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Ness and Nelson score pins for Minnesota in quarters as five points separate three teams
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Dylan Ness and Anthony Nelso each recorded pins for the University of Minnesota Friday to put the Gophers into second place in what appear to be a three-team race at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships entering the semifinals in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Ness’ fall in 3:36 against top-seeded James Green of Nebraska at 157 pounds and Nelson’s pin in 1:26 vs. Minnesota’s Connor Medbery at heavyweight were two of four quarterfinal victories for Minnesota, which trailed three-time defending national champion Penn State by a 61-59 margin and still have eight wrestlers alive. Other Minnesota wrestlers winning quarterfinal bouts were Logan Storley, who scored a last-second takedown against Nebraska’s Robert Kokesh to win the 174-pound quarterfinal, and 197-pound Scott Schiller.
Penn State, which has seven wrestlers alive, also saw four Nittany Lions win quarterfinal bouts: 125-pound Nico Megaludis, 141-pound Zain Retherford as well as former champions David Taylor at 165 and Ed Ruth at 184 pounds. Taylor, the 2012 champion, recorded is third fall in as many matches this tournament.
Oklahoma State is in third place with 56 points and will also send four wrestlers in the semifinals: 149-pound Josh Kindig, 157-pound Alex Dieringer, 165-pound Tyler Caldwell and 174-pound Chris Perry, the defending national champion. The Cowboys also have two remaining in the wrestlebacks.
Iowa sits in fourth place with 42.5 points and also has six remaining wrestlers, but just three in the semifinals: 133-pound Tony Ramos, 174-pound Mike Evans and heavyweight Bobby Telford. Ramos, the defending national runner-up, scored a takedown in the final 14 seconds against Lehigh’s Mason Beckman to advance while Evans and Telford won tiebreakers against Penn State’s Matt Brown and Michigan’s Adam Coon.
Cornell, which is in fifth place with 39.5 points, has four wrestlers alive, including three in the semifinals: 125-pound Nahshon Garrett, 157-pound Brian Realbuto (who upset defending national champion Derek St John), and 184-pound Gabe Dean.
In addition to Green at 157 pounds, there was another No. 1 seed who lost in the quarters: Edinboro’s Mitchell Port, who suffered his first loss of the season, 5-3, to North Carolina’s Evan Henderson.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple, the 2013 NCAA champ at 141 pounds, will not reach the top step of the All-American podium after the 149-pound Sooner lost to Northwestern freshman Jason Tsirtsis.
Other notable semifinalists are Ohio State’s 141-pound Logan Stieber, the two-time NCAA champion at 133 pounds, and Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter, who missed most of the season because of injuries but defeated Richard Durso of Franklin & Marshall, 4-3, in their quarterfinal.