Session Recaps: I - II- III
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. For the second year in a row, Matt Valenti will wrestle for the NCAA title at 133 pounds.
The Penn senior earned a 4-2 decision over Cal Poly’s Darrell Vasquez to advance to Saturday night’s final. His opponent will be Oklahoma State’s Coleman Scott, who upset top-seeded Nick Simmons of Michigan State, 4-3. Valenti beat Scott, 5-4, in their meeting at the NWCA All-Star Classic in November.
The finals will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday and will air live on ESPN.
The celebration did not last long for the Quakers, however. Moments after Valenti’s victory, Matt Herrington, wrestling Michigan’s Steve Luke in the consolations for the right to be an All-America, suffered an ankle injury and was forced to forfeit his match.
Valenti scored first with a quick body shot into a takedown 31 seconds in, and Vasquez was out for one 43 seconds later. Valenti chose down for the second and escaped quickly to take a 3-1 lead. Vasquez nearly reversed and turned Valenti, but he was saved by the circle early in the third. Off the restart, Vasquez escaped for a point, but not before Valenti accumulated 1:13 of riding time.
“This is a very big win for me,” Valenti said after the match. “Vasquez is a great wrestler who had been overlooked all year.”
Valenti now has a chance to become Penn’s second two-time champion and the first in 65 years, since Dick DiBatista did it in 1941 and 1942.
But the second time around, he explained, isn’t necessarily easier.
“The only difference was the starting position [with a higher seed]. I haven’t approached this any differently than any other tournament. Last year will help, but at the same time, it’s just another match. It’s just two guys out in the circle.”
Full Results Through Session IV (seedings in brackets)
R1 Steve Mytych (Drexel) def.  Matt Eveleth; D, 5-0
C1 Marcos Orozco (UC-Davis) def.  Matt Eveleth; D, 8-3
R1  Matt Valenti def. Bobby Pfennigs (Oregon State); D, 6-2
R2  Matt Valenti def. Andrae Hernandez (Indiana); D, 9-3
QF  Matt Valenti def.  Mack Reiter (Minnesota); D, 4-0
SF  Matt Valenti def.  Darrell Vasquez (Cal Poly); D, 4-2
R1 -  Trent Paulson (Iowa State) def. Matt Dragon; F, 3:32
C1 Ryan Morningstar (Iowa) def. Matt Dragon; D, 5-4
R1 Zack Shanaman def. Ryan Meyer (South Dakota State); D, 5-1
R2  Mark Perry (Iowa) def. Zack Shanaman; F, 1:53
C2  Johnny Galloway (Northern Illinois) def. Zack Shanaman; D, 6-4
R1  Matt Herrington def.Alex Dolly (Northern Iowa); F, 6:07
R2  Matt Herrington def. Joshua Weitzel (Oklahoma); D, 6-4
QF  Keith Gavin (Pitt) def.  Matt Herrington; D, 9-5
C4  Steve Luke (Michigan) def.  Matt Herrington; Inj. Def.
R1  Jake Varner (Iowa State) def. Lior Zamir; D, 5-0
C1  John Dergo (Illinois) def. Lior Zamir; D, 2-1