By Joe Lyons
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (Original Here)
The trip to St. Louis appears to be paying dividends for the wrestling teams from Iowa and Iowa State.
Defending national champion Iowa advanced six wrestlers while five competitors from Iowa State moved on to this morning’s quarterfinals of the 79th annual NCAA Wrestling Championships at Scottrade Center.
The tournament runs through Saturday.
Thursday’s action wrapped up with Iowa and Iowa State tied for first place with 33 points. Ohio State, last year’s runner-up, is third with 30 points. With 20 Â½ points, Illinois is seventh. Missouri and Penn State are tied for 10th with 18 points.
The Hawkeyes were led by defending champion Brent Metcalf, who earned the outstanding wrestler award at last year’s championships. The top seed at 149 pounds ran his record to 35-0 with a pair of pins Thursday.
“Nothing’s automatic,” Metcalf said earlier in the week. “Being at the top of the bracket means nothing if you don’t go out and perform. We have nine pretty tough guys here and if they go out and perform to the highest level, everything will take care of itself.”
Other wrestlers advancing for Iowa are: fourth-seeded Daniel Dennis at 133, No. 3 Ryan Morningstar at 165, No. 4 Jay Borschel at 174, No. 2 Philip Keddy at 184 and heavyweight Daniel Erekson, a No. 7 seed.
Borschel placed third at 174 a year ago.
Third-ranked Iowa State, the Big 12 co-champion along with No. 4 Nebraska, was the lone team to bring 10 wrestlers to St. Louis. Five of them made it to the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded heavyweight David Zabriskie improved to 32-2, winning a pair of tough matches. He placed sixth a year ago.
At 197, the Cyclones’ Jake Varner, a two-time runner-up, advanced with a technical fall and an 11-0 major decision. Varner is a No. 2 seed.
Other Iowa State wrestlers entering today’s action in the championship bracket include sixth-seeded Nick Gallick (141), ninth-seeded Cyler Sanderson (157) and No. 8 Jonathan Reader (165).
MISSOURI, ILLINOIS BATTLE ON
Fifth-ranked Missouri and No. 8 Illinois enjoyed mixed results Thursday.
Missouri advanced four â€” Northwest High product Michael Chandler (157), Raymond Jordan (174), Max Askren (197) and Mark Ellis (285) â€” to the quarterfinals.
Making his fourth national appearance, Chandler, a No. 6 seed, won 4-3 over Indiana’s Kurt Kinser and 6-0 over No. 11 seed Chase Pami of Cal Poly. He’ll face third-seeded Jordan Leen, the defending national champion, in the quarterfinals.
Jordan, who placed fifth at 184 a year ago, is seeded fifth at 174. He won 11-3 over Bucknell’s Shane Riccio and 12-4 over Iowa State’s Ryan Burk in Thursday matches. He takes on Borschel of Iowa this morning. Borschel placed third in 2008.
At 197, Askren, a sixth seed, won 7-2 over Raymond Bennett of Millersburg and 5-1 over Cornell’s Cam Simaz. Askren, who finished seventh a year ago, faces No. 3 Brent Chriswell of Boise State in the quarterfinals.
Seeded second, Ellis won 2-1 over Pitt’s Zach Sheaffer and then beat Cleveland State’s Rashard Goff 3-2 in the second round. Ellis and Erekson of Iowa will meet in this morning’s semifinals.
For the Illini, three wrestlers are still in the championship bracket.
Sophomore Ryan Prater came up with a second-round upset of top-seeded Kellen Russell of Michigan, winning by fall in 4 minutes. Prater (13-15) won 7-3 over Tim Hamer of Liberty in the opening round.
At 157, two-time All-American Mike Poeta, the No. 2 seed, won 14-5 over West Virginia’s Ryan Goodman and 16-6 over Minnesota’s Tyler Safratowich to advance. Poeta finished third in 2007 and was runner-up at 157 a year ago.
Illini heavyweight John Wise also moved on, winning 9-5 over Richardo Alcala of UC Davis and 6-5 over eighth-seeded Kyle Massey of Wisconsin. Wise, the No. 9 seed, will take on top-seeded Zabriskie of Iowa State in the quarterfinals.