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Iowa's Tony Ramos determined to finish career with NCAA title

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Session Three update Quarterfinals bring excitement and upsets



The quarterfinal round is often the most wild and exciting at the NCAA Tournament, as wrestlers who win guarantee automatic All-American status, and still keep the gold-medal dream alive. Some years, the semifinals have even become a bit more conservative, as a spot in the finals sometimes makes the bouts a bit tactical. The quarterfinals always offer some crazed action and interesting upsets. 125 pounds - The top three seeds held their ground, and an unheralded unseeded wrestler continued a dream tournament at this weight class. No. 1 Stephen Abas of Fresno State won, but did not dominate familiar foe No. 9 Ruben DeLeon of Bakersfield, 8-5. The two top wrestlers from the Big Ten moved on, as No. 2 Jody Strittmatter of Iowa and No. 3 Leroy Vega won commanding bouts. Strittmatter stopped No. 10 AJ Grant of Michigan, 12-0, while Vega stopped No. 11 Ryan Escobar of Lehigh. The Rocky story came from unseeded Mario Stuart, a freshman at Lehigh, who beat unseeded Ahmad Sanders of Central Michigan in a wild 17-9 shootout. 133 pounds - The top three seeds advanced here, but No. 4 was knocked off, setting up what should be an exciting semifinals. Defending national champion and No. 1 Eric Juergens of Iowa had no problems with No. 9 Kevin Black of Wisconsin, scoring an impressive 13-6 win. A turnaround came in the next bracket, where No. 5 Roman Fleszar of Hofstra showed that he was for real with a strong 10-4 win over No. 4 Pat McNamara of Michigan State. No. 3 Todd Beckerman of Nebraska won a close 2-0 battle with No. 11 David Douglas of Arizona State. No. 2 Johnny Thompson of Oklahoma State, a freshman learning from his first NCAA visit, used riding time for a razor thin 6-5 win over conference rival Matt Azevedo of Iowa State. 141 pounds - Three of the top four seeds advanced here, but it was not easy at all. No. 1 Doug Schwab of Iowa, a former NCAA champion, broke a 1-1 tie with just 18 seconds to go with a takedown for a 3-1 win over a gritty battler, No. 8 Charles Walker of Oklahoma State. The takedown ignited the pro-Iowa crowd, which celebrated a win against a true archrival, while avoiding an unexpected upset. No. 4 Sean Gray of Virginia Tech registered a 6-0 win over No. 12 Mike Maney of Lock Haven.The upset came in the next bracket where No. 11 Grant Hoerr of Wisconsin stopped No. 3 Eric Larkin of Arizona State in a 3-2 heartbreaker. Undefeated No. 2 Michael Lightner of Oklahoma, a two-time NCAA runner-up, continued an impressive showing with a 12-3 decision over No. 7 Chad Erikson of Minnesota. 149 pounds - These quarterfinal matches were interesting and active. The impressive run of unseeded Mike Zadick of Iowa came to an abrupt end, when No. 8 Jared Frayer of Oklahoma scored takedowns and backpoints on the way to a dominant 11-4 victory, silencing the Hawkeye crown. No. 4 Dave Esposito of Lehigh was also sharp in a 10-2 drubbing of No. 12 Cedric Haymon of Cal Poly. No. 3 Adam Tirapelle of Illinois, a NCAA runner-up last year, wrestled with passion and pinned No. 11 Mike Kulczycki of Michigan in just 1:55. No. 2 Jared Lawrence of Minnesota continued to impress with a 6-3 win over No. 7 JaMarr Billman of Lock Haven, a former All-American. 157 pounds - The top two seeds won with solid performances, but the other seeds in the semis are No. 6 and No. 12, an interesting mix. No. 1 T.J. Williams of Iowa scored a 6-2 win over No. 8 Ed Hockenberry of Bloomsburg, continuing his conservative style with control. No. 12 Shane Roller of Oklahoma State, who entered the meet with a 13-11 record, continued his inspired run with a third period takedown to beat No. 4 Eric Jorgenson of Oregon State, 6-5. No. 6 Luke Becker of Minnesota continued to score key team points with a 9-5 win over unseeded Scott Owen of Northern Iowa. No. 2 Bryan Snyder of Nebraska kept up his strong wrestling with a 7-2 win over No. 7 Cole Sanderson of Iowa State. 165 pounds - Defending NCAA champion and No. 1 Donny Pritzlaff of Wisconsin turned on the gas and dominated No. 9 Kevin Stanley of Indiana in a 17-2 technical fall. His semifinal opponent will be No. 5 Matt Lackey of Illinois, who scored an overtime takedown to stop No. 4 Robbie Waller of Oklahoma. In a battle of unseeded wrestlers with top teams, Brad Pike of Minnesota beat Ben Shirk of Iowa, 10-2. No. 2 Joe Heskett of Iowa State, a runner-up last year, got the offense going with a 13-3 win over No. 7 Chris Martin of Virginia Tech. 174 pounds - The top four seeds advanced, showing the consistency of the top stars in this class. No. 1 Josh Koscheck of Edinboro stopped No. 8 Nathan Coy of Oregon State, 6-1. Freshman No. 4 Tyrone Lewis of Oklahoma State controlled the action early, and held on for a 6-5 win over No. 5 Gabe McMahan of Iowa. No. 3 Maurice Worthy of Army, unbeaten this year, scored a pin in the closing second to defeat No. 11 Michael Barger of Oklahoma. No. 2 Otto Olson of Michigan, a 1999 NCAA runner-up who is returning after missing the 2000 nationals with an injury, stopped No. 10 Jacob Volkman of Minnesota, 3-2. The matches were close in some cases, but the top rated athletes showed why they received their seeds. 184 pounds - Two-time NCAA champion Cael Sanderson of Iowa State showed complete dominance over cross-state rival Iowa's No. 8 Jessman Smith, with a 22-6 technical fall at 6:16. Sanderson runs his win streak to 117. No. 4 Victor Sveda of Indiana came from behind to score a third-period near fall to defeat unseeded and unexpected Scott Justus of Virginia Tech. In a Bedlam Series rematch, No. 3 Daniel Cormier of Oklahoma State continued to dominate Josh Lembrecht of Oklahoma, blasting him in a 16-4 victory. An upset occurred in the other pairing, when No. 7 Andy Hrovat of Michigan won a tiebreaker over No. 2 Nate Patrick of Illinois. Patrick was on the bottom during the 30-second tiebreaker, but Hrovat used a crab ride to hold Patrick to the mat for the victory. 197 pounds - Upsets continue to dominate this weight division, as the defending NCAA champion was defeated and the semifinal pairings are unexpected. The only high seed remaining is No. 1 Mark Munoz of Oklahoma State who edged No. 9 Nick Preston of Ohio State, 4-3. No. 5 Owen Elzen of Minnesota scored key team points with a comeback 6-4 win over unseeded Babak Nejadmaghaddam of Cal-State Fullerton. No. 11 Mike Fickell of Pennsylvania defeated EIWA rival and unseeded Rick Romero of Rutgers faces in an EIWA showdown. Big Ten champion and No. 7 Pat Quirk of Illinois continued his torrid wrestling with an 8-4 win over No. 2 Brad Vering of Nebraska, the defending NCAA champion. Heavyweight - Three of the four top seeds advanced, in a series of close battles. No. 1 Garrett Lowney of Minnesota, the freshman Olympic star, moved on with a 3-2 win over No. 9 Leonce Crump of Oklahoma. No. 4 John Lockkart of Illinois edged No. 5 Matt Brink of Michigan, again by a 3-2 decision. One of the bouts went to overtime, where No. 6 Paul Hynek of Northern Iowa scored a takedown to defeat No. 3 Antonio Garay of Boston College, 5-3. No. 2 Tommy Rowlands of Ohio State fell behind to No. 7 Billy Blunt of Fresno State early by a 3-2 margin, but scored backpoints late in the match for a 7-4 win. The semifinals will feature three Big Ten wrestlers, providing fans a chance for some exciting rematch possibilities. The team race came into better focus after this round, as the question about how many teams would be in the hunt was answered. Early in the session, after their strong lightweights came through, Iowa took the team lead, much to the delight of the fans. However, as the big boys came through for the other major rivals, the landscape changed. At the end of heavyweight during the quarterfinal round, Minnesota was in first with 87 points, with Oklahoma State at 74.5 points and Iowa in third with 65 points. Illinois jumped to fourth with 55 points, followed by Oklahoma at 45 points. The pre-event question about whether it would be a three- or six-horse race was answered. At this time, it looks like the Big Three will be able to move ahead of the pack. The next question that will be asked is whether or not Minnesota
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