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This week, TheMat.com will move to the USOC platform, with a new look, new functionality, but with the same favorite features....

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NCAA announces finalist cities for its championships for 2014-18, including wrestling at all levels

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A Team Race to the Final Whistle!



With only 10 bouts left to be contested at the Division II Championships at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley two teams are eyeing the Team Championship banner. Prior to the medal matches, North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University had distanced themselves from the pack of six teams. But, neither team through the medal matches was able to gain a distinct advantage in the title quest. South Dakota State narrowly clings to a 1.5 point advantage with 86.0 points. North Dakota State stands in second with 84.5 points. In the second tier of teams Nebraska-Omaha is third with 74.5 points. Followed closely by Southern Colorado with 71.5 points in fourth. Central Oklahoma is in fifth with 70.5 points. With a race this close, NDSU may have an advantage with numbers in the finals, with three Bison vying for an individual title. However, SDSU is favored in its two championship matches. In the finals SDSU will take the mat first at 141 pounds, Paul Konechne, the #1 seed will face Jay Yates of Indianapolis, who fought his way to the finals as the #6 seed. Following this match, SDSU will have to wait till 285 pounds for another chance at victory. Then, at 174 pounds, Todd Fuller, a champion from last season, will represent the Bison in the team race. Fuller's critical victory in the semi-finals was over the #1 seed. Fuller will face the #2 seed from American International, Mike Mitchell. NDSU needs a victory to stay in the title hunt. At 184 pounds, Steve Saxlund of NDSU will face off against the #2 seed Muhammed Lawal of Central Oklahoma. Lawal is a dangerous wrestler in scrambles whereas Saxlund is known for his upper-body prowess. A victory in the championship match is worth four crucial team points. Additionally, wrestlers can also earn bonus points for their team by recoding a pin (2 points), a technical fall with near fall (1 points), a technical fall without near fall (1 point), or a major decision, a lead of eight points (1 point). Bonus points could be a deciding factor in the national title. Also, sportsmanship may play a role as well----a simple thing as not properly shaking an opponent's hand or showing disrespect can cause a team to be penalized a team point by an official. This far into the team race wrestlers and coaches will need to be on their best behavior, a slip up in decorum could be disaster for a championship bid. Finally, both teams will nervously wait for the end of the 197 pound weight class. The most anticipated bout of the evening-and of the tournament-will be the Heavyweight Champisonship Match. NDSU and SDSU will square off in the final match, in a bout that could well decide the National Team Title Championship for Divison II. SDSU faithful have a smile on their face knowing that their heavyweight will stand on familiar ground. Last season, Jon Madsen won the heavyweight title. Madsen enters the final bout with an 11-2 record as a sophomore. Nick Severson will wrestler for the Bison. Severson, who entered the tournament as the #3 seed as a junior holds a 30-3 record. With hundreds of matches already in the record book, the two leaders in the team race are separated by only a point and a half. NDSU has three title hopefuls; SDSU has two. The two teams face-off in the final bout of the evening. The team race couldn't be any closer and a National Wrestling Championship couldn't get anymore thrilling!
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