern)
First period ends with no score. Precin was the only wrestler to take a shot, but it was not close. The Northwestern wrestler starts down and eventually escapes for a point, but McDonough scores a takedown to take a 2-1 lead. In the third, McDonough gets out from bottom after Precin erases the riding time, so he leads 3-1. Precin looks for a takedown, but McDonough holds him off for the victory.
McDonough dec. 3-1
#1 Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) vs. #4 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
Graff is in deep on a shot, but Oliver defends with an overhook. He eventually frees his leg and gets out of bounds. Oliver scores a late-second takedown, to take a 2-0 lead into the second period. Graff takes injury time in between periods. Graff escapes (2-1). Another injury timeout allows Oliver to choose down. The Oklahoma State wrestler picks down to start the third and gets to his feet quickly (3-1). He stones a shot from Graff and is able to get around and score (5-1). Graff gets to his feet and eventually Oliver lets him go (5-2). The Cowboy shoots with 10 seconds left to melt the clock.
Oliver dec. Graff 5-2
#3 Andrew Long (Penn State) vs. #2 Andrew Hochstrasser (Boise State)
Long comes close with an ankle pick, but Hocstrasser catches his balance. The Bronco then hits a sweep single and eventually spins around for the two-point takedown (2-0). Long is able to face and stand with less than five seconds left for the escape (2-1). Hochstrasser starts the second period down, and Long rides tough, but can't secure the riding time before his opponent escapes (3-1). Long is starting to comes forward very hard late in the period. He is attacking with knee taps, but Hochstrasser defends well. Long chooses down to start the third. Hochstrasser goes to a crab ride on top. Very tough ride from Hochstrasser, he has Long flat. He picks up two more points with a tilt (5-1). The Boise State wrestler secures the riding time. Long finally escapes and picks up a takedown (5-4). Despite the late rally from Long, Hochstrasser holds on for a 6-4 win.
Hochstrasser dec. 6-4
#1 Kellen Russell (Michigan) vs. #5 Montell Marion (Iowa)
Russell comes forward with a low single, but Marion recovers quickly. Russell catches a single on the edge. Marion is able to stretch out of bounds and keep the score 0-0 at the end of the first. Russell goes down and gets up immediately (1-0). Russell drives forward with a double, but Marion sprawls out of bounds. After picking down, Marion gets to hit feet, but Russell returns him. Russell is riding tough on top approaching the riding time. Marion knots his up with an escape with 59 seconds of riding time! (1-1). 42 seconds left in the match. They go out of bounds with 17 seconds. They trade shots under 10 seconds and head to overtime. Marion hits a sweep single and it looks like he will certainly score. The official gives 2, but the waves it off as Russell shows off his nasty gyro. Marion takes down to start the 2nd overtime. Marion gets out in 7 seconds (2-1). Now, Russell starts down and gets out in basically 1 second. (2-2). Another 1 minute period, and another nice scramble from these wrestlers, but no points. The overtime will continue. Russell takes bottom to start this 30 second period and the Michigan wrestler gets out quick (3-2). Marion needs an escape and a takedown to win it due to being behind in the riding time. He granbys out of bounds, and can’t get out. Marion escapes with 15 seconds left and they go out of bounds with 11 seconds. He hits a super duck, but Russell is able to escape for the win.
Russell dec. 4-3
#3 Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly) vs. Michael Thorn (Minnesota)
Thorn gets deep with a shot, but the Cal Poly wrestler is able to scramble his way to a takedown (2-0). After a restart, Thorn escapes to cut the lead in half (2-1). Novachkov catches an early stall call with less than 30 seconds to go. He picks down to start the second. Novachkov is up early (3-1). He then gets in on a single, but Thorn is able to escape out of bounds. Thorn snaps down and tries to spin, but Novachkov reestablished position at the end of the second. Thorn starts down in the third, and gets the escape (3-2). The Cal Poly wrestler pulls his opponent back in and catches the second ankle for another takedown (5-2). Novachkov works hard on top and scores near falll points (8-2).
Novachkov dec. 8-2
#4 Kyle Dake (Cornell) vs. #8 Ganbayar Sanjaa (American)
The first period ends with no score. Dake showed off his trademark balance and flexibility. Dake fights like crazy to get to his feet and takes the lead (1-0). Dake he shown very little offense in this match. Sanjaa takes down for the third. He is able to get his feet, but Dake throws him right back down with ease. He then throws in the legs and flattens his opponent out. He goes for a turn and Sanjaa nearly escapes. Dake holds on and collects the riding time. Sanjaa false starts three times, which gives Dake another point (2-0) and then another (3-0). The Cornell wrestler rides him out.
Dake dec. Sanjaa 4-0
#2 Frank Molinaro (Penn State) vs. #6 Jason Chamberlain (Boise State)
Molinaro picks up a takedown by catching the second ankle (2-0). Chamberlain escapes quickly and works the edge of the mat (2-1). Chamberlain takes down to start the second, and Molinaro tries a turn with legs and a cross face from the top. He does not get the turn, but he picks up the riding time. He finishes the period on top. Molinaro escapes to start the third period (3-1).
Molinaro dec. 4-1
#4 Bubba Jenkins (Arizona State) vs. #8 Jason Welch (Northwestern)
Jenkins gets in really deep on a shot, but Welch catches his opposite leg and scores a takedown of his own. Jenkins takes injury time and looks in pain (2-0). Jenkins chain wrestles several escapes and gets away late in the period (2-1). The Arizona State wrestler then takes down and escapes early in the period (2-2). Welch takes bottom to start the third. An escape gives the Northwestern wrestler the lead (3-2) Jenkins works his way into a takedown, but Welch escapes to tie the match. Jenkins pulls out a takedown in a scramble and takes the lead with 56 seconds left in the match (6-4). Welch escapes on the restart (6-5). They go out of bounds with 26 seconds left. Jenkins ices the match with a duck under takedown (8-5)
Jenkins dec. 8-5
#2 Steve Fittery (America) vs. #3 David Taylor (Penn State)
The two exchange scrambles in the first period, but no points are scored. Taylor takes down to start the second period. Fittery is riding tough and picks up the riding time, but Taylor is able to escape and catch back points (4-0). Fittery goes down to start the third. Taylor has erased the riding time and rides tough on top. They give Fittery an escape, but Taylor get another takedown right away with a low single (6-1)
Taylor dec. 7-1
#1 Jordan Burroughs (Nebraska) vs. #5 Colt Sponseller (Ohio State)
Quick double leg from Burroughs (2-0). He looks dominant like has been all season. He then lets Sponseller out. Another power move for a takedown from Burrroughs (4-1). He left Sponseller escape (4-2). Burroughs shoots a single leg and is able to wrap up the second leg for another takedown (6-2). Sponseller gets up, but gets taken right back down (8-3). Another escape for the Ohio State wrestler (8-4). He then takes bottom to start the second. After an escape, Burroughs scores his fifth takedown of the match (10-5). Sponseller escape (10-6). He does not stay up very long before Burroughs adds another takedown (12-6). Sponseller actually rides very tough to start the third period, but he is not cutting into the lead. He rides out the whole period, but still looses.
Burroughs dec. 12-6
#2 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) vs. #3 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma)
After a slow first period, Howe takes bottom to start the second and gets away (1-0) Caldwell gets in deep on a shot, but, as always, Howe has very strong defense. Caldwell starts down in the third and gets to his feet almost immediately (1-1). Howe reshoots off a Caldwell shot and works behind. He needs to collect the second leg to score, but Caldwell defends and they go out of bounds. Time for overtime. Howe scores a takedown early, but it is out of bounds. The sudden victory period ends and the match goes to the ride out situation. Caldwell uses a variety of rides and holds Howe down for the 30 second period. Howe starts a scramble and ends up riding out Caldwell too. We go to another sudden victory period. Howe gets in on a high crotch shot, but Caldwell is able to defend and force a stalemate. Caldwell starts down in the next 30-second period. Howe holds him down for the full 30, now it is his turn to go down. He can’t escape either and nearly gives up back points trying to roll out. Time for a third one-minute sudden victory. Both wrestlers are locked up in the collar tie, and no points are scored. Howe goes down first. Finally, Howe gets and escape with four seconds left in the period. If Caldwell gets out in 26 seconds and defends, he wins. Caldwell scores the escape and Howe can’t catch him.
Caldwell dec. 3-2
#1 Jon Reader (Iowa State) vs. #5 Chris Henrich (Virginia)
After a scoreless first period, Reader picks up a nice duece with a reversal to take a 2-0 lead. Henrich quickly works back to his feet (2-1). Reader continues to push forward, and picks up another takedown 4-1). Henrich gets back to his feet, but is still losing (4-2). Henrich takes down in the third and gets an escape (4-3). Reader withstands a late rally from Henrich and moves onto the finals.
Reader dec. Henrich 4-3
#3 Mack Lewnes (Cornell) vs. #7 Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford)
Lewnes pushed forward and the referee rewards him with a stall call on the Stanford wrestler. After a scoreless first period, Lewnes escapes to take a 1-0 lead. Lewnes starts to scramble, but Amuchastegui gets the best of it and gets a takedown at the end of the period (2-1). Lenews cuts Amuchastegui (3-1) for Stanford. Once again the Stanford wrestler is able to get the better of the scramble and takes a commanding 5-1 lead. After a nice ride, Lewnes gets an escape (5-2). Huge upset here. Has to hurt Cornell in the team race.
Amuchastegui dec. 5-2
#9 Quentin Wright (Penn State) vs. #12 Grant Gambrall (Iowa)
Gambrall gets thrown to his back by the Penn State wrestler and takes a big 5-0 lead early. Wright takes down to start the second period and escapes (6-0). Wright catches a cradle on the feet and decks Gambrall. Huge win for Penn State.
Wright by fall
#2 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) vs. #3 Steve Bosak (Cornell)
Hamlin picks up the first two points of the match with a takedown at the end of the period (2-0). Bosak is desperate to keep Hamlin down and gets call for stalling. However, his efforts prove effective as he rides the period out on top. Bosak starts the period down, and gets out right away (2-1) but riding time is a factor. The Cornell wrestlers get in extremely deep, but Hamlin limp legs out and also scores the takedown himself. A huge scramble between the wrestlers ends the match. Without the score, the match moves to overtime. In the sudden victory period, Hamlin uses the same limp leg and this time finishes the takedown.
Hamlin dec. 4-2
#1 Cam Simaz (Cornell) vs. #4 Dustin Kilgore (Kent State)
Simaz picks up the first takedown halfway thorugh the first period (2-0). For a few moments, it looks like Simaz will ride out the period, but Kilgore evens the match with a reversal (2-2). Also immediately, Simaz hits a switch and gets a reversal of his own (4-2). Oddly enough, Kilgore comes through with another reversal and almost gets back points (4-4). The Kent State wrestler escapes to start the second period (5-4). Simaz works for a high crotch and get the lead back (6-5). It does not last long as Kilgore gets an escape and a takedown to take an 8-6 lead. The Cornell wrestler escapes (8-7). The referee warns Kilgore for stalling, but he responds with a takedown by way of a snap down that might just ice the match (10-7). The referee hits Kilgore with stalling again for a point (10-8). Simaz scapes, but Kigore holds on for the win.
Kilgore dec. 10-9
#2 Clayton Foster (Oklahoma State) vs. #3 Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin)
Brandvold works his way behind for a takedown to start things off (2-0). Foster has to work for it, but he does escape (2-1). Brandvold starts down in the second period and escapes early to tie the match (2-2). In the third period, Brandvold gets another escape to take a 3-2 lead. The Cowboy continues to press and forces a stall call on Brandvold. After a blood timeout, Foster scores a big takedown to take the lead (4-3).
Foster dec. 4-3
#1 Zach Rey (Lehigh) vs. #5 Dom Bradley (Missouri)
As is almost always the case with heavyweight, the first period ends without a score. Rey picks down for the second. The Lehigh heavyweight springs right up to take the lead 1-0. Bradley takes down to start the third period. Rey rides tough and is looking to ride out Bradley. With 39 seconds left, Bradley finally escapes. He can’t finish with a takedown.
Rey dec. 2-1
#2 Jarod Trice (Central Michigan) vs. #3 Ryan Flores (American)
After a 0-0 first, Trice takes the bottom position. Flores looks strong on top and works towards the riding time. He tries a turn with a turk, but it is not close. Flores collects the riding time, and Trice takes injury time. He is holds the knee that Flores was working with the turk. Trice gets to his feet, but Flores drags him back down. Flores will head to the third with a full two minutes of riding time. Flores gets out and takes a 1-0, but he also has the riding time. Trice hurls a double overhook throw, but he just can’t quite finish it. Flores gets the takedown instead.
Flores dec. 5-0
Team Standings After Friday
1. Penn State 92.5
2. Cornell 75
3. Iowa 74
4. Oklahoma State 65.5
5. American 56
6. Lehigh 53.5
7. Arizona State 52.5
8. Boise State 52
9. Minnesota 49.5
10. Wisconsin 44.5