Senior Colin Johnston
(141) rebounded in session II after dropping his opening match at the 2014 NCAA Championships. Johnston will face the No. 7-seeded Zach Horan of Central Michigan in session III on March 21.
All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks Photo
Oklahoma City, Okla. –
Senior Colin Johnston
(141) and sophomore A.J. Vizcarrondo
(HWT) of the West Virginia University wrestling team advanced to session III with wins in session II's consolation bracket, tonight.
Freshman Cory Stainbrook
(125) and sophomore Bubba Scheffel
(174) dropped their bouts in sessions I and II, while junior Mike Morales (149) tallied his first victory at the NCAA Championships in the pigtail round of session II before being knocked out of the tournament by Tywan Claxton of Ohio.
“We showed up with one senior and one wrestler with NCAA Championship experience, and we battled from the start,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “Both Cory (Stainbrook) and Mike (Morales) battled close opening matches, but fell short by a few inches. Colin (Johnston) lost to an opponent who is now in the quarterfinals. We just have to win those close matches. Colin came back well to stay alive, as well as A.J. (Vizcarrondo). With everyone but Colin, we can built on this going into next year.”
Johnston tallied his first career win at the NCAA Championships in session II with a 12-5 decision over Illinois' Steven Rodrigues. Johnston shot early, but a scramble to the edge negated the scoring chance. Johnston wasted no time in reloading for another second shot, taking Rodrigues down with less than two minutes to go in the opening period. Johnston turned him for a two-point nearfall before Rodrigues escaped. Leading 4-1 heading into the second, Johnston surrendered an escape and a late takedown that knotted the bout at four. Johnston dominated the third though, escaping, taking Rodrigues to the mat and turning him for two-point nearfall. Leading 9-4, Johnston connected a final time, and with ride time, clinched the 12-5 decision.
Johnston will wrestle Zach Horan of Central Michigan, the No. 7 seed, in session III on Friday, March 21, at 11 a.m. Horan entered the tournament 31-5 this season.
Vizcarrondo advanced to session III with a 2-0 decision over Chattanooga's Dawson Peck in the consolations. Vizcarrondo took the first shot of the bout at the edge of the mat, but Peck scrambled back to neutral before any points were scored. After a scoreless first, the two wrestlers started neutral in the second. Vizcarrondo struck first with a counter on Peck's shot. Leading 2-0, Vizcarrondo rode Peck out for the remainder of the period. Starting from the top position, Peck was unable to score any points in the third, giving Vizcarrondo the 2-0 decision.
Vizcarrondo will match up against the No. 6-seeded Michael McMullen of Northwestern. McMullen went 14-5 this season.
Morales opened the night session in the consolation pigtail with an 8-2 decision over Kevin Birmingham of Davidson for his first career victory at the NCAA Championships. This was the second time this season the two squared off, with Morales taking the first bout in Morgantown, 9-6, on Feb. 7.
Morales connected on an early shot for a two point advantage, and tallied two minutes of ride time, staying on top of Birmingham for the remainder of the first period. Morales started the second on top, holding Birmingham down for 56 seconds before giving up the escape. Leading 2-1, Morales countered Birmingham's shot for a second takedown to extend his lead to 4-1. To start the third, Morales took the down position, with more than three minutes of ride time. Morales escaped midway through the period, and took Birmingham down for a third time to clinch the decision, 8-2.
In his third bout of the day, Morales matched up against Tywan Claxton of Ohio. Morales defeated Claxton back on Feb. 16, 6-4, but was unable to repeat the result, dropping the bout, 4-3. Claxton took the early lead with a takedown, but Morales escaped to cut the deficit to one. Trailing 2-1 to begin the second, Morales started in the down position. He knotted the score with an escape. Morales shot late in the period, but could not gain full control for a takedown before time ran out. With the score tied in the third, Morales got reversed midway through the period to go down 4-2. He escaped with 40 seconds remaining, but could not connect on another shot.
Stainbrook opened the tournament with a 2-1 loss against Rider's Robert Deutsch, who came in as the No. 11 seed. Stainbrook connected on a shot midway through the first, grabbing one of Deutsch's legs. After a scramble, Deutsch was able to eliminate the scoring chance. Stainbrook began the second period on top, holding Deutsch down for 1:24 before being reversed. Stainbrook took the down position to start the final period, nearly reversing Deutsch, but was unable to kick his foot free before the official called them deadlocked. Late the in the period, Stainbrook escaped to bring the score to 2-1, and immediately shot at Deutsch. After a scramble, the two started neutral with eight seconds remaining. Stainbrook would be unable to take Deutsch down, dropping the 2-1 decision.
In session II, Stainbrook matched off against Nick Herrmann of Virginia for the second time this season. Herrmann shot off the start, grabbing one of Stainbrook's legs. After a scramble on the edge of the mat, Stainbrook negated the scoring chance. Herrmann connected on a shot as time ran out in the opening period to take a two-point advantage to the second. Stainbrook began the second on top, but Herrmann escaped and connected on another takedown. With a takedown in the third and riding time, Herrmann defeated Stainbrook for the second time this season, 8-2.
At 141 pounds, Johnston dropped his opening bout against the No. 9-seeded Evan Henderson of North Carolina, 3-0. Johnston connected on a shot and lifted Henderson to the edge of the mat, but was unable to gain control for the takedown. Johnston began the second period on top, recording 21 seconds of riding time before Henderson escaped to the 1-0 lead. In the third period, Henderson connected on shot and brought Johnston down for a 3-0 lead. Henderson held Johnston down for the remainder of the bout.
Morales opened the day in session I against Iowa's No. 13-seeded Brody Grothus, losing the 4-3 decision. Grothus took an early shot, and after a scramble, gained control for the takedown. With under a minute in the period, Morales reversed Grothus to knot the score at two. Morales began on top in the second, but Grothus escaped for the one-point advantage. Morales started the third on bottom, and turned Grothus around, nearly reversing him for a second time before the official called them to the middle for a restart. He escaped with 32 seconds in the period to tie the score, but Grothus held the riding time advantage. Needing a takedown to advance, Morales shot, but was unable to connect.
At 174 pounds, Scheffel was defeated by the No. 3 seed from Nebraska, Robert Kokesh, 10-1, in session I. Scheffel fell behind early, being taken to the mat and ridden out for the rest of first period. The deficit increased after Kokesh earned an escape at the start of the second, and then took Scheffel down once again for a five-point advantage. Scheffel tallied an escape with just more than a minute remaining in the period, but Kokesh connected for two more takedowns and held the ride time advantage.
Scheffel faced off against No. 14 Mark Martin of Ohio State in session II, dropping the decision, 5-3. Scheffel fell behind early, giving up a takedown in the first 30 seconds. Scheffel nearly reversed Martin on the edge of the mat, but was unable to break Martin's grip before officials called a deadlock. Off the restart, Scheffel cut into the deficit with an escape. He began the second period in the down position, quickly knotting the score with an escape. Martin shot and picked Scheffel's leg up to take him down to regain the lead, but Scheffel escaped on the edge of the mat. Scheffel shot of the whistle to start the third, but was unable to secure control. Martin held on with the ride time advantage to seal the bout.
Vizcarrondo fell behind early to No. 5 Bobby Telford of Iowa in session I, giving up a takedown within the first 30 seconds, but quickly somersaulted to the edge of the mat for the escape. Vizcarrondo started the second period in the down position, and was ridden out for the period. Telford took the down position in the third and extended his lead to 3-1 with an escape. Vizcarrondo took a shot late, but Telford countered for a takedown, and with riding time, clinched the decision, 6-1.
After the first two sessions, Penn State leads the team scoring with 26.5 points. Minnesota and Oklahoma State are tied in second with 21.5, while Iowa and Oklahoma round out the top five teams with 20.5.
Session III will begin tomorrow, March 21, at 11 a.m. EST. Full brackets can be found at trackwrestling.com.