OSU in fourth place at NCAA Wrestling Championships
PITTSBURGH – Oklahoma State saw a pair of No. 7 seeds fall – including one who was eliminated from the tournament –and Penn State’s wrestling steamroller showed no signs of relinquishing its hold on the NCAA Wrestling Championships title Thursday in PPG Paints Arena.
The second-ranked Cowboys highly seeded foursome advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals with little problem. No. 1 seeds Daton Fix (133 pounds) and Derek White (285), along with No. 2 Nick Piccininni (125) and No. 3 Preston Weigel (197) picked up 6.5 bonus points while winning two matches apiece.
Penn State ended the day with 32.5 points, 7.5 ahead of Ohio State late into the consolation round. The Nittany Lions’ 17.5 bonus points alone would have put them into sixth place. Iowa was third with 24 points. OSU and Minnesota were tied for fourth with 20.
The Cowboys’ suffered a significant loss when 149-pounder Kaden Gfeller (28-6) lost two straight, eliminating the No. 7 seed. No. 7 Jacobe Smith (174) was upset in the second round but remained alive for Friday’s consolations.
Joe Smith (19-7), relegated to the 33rd spot at 165 because he had more matches at 174 pounds than 165 during the season, gave unbeaten No. 1 165-pound seed Alex Marinelli (26-0) a scare with two takedowns for a 4-2 lead. But Marinelli rode the entire second and added an escape, takedown and riding time in the third for a 7-4 triumph.
Smith bounced back with a consolation win to stay alive. Both Smiths, 184-pounder Dakota Geer and 141-pounder Kaid Brock must win three straight matches in Friday’s consolations to place in the top eight.
Piccininni remained unbeaten at 32-0 with a pin and major decision. Fix (32-1) won 21-7 and 9-3. Weigel remained unbeaten at 13-0 with technical fall and 7-2 decision. White (30-1) has won 28 straight since a December loss to Minnesota’s Gable Stevenson.
Oklahoma had a solid first round, winning four of five matches. Dom Demas (141 pounds), Davion Jeffries (149), Justin Thomas (157) and Jake Woodley (197) advanced, although Big 12 Conference champ Demas (30-7) was the only one to cruise.
Jeffries (24-10) won a 2-1 nailbiter, then Thomas (22-7) broke a 1-1 tie with a six-point move in the waning seconds to win 7-1, and Woodley (22-8) used a four-second riding time advantage for a 4-3 victory in tiebreaker No. 2.
Demas (31-7) advanced to the quarters with a tight 3-1 second round victory over Kanen Storr of Michigan. Jeffries, Thomas and Woodley dropped into consolations via second round losses.