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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Penn State took sharp aim at the school’s first team championship in 57 years after three Nittany Lions won their semifinal bout, including a pin by Quentin Wright over Iowa’s Grant Gambrall at 184 pounds, at the NCAA Division I tournament in the Wells Fargo Center.
With these wins, the Lions lead the field with 92.5 points, while Cornell — which saw three of its four semifinalists lose — is in second place with 75 points, one more more than three-time defending national champion Iowa.
Overall, Penn State has three finalists, including 157-pound freshman David Taylor who will meet Arizona State’s Bubba Jenkins — the former 2008 national runnerup when he competed for Penn State — in the championship. PSU’s other finalist will be 149-pound Frank Molinaro, who will meet Cornell’s Kyle Dake in the final.
Dake was the only Big Red wrestler to win as Cornell’s big men — 174-pound Mack Lewnes, 184-pound Steve Bosak and 197-pound Cam Simaz — all lost their semifinal matches and will now try to come back in Saturday’s wrestlebacks.
Iowa also has one finalist and four in the wrestlebacks after 125-pound defending champion Matt McDonough defeated Big Ten rival Brandon Precin of Northwestern in one semifinal. He will meet Arizona State’s Anthony Robles, who wrestles with just one leg and qualified for his first final with a 4-2 win over unseed Ben Kjar of Utah Valley.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State is in fourth place with 65.5 points after 133-pound Jordan Oliver and 197-pound Clayton Foster won their semifinal matches. Unfortunately for OSU, the Cowboys have just one other wrestler, 141-pound Jamal Parks, in the semifinals.
The following are highlights of Friday night’s semifinal round:
#1 Anthony Robles (Arizona State) dec. unseeded Ben Kjar (Utah Valley), 4-2
The Sun Devil did not score a takedown until 1:28 left in the match, which gave Robles a 3-0 lead, after the Wolverine senior opted to get down as low to the mat as Robles and was warned for stalling with 50 seconds left in the second period. Kjar scored an escape with 35 second and was awarded a stalling point with three seconds left. But it was not enough, especially considering Robles had a 2:44 riding time advantage.
#2 Matt McDonough (Iowa) dec. Brandon Precin (Northwestern), 3-1
The Hawkeye did not score a takedown until shortly after the Wildcat earned an escape midway in the third period, which knotted the score 1-1. This marked McDonough’s third victory against Precin in four meetings this season.
#1 Jordan Oliver dec. #4 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin), 5-2
The Cowboy earned his first NCAA final when he scored his first takedown with one second remaining in the first period and added a second with 58 ticks left in the match, shortly after he opened the final frame with an escape. Both of Graff’s points came on escapes.
#2 Andrew Hochstrasser (Boise State) dec. #3 Andrew Long (Penn State), 6-4
The Bronco senior tallied one takedown each in the first and third periods to take a 5-1 lead before the Nittany Lion made the match close, at 5-4, on a Long’s lone takedown with in the close seconds before Hochstrasser ended the bout with an escape.
#1 Kellen Russell (Michigan) dec. #5 Montell Marion, 3-3 rt sv2
For the second match in a row, the top-ranked Wolverine advance on the benefit of having more riding time (18 seconds) in the second set of tiebreakers than his opponent, who nearly ended the match in the first sudden victory period with a takedown before Russell scrambled back to neutral.
#3 Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly) dec. #2 Mike Thorn (Minnesota), 9-3
The Mustang scored two takedowns — one off a scramble with 2:03 left in the first period and a second off a low single with one minute left in the third period — but it was his crab ride in the final 25 seconds that gave him three nearfall points and a 1:13 riding time advantage.
#4 Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. #8 Ganbayar Sanjaa, 4-0
The defending champion at 141 pounds won this match without a takedown. Dake picked up his first point on an escape in the second period, then was awarded two penalty points — after several false starts by Sanjaa — and ended his scoring with a 1:45 riding time advantage.
#2 Frank Molinaro (Penn State) dec. #6 Jason Chamberlain (Boise State), 4-1
The Lion junior scored his first point off a high crotch takedown with 56 seconds left in the first period, then added a third-period escape and a 1:57 riding time advantage.
#4 Bubba Jenkins (Arizona State) dec. #8 Jason Welch (Northwestern), 8-5
The Sun Devil scored both of his takedowns in the final period — including the second one on a duck-under with 13 seconds remaining — to help him rally from a 4-2 deficit in the second period after Welch took down Jenkins in the first and second frames.
#3 David Taylor (Penn State) dec. #2 Steve Fittery (American), 7-1
After a scoreless first period and seeing Fittery ride the Lion freshman for much of the second period, Taylor exploded with a reverse and two-point nearfall of a turk in the second frame, then clinched the match with another takedown off a high crotch in the third period. Taylor also came back to enjoy a 1:12 riding time advantage.
#1 Jordan Burroughs (Nebraska) major dec. #5 Colt Sponseller (Ohio State), 14-6
The Husker continued his string of double-figure victories six takedowns; the first two coming off power doubles in the first 38 seconds.
#3 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma) dec. #2 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin), 3-2 tb3
The Sooner needed three overtime phases and 13 minutes on the clock to finally defeat the defending champion from Wisconsin. Caldwell earned an escape with 20 seconds left in the during the final 30-second tiebreaker after riding out the Badger for his 30-second advantage.
#1 Jon Reader (Iowa State) dec. #5 Chris Henrich (Virginia), 4-3
After a scoreless first period, the Cyclone senior scored all four points in the second period; first one a reversal after the Cavalier got too high with his ride and a takedown that gave him a 4-1 lead. Henrich’s final two points came off escapes.
#7 Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) dec. #3 Mack Lewnes (Cornell), 5-2
Trailing 1-0 in the second period, the Cardinal tallied his first takedown on a go-behind with three seconds left in the second period, then added another on a double leg with 1:25 left in the bout.
#9 Quentin Wright (Penn State) pinned #12 Grant Gambrall (Iowa), 3:53
Just when the Lion surprised many by throwing the Hawkeye to his back in the first period to lead 5-0, Wright caught Gambrall in a cradle to eventually score the fall.
#2 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. #3 Steve Bosak (Cornell), 4-2 sv
The Mountain Hawk ended the suspense when he scored off a snap-down with 11 seconds gone in sudden victory. Bosak actually led 2-0 in the second period, before Hamlin added a pair of escapes to force overtime.
#4 Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) dec. #1 Cam Simaz (Cornell), 10-9
A pair of first period reversals — the second coming with five seconds left in the first frame — helped the Golden Flash offset a pair of first period takedowns by Simaz, who regained the lead, 6-5, on an inside single in the second period. But Kilgore secured the upset when he added two takedowns in the final 49 seconds of the second period and another with 32 seconds left in the match. The score was the same that Kilgore beat Simaz — the Big Red junior’s only other loss this season — at the Body Bar in November.
#2 Clayton Foster (Oklahoma State) dec. #3 Trevor Brandvold, 4-3
The Cowboy didn’t take the lead for good until 32 second left in the match when he connected on a low single after an escape gave Brandvold a 3-2 lead. The Badger scored the match’s only other takedown with 2:15 left in the first before Foster added a pair of escapes to tie the match 2-2.
#1 Zach Rey (Lehigh) dec. #5 Dom Bradley, 2-1
A 1:19 riding time advantage — after controlling the Tiger the entire third frame — proved to be the difference after both wrestlers exchanged escapes.
#3 Ryan Flores (American U.) dec. #2 Jarod Trice (Central Michigan), 4-0
The Eagle’s only takedown came with 12 seconds left after it appeared that the Chippewa big man threw Flores to the mat; only to see the AU heavyweight come around for a takedown.