Oklahoma City, Okla. Three Quakers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Ford Center. Juniors Matt Valenti and Matt Herrington and freshman Matt Dragon scored bonus points in their wins with a fall, major decision and technical fall, respectively.
Valenti was taken down by Brandon Strong in the first period but quickly scored the reversal and showed the Air Force grappler his own offense in the win by fall. Valenti scored six points in the first stanza and added a takedown and escape in the second to take a 9-3 lead. In the third, Strong chose bottom and Valenti turned him for nearfall points and pinned him in 5:45. Valenti will meet up with Harvard’s Robbie Preston in the second round. The two met in the EIWA finals two weeks ago, Valenti won 4-2 in overtime.
Dragon came out on fire in his first match at 149 pounds against Jeff Owens of Cal Poly. The rookie scored a takedown and two three-point nearfalls, then turned him two more times in the first stanza for two back points and three-nearfall points. Holding a 13-0 lead heading into the second and the riding time point secured, Dragon needed only one tilt to get the technical fall and win his first NCAA match, 16-0. Dragon will meet No. 5 seed Mark Disalvo of Central Michigan in the second round.
Herrington defeated Alex Maciag of North Carolina, 16-4, in his first match at 174 pounds. Herrington scored three takedowns and two-nearfall points in the first period and added an escape and a takedown in the second to take an 11-3 lead. He added two more takedowns in the third and riding time to earn the major decision. Herrington will meet a familiar face in No. 5 seed Michael Patrovich of Hofstra in the second round.
At 141 pounds, freshman Cesar Grajales won his first NCAA championship match in the pigtails, defeating All-American Cassio Pero of Illinois, 6-3. After a scoreless first period, Pero escaped from bottom to take the lead. Grajales scored the first takedown , but Pero escaped to tie the match heading into the third. Grajales escaped from the bottom position and scored another takedown to secure the match. Pero escaped to make it 6-3 before the buzzer sounded. That win set up a bout with No. 5 seed Brandon Radar of West Virginia. Radar took the early lead, but Grajales kept it close heading into the second down 4-2. But a strong second period and a pin in the third sent Grajales to the consolation round. Grajales will take on Dewitt Driscoll of Penn State in the pigtail consolations.
In the first round at 125 pounds, senior Mike Silengo fell to No. 3 seed and defending national champion Joe Dubuque of Indiana, 5-2. After a scoreless first period, Dubuque scored a reversal to start the second, but Silengo escaped to head into the third down 2-1. The two grapplers started the third in the neutral position and Dubuque got a takedown and secured riding time for the 5-2 win.
Senior Dustin Wiles faced No. 10 seed Camargo of Kent State in a pigtail match at 184. Wiles fell behind early and lost 9-4.
125 Mike Silengo
Lost to No. 3 seed Joe Dubuque (Indiana) D; 5-2
133 No. 6 seed Matt Valenti
Def. Brandon Strong (Air Force) F; 5:45
141 Cesar Grajales
Def. Cassio Pero (Illinois) D; 6-3
Lost to No. 5 seed Brandon Rada (West Virginia) F, 5:24
149 No. 12 seed Matt Dragon
Def. Jeff Owens (Cal Poly) TF, 16-0 (3:16)
174 No. 12 seed Matt Herrington
Def. Alex Maciag (North Carolina) MD; 16-4
184 Dustin Wiles
Lost to No. 10 seed Alex Camargo (Kent State) D; 9-4