Iowa, Iowa State fighting for title
ST. LOUIS -- The NCAA wrestling championships are fast becoming the Iowa Open.
Iowa State and defending champion Iowa were tied for the lead, both with 30 points, after the first day of the three-day meet Thursday night. The unbeaten Hawkeyes sent six of nine qualifiers to the quarterfinals with much better seeds than Iowa State, which had five qualifiers.
Ohio State was third, followed by Nebraska and Edinboro.
The Cyclones' best hopes are top-seeded heavyweight David Zabriskie, who survived two close calls, and No. 2 Jake Varner at 197 pounds. Zabriskie rallied from an early 6-1 deficit and reversed Dustin Rogers of West Virginia in the waning seconds of a 9-8 victory in the second round. Zabriskie beat Christopher Birchler of East Stroudsburg in overtime in the first round.
Iowa's Brent Metcalf is the defending champion and top seed at 149 pounds, and has a 67-match winning streak after a pair of pins on the opening day. The Hawkeyes also advanced No. 2 Philip Keddy (184), No. 3 Ryan Morningstar (165) and a pair of No. 4s, Daniel Dennis (133) and Jay Borschel (174), as well as seventh-ranked heavyweight Daniel Erekson.
The Hawkeyes have 21 national titles and won by 38.5 points last year.
Nine of 11 unbeaten wrestlers remained in the field, led by top seeds Paul Donahoe of Edinboro (33-0) at 125 pounds, Jordan Burroughs of Nebraska (32-0) at 157, Steve Luke of Michigan (29-0) at 174 and Jake Herbert of Northwestern (31-0) at 184.
The hardest-hit weight class is 141 pounds, with No. 3 J Jaggers of Ohio State the only of the top five seeds not to fall. Unseeded competitors took out the top two, with Illinois' Ryan Prater pinning No. 1 Kellen Russell of Michigan.
Arizona State's Anthony Robles, born without a right leg, provided a continuing inspirational story by winning his second straight match. Robles, the 12th seed and in the tourney for the second straight year after making it as a redshirt freshman last year, upset fifth-seeded Charlie Falck of Iowa 8-3.
Northern Iowa 141-pound Trenton Washington was taken off the mat on a stretcher and taken to a hospital for precautionary tests after butting heads in the second tiebreaker with Arizona State's Chris Drouin. A school spokesman said Washington had complained of a tingling sensation in his limbs.
Cornell's Mack Lewnes was the lone top seed to lose in the first round, falling 4-3 to unseeded Ryan Patrovich of Hofstra at 165 pounds for his first loss in 36 matches.
Nebraska 197-pound Craig Bressler was the only top seed to wrestle three times on the opening day, running up big scores with a 16-3 victory over Charles Silber of American in a pigtail match before round 1, a 10-3 decision over Joe Fagiano of Hofstra and a 14-5 decision over Jesse Strawn of Old Dominion.
Notes: Reece Humphrey of Ohio State pinned Pittsburgh's Jimmy Conroy in 12 seconds in the first round, the third-fasted fall in modern tournament history. The fastest pin is 9 seconds by Clarence Richardson of Louisiana State at 177 pounds in the opening round in 1983. The longest match of the day was decided in three tiebreakers, or 13 minutes, with Penn State's Jake Strayer decisioning Iowa State's Nick Fanthorpe in the second round. ... The Big Ten led all conferences with five top seeds, with the Big 12 getting three. ... Northern Illinois' Tristen DeShazer earned his 16th pin in 34 matches in the first round. ... The tournament had near capacity crowds the first two sessions, totaling 31,077 in attendance.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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