NCAA quarterfinal results set up several exciting semifinal rematches

Updated: March 22, 2019

Photos: Both Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni (left) and Iowa’s Spencer Lee (right) won their quarterfinal bouts Friday morning at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena. The two will now meet in Friday’s semifinals in a rematch that saw the Cowboy pin the Hawkeye in February. (Photos by Ginger Robinson and Ashley DeJager).

By Mike Finn

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — NCAA wrestling fans will definitely get a chance to witness the top wrestlers … and plenty of rematches …  in Friday night’s semifinals after 29 wrestlers, seeded in the top four of their ten respective weight classes, won quarterfinal bouts Friday morning in the PPG Paints Arena.

This sets up some pretty exciting rematches from the regular season, especially at 125 and 174 pounds, respectively, where a pair of defending national champions — Iowa’s Spencer Lee and Arizona State’s Zahid Valencia — will face a pair of wrestlers who pinned them this winter: Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni and Missouri’s Daniel Lewis. Both Lee and Valencia scored falls in their quarterfinal bouts as did Lewis, who has scored three pins in three matches the past two days.

Meanwhile at 149 pounds, there will be a rematch between two New Jersey wrestlers: Rutgers’ Anthony Ashnault, who became his school’s first four-time All-American with a quarterfinal win, and Princeton’s Matt Kolodzik, who lost to Ashnault earlier this winter.

Both Rutgers and Princeton qualified a pair of semifinalists as Rutgers’s Nick Suriano (133) and Princeton’s Pat Brucki (197) also qualified.


There will also be rematches from this year’s Big Ten tournament, where Penn State’s Mark Hall takes on Michigan’s Myles Amine (who lost to the Nittany Lion two weeks ago) at 174 pounds … and at heavyweight where Minnesota freshman will try to avenge a Big Ten finals loss to Penn State’s Anthony Cassar.

Overall, Penn State will send six wrestlers to the semifinals, including defending champions Jason Nolf, who will meet NC State’s Hayden Hidlay in a rematch of last year’s 157-pound final, and 197-pound Bo Nickal. The other Penn State quarterfinalist to win was 133-pound Nick Lee, who will face Oklahoma State’s top-ranked Daton Fix.

Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph, a native of Pittsburgh, scored a takedown in a sudden victory period to beat Nebraska’s Isaiah White, 3-1, in a quarterfinal at 165 pounds. Joseph, a two-time NCAA champ, is one of six semifinalists for the first-place Nittany Lions. (Ashley DeJager photo)

The Nittany Lions, looking to win a fourth-straight team championship and eighth in the last nine years, lead the team standings with 80 points. Trailing Penn State is Ohio State with 66.5 points and five semifinalists: Luke Pletcher (133), Joey McKenna (141), Micah Jordan (149), Myles Martin (184) and Kollin Moore (197).

Big 12 champion Oklahoma State moved up to third place in the standings (56) and will advance four wrestlers to the semifinals.

Iowa, which opened the 2019 NCAAs with 15 straight win saw five of its seven quarterfinalists lose, and stand in fourth place with 43.5 points. The only other Hawkeye, other than Spencer Lee, to advance to the semifinals was 157-pound Kaleb Young.

Among the toughest losses for Iowa came at 165 pounds, where top-ranked Alex Marinelli lost 3-1 in the closing seconds to Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis.


Top 15 Team Standings

Pl. School (Semifinalists) Points
1 Penn State (6) 80.0
2 Ohio State (5) 66.5
3 Oklahoma State (4) 56.0
4 Iowa (2) 43.5
5 Michigan (2) 40.0
6 Missouri (2) 37.0
7 Minnesota (1) 32.0
8 Rutgers (2) 29.5
9 NC State (1) 29.0
10 Cornell (2) 26.5
10 Nebraska (0) 26.5
10 Virginia Tech (1) 26.5
13 Arizona State (1) 25.5
14 Northern Iowa (1) 25.0
15 North Carolina (1) 24.0


Semifinal Matchups (set to begin at 8 p.m. EDT)

125 pounds

#1 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) vs. #5 Jack Mueller (Virginia)

#3 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. #2 Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma State)

133 pounds

#1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) vs. #5 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State)

#3 Nick Suriano (Rutgers) vs. #2 Stevan Micic (Michigan)

141 pounds

#1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) vs. #5 Jaydin Eierman (Missouri)

#3 Nick Lee (Penn State) vs. #2 Joey McKenna (Ohio State)

149 pounds

#1 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) vs. #5 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton)

#6 Austin O`Connor (North Carolina) vs. #2 Micah Jordan (Ohio State)

157 pounds

#1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs.  #5 Hayden Hidlay (NC State)

#6 Kaleb Young (Iowa) vs. #2 Tyler Berger (Nebraska)

165 pounds

#8 Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech) vs. #4 Evan Wick (Wisconsin)

#3 Joshua Shields (Arizona State) vs. #2 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)

174 pounds

#1 Mark Hall (Penn State) vs.  #4 Myles Amine (Michigan)

#3 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) vs. #2 Daniel Lewis (Missouri)

184 pounds

#1 Myles Martin (Ohio State) vs. #5 Maxwell Dean (Cornell)

6 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) vs. #15 Chip Ness (North Carolina)

197 pounds

#1 Bo Nickal (Penn State) vs. #4 Patrick Brucki (Princeton)

#3 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) vs. #2 Kollin Moore (Ohio State)


#1 Derek White (Oklahoma State) vs.  #4 Jordan Wood (Lehigh)

#3 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs. #2 Anthony Cassar (Penn State)


Quarterfinal Highlights

125 pounds

#1 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) dec. #8 Vitali Arujau (Cornell), 6-2 —The Wildcat clinched the victory when he scored a second takedown with 1:25 left before adding 1:23 riding time advantage. Rivera’s first takedown  came with 1:26 left in the first.


#5 Jack Mueller (Virginia) dec. #4 Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State), 4-1 tb2— The Cavalier waited until the final 30 seconds of the second tiebreaker when he first earned an escape and clinched the overtime victory on the bout’s only takedown with 10 seconds left.

Virginia’s Jack Mueller (top) needed two overtime periods to beat Oregon State’s Ronnie Bresser, 4-1, in a quarterfinal at 125 pounds (Ashley DeJager photo)

#3 Spencer Lee (Iowa) pinned #6 Sean Russell (Minnesota), 5:59— The defending champ had just given up a takedown to the Gopher, which cut his margin to 8-2, before Lee added an escape and takedown that led to the fall. The Hawkeye’s first-period takedown also led to a four-point nearfall to lead 6-0.


#2 Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma State) dec. #7 Pat Glory (Princeton)— The Cowboy clinched the victory by scoring his second takedown over the Tiger in the third period before adding a 2:27 riding time advantage.


133 pounds

#1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) major dec. #8 John Erneste (Missouri), 11-3— The Cowboy scored three takedowns and a reversal before adding a 2:02 riding time advantage.


#5 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) dec. #4 Micky Phillippi (Pittsburgh), 3-1— The Buckeye scored the match’s only takedown with 25 seconds left in the first period.


#3 Nick Suriano (Rutgers) pinned #6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota), 4:24— The Scarlet Knight was leading 8-0 and had over two minutes of riding time when he used a “bow and arrow” to put the Gopher on his back a second time before scoring the fall with 36 seconds left in the second period.


#2 Stevan Micic (Michigan) dec. #7 Austin DeSanto (Iowa), 3-2— The Wolverine scored all his points in the second period off an escape and takedown to lead 3-0. The Hawkeye cut the margin on a third-period escape and stalling point against Micic.


141 pounds

#1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) dec. #9 Dom Demas (Oklahoma), 5-1— Just when it looked like the Sooner put the Big Red sophomore in danger by throwing him to his back, the defending national champ scored a takedown with six seconds left in the first period. Diakomihalis scored another takedown late in the second period.


#5 Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) dec. #13 Kyle Shoop (Lock Haven), 8-3— The Tiger scored six of his points in the first period off three takedowns.


#3 Nick Lee (Penn State) dec. #22 Max Murin (Iowa), 4-1— The Nittany Lion scored the bout’s only takedown with 45 seconds left then added another point for riding time.


#2 Joey McKenna (Ohio State) major dec. #7 Mitch McKee (Minnesota), 11-1— A second takedown by the Buckeye put the Gopher on his back for a four-point nearfall in the second period before McKenna added a 3:49 riding time advantage.



#1 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) dec. #8 Jarrett Degen (Iowa State), 10-3— The Scarlet Knight became his school’s first four-time All-American when Ashnault scored two takedowns and a two-point tilt to lead 6-0 after one period. After the Cyclone cut the margin to 7-3, Ashnault added another takedown in the third before securing a 1:12 riding time advantage.


#5 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton) dec. #4 Brock Mauller (Missouri), 5-3— In a battle between Tigers, Kolodzik scored the bout’s only takedown with 2:19 left and benefitted from a pair of stalling points against the Missouri freshman.

North Carolina will send two wrestlers to the semifinals, including Austin O’Connor (right) who knocked off ACC rival Mitch Finesilver of Duke in their 149-pound quarterfinal (Ashley DeJager photo)

#6 Austin O`Connor (North Carolina) dec. #3 Mitch Finesilver (Duke) 3-1 sv— In a battle between ACC rivals, the Tar Heel prevailed when he tallied the bout’s only takedown with 37 seconds left in sudden victory period.


#2 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) dec. #7 Pat Lugo (Iowa), 9-2— The Buckeye scored four takedowns and added a 1:56 riding time advantage.



#1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) won by TF over #9 Christian Pagdilao (Arizona State), 23-6— The Nittany Lion tallied seven takedowns and put the Sun Devil on his back a pair of times for the easy victory.


#5 Hayden Hidlay (NC State) dec. #4 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan), 5-3 sv— The defending national runner-up ended the bout on a takedown with 12 seconds left in the overtime. The Wolverine took a 2-0 lead on a first-period takedown and led 3-2 in the final period before he was penalized for a hands-to-face penalty with 40 seconds left.


#6 Kaleb Young (Iowa) dec. #3 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern), 7-5 sv— The Hawkeye beat his Big Ten rival by scoring a takedown with just 13 seconds into the overtime period. The Hawkeye jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first period off a pair of takedowns, before the Wildcat tallied to take a 5-4 lead on a takedown with 23 seconds left in the second frame. An escape by Young forced overtime.


#2 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) dec. #7 Larry Early (Old Dominion), 5-2— The Cornhusker used a pair of takedowns to lead 4-2 at the start of the third period, before adding a 2:31 riding time advantage.


165 pounds

#8 Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech) dec. #1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa)— The Hokie scored the bout’s only takedown with nine seconds left to clinch the upset over the top-ranked Hawkeye.


The only No. 1 seed to fall so far is Iowa’s Alex Marinelli (left) who lost in the closing seconds to Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis at 165 pounds. (Ginger Robinson photo)

#4 Evan Wick (Wisconsin) pinned #5 Chance Marsteller (Lock Haven), 1:35— As the two wrestlers were scrambling for position, the Badger was able to lock up a cradle for a takedown the claimed the fall.


#3 Joshua Shields (Arizona State) dec. #11 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa), 6-0— The Sun Devil scored a pair of takedowns — one in the first and third periods — and added a 1:41 riding time advantage for the shutout.


#2 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) dec. #7 Isaiah White (Nebraska), 3-1 sv— The two-time defending champ scored the bout’s only takedown  off a high crotch with 27 seconds left in the overtime period.


174 pounds

#1 Mark Hall (Penn State) dec. #8 Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa), 5-2— After the Panther tied the bout 2-2 heading into the third period, the Nittany Lion opened the third period with a reversal. A late third-period escape was not enough to prevent Hall from earning another point with 1:59 riding advantage.


#4 Myles Amine (Michigan) dec. #5 Jordan Kutler (Lehigh) 4-2 sv2— The three-time All-American from Michigan scored the bout’s only takedown on a low single with seven seconds left in the second overtime phase to beat the Mountaineer, who was forced to take over two minutes of injury timeout in the second period.


#3 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) pinned #22 Ben Harvey (Army West Point), 2:12— The Sun Devil was leading 11-4 when he locked up a reversal cradle and fall against the surprise quarterfinalist.


#2 Daniel Lewis (Missouri) pinned #7 Mikey Labriola (Nebraska), 4:29— The Tiger was leading 5-0 when he flattened the Husker for his third straight pin of the NCAAs.


184 pounds

#1 Myles Martin (Ohio State) dec. #8 Ryan Preisch (Lehigh), 11-2— The Buckeye scored four takedowns, including a pair in the first period.


#5 Maxwell Dean (Cornell) dec. #13 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh), 6-0 — The Big Red sophomore scored the first of two takedowns left in the first period before adding a second takedown in the third period. In riding out the Panther in the second period, Dean also accumulated 2:55 riding time advantage.


#6 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) dec. #3 Zachary Zavatsky (Virginia Tech), 6-2— The Panther scored two takedowns, including a second off a power double in the third period, then added a 2:58 riding time advantage.


#15 Chip Ness (North Carolina) dec. #7 Samuel Colbray (Iowa State), 6-4 sv— The Tar Heel battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the second period and clinched the victory when he controlled the Cyclone in the midst of a scramble with six seconds left in overtime. Ness scored his first takedown with five seconds left the second period, then forced overtime on a third-period escape.


197 pounds

#1 Bo Nickal (Penn State) major dec. #8 Nathan Traxler (Stanford), 14-4— The Nittany Lion scored five takedowns overall and a three-point nearfall in the second period before adding over two minutes of riding time.


#4 Patrick Brucki (Princeton dec. #21 Thomas Lane (Cal Poly), 4-3— Four minutes of riding time advantage for Lane was not enough to overcome a pair takedowns — on in the first and second periods — by the Tiger, who gave the Ivy League school a pair of semifinalists.


#3 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) pinned. #11 Christian Brunner (Purdue), 0:57 —The Cowboy needed less than a minute to score his only takedown and eventually a fall against the Boilermaker.

Oklahoma State’s Preston Weigel scored this pin against Purdue’s Christian Brunner at 197 pounds. (Ashley DeJager photo)

#2 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) dec. #10 Tom Sleigh (Virginia Tech), 17-11 —The Buckeye scored four takedowns in the first period and a second-period reversal to lead 10-3 before the Hokie battled back with three takedowns to cut the margin to 13-11 with 1:20 left. Another takedown and riding time point closed out the scoring for Moore.



#1 Derek White (Oklahoma State) dec. #9 Matt Stencel (Central Michigan), 3-1— The Cowboy scored the bout’s only takedown with five seconds left in the first period after a tough scramble between the two big men.


#4 Jordan Wood (Lehigh) dec. #28 Sam Stoll (Iowa), 2-0— The Mountain Hawk scored his points off a second-period escape and a riding time advantage by riding out the Hawkeye the entire third period.


#3 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) major dec. #6 Amar Dhesi (Oregon State), 11-1— The Gopher freshman built up a 6-1 lead after the first period off two takedowns and a two-point nearfall, then added a second-period reversal, two penalty points in the third period and a 3:53 riding time advantage.


#2 Anthony Cassar (Penn State) dec. #7 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin), 4-0— The Nittany Lion score the bout’s only takedown with 24 seconds left in the first frame before adding a second-period escape and a 2:01 riding time advantage.