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Griffith over No. 1 Marinelli biggest upset amongst numerous surprising results in Session 4 of the 2021 NCAA Championships

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

Feature photo courtesy of John Sachs.

St. Louis, Mo. - While the first half of the quarterfinals provided only one upset in Session 3, the upper-weight matches in Session 4 were chock-full of unexpected outcomes at the 2021 NCAA Championships

At 165 pounds, Stanford’s eighth-seeded Shane Griffith took out No. 1 Alex Marinelli of Iowa, 3-1, in sudden victory. Griffith went 28-0 last season as a redshirt freshman, earning First Team NWCA All-American status. He only had one loss in 2021, falling to Arizona State’s Anthony Valencia, 7-1, in the Pac 12 finals.

Griffith, while happy with the victory, gave himself some tough critique in his post-match interview.

“Not my most proficient match. He kind of controlled it a little too much on his feet, and it was hard for me to get to stuff. But I knew if he got in, I just had to capitalize on it. In sudden victory, in my opinion, it comes down to a lot of heart. Just wanting it,” he said.

Stanford announced in July that they were cutting 11 sports programs including wrestling following the 2021 season. It’s something that Griffith is cognizant of as he wrestles his way through this tournament.

“We’re all just trying to come out and show the university they messed up with their decision. This is the biggest stage we could do it on. Hopefully we get some All-Americans and finish this weekend strong just to kind of put a blemish on their decision,” he stated.

In the semifinals, Griffith will face No. 5 Zach Hartman of Bucknell. Hartman received a medical forfeit over 2019 NCAA champion Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech, who aggravated an injury during his quarterfinal match.

On the other side of the 165 pounds bracket, No. 7 Ethan Smith of Ohio State earned a 13-4 major decision over No. 2 Anthony Valencia of Arizona State. Towards the end of match, it appeared that Valencia suffered an injury, and he had to be helped to the tunnel by the Arizona State staff after coming off the mat.

In the semifinals, Smith will see No. 3 Jake Wentzel of Pittsburgh. Wentzel defeated Missouri freshman Keegan O’Toole, 9-6, in the quarterfinals.

At 174 pounds, Cal Poly’s No. 12 Bernie Truax pulled a big upset over Nebraska’s No. 4 Mikey Labriola, 4-2. In the previous round, Truax downed Michigan’s No. 5 Logan Massa, 3-1, in sudden victory. Waiting for him in the semifinals is top-seeded Michael Kemerer of Iowa. Kemerer picked up his third bonus point victory of the tournament with a 13-4 major decision over No. 8 Daniel Bullard of NC State.

Utah Valley’s Demetrius Romero became the fourth All-American in program history just a round after Taylor LaMont became their,semifinals. Starocci earned a 6-3 decision over No. 6 Andrew McNally of Kent State in his quarterfinal match.

Two freshman on opposite sides of the bracket made the quarterfinals at 184 pounds. No. 4 Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa won in sudden victory over Virginia Tech’s No. 5 Hunter Bolen. Keckeisen, who is undefeated on the year, will face No. 1 seed Aaron Brooks of Penn State in the semifinals. The other freshman to advance was No. 6 John Poznanski of Rutgers. Poznanski upended No. 3 Lou DePrez of Binghamton, 8-4. He will face NC State’s No. 2 Trent Hidlay in the semifinals. Hidlay’s older brother Hayden is also in the semifinals at 157 pounds for NC State.

No. 26 Jake Woodley of Oklahoma is the lowest seeded wrestler to make the semifinals. Woodley picked up an 8-3 decision over No. 15 Michael Beard of Penn State in the 197 pound quarterfinals. Woodley will face Pittsburgh’s No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi in the semifinals. Bonaccorsi knocked off Arizona State’s No. 3 Kordell Norfleet, 4-1, in the quarterfinals. On the other side of the 197 pound bracket, freshman AJ Ferrari of Oklahoma State scored a 3-2 victory over Iowa’s No. 5 Jacob Warner. Ferrari, the No. 4 seed, will see No. 1 Myles Amine of Michigan in the semifinals.

Iowa has yet to relinquish the lead in the team race since they took control in the first session of the tournament. They are comfortably in the driver’s seat with five wrestlers in the semifinals, including No. 5 seed Tony Cassioppi at 285 pounds. Cassioppi picked up a 4-1 decision over Arizona State’s No. 4 Cohlton Schultz, a Cadet Greco-Roman World champion and Junior World silver medalist, in the quarterfinals. Next round he will see Minnesota’s Gable Steveson, the No. 1 seed at heavyweight. Steveson bested Penn State’s No. 9 Greg Kerkvliet in the quarterfinals, 9-4. It was his first match of the season he did not score bonus points in.

No. 6 seed Gannon Gremmel of Iowa State topped No. 12 seed Trent Hillger on the other side of the bracket in tiebreakers, 2-1. Gremmel will square off with No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan, who has earned bonus points in all three matches this tournament including a 14-4 quarterfinal major decision over Rider’s No. 7 Ethan Laird.

The semifinals begin at 7 p.m. CST.

2021 NCAA Div. I Championships

At St. Louis, Mo

Team scores after Session 4 (Top 16 Teams)
1. Iowa 73.5
2. Penn State 57.5
3. Oklahoma State 51.0
4. NC State 46.0
5. Missouri 40.0
6. Michigan 35.0
7. Ohio State 33.0
8. Arizona State 31.5
8. Minnesota 31.5
10. Rutgers 27.0
11. Pittsburgh 26.5
12. Iowa State 25.5
13. Northwestern 22.5
14. Virginia Tech 21.5
15. North Carolina 20.5
15. Utah Valley 20.5

Semifinal Pairings

125 pounds

No. 1. Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. No. 4 Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan)
No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) vs. No. 7 Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley)

133 pounds
No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 4 Austin DeSanto (Iowa)
No. 3 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech) vs. No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State)

141 pounds
No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) vs. No. 4 Tariq Wilson (NC State)
No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) vs. No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State)

149 pounds
No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) vs. No. 4 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State)
No. 3 Brock Mauller (Missouri) vs. No. 2 Austin O’Connor (North Carolina)

157 pounds
No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) vs. No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider)
No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State)vs. No. 2 Hayden Hidlay (NC State)

165 pounds
No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford) vs. No. 5 Zach Hartman (Bucknell)
No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh) vs. No. 7 Ethan Smith (Ohio State)

174 pounds
No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. No. 12 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly)
No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State) vs. No. 2 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley)

184 pounds
No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) vs. No. 4 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa)
vs. No. 2 Trent Hidlay (NC State) vs. No. 6 John Poznanski (Rutgers)

197 pounds
No. 1 Myles Amine (Michigan) No. 4 AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State)
No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) vs. No. 26 Jake Woodley (Oklahoma)

285
No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs. No. 5 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa)
No. 6 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State) vs. No. 2 Mason Parris

Quarterfinals Results

125 pounds
No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) MD No. 9 Devin Schroder (Purdue), 10-2
No. 4 Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan) DEC No. 5 Brody Teske (Northern Iowa), 4-2 (SV-1)
No. 3Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) DEC No. 6 Jakob Camacho (NC State), 4-2
No. 7 Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley) DEC No. 2 Sam Latona (Virginia Tech), 7-4

133 pounds
No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) FALL No. 8 Chris Cannon (Northwestern), 5:10
No. 4 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) MD No. 5 Micky Phillippi (Pittsburgh), 13-5
No. 3 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech) DEC No. 6 Matt Schmitt (Missouri), 1-0
No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) DEC No. 10 Louie Hayes (Virginia), 4-1

141 pounds
No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) FALL No. 9 Dresden Simon (Central Michigan), 3:49
No. 4 Tariq Wilson (NC State) DEC No. 21 Real Woods (Stanford), 3-1
No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) DEC No. 6 Allan Hart (Missouri), 7-3
No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State) MD No. 10 Zach Sherman (UNC), 11-3

149 pounds
No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) DEC No. 25 Yahya Thomas (Northwestern), 8-3
No. 4 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State) DEC No. 12 Max Murin (Iowa), 6-4 (SV-1)
No. 3 Brock Mauller (Missouri) DEC No. 6 Bryce Andonian (Virginia Tech), 8-3
No. 2 Austin O’Connor (North Carolina) DEC No. 7 Jonathan Millner (App State), 5-2

157 pounds
No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) DEC No. 8 Jared Franek (North Dakota State), 5-4
No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider) DEF No. 12 Brady Berge (Penn State), INJ 2:39
No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) vs. No. 6 Brayton Lee (Minnesota), 4-2 (SV-1)
No. 2 Hayden Hidlay (NC State) FALL No. 23 Jacob Wright (Wyoming), 2:33

165 pounds
No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford) DEC No. 1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa), 3-1 (SV-1)
No. 5 Zach Hartman (Bucknell) vs. No. 4 Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech), MFF
No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh) DEC No. 6 Keegan O’Toole (Missouri), 9-6
No. 7 Ethan Smith (Ohio State) MD No. 2 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State), 13-4

174 pounds
No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) MD No. 8 Daniel Bullard, 13-4
No. 12 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly) DEC No. 4 Mikey Labriola (Nebraska), 4-2
No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State) DEC No. 6 Andrew McNally (Kent State), 6-3
No. 2 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley) DEC No. 7 Kaleb Romero (Ohio State), 6-0

184 pounds
No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) DEC No. 8 Taylor Venz (Nebraska), 9-4
No. 4 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) DEC No. 5 Hunter Bolen (Virginia Tech), 4-2 (SV-2)
No. 6 John Poznanski (Rutgers) DEC No. 3 No. 3 Lou DePrez (Binghamton), 8-4
No. 2 Trent Hidlay (NC State) DEC No. 7 Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois), 3-1

197 pounds
No. 1 Myles Amine (Michigan) DEC No. 8 Stephen Buchanan (Wyoming), 7-6
No. 4 AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State) DEC No. 5 Jacob Warner (Iowa), 3-2
No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) DEC No. 3 Kordell Norfleet (Arizona State), 4-1
No. 26 Jake Woodley (Oklahoma) DEC No. 15 Michael Beard (Penn State), 8-3

285 pounds
No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) DEC No. 9 Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State), 9-4
No. 5 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa) DEC No. 4 Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State), 4-1
No. 6 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State) DEC No. 4 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin), 2-1 (TB-1)
No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan) MD No. 7 Ethan Laird (Rider), 14-4

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