, Muskogee, OK

March 21, 2013

OSU sitting pretty after first day of national tournament; OU ninth

Phoenix wire reports

— DES MOINES, Iowa – Cornell’s Kyle Dake joked that he wasn’t even aware of rival David Taylor’s results.

No one believed him.

Dake, the three-time NCAA champion, remained on course for a final showdown with Taylor, the 2012 Hodge Trophy winner, after the opening matches Thursday in the NCAA wrestling championships.

“Did he win his first match?” Dake joked. “Mainly focused on who I have, what the next step is.”

But it’s Taylor and the two-time defending champion Penn State Nittany Lions with the edge heading into the quarterfinals.

The Nittany Lions went 6 for 6 in the second round and lead the meet with 32.5 points. Oklahoma State was second with 29 points and seven quarterfinalists.

Minnesota was third with 24, followed by Iowa with 22.

“It was a good day. We had to kind of fight out a couple tough matches at some weights that we didn’t expect, but that’s what you have to do in this tournament,” coach John Smith said. “Not everything goes right, and for us, we were kind of gritty in some of those tougher matches. I thought we wrestled better tonight. As you advance, you know you’re wrestling tougher people. I like what I saw out of my three guys (in the wrestlebacks).”

Dake’s bid for to become the third wrestler with four NCAA titles – and the first in four weight classes – got off to a sluggish start.

Ohio State’s Mark Martin, who entered the tournament at 17-16, kept it 0-0 through two periods. But Dake opened the final frame with an escape and scored a takedown for a 3-0 win.

Dake finished with a 10-0 win over Indiana’s Ryan Leblanc.

“I feel pretty good conditioning wise. I feel healthy,” Dake said. “Guys are having really game plans when they wrestle me. It makes it tough but, a win is a win.”

But it looks as though nobody might catch OSU heavyweight Alan Gelogaev anyway. He pinned both of his first two opponents – in just a total of 52 seconds.

The championships continue today with the quarter and semifinals, setting up a Saturday night finals for all 10 weight classes.

“Thursday is just kind of for show when it comes to the team points because the big points are scored tomorrow,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “There are some big matches (Friday) that will make a difference so we need to be ready for them.”

OU in ninth after Day One

The University of Oklahoma wrestling team sits in ninth place with 13.0 points after the first full day of wrestling. Two Sooners advanced in the championship bracket following the second session in Cody Brewer and Kendric Maple, while two dropped into the wrestleback bracket in Nick Lester and Bubby Graham. Additionally, Matt Lester stayed alive in wrestleback action.Brewer continued to shine in his NCAA debut with an 11-2 major decision over No. 9 Northern Iowa’s Levi Wolfensberger. The two faced off earlier this year in OU’s dual against UNI, where Brewer clinched his first of two victories over Wolfensberger with 13-9 major decision.

Friday, Brewer - the No. 8 seed at 133 pounds - tallied the 10th major decision of his career and pulled together another dominant performance against Wolfensberger in the second session of NCAA action.

The redshirt freshman was first on the board with a takedown, and added another to Wolfensberger’s escape to lead 4-1 after the first three minutes of action. In the second period he continued his success as he blanked the Panther, and added four points of his own to lead 8-1 and essentially clinch the victory. Brewer secured his ticket to the third round in the championship bracket in the final two minutes of regulation with another takedown and riding time to earn the 11-2 victory.

No. 2 Maple followed his young teammate’s lead with a thrilling performance over Northern Iowa’s Joey Lazor. He quickly added a takedown to lead 2-0 early on, but it wasn’t long until he secured his 28th win of the season, remained undefeated throughout his redshirt junior campaign and earned a ticket to the third session of the championship bracket, with a fall in 2:41.

Maple’s pin over Lazor marked the 25th pin and 99th win of his career. Just one victory in tomorrow’s third round action, and he’ll have reached the historic century marker in the win column.