EVANSTON, Ill. – Lorenzo Thomas was the top seed entering the 2014 Midlands Championships, and wrestled his way to the championship match, leading a pair of placewinners for the Quakers at the tournament.
Penn's two placewinners give the Quakers multiple podium finishes at Midlands for the ninth time in 13 trips to the event. As a team, the Quakers finished 14th overall with 37.0 points -- Penn's highest finish at Midlands since a 13th place finish in 2004.
In the title match, Thomas struggled to gain any momentum against No. 2 seed Jack Dechow of Old Dominion. Dechow scored two takedowns in the first period – both via double leg attacks – and built a 4-1 lead after the first frame. In the second period, Dechow escaped and added a third double leg takedown for a 7-2 lead. Thomas closed the gap in the third period, escaping and pushing the issue to draw two penalty points via Dechow’s stalling, but a late hip toss from Dechow sent Thomas to his back and the five-point move denied Thomas from becoming Penn’s third Midlands champion.
Lorenzo Thomas became Penn’s 10th all-time finalist at Midlands with a 7-5 victory over North Dakota State’s No. 4 seed Hayden Zillmer. Thomas trailed early, conceding the first takedown to Zillmer – ranked No. 10 in the country. Thomas would rally before the close of the period, though, getting an escape and finishing a scramble for a takedown and a 3-2 lead after the opening period. After a Zillmer escape in the second period, Thomas built on his lead with a second takedown off an upper-body lock and inside trip. The third period started with a Thomas escape, but Zillmer would close the gap with a takedown midway through the period. Zillmer would allow Thomas to escape, needing more takedowns, but Thomas would defend in the final fifteen seconds to reach his first Midlands final.
Thomas picked up bonus points in his first two matches, pinning Jake Masengale of Indiana in the first period and scoring a major decision over Southern Oregon’s Ryan McWalters to reach the quarterfinals, but needed extra time to move on to the semis.
In the quarterfinals, Thomas fell behind in the first period against No. 8 seed Vic Avery of Edinboro after a first period takedown, but Thomas was able to earn a stall warning against Avery before the first period ran out – a warning which would come into play later in the match. In the second period, Thomas would pick up one point via an escape, closing the match to 2-1. The third period saw Thomas get to work on top, draining Avery’s riding time and building a base of his own. Along the way, Thomas would draw a second stall warning on Avery – and the resulting penalty point to tie the match. In the final ten seconds, Avery would escape, but the riding time point for Thomas would send the match to sudden victory. In overtime, Thomas took a shot and would win the ensuing scramble 37 seconds into the extra period for the deciding points.
Penn’s other quarterfinalist was No. 5 seed C.J. Cobb at 149 pounds. Cobb won his first two matches of the day, knocking off Southern Oregon’s Tyler Cowger, 13-4, for a major decision and edging Wisconsin’s Andrew Crone, 6-4. In the quarterfinals, Cobb met No. 4 seed Brody Grothus of Iowa. Cobb scored the first takedown of the match early in the second period, but a takedown late in that period and riding time for Grothus was the difference in a 5-2 decision.
In Tuesday’s Round of 12, Cobb would meet the No. 3 seed, Richard Durso of Franklin & Marshall. Neither wrestler was able to score offensive points in regulation, forcing overtime. After a period of sudden victory, Durso reversed Cobb to his back in the tiebreakers, and the All-American from last season held off Cobb in the second period of tiebreaker for a 5-3 decision.
No. 11 seed Caleb Richardson made it three Penn wrestlers competing in Day Two of the Midlands Championships after his 3-1 performance on Day One. He started his second day of action with an overtime win against Maryland’s No. 5 seed Geoffrey Alexander, 3-1. In sudden victory, Richardson would finish a takedown on the No. 11-ranked wrestler in the country for the deciding points.
The consolation semifinals would see Richardson match up with No. 9 seed and No. 16 in the country, Ryan Taylor of Wisconsin. Taylor recorded a takedown in each period, salting the match away with a late takedown after countering a Richardson shot attempt, and Richardson was defeated, 7-3.
In the seventh place match, Richardson scored the first takedown against No. 12 seed Dominick Malone of Northwestern, but the host’s wrestler came back with a takedown before the end of the first and another in the second to take a 6-2 lead into the third period. Richardson would escape and score a takedown in the third period, closing the gap but unable to find the tying score in a 7-5 defeat.
Richardson built a lead and held on in his first match of the tournament, defeating South Dakota State’s Ben Gillette, 9-6. In the second round, he was behind No. 6 Danny Sabatello of Purdue, 1-0, in the third period, but lost an upper-body tie and was taken to his back for five late points in a 6-0 decision. Richardson would battle back, though, with two wins in the wrestlebacks. First, he dominated Ivy League foe Angelo Amenta of Columbia. 10-3, and he finished his day with a gutty 2-1 win over Illinois freshman No. 14 Jered Cortez.
133 lbs. – #11 Caleb Richardson (Eighth Place)
First Round: def. Ben Gillette (South Dakota St.), 9-6
Second Round: lost to #6 Danny Sabatello (Purdue), 6-0
Consolation Third Round: def. Angelo Amenta (Columbia), 10-3
Consolation Fourth Round: def. #14 Jered Cortex (Illinois), 2-1
Round of 12: def. #5 Geoffrey Alexander (Maryland), 3-1 SV
Consolation Quarterfinals: lost to #9 Ryan Taylor (Wisconsin), 7-3
Seventh Place Match: lost to #12 Dominick Malone (Northwestern), 7-5
141 lbs. – #11 Jeff Canfora
First Round: def. Clayton Cathey (North Dakota State), 10-2
Second Round: lost to #6 Steven Rodriques (Illinois), 12-3
Consolation Third Round: lost to Topher Carton (Iowa), 9-7
141 lbs. – Andrew Lenzi
Pigtail Round: lost to Topher Carton (Iowa), FALL 1:15
Consolation First Round: lost to Brock Ervin (Illinois), 12-4
149 lbs. – #5 C.J. Cobb
First Round: def. Tyler Cowger (Southern Oregon), 13-4
Second Round: def. Andrew Crone (Wisconsin), 6-4
Quarterfinals: lost to #4 Brody Grothus (Iowa), 5-2
Round of 12: lost to #3 Richard Durso (F&M), 5-3 TB1
157 lbs. – #8 May Bethea
Pigtail Round: def. Dustin Schultz (Purdue), 11-8
First Round: lost to Chris Perez (Princeton), 5-2
Consolation First Round: lost to Brooks Martino (Penn), 10-5
157 lbs. – Brooks Martino
Pigtail Round: lost to Doug Welch (Purdue), 6-3
Consolation First Round: def. #8 May Bethea (Penn), 10-5
Consolation Second Round: def. Dalton Urrutia (Southern Oregon), FALL 2:49
Consolation Third Round: lost to Alex Gregory (Indiana), 8-6
174 lbs. – Joe Heyob
First Round: lost to #6 Johnny Sebastian (Northwestern), 7-5 SV
Consolation First Round: lost to Austin Coburn (Old Dominion), 6-2
174 lbs. – Brad Wukie
First Round: lost to Ryan Wolfe (Rider), 8-4
Consolation First Round: lost to Trace Engelkes (Northern Illinois), 15-0
184 lbs. - #1 Lorenzo Thomas(Second Place)
First Round: def. Jake Masengale (Indiana) FALL 2:30
Second Round: def. Ryan McWalters (Southern Oregon), 12-3
Quarterfinals: def. #8 Vic Avery (Edinboro), 5-3 SV
Semifinals: def. #4 Hayden Zillmer (North Dakota St.), 7-5
Championship Match: lost to #2 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion), 13-5
197 lbs. – Canaan Bethea
First Round: lost to #3 Abe Ayala (Princeton), 6-5
Consolation First Round: lost to #4 Patrick Downey (Iowa Central), 10-7