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DES MOINES, Iowa — Every wrestling fan has talked about such a meeting and the NCAA even adjusted its finals’ schedule so the 165-pound championship would be the final bout contested on Saturday night in Wells Fargo Arena … and it’s going to happen after both Cornell’s three-time champion Kyle Dake and Penn State’s 2012 Hodge Trophy winner David Taylor won their semifinal bouts Friday night.
team standings after semifinals
“It’s just another wrestling match for me,” said Dake, who is looking to become the first wrestler to win four championships at four different weights after blanking Oklahoma State’s Tyler Caldwell, 2-0. “The mat size hasn’t changed. There is going to be a referee, a guy sitting across from me, two coaches in my corner and two coaches in his corner. So really it’s not that much different. We’re going out and wrestling.”
“I would say it’s pretty simple,” said Taylor, who pinned Virginia Tech’s Peter Yates for the Lions’ fourth fall in as many matches at this year’s Nationals. “He’s going to do something no one is going to do and I’m trying to do something that no one is going to do.
“I think everybody has looked forward to it all season, mostly (the media), but it’s something that doesn’t happen very often. Obviously they’re changing the event. It’s a lot of pressure that Kyle is going to have to deal with over the next day.”
Meanwhile, Penn State put itself in good position by sending its five remaining wrestlers to the championship matches, including 125-pound Nico Megaludis and 197-pound Quentin Wright who advanced after earning more riding time in the overtime tiebreaker periods.
The Lions currently lead the field with 114.5 points, followed by Oklahoma State with 94 points (two finalists and five more All-Americans) and Minnesota with 86 (with one finalist and eight other eventual top 8 finishers).
Iowa stands fourth with 68 points with two finalists: 133-pound Tony Ramos and 157-pound Derek St. John. One of the disappointments for the Hawkeyes came at 125 pounds when two-time champ and three-time finalist Matt McDonough lost a consolation bout to North Dakota State’s Trent Sprenkle and failed to place for the only time in his career.
While two other No. 1 seeds and former champions Logan Stieber (133) of Ohio State and Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver (149) returned to the national finals, Northwestern will send two to the finals: 157-pound Jason Welch and heavyweight Mike McMullan.
The following is a look at all the semifinal bouts:
Nico Megaludis (Penn State) dec. Alan Waters (Missouri) 2-2 tb-2 — An 18-second riding difference in the second set of tiebreakers sent the Nittany Lion to his second straight NCAA final. After the score was tied 1-1 in regulation, each wrestler earned an escape in the first overtime session as did in the second OT, when Megaludis escaped in three seconds, compared to eight by Waters.
Jesse Delgado (Illinois) dec. Nahshon Garrett (Cornell), 10-5 — The Illini scored five takedowns, including three in the second frame, before adding a 1:31 riding time advantage. All of Garrett’s points came off escapes.
Logan Stieber (Ohio St.) won by tech fall over A.J. Schopp (Edinboro), 18-2 (7:00) — The Buckeye put the Scott on his back two different times in the first period to take an 8-0 lead before adding three more takedowns and amassed a 4:02 riding time advantage.
Tony Ramos (Iowa) dec. Tyler Graff (Wisconsin), 6-4 sv-2 — The Hawkeye scored the deciding takedown eight seconds into the second sudden victory phase. This came after the Badger jumped on top 2-0 in the first period and added a second-period reversal to lead 4-2 before the Ramos escaped twice and earned a stalling point against Graff with 56 seconds left in regulation.
Mitchell Port (Edinboro) dec. Hunter Stieber (Ohio St.), 7-6 — A 1:09 riding time advantage gave Port a chance to become just his school’s fifth national champion, despite the fact that the younger brother of Logan Stieber led 6-2 with one minute left in the second period with a second takedown. Instead, the Scott battled back with an two escapes and a takedown to tie the match, 6-6, before riding time kicked in.
Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) dec. Undrakhbayar Khishignyam (The Citadel), 4-0 — The Sooner needed just one takedown — that coming in the first period — and eventually built up a 1:33 riding time advantage.
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma St.) major dec. Steve Santos (Columbia), 14-3 — The Cowboy’s only trouble came late in third period when he was forced to take a lengthy injury time out … then returned to score a fifth takedown with six second left. Three of his takedowns and a two-point nearfall gave the three-time finalist a 8-3 lead after one period.
Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) dec. Drake Houdashelt (Missouri), 7-3 — The Bronco scored two of his three takedowns in the second period before adding a riding time advantage.
Jason Welch (Northwestern) dec. David Bonin (Northern Iowa), 7-1 — Leading 2-0 with 27 seconds left in the second period, Welch reversed a high-riding Bonin and added a two-point nearfall for a 6-0 lead. The Panther scored an escape in the third but was not enough to erase a 3:09 riding time advantage.
Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma St.), 3-2 tb-2 — The Hawkeye’s ability to ride out the Cowboy in the second set of tiebreakers sent St. John to his second straight NCAA final.
Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma St.), 2-0 — Dake first earned a second-period escape, then rode out Caldwell the entire third frame for a 1:52 riding time advantage. Dake has still not allowed a point in four matches.
David Taylor (Penn State) pinned Peter Yates (Virginia Tech), 3:25 — Taylor put the Hokie on his back twice, the second time from a standing cradle after the Lion led 7-1. This marked Taylor’s fourth pin in as many matches in Des Moines. Taylor’s only trouble came when he got his wind knocked off after rolling through a granby roll by Yates in the first period.
Chris Perry (Oklahoma St.) dec. Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) 4-2 sv — The Cowboys with strong family tradition — which includes his legendary coach John Smith and four-time champ Pat Smith — earned his first NCAA final when Perry cut the corner for a deciding takedown ten seconds into the overtime. The Husker also scored a takedown with 1:47 left in the second period but yielded a second escape to Perry.
Matt Brown (Penn State) dec. Logan Storley (Minnesota), 3-2 — Despite a power outage that severely lowered the lights in Wells Fargo Arena, the Nittany Lion sophomore scored the match’s only takedown in the first period.
Edward Ruth (Penn State) dec. Steve Bosak (Cornell), 4-1 — Ruth just needed one takedown — coming 12 seconds into the match — then added a second-period escape and a 1:51 riding time advantage when the Lion controlled Bosak the entire third frame.
Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Ben Bennett (Central Michigan), 3-2 — The only takedown came when the MountainHawk countered a shot by Bennett.
Dustin Kilgore (Kent St.) dec. Taylor Meeks (Oregon St.), 8-6 — After the Beaver battled back from a 4-2 first-period lead by Kilgore to tie the match at 5-5 on a takedown by Meeks with one minute left, the Flash added a reversal of his own, then added a 1:20 riding time advantage.
Quentin Wright (Penn State) dec. Matt Wilps (Pittsburgh), 4-3 tb — A three-second difference in the tiebreaker phase sent the Lion to a third straight NCAA final. After a scoreless first period, each wrestler escaped to force overtime.
Michael McMullan (Northwestern) dec. Dom Bradley (Missouri) 3-1 sv — The Wildcat ended the match when McMullan spun around the top-seeded Tiger for the victory six seconds into overtime.
Anthony Nelson (Minnesota) dec. Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma St.), 5-4 — Trailing 4-3 — after the Cowboy scored two takedowns in the first period —Nelson battled back with three escapes to cut the margin to 4-3 after two periods, then clinched the bout on takedown with one minute left.