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|Notes from second session of the NCAA Championships, Thursday evening|
By Gary Abbott and Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Hofstra's Weidman stuns No. 1 Michalak
When Hofstra junior Chris Weidman was preparing for his match in the warmup area Thursday night, the news continued to roll in on the speaker piping in the match results.
Reports of the numerous upsets Thursday night kept being reported and Weidman's confidence started to grow.
He wanted to pull off the biggest upset of the night by shocking No. 1 seed Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan. Weidman did exactly that, pulling out a 10-7 win in the second round to highlight a banner day for the Pride.
"I've been working extremely hard and I came in here with nothing to lose," Weidman said. "I went as hard as I could from the first period on. The pressure may have gotten to him. You have to wrestle hard in every match in this tournament or you will get beat. I wanted to be that guy who was going to shock the world and I did it."
Weidman is wrestling in his first NCAA meet after transferring from Nassau (N.Y.) Community College, where he was a two-time All-American. Hofstra, ranked 19th, is a surprising fourth in the team race with 22.5 points.
"Every guy on our team is wrestling extremely hard and we're wrestling tough," Weidman said. "It's huge to knock off the No. 1 seed. I knew I could do it. I'm very happy."
Late Night at the Ford Center: Minnesota wins match after winning protest
Around 100 Minnesota fans and a few from Ohio State hung around late Thursday night after the Gophers protested a call that was made in a wrestleback match at 174.
Ohio State's Blake Mauer was initially credited with a win over Minnesota's Gabriel Dretsch, but the Gophers protested a call when Dretsch was called for an illegal move. The officials reviewed the tape and changed the call.
The wrestlers then came back about an hour after their match and re-wrestled the third period, starting with Dretsch up 1-0. Dretsch scored a three-point tilt before Mauer escaped to make it 4-1. Dretsch then countered a late shot attempt by Mauer to gain a takedown and win 6-1.
The Gopher fans who stook around stood and applauded the win for Dretsch. An upset Mauer spiked his headgear on the mat as he sprinted out of the arena. The match was completed at 10:44 p.m. in a nearly empty arena.
Simmons and Churella brothers still seeking titles
Brothers who win NCAA titles side by side are rare indeed. After the first two sessions of the NCAA Championships this year, there are two brother combinations that still have that opportunity.
Wrestling fans may remember some of the past brother combinations that have won NCAA titles during the same year. Remember the Schultz brothers (Mark and Dave) of Oklahoma who both won in 1982, the Scherr brothers of Nebraska (Jim and Bill) who were champions in 1984, and the Brands brothers (Tom and Terry) of Iowa who won two times together?
So far, the Simmons brothers of Michigan State have both advanced into Friday's quarterfinals with wins in the second round this evening. No. 1 Nick Simmons pinned Obeson Blanc of Lock Haven in 1:00 to move on, while brother Andy Simmons, the No. 4 seed ast 141 pounds, beat C.J. Ettelson of Northern Iowa, 6-0.
The Churella brothers of Michigan have also won their Thursday bouts to keep their hopes alive for side-by-side titles. No. 6 Josh Churella defeated Sean Markey of the Citadel, 5-1 at 141 pounds, while No. 1 Ryan Churella defeated Chris Vondruska of Hofstra, 10-0.
One thing is for sure. The Simmons and Churellas will not both be able to reach this feat. Andy Simmons will wrestle Josh Churella in the quarterfinals on Friday morning, ending the dream for one set of brothers.
In the second round, the Schlatter brothers of the Univ. of Minnesota lost the opportunity to be champions together when No. 2 C.P. Schlatter was upset by freshman Andrew Flanagan of Harvard, 5-3. His younger brother Dustin, the No.1 seed at 149 pounds, advanced to the semifinals with a second-round win over Ryan Osgood of Northern Iowa, 14-1.
One of the prominent brother acts had their co-champion hopes dashed in the first round, when No. 11 Troy Tirapelle of Illinois was defeated by Tyler Scherfey of Boise State, 20-4. His older brother, No. 3 Alex Tirapelle remains alive in the 157-pound championship bracket, with a win over Matt Hill of Edinboro, 8-2 which sends him to the quarterfinals.
Joe Seay returns to NCAA Championships as head coach
There is a familiar site to wrestling fans, especially those from Oklahoma, at this year's NCAA Championships. Joe Seay is on the floor as a head wrestling coach.
Seay, who led Oklahoma State to two NCAA individual titles, is in his first year as the head wrestling coach at Univ. of Tennessee-Chatanooga. It has been a long time since Seay has led a team at the NCAA Championships as a head coach. His last stint as a head coach was in 1991, his final year at Oklahoma State. He ran into trouble with NCAA violations which kept him out the college coaching for a number of years.
"It feels good to be involved again," said Seay. "I love wrestling. I love working with young men. I will always be a wrestling coach. It is what I do."
In the time since he was a Div. I head coach, Seay has coached the U.S. to two World Team titles in freestyle wrestling (1993, 1995) and a led a U.S. Olympic team to a medal-count victory at the 1996 Olympic Games. He has also been elected as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He has been an assistant coach at this level before, most recently at the Univ. of Virginia. This time he is the head coach, something that motivates him.
"I want to help the team win from the South," said Seay. "God willing, it will happen. Anything is possible. I believe I can be successful and the team can be successful. I like when they say I can't do something. I will sure try."
Seay may not be in the corner for every UTC match this weekend, as he has assembled an impressive coaching staff . When No. 8 seed Matt Keller was winning his second round match against Phillip Plowman of Eastern Michigan, 8-6, his two UTC coaches were both No. 1 ranked wrestlers in the nation in freestyle, World champion Sammie Henson and three-time World Team member Chris Bono. He also has veteran assistant coach and respected Steve Hamilton as assistant coach, and one of his staff members is heavyweight Leonce Crump, who was a star for Oklahoma.
"I asked them what kind of program they want. I said, if you want to build it, you have to let me pick my coaches. They did that. I think, it is the best coaching staff in the country, at least for me. It will take us some time. We have to entice the better kids to go there. We have a strong schedule. We are trying to get the kids to commit to us. We will commit to them," said Seay.
Seay is actually pleased to make his head coaching return at the NCAAs in Oklahoma, where he played an important part of the school's championship history.
"The last time I was at Oklahoma City as a coach, I was with Oklahoma State and we won," said Seay. "It is nice to be here. I have a lot of friends and family here. As a coach who was part of Oklahoma State, you take pride in that history."
Update from Thursday morning notes
The two international wrestling stars in the tournament are still in the tournament, one in the championship bracket and one in the consolation bracket. No. 3 Muzaffar Adurakhmanov of American (a native of Uzbekistan) advanced to the quarterfinals with a second-round 8-6 win over Eric Luedke of Iowa, 8-6. They were teammates and both two-time JUCO national champions at Colby CC in Kansas before transferring to their current schools. At heavyweight, No. 9 Payam Zarrinpour of Sacred Heart (a native of Iran) who lost his opening match, faced Mike Spaid of Bloomsburg in the consolation rounds and scored a 3-2 win
Of the four 197-pounders from the Colonial Athletic Conference in the tournament, one of them pulled the biggest upset of the session when Chris Weidman of Hofstra (the conference runner-up) defeated No. 1 seed Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan, 10-7. The other conference wrestler in the championship bracket, CAA champion Adam Wright of Old Dominion, was pinned by two-time NCAA champion Jake Rosholt of Oklahoma State in 1:28. The two wrestlers who were in the consolation rounds after first round losses, were winners Thursday night. T.J. Morrison of Rider beat Matt Cassidy of Lehigh, 16-10 and Jon Oplinger of Drexel beat Chris Pogue of Navy, 13-4. All four CAA 197-pounders advance to the final day.
2004 NCAA champion Troy Letters of Lehigh, who was a No. 7 seed after placing fourth at the EIWA Championships this year, was defeated in the second round at 165 pounds. He lost by pin to unseeded Daniel Thompson of the Citadel in 2:09. Letters suffered a neck injury and missed a portion of the season. This is his senior season.
Heralded true freshman No. 5 Troy Nickerson of Cornell advanced to the quarterfinals at 125 pounds with a 3-1 win over Tanner Gardner of Stanford. Nickerson will face unseeded Mike Sees of Bloomsburg in Friday's quarterfinals, who beat No. 4 Kyle Ott of Illinois in the first round, then stopped Rick Duebel of Edinboro in the evening session, 4-1.
At 133 pounds, the EIWA finals were re-wrestled when No. 6 Matt Valenti of Penn pinned No. 6 Robbie Preston of Harvard in 6:57. Two weeks ago, Valenti also defeated Preston.
In the battle of the Bradleys at 184 pounds, No. 8 Eric Bradley of Penn State defeated unseeded Paul Bradley of Iowa, 7-4. Last year, both were All-Americans, with Eric placing fourth and Paul placing fifth.
No. 1 seed Josh Glenn of American needed to go to overtime to win his second-round match, before defeating unseeded Ron Howard of Cleveland State, 14-10 at 184 pounds.
A No. 4 seed was knocked out of the tournament with an injury default in just 24 seconds, when Nick Baima of Northern Iowa was unable to continue and lost to Johnny Galloway of Northern Illinois at 165 pounds.
In a year which seeds fell like flies on the first day, the 149 pound bracket held seed, with all of the top eight seeds winning their matches and advancing to the quarterfinals on Friday morning.