Penn State leads NCAA wrestling
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Things weren't perfect for Penn State on opening day at the NCAA wrestling championships, but the Nittany Lions still are in position to win their fourth straight national title.
Penn State leads with 26.5 points after Thursday's action at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Five Nittany Lions won their first two matches and advanced to Friday morning's quarterfinals. All 10 of Penn State's wrestlers are still alive to score points.
Penn State's most surprising loss Thursday came at 197 pounds. No. 3 seed Morgan McIntosh lost to No. 14 seed Chris Penny of Virginia Tech 3-2 in the evening session.
"He's all right," Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said of McIntosh. "Kids lose matches. Sometimes, things don't go as planned. That's where we see tomorrow what we're made of."
Minnesota and Oklahoma State are tied for second with 21.5 points, and Iowa and Oklahoma are tied for fourth with 20.5. Minnesota and Iowa are tied for the most quarterfinalists with six. Oklahoma State has five, and Oklahoma has four.
Sanderson says Friday is very important for the wrestlers who lost on the opening day of the tournament.
"We need everybody's best effort at this point," he said. "It takes a lot of heart to come back and have guys coming back and placing. We need bonus points, just like Day 1. We need to keep doing the same things."
After the morning session, Penn State led Oklahoma State 16.5-13.5, with Edinboro (Pa.) and Minnesota tied for third with 11 points.
Matthew Fritsch of the Citadel pulled off the shocker of the opening session. Fritsch, the No. 15 seed at 149, defeated No. 2 seed Nick Dardanes of Minnesota 8-5.
In the evening session, Nick's twin brother and teammate, Christopher, was upset, too, at 141. No. 11 seed Joey Lazor of Northern Iowa knocked off No. 6 seed Dardanes with a last-second takedown. Lazor took an early lead and lost it to set up the dramatic ending.
"That last three to five seconds, whatever it was, I just kind of rolled around, rolled around, and I ended up on top," Lazor said.
Iowa took some hits in the morning session. In the 165 class, unseeded Josh Veltre of Bloomsburg (Pa.) knocked off Iowa's No. 5 seed, Nick Moore, 15-7 in a major decision.
In the 184 class, Iowa's Ethen Lofthouse, seeded fifth, lost to Victor Avery of Edinboro 5-3. Only seven of Iowa's 10 wrestlers escaped the early session with victories.
Things nearly got worse for Iowa early in the evening session. Iowa's Tony Ramos, the No. 3 seed at 133, needed overtime to defeat No. 14 seed Zane Richards of Illinois.
Iowa rallied and provided one of the highlights of the evening at 197. No. 11 seed Nathan Burak scored a two-point takedown in the closing seconds of the third period to defeat No. 6 seed Richard Perry of Bloomsburg 4-3.
In the 133-pound class, No. 13 seed Cody Brewer of Oklahoma pinned No. 4 seed Jonathon Morrison of Oklahoma State in 2:45.
Oklahoma State bounced back at 149, when No. 11 seed Joshua Kindig defeated No. 6 seed Jake Sueflohn of Nebraska 7-5.
"The kid's a goer," Kindig said of Sueflohn. "I'm a goer, too, though. I came in seeded lower than him, but I don't call it an upset. That's the wrong word. More like, 'surprise' is probably better."
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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