Freshman Micah Burak won his first bout at the NCAA Championships, downing Buffalo's James Hamel in a grinding match that went to a second tiebreaker. Burak was able to escape in the second tiebreaker and rode Hamel for the full 30 seconds for a 6-5 win. Hamel had scored first and led 3-1 midway through the match, but Burak scored a takedown in the second and then escaped right at the start of the third to tie the match. After a scoreless sudden victory period, both men escaped in the first tiebreaker. Each wrestler had a good shot in the second sudden victory, but couldn't finish. Burak was able to escape at 10:13 to get the winning point, making it stand up with a well-worked ride out in the final tiebreaker.
In his second round match, Burak matched up with a familiar foe, Cornell's No. 4 Cam Simaz. The two had three matches already this season and all three were extremely close. This time, however, the NCAA veteran Simaz had the decided advantage. He came up with five takedowns, three of which came in the final period to blow open a 5-2 match and advance. Burak drops down to the wrestlebacks and will take on Ohio State's Cody Magrum.
Scott Giffin came back from a first-round loss to No. 2 Jay Borschel of Iowa to defeat Cal Poly's Ryan DesRoches, 11-4, in a consolation match. Giffin lost to Borschel, 7-1, to start the tournament, but was the aggressor most of the match. Giffin was able to get shots in frequently, but had trouble getting Borschel to give in. With Borschel ahead 3-1 in the third period, Giffin appeared to have a takedown to tie the match, getting Borschel to his backside but the call was not made, turning the tide of the bout. Borschel capitalized for a takedown of his own and the win.
In his next bout, Giffin put together a seven-point third period to pull away from DesRoches. With the score tied, 4-4, Giffin escaped at 5:31 to take the lead. Then, at 5:59, he took DesRoches to his back for a five-point move, locking a cradle fro three backpoints. Giffin will wrestle Michigan's Justin Zeerip Friday morning. Earlier this season, Giffin defeated Zeerip, 6-3.
Senior Cesar Grajales came back from a 6-3 loss to No. 3 Kyle Terry of Oklahoma in the first round to beat Michael Kessler of Rider, 6-3. In the opener, Grajales had an early lead on a low single at 1:26, but Terry rallied to take a 3-2 lead after one. In the third, Grajales closed the match to 4-3 with an escape, but his last-ditch shot off a restart with nine seconds left was countered to a takedown at the buzzer by Terry.
In the wrestlebacks, after a scoreless first period, Kessler took the lead with an escape at 3:25. Grajales countered with a takedown at 3:57, shugging aside a Kessler shot and scoring with a go-behind. Kessler escaped quickly after the takedown to send the match to the third tied. In the third, Grajales escaped at 5:05 to take the lead. At 5:57, Grajales scored another takedown, this time on the edge of the mat after finally gaining enough control to get the signal from the ref. Kessler got out at 6:38, but that was all and Grajales moves on in the consolation rounds. His opponent tomorrow morning will be Bucknell's Kevin LeValley, the ninth seed in the tournament who was defeated in the second round. Last year at the EIWA Championships, Grajales defeated LeValley, 4-2.
The fourth Penn wrestler to survive and advance on Thursday was Bryan Ortenzio. In his opening match, Ortenzio was defeated by No. 8 Tyler Graff of Wisconsin, 16-6. Ortenzio bounced back with a 4-2 win over Purdue's Akif Eren. Ortenzio pounced in the first with a low double at 1:20 and rode out the rest of the period. He added an escape point at 3:08, carrying a 3-0 lead to the third. Eren scored a reversal at 6:05, but couldn't come up with a tilt. Ortenzio moves on to wrestle William Ashnault of Rutgers Friday morning. Two weeks ago at the EIWA Championships, Ortenzio defeated Ashnault, 2-0.
The two wrestlers eliminated one Day One were Zack Kemmerer and Gabriel Burak. Kemmerer held a 2-0 lead on CSU-Bakersfield's Elijah Nacita late in their first-round match, but Nacita scored three backpoints in the final 10 seconds and added riding time for a 4-2 win. In the wrestlebacks, Kemmerer was downed by Missouri's Todd Schavrien, 13-9.
Gabriel Burak was defeated by Maryland's Josh Asper, 5-1, in the first round. Asper scored the opening takedown at 0:55 and was efficient on top for 3:45 of riding time. In the consolation round, Burak ran into two-time All-America Nick Marable of Missouri, the three seed who was upset in the first round. Marable was too much for Burak, pulling away for an 18-3 technical fall.
Wrestling starts tomorrow at 10 a.m. CST.
Download: NCAA Day One Final Brackets.pdf