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Oklahoma State, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri win opening bouts of National Duals Finals
Roger Moore Special to

MINNEAPOLIS – Four squads, any of which could hoist the trophy on Saturday night, picked up dual victories on Friday night at the 2013 Cliff Keen/NWCA National Duals inside Williams Arena.

Defending champion Minnesota got by Virginia Tech, 28-8, and will meet Big Ten rival Iowa, who needed a victory by heavyweight Bobby Telford to get by a scrappy Cornell group. Old Big 12 buddies Oklahoma State and Missouri, each of which won regionals last weekend, will meet on the other side of the bracket. The top-ranked Cowboys (16-0) beat Missouri, 21-13, in Columbia on Feb. 1 – top-ranked heavyweight Dom Bradley did not suit up for the Tigers in that dual. Iowa beat Minnesota, 16-15, on a tiebreaker on Jan. 26. In other words, Saturday is going to require maximum effort by all involved.

The hosts, Oklahoma State, and Missouri combined to lose just five of 30 bouts on Friday.

“We wrestled well, we wrestled really well,” said Missouri head coach Brian Smith. “We stuck with our game plans. We prepared all week about what we have to do in the top position and bottom positions and we stuck with it. And really, we won a lot of tight matches. The guys just kept with their game plans and what they do best.

“So now we will enjoy it for a few minutes and then we will get ready for Oklahoma State tomorrow.”

Only one dual included any dramatics.

The Big Red got the start they sought, a quick takedown from rookie 125-pounder Nahshon Garrett. But after two-time NCAA champion Matt McDonough (17-1) righted the ship and came back to beat Garrett, and All-American Tony Ramos (21-0) pinned Bricker Dixon, it was 9-0. Major decisions by top-ranked Derek St. John (21-0) and Mike Evans (16-2), sandwiched around Kyle Dake’s major decision at 165 pounds, gave the Hawkeyes a 17-10 advantage. NCAA champion Steve Bozak (16-2) helped Cornell cut into the lead with a decision over Ethan Lofthouse at 184 pounds.

Down four, the Big Red’s Jace Bennett beat Nathan Burak to send it to the finale at 17-16 where Telford (16-3) had little trouble with Jacob Aiken-Phillips, picking up a major decision.

“We split 10 matches, 5-5, so it was tight,” said head coach Tom Brands. “We advanced as a team, which is good, but we’ve got a lot to talk about with each individual guy. We’ll look forward and get ready for Minnesota.”

Danny Zilverburg brought the partisans to their feet with a solid 5-0 win over Jesse Dong at 157 pounds. It put the Gophers up 13-3 against Virginia Tech and all but sealed the fate of Kevin Dresser’s group with UM’s strength up top. Tech’s Peter Yates (28-1) had a dominating 17-2 technical fall at 165 pounds, but the Gophers pitched a shutout down the stretch – top-ranked Logan Storley (20-1) had an 8-2 win at 174, All-American Kevin Steinhaus (21-1) put the final nail in the coffin with a fall at 184. Scott Schiller (20-3) and Tony Nelson (23-1) finished off the dual with decisions at 197 and 285, respectively.

“It was a great win for me,” said Zilberburg. “I felt great all week. After that first scramble I really felt like I had it.

“It is great wrestling at home. You get to feed off that crowd. It should be fun tomorrow.”

It was only Dong’s third loss in 24 matches.

2012 NCAA runner-up Dylan Ness (9-3) wrestled for just the twelfth time this season, winning a wild one against Tech’s Nick Brascetta, 7-6, at 149 pounds. Ness somehow avoided a takedown late in the second to score one of his own, and then added another in the third after a good scramble. Brascetta (25-4) reversed late but came up a point short.

“(Brascetta) is a tough guy, stays in good position,” said Ness. “I don’t think anything has really suffered since I’ve been off the mat. I am getting back to full strength, starting to feel a lot better the last couple of weeks and I am getting that excitement back for the best three tournaments of the season.”

Perhaps the best match of the evening came in the opener of the Minnesota-Virginia Tech dual. Trailing 9-3, UM’s David Thorn tossed Jarrod Garnett to his back for four in the final period. Garnett (25-2) held off another late shot and escaped with a 10-7 victory. It was one of only two wins for the Hokies.

The Cowboys and Tigers lost a combined three matches in victories over Illinois and Ohio State in the first session. Oklahoma State edged Illinois (7-6) in the Duals’ semifinals in 2012; this time around it was not close.

All-American Jesse Delgado (18-3) needed a takedown in the final 25 seconds to beat Eddie Klimara, 4-3, at 125 pounds. The Cowboys (16-0) then won nine-straight in a 34-3 win.

“We won a lot of tough matches, a lot of close ones,” said Oklahoma State head coach John Smith. “But sometimes that is what you need.

“Without question we have to be ready tomorrow because Missouri is a team that has a bunch of seniors, a team that is in position to try and win a dual championship. They obviously wrestled well to beat Ohio State like that. We have to be ready for tough matches, top to bottom.”

Smith’s Cowboys got major decisions by Jon Morrison (18-4) at 133, Alex Dieringer (24-2) at 157 pounds, and Alan Gelogaev (19-2) at 285 pounds. Senior 149-pounder Jordan Oliver moved to 26-0 with a first-period fall. All-Americans faced off at 165 and 174 pounds – Tyler Caldwell (24-3) used a third-period ride-out to beat Conrad Polz at 165 and Chris Perry (25-1) beat Jordan Blanton thanks to a riding time point at 174. Both matches finished at 2-1.

Ohio State got victories by brothers Logan and Hunter Stieber at 133 and 141 pounds, respectively. But the Tigers (15-2) rolled everywhere else, including Todd Porter’s win over All-American Nick Heflin at 174 pounds. Porter gave Perry his only loss this season earlier this month.

Alan Waters (24-0) opened the dual with a pin over Nikko Triggas at 125 pounds, and after the Stiebers, now a combined 46-0, picked up wins, Drake Houdashelt (24-8) beat All-American Cam Tessari at 149 to put the Tigers up for good. Top-ranked heavyweight Dom Bradley (31-0) finished off the Buckeyes with a 12-4 major decision.

Wrestling hits the mats at 1 p.m. (CST) for the semifinals. Whoever survives will have a few hours to prepare for the 7 p.m. championship match.

Oklahoma State has won eight National Duals titles, none since 2005. Iowa owns six, while the Gophers have five in the trophy case. Missouri goes in search of its first.

Minnesota 28, Virginia Tech 8
125: #7 Jarrod Garnett (VT) dec. #13 David Thorn, 10-7
133: #7 Chris Dardanes (M) maj. dec. Erik Spjut (VT), 14-4
141: #8 Nick Dardanes (M) dec. #14 Zach Neibert, 9-2
149: #11 Dylan Ness (M) dec. #6 Nick Brascetta, 7-6
157: Danny Zilverberg (M) dec. #7 Jesse Dong, 5-0
165: #4 Pete Yates (VT) tech fall #14 Cody Yohn, 18-2 (6:12)
174: #1 Logan Storley (M) dec. Austin Gabel, 8-2
184: #5 Kevin Steinhaus (M) fall Nick Vetterlein, 5:33
197: #10 Scott Schiller (M) dec. Bobby Lavelle, 9-7
285: #2 Tony Nelson (M) dec. David Marone, 4-0

IOWA 21, Cornell 16
125 – #1 Matt McDonough (IA) dec. #5 Nahshon Garrett (C), 8-3; 3-0
133 – #2 Tony Ramos (IA) pinned Bricker Dixon (C), 6:11; 9-0
141 – #10 Mike Nevinger (C) dec. #8 Mark Ballweg (IA), 3-1; 9-3
149 – Chris Villalonga (C) dec. Michael Kelly (IA), 3-1; 9-6
157 – #1 Derek St. John (IA) major dec. Jesse Shanaman (C), 12-3; 13-6
165 – #1 Kyle Dake (C) major dec. #13 Nick Moore (C), 13-4; 13-10
174 – #3 Mike Evans (IA) major dec. Duke Pickett (C), 11-2; 17-10
184 – #4 Steve Bosak (C) dec. Ethen Lofthouse (IA), 3-2; 17-13
197 – Jace Bennett (C) dec. Nathan Burak (IA), 6-3; 17-16
285 – #6 Bobby Telford (IA) major dec. Jacob Aiken-Phillips (C), 9-0; 21-16

Oklahoma State 33 Illinois 3
125: #3 Jesse Delgado (ILL) dec. Eddie Klimara (OKST), 4-3 (3-0)
133: #6 Jon Morrison (OKST) major dec. #10 Daryl Thomas (ILL), 12-1 (3-4)
141: Julian Feikert (OKST) dec. Steven Rodrigues (ILL), 4-2 (3-7)
149: #1 Jordan Oliver (OKST) pinned #19 Caleb Ervin (ILL), 0:58 (3-13)
157: #10 Alex Dieringer (OKST) major dec. Matt Nora (ILL), 14-5 (3-17)
165: #3 Tyler Caldwell (OKST) dec. #7 Conrad Polz (ILL), 2-0 (3-20)
174: No. 2 Chris Perry (OKST) dec. #8 Jordan Blanton (ILL), 2-1 (3-23)
184: #12 Chris Chionuma (OKST) dec. #16 Tony Dallago (ILL), 7-5 (3-26)
197: #11 Blake Rosholt (OKST) dec. #13 Mario Gonzalez (ILL), 6-3 SV1 (3-29)
HWT: #3 Alan Gelogaev (OKST) major dec. Chris Lopez (ILL), 17-5 (3-33)

Missouri 28, Ohio State 6
125 – No. 4 Alan Waters (M) pins No. 12 Nikko Triggas, 3:52
133 – No. 1 Logan Stieber (O) dec. No. 4 Nathan McCormick, 8-2
141 – No. 2 Hunter Stieber (O) dec. Nicholas Hucke, 8-4
149 – No. 14 Drake Houdashelt (M) dec. No. 11 Cam Tessari, 4-2
157 – No. 19 Kyle Bradley (M) dec. No. 18 Josh Demas, 4-2sv
165 – No. 20 Zach Toal (M) dec. Mark Martin, 1-0
174 – No. 13 Todd Porter (M) dec. No. 6 Nick Heflin, 4-3
184 – No. 13 Mike Larson (M) dec. No. 20 C.J. Magrum, 5-0
197 – No. 17 Brent Haynes (M) dec. No. 12 Andrew Campolattano, 5-0
HWT – No. 1 Dom Bradley (M) major dec. Kosta Karageorge, 12-4

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