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Four pins highlight 2021 NCAA Championships semifinals session

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

Feature photo of Mason Parris pinning Iowa State's Gannon Gremmel courtesy of Sam Janicki.

St. Louis, Mo. – Session 5 of the 2021 NCAA Championships did not leave fans wanting for action. 20% of the semifinal matches ended in pins. Iowa’s Jaydin Eierman, Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso, Rider’s Jesse Dellavecchia and Michigan’s Mason Parris all punched their tickets to the NCAA finals in style, bringing the fans fortunate enough to be in attendance to their feet.

Top-seeded Eierman, one of three Iowa finalists, came out on top in a scramble against NC State’s No. 4 Tariq Wilson in the 141 pound semifinal, cranking him over for the fall at 2:59. Eierman also won his quarterfinal match by fall over No. 9 Dresden Simon of Central Michigan. On the other side of the bracket, Penn State’s No. 2 Nick Lee defeated No. 3 Sebastian Rivera of Rutgers, 9-3, in a rematch of the Big Ten semifinals. Eierman and Lee actually clashed in the Big Ten finals two weeks ago as well, with Eierman notching a 6-5 decision.

Shortly after Eierman’s pin, Ohio State’s top-seeded Sammy Sasso earned a fall with a nearside cradle in the 149 semifinals, sticking Oklahoma State’s No. 4 Boo Lewallen. Sasso’s finals opponent will be North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor, the first Tar Heel to reach the NCAA finals since 1996. O’Connor, the No. 2 seed, defeated Missouri’s No. 3 Brock Mauller, 2-1, in tiebreakers.

Perhaps the most unexpected pin of the session and certainly the most historic, came from Rider’s No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia in the 157 pound semifinals. Dellavecchia became Rider’s first NCAA finalist in wrestling when he downed No. 1 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern. Dellavecchia pulled Deakin back into a crab ride before cranking him over for the fall with a half nelson. Iowa State’s No. 3 David Carr emerged from the other side of the bracket with a, 6-4, decision over No. 2 Hayden Hidlay of NC State. David is the son of Nate Carr, a three-time NCAA champion for Iowa State, and will attempt to follow in his father’s footsteps tomorrow night.

The last pin of the night came at heavyweight, where Michigan’s No. 2 Mason Parris continued his dominant tournament, downing No. 6 Gannon Gremmel of Iowa State in 4:02. In four matches, Parris has recorded two pins, a technical fall and a major decision. In the finals, he’ll face a steep challenge in Minnesota’s No. 1 Gable Steveson. Parris fell to Steveson in the Big Ten finals by major decision, 12-4. Steveson rolled over Iowa’s No. 5 Tony Cassioppi, 16-6, in his semifinal.

Iowa currently leads the team race with three finalists and seven All-Americans. At 125 pounds, No. 1 Spencer Lee earned an 11-0 major decision over Central Michigan’s Drew Hildebrandt. He will wrestle No. 3 Brandon Courtney of Arizona State in the finals. Courtney defeated No. 7 Taylor LaMont of Utah Valley, 2-1, in tiebreakers.  The third Hawkeye finalist is Michael Kemerer at 174 pounds. The top-seeded Kemerer defeated No. 12 Bernie Truax of Cal Poly, 8-1. In another Big Ten finals rematch, Kemerer will look to defeat Penn State’s freshman No. 3 Carter Starocci in tomorrow night’s finals. Starocci defeated Utah Valley’s Demetrius Romero, 2-0, in his semifinal. When the pair met in the Big Ten finals, Kemerer walked away with a 7-2 decision.

Penn State sits in second place in the team race with four finalists and six All-Americans. In addition to Lee and Starocci, No. 2 at 133 pounds Roman Bravo-Young and No. 1 at 184 pounds Aaron Brooks will compete for NCAA titles. Bravo-Young defeated Virginia Tech’s No. 3 Korbin Myers, 5-3, in the semifinals. He will battle 2019 NCAA finalist No. 1 Daton Fix of Oklahoma State in the finals. Fix, who downed Iowa’s No. 4 Austin DeSanto, 3-2 in the semifinals, has never wrestled Bravo-Young in college.

Brooks took out Northern Iowa’s previously undefeated freshman No. 4 Parker Keckeisen, 6-4, in his semifinal. On the other side of the bracket, NC State’s No. 2 Trent Hidlay won a nail-biter over true freshman No. 6 John Poznanski of Rutgers, 2-1, in tiebreakers.

Pittsburgh put together a strong showing, earning two NCAA finalists for the first time since 1963. The first Panther to punch their ticket was No. 3 Jake Wentzel at 165 pounds. He defeated Ohio State’s No. 7 Ethan Smith, 4-2, controlling the match from the top position. He will see Stanford’s Shane Griffith in tomorrow night’s finals. Griffith picked up a controlled, 9-2, victory over Bucknell’s Zach Hartman to earn his place in the finals.

No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi won his semifinals match several bouts later at 197 pounds. In a battle of former Pennsylvania high school stars, Bonaccorsi beat Oklahoma’s Jake Woodley, who made a Cinderella run from the No. 26 seed, 4-1. In the finals, he will face Oklahoma State freshman phenom No. 4 AJ Ferrari. In his semifinal, Ferrari downed Michigan’s No. 1 Myles Amine in convincing fashion, 5-1. Oklahoma State currently sits in third place with two finalists and six All-Americans, followed by Arizona State with one finalist and five All-Americans

Tomorrow’s medal round kicks off at 10 a.m. CST, and the finals begin at 6 p.m. CST.

2021 NCAA Div. I Championships
At St. Louis, Mo

Team scores after Session 5 (Top 16 Teams)
1. Iowa 109.0
2. Penn State 94.5
3. Oklahoma State 86.5
4. Arizona State 67.0
5. Michigan 58.5
6. Missouri 56.5
6. NC State 56.5
8. Minnesota 55.5
9. Ohio State 45.5
10. Pittsburgh 40.5
11. Nebraska 33.5
12. Northwestern 33.0
13. Iowa State   32.5
14. Virginia Tech 32.0
15. North Carolina 31.0

Finals Matches
125: No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State)
133: No. 1  Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young
141: No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) vs. No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State)
149: No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) vs. No. 2 Austin O’Connor
157: No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider) vs. No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State)
165: No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford) vs. No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh)
174: No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. No. 2 Carter Starocci (Penn State)
184: No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) vs. No. 3 Trent Hidlay (NC State)
197: No. 4 AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh)
285: No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs. No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan)

Semifinal Results
125 pounds
No. 1. Spencer Lee (Iowa) MD No. 4 Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan), 11-0
No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) DEC No. 7 Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley), 2-1 (TB-1)

133 pounds
No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) DEC No. 4 Austin DeSanto (Iowa), 3-2
No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) DEC No. 3 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech), 5-3

141 pounds
No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) FALL No. 4 Tariq Wilson (NC State), 2:59
No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State) DEC No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers), 9-3

149 pounds
No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) FALL No. 4 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State), 4:01
No. 2 Austin O’Connor (North Carolina) DEC No. 3 Brock Mauller (Missouri), 2-1 (TB-1)

157 pounds
No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider) FALL No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern), 3:18
No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) DEC No. 2 Hayden Hidlay (NC State), 6-4

165 pounds
No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford) DEC No. 5 Zach Hartman (Bucknell), 9-2
No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh) DEC No. 7 Ethan Smith (Ohio State), 4-2

174 pounds
No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) DEC No. 12 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly), 8-1
No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State) DEC No. 2 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley), 2-0

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

197 pounds
No. 4 AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State) DEC No. 1 Myles Amine (Michigan), 5-1
No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) DEC No. 26 Jake Woodley (Oklahoma), 4-1

No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) MD No. 5 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa), 16-6
No. 2 Mason Parris FALL No. 6 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State), 4:02

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. 3  Brandon 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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