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ST. LOUIS – Penn will enter Day Two of the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships with four of five entered wrestlers still in the tournament after an up and down Day One.
The Quakers went 2-3 in the first round, but both No. 11 Micah Burak and unseeded Erich Smith were unable to move on to Friday’s quarterfinals after losses to higher-seeded wrestlers. In the wrestlebacks, seniors Bryan Ortenzio and Zack Kemmerer showed veteran poise to make sure they had to don a singlet at least one more day.
No. 11 seed Micah Burak needed overtime to advance from the first round at 197 pounds, defeating Andrew Campolattano of Ohio State, 5-3. Burak surrendered the first takedown with a minute to go in the first period, but quickly escaped and the evened the match with an escape to start the second period. Campolattano returned the escape point to start the third period, but Burak’s furious pace in the final period led to a pair of stalling calls against the Buckeye wrestler. The second came with 42 seconds left and tied the match, 3-3. Neither man scored the rest of the third period, setting the stage for overtime. Burak took the first shot of sudden victory, but Campolattano defended to a restart. With under 20 seconds to go, Burak pushed Campolattano towards the edge of the mat and was able to easily circle behind and pull the Buckeye to the mat with 16 seconds remaining for the winning points.
In the second round, Burak was downed by No. 6 Brent Haynes of Missouri, 6-0. Burak did his best to dictate the pace in the first period, but allowed a takedown with three seconds left which turned the tide of the match. Burak rode tough in the second period, gaining over one minute of advantage time before a scramble on the edge resulted in a reversal for Haynes. Burak chose neutral for the third period, but could not get in off his Russian tie and a last-ditch lat drop attempt resulted in a final takedown for Haynes.
Penn’s second winner in the first round was unseeded Erich Smith at 184 pounds. Matched up against Kevin Radford of Arizona State, Smith erased an early 2-0 deficit to rally for a 6-4 win. Radford scored 30 seconds in, but Smith escaped quickly to get back into the match with little damage allowed. Towards the end of the first period, Smith locked in a bear hug and threw Radford down, to take a brief lead before Radford escaped to end the period, 3-3. In the second, the only scoring came via a Radford escape, a point Smith equaled with his own escape with 1:20 to go. As time wound down, Smith struck for a low single and finished with :30 second left. He rode Radford out and scored a 6-4 decision to avenge a loss earlier in the season and win his first national tournament match.
Smith scored first on No. 1 seed LeBlanc, with a takedown in the opening minute. However, LeBlanc then came back with a takedown before the end of the first period and two more in the second period to open up an 8-3 lead. Smith chose neutral to start the third, but it was LeBlanc who garnered the takedown and riding time for the 11-3 major decision.
Returning All-American Zack Kemmerer went 1-1 in the morning session, defeated unseeded Evan Henderson of North Carolina, 7-2, in a pigtail bout before losing to No. 6 Boris Novachkov of Cal Poly, 5-1. Kemmerer dominated in his first match, with three takedowns and over two minutes of riding time.
Up against the returning national finalist from 2011 and a two-time All-American in the first round, Kemmerer fell behind, 3-0, after two periods and was countered on a late shot attempt to tie the match en route to a 5-1 loss.
In the night session, Kemmerer avenged his loss to Matt Mariarcher in the EIWA semifinals, defeating the No. 11 seed from American, 4-3. Kemmerer dominated the first period, scoring a takedown at 1:27 and riding out the remainder of the first period. That riding time was the difference in the match as a last-second takedown from Mariarcher tied the score at 3-3, with the riding time point breaking the tie in favor of Kemmerer, 4-3.
No. 12 Bryan Ortenzio was downed on a last-second shot by unseeded Zach Horan of Central Michigan, 5-4, at 133 pounds to halt his run to the title. After a scoreless first period, Ortenzio took a 3-0 lead after two periods on a quick escape and a takedown with :18 to go in the middle stanza. Horan tied the match quickly in the third period, escaping and pouncing for a takedown. Ortenzio escaped with 1:20 remaining in the match, taking a 4-3 lead. Horan initiated a scramble with :30 remaining in the bout, and Ortenzio fought it off for almost the rest of the match before he lost control with two seconds remaining allowing the takedown.
Undaunted after his early exit from the championship bracket, Ortenzio won twice in the wrestlebacks on Thursday night to advance to Friday’s action. First, he downed Maryland’s Geoffrey Alexander, 8-2, before a 7-2 win over Nebraska’s Ridge Kiley to end the night. Against Alexander, Ortenzio had a takedown in the first period, two backpoints in the second and a takedown in the third to build his lead. In his third match of the tournament, he opened a five-point lead against Kiley with a takedown and three backpoints in the first period. Ortenzio had multiple attempts to build towards a major decision, but couldn’t secure those points and settled for advancing to Friday.
True freshman Steve Robertson was aggressive to start the first period against No. 8 Eric Grajales of Michigan, but could not secure the takedown despite being in deep twice. Grajales scored the only points of the match in the third period, escaping and adding a takedown on a counter at the 4:15 mark. Robertson chose neutral for the third, but could not connect and was knocked out of the championship bracket.
Robertson’s tournament ended via a 3-2 loss to No. 9 seed David Habat of Edinboro. Robertson worked an escape late to tie the match, but riding time was the difference for Habat.
Wrestling resumes on Friday at 10 a.m. CST with action on both ESPN3.com and ESPNU. Penn’s four wrestlers each need to win three more matches on Friday to reach the coveted All-American status.
133 - #12 Bryan Ortenzio
First Round: Lost to Zach Horan (Central Michigan), 5-4
Consolation Pigtail: Def. Geoffrey Alexander (Maryland), 8-2
Consolation First Round: Def. Ridge Kiley (Nebraska), 7-2
141 – Zack Kemmerer
Pigtail: Def. Evan Henderson (North Carolina), 7-2
First Round: Lost to #6 Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly), 5-1
Consolation First Round: Def. #11 Matt Mariarcher (American), 4-3
149 – Steve Robertson
First Round: Lost to #8 Eric Grajales (Michigan), 3-0
Consolation First Round: Lost to #9 David Habat (Edinboro), 3-2
184 – Erich Smith
First Round: Def. Kevin Radford (Arizona State), 6-4
Second Round: Lost to #1 Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming), 11-3
197 - #11 Micah Burak
First Round: Def Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State), 5-3 (SV)
Second Round: Lost to #6 Brent Haynes (Missouri), 6-0
Download: Updated Bracket - After Session 2.pdf