Welcome to St. Louis where the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Division I Championship takes place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. TOM is live from the biggest college wrestling tournament of the year so please follow along both here and on twitter @theopenmat. We’ll have video interviews going up on the site as well and if you missed anything, check out championship central here. Let’s wrestle!
Entering the finals, the bonus points scored by the top five teams are as follows:
Penn State – 28
Ohio State – 22.5
Oklahoma State – 13
Iowa – 17.5
Missouri – 14
In case you weren’t following along on twitter, Penn State clinched the team title, officially, this morning and tonight is all about the 20 finalists trying to ascend to the top step of the podium. We’ve got six wrestlers who have been there before and 14 who are trying to win the title for the first time. Ethan Lizak (Minnesota) is the lowest seed to make the finals after being given the number six entering the tournament. This is the first time since 2013 that we haven’t had a double-digit seed wrestling on Saturday night and that year the lowest seed in the finals was a number five. 10 undefeated wrestlers began the tournament as top seeds, one in each weight-class. Seven of those are one win away from a perfect season. We’ll start at 197 pounds with J’den Cox (Missouri) against Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) and close out the season at 184 when Gabe Dean (Cornell) goes for title number three against Bo Nickal (Penn State). We’re a little more than an hour away, whether you’re here or watching live on ESPN, get ready for a phenomenal evening of action!
With Nick Piccininni losing to Thomas Gilman, Oklahoma State is officially eliminated from title contention. Ohio State is the last team with any chance to catch Penn State and that door is closing fast!
125 – Eric and Alex take Lizak, Bryce takes Cruz
133 – Eric and Alex take Gross, Bryce takes Clark
141 – Alex and Bryce take Heil, Eric takes DiCamillo
149 – All three pick Retherford
157 – All three pick Nolf
165 – All three pick IMar
174 – Bryce and Eric take Jordan, Alex takes Hall
184 – All three pick Dean
197 – All three pick Cox
285 – All three pick Snyder
Good morning from St. Louis! The final day of college wrestling season is upon us and every wrestler that takes the mat today is an All-American. Penn State has virtually locked up the team title sitting 31.5 points ahead of Ohio State and 35 ahead of Oklahoma State. The Cowboys could win every match from here on out and only score 32 points without bonus points, the Buckeyes only 26. So you can see, the Nittany Lions are almost certainly going to win it for the sixth time in seven years. We’ll kick off with consolation semi-finals this morning which are worth 3.5 points per win plus bonus and advance wrestlers to the third place bout. The third, fifth, and seventh place matches are all worth one point plus bonus. The medal matches will follow the consolation semi-finals this morning. We’re down to three mats and every match will be outstanding!
125 – #4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh) vs. #6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota)
133 – #4 Cory Clark (Iowa) vs. #2 Seth Gross (South Dakota State)
141 – #1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. #6 George DiCamillo (Virginia)
149 – #1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) vs. #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri)
157 – #1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs. #3 Joey Lavallee (Missouri)
165 – #1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) vs. #3 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)
174 – #5 Mark Hall (Penn State) vs. #3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State)
184 – #1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) vs. #2 Bo Nickal (Penn State)
197 – #1 J’den Cox (Missouri) vs. #2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota)
285 – #1 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) vs. #2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin)
Friday night at the NCAA tournament is special and we are less than an hour away from the semi-finals and the blood round running at the same time. Get a win tonight and you’re either in the finals or securing All-American honors. Either way, it means big team points as finalist get another seven plus bonus while those getting on the podium earn 3.5 plus bonus as well as getting a chance to wrestle again tonight for another 3.5 plus bonus as they start to climb up the ladder. Penn State’s lead is 15 points on Ohio State and 16 on Iowa. The way they’ve been wrestling, expect that to extend this evening, but with the amount of points on offer, a bad round could see the lead evaporate quickly. Dreams will be realized, careers will end, someone will shock the world, and the intensity will be impossibly high. Get ready wrestling fans, we’re set for another incredible evening on the mat!
Wondering how close Penn State is to clinching the title? Does your team still have a chance? As we enter the semi-finals and round of 12 in a little over an hour, there are a lot of points still to be had. Wrestlers who are in the round of 12 could add 19.5 points to their total still if they pin their way through the next four matches to finish third. Semi-final wrestlers already have sixth place points and only have two more matches left if they keep winning so they can “only” add 15 points to their total the rest of the way. So, these teams can, mathematically, still win the title:
1st – Penn State 74 pts (207.5 total points possible)
2nd – Ohio State 59 pts (158 total points possible)
3rd – Iowa 58 pts (176.5 total points possible)
4th – Oklahoma State 47.5 pts (190 total points possible)
5th – Cornell 47 pts (111.5 total points possible)
6th – Missouri 43.5 pts (127.5 total points possible)
7th – Minnesota 39 pts (166.5 total points possible)
8th – Virginia Tech 35 pts (143 total points possible)
9th – Wisconsin 29 pts (78.5 total points possible)
10th – Nebraska 27 pts (139.5 total points possible)
11th – Lehigh 25.5 pts (118.5 total points possible)
13th – Illinois 22 pts (95.5 total points possible)
14th – Arizona State 21 pts (75 total points possible)
15th – Northern Iowa 20 pts (74 total points possible)
17th – Rutgers 18 pts (91.5 total points possible)
The quarterfinals are in the books and Penn State has taken a 16 point lead, threatening to run away with this tournament and win their sixth title in seven years. It wasn’t a perfect round for the Nittany Lions, but it was a strong one, only losing at 197 and 285 in matches where they were slight underdogs. That kept the team title plausible for Iowa and Ohio State, but Oklahoma State has fallen to fourth, 26.5 points behind. It may be over for them, though they do have nine wrestlers alive in the tournament. In this year of undefeated top seeds, all of them have advanced to the semi-finals with just two double-digit seeds still alive for a title, both of them #10s.
Oklahoma State has taken a huge blow with Anthony Collica falling to Josh Maruca in his first consolation match. He is out. With Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State) advancing with a major decision, this tournament is rapidly getting away from the Cowboys and looks to be shaping up as a Big 10 battle between the Nittany Lions, Iowa, and Ohio State.
#1 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) vs. #4 Jacob Kasper (Duke)
#2 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) vs. #3 Ty Walz (Virginia Tech)
#1 J’den Cox (Missouri) vs. #4 Jared Haught (Virginia Tech)
#3 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) vs. #2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota)
#1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) vs. #4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State)
#3 Sam Brooks (Iowa) vs. #2 Bo Nickal (Penn State)
#1 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) vs. #5 Mark Hall (Penn State)
#2 Brian Realbuto (Cornell) vs. #3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State)
#1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) vs. #4 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin)
#3 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State) vs. #2 Logan Massa (Michigan)
#1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs. #4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska)
#3 Joey Lavallee (Missouri) vs. #7 Dylan Palacio (Cornell)
#1 Zain Retherford (Penn State) vs. #5 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa)
#3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) vs. #7 Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa)
#1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. #5 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers)
#6 George DiCamillo (Virginia) vs. #10 Bryce Meredith (Wyoming)
#1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) vs. #4 Cory Clark (Iowa)
#2 Seth Gross (SDSU) vs. #3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State)
#1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) vs. #4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh)
#6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota) vs. #10 Jack Mueller (Virginia)
Bryce reports that the Big 10 has 38 of the 80 quarter-finalists. I can’t decide if that’s a lot or not as many as expected.
A quick look through the brackets shows bonus point totals for the pre-tournament top five stand as follows after day one:
Penn State – 15.5
Ohio State – 13.5
Iowa – 9.5
Oklahoma State – 9
Virginia Tech – 6
Update #10: Start of Day 2
Welcome to day two in St. Louis! The quarter-finals get underway in a little less than an hour and they represent the beginning of the business end of the tournament. Winners in this round secure sixth place in the tournament and are rewarded by gaining six placement points for their teams. This is the first chance for wrestlers to become All-Americans in 2017, but those that lose aren’t out of contention. They drop into the round of 12 and can get those placement points back, but the risk of elimination looms over every match. Penn State has a chance this round to separate themselves from everyone else. They begin the day 4.5 points clear of Ohio State and 5 points clear of Oklahoma State but could be much further ahead with a good round. Still, that lead is less than one quarter-finalist so you can see how vital this round will be.
Oklahoma State is having a really bad round and it could have been worse. The Cowboys lost Anthony Collica and Austin Schafer from the championship bracket and nearly lost Nolan Boyd as well. If they don’t get a lot of guys making big runs on the back, their title challenge is over. Penn State is in the driver’s seat after, but Iowa has put themselves in position to challenge with some huge wins, including Alex Meyer knocking off Ryan Preisch at 174. Make no mistake, the team race is still there for any of the pre-tournament challengers, but the Nittany Lions have once again come out firing and the Cowboys, to this stage, have underperformed.
The intensity has ratcheted up several notches this evening. This round is a tough one with seeded wrestlers battling and we just saw Tommy Thorn (Minnesota) pull the biggest upset of the tournament so far taking out Joey McKenna (Stanford) in overtime! There are close, tough matches everywhere you look. The crowd is into it and the action is amazing! Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) is battling Ken Theobold (Rutgers) tight now in another upset bid. The Rutgers coaches almost charged the Oklahoma State coaches at one point as the controversial rules surrounding the top man having a leg in when the wrestlers get to their feet rearing their ugly head again. Going to the third now!
Scotty Parker (Lehigh) lost to Zane Richards (Illinois) in overtime when Parker was called for his second stall call, this one for backing off the mat. Many will complain that the official is inserting himself into the match, but that was a textbook example of the rule being called correctly. Richards had a tie Parker didn’t like so the Lehigh wrestler wandered backward out of bounds to avoid giving up any points. That is stalling and the official had the guts to make the call. Good for him.
Session II is 20 minutes away and with it, we’ll begin to see wrestlers eliminated from the tournament while others advance to the quarterfinals. The 8/9 matches in this round are huge and there are plenty that should be absolute barnburners. For those that were upset in round one, we’ll see if they’ve been able to bounce back from their national title dreams dying in time to help their teams and begin the long march to the podium.
Session I is in the books and, as always, we saw upsets, controversial matches, and high seeds struggle. However, we shouldn’t overreact to round one. Ethan Lizak (Minnesota) is a prime example of someone who struggled mightily, clinging to a good sized early lead before advancing, 10-8. If past history is any indication, Lizak could lose tonight or make the semi-finals. With no weigh-in between Session I and Session II, there will be a few wrestlers who did not look great that are much better this evening. Penn State did what they do best to open the tournament and got some additional bonus from Jimmy Guilibon and Matt McCutcheon that they probably weren’t expecting. Ohio State held serve with a good amount of bonus as well. Oklahoma State went 9-1, but they missed bonus at a few weights where they could have gotten it and fell victim to one upset when Kyle Crutchmer went down. The biggest question, of course, is can Crutchmer make a big run back through the bracket to score vital team points for the Cowboys? The other question for the team race is how hurt was Javier Gasca (Michigan State) when Gulibon beat him by tech-fall? We saw last year Gulibon pull a big upset of the five seed Matt Manley (Missouri), who was injured, only to drop to the back in the round of 16 and end up 2-2. Gasca had a big shoulder wrap on and took injury time immediately after the opening takedown. He didn’t look close to 100%. Gulibon remains a huge question mark and a will be a big underdog to Matt Kolodzik (Princeton) tonight. If he pulls that one off, Penn State fans will be going wild!
The first big upset of one of the team contenders has happened with seven seed Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) falling to Jake Residori (SIU-Edwardsville), 6-5. While Crutchmer could still come back through the consolation bracket to equal or exceed his expected placement, this puts him at risk every round with a long way to go. A controversial stalemate with 27 seconds remaining when it appeared Crutchmer was progressing, albeit slowly, towards a takedown finished it, but make no mistake, Residori went out and took that match from the Cowboy.
Mark Hall (Penn State) is on the board at the NCAA tournament, but his 8-2 opening round win over David Kocer (South Dakota State) was not an easy one. Hall relied on his exceptional defense to score his points and did not seem interested in attacking much. Keep an eye on that going forward.
This team race could be extremely tight and bonus points could be the difference. On that front, Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State) picked up a huge tech-fall to boost the Nittany Lions. Oklahoma State got off to a nice start with Nick Piccininni getting a fall, but Dean Heil and Joe Smith survived tight matches while Kaid Brock and Anthony Collica picked up majors at the buzzer. Zain Retherford and Jason Nolf took care of business for Penn State, but bonus point drama will continue here.
Good morning from St. Louis! We are just over one hour away from the first whistle and competitors are already making their way to the mats to warm up. This morning session will begin at 11 am central with the 10 pigtail matches followed by the first round of action. No one will be eliminated this morning which means all wrestlers will enter this evening’s session still alive to finish third, barring a DQ. That won’t keep fans from overreacting, but remember that we’ve seen first round losers finish third before, as recently as Zach Epperly (Virginia Tech) last year. The advancement and placement points are the same no matter how you get there.
2017 NCAA Wrestling Division I Championship Schedule
Special thanks to @JpPearson71
Thursday, March 16th
Session I (8 mats) – Live on ESPN3
Wrestling begins at 12 pm eastern
- Championship Pigtails (10 matches) – 1 advancement + bonus
- Championship First Round (320 matches) – 1 advancement + bonus
Sessions II (8 mats)
Wrestling begins at 7 pm eastern – Live on ESPN3 and ESPNU
- Consolation Pigtails (10 matches) – .5 advancement + bonus
- Consolation First Round (80 matches) – .5 advancement + bonus
- Championship Round of 16 (80 matches) – 1 advancement + bonus
Friday, March 17th
Session III (8 mats) – Live on ESPN3 and ESPNU
Wrestling begins at 11 am eastern
- Championship Quarter-finals (40 matches) – 1 advancement + 6 placement points + bonus
- Consolation Second Round (80 matches) – .5 advancement + bonus
- Consolation Third Round (40 matches) – .5 advancement + bonus
Session IV (6 mats)
Wrestling begins at 8 pm eastern – Live on ESPN3 and ESPNU
- Championship Semi-finals (20 matches) – 1 advancement + 6 placement points + bonus
- Consolation Round of 12 (40 matches) – .5 advancement + 3 placement points + bonus
- Consolation Quarter-finals (20 matches) – .5 advancement + 3 placement points + bonus
Saturday, March 18th
Session V (3 mats)
Wrestling begins at 11 am eastern – Live on ESPN3 and ESPNU
- Consolation Semi-finals (20 matches) – .5 advancement + 3 placement points + bonus
- Consolation 3rd, 5th, 7th Place Matches (30 matches) – 1 placement + bonus
Session VI (1 mat)
Wrestling begins at 8 pm eastern – Live on ESPN3 and ESPN
- Championship Finals (10 matches) – 4 placement + bonus