Minnesota leading Big Ten Wrestling Championships with Session Two underway
March 3, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Reigning champion Minnesota leads the way after session one of the 2007 Big Ten Wrestling Tournament at Michigan State's Breslin Center. With wrestlers through opening and quarterfinal rounds of competition, the Gophers carry a 66-44 lead over second-place Illinois and Michigan heading into tonight's semifinal action.
Iowa sits in fourth with 42 points followed by Northwestern in fifth with 39 points. Ohio State is sixth with 38 while Penn State (36) holds a slim margin over Indiana (35.5) for eighth. Wisconsin is ninth with 31 points with Purdue (11) and host school Michigan State (8) rounding out the team standings.
The Golden Gophers entered the conference tournament with four top seeds, and advanced seven grapplers to the championship semifinals and two to the wrestle-back consolation bracket. Tied in second, both Michigan and Illinois advanced three grapplers to the semis while six Illini and Wolverines each enter the consolation ranks.
The 133-pound semifinal round featured two upsets. No. 1 Nick Simmons from Michigan State will take on Penn State's Jake Strayer tonight in the semifinals after Strayer won a 3-1 decision against No. 4 Zach Tanelli. However, it was No. 6 Andrae Hernandez (IND) that posted a bigger upset after battling to a 5-2 decision over the third-seeded Mack Reiter of Minnesota. Hernandez will face No. 2 James Kennedy from Illinois.
The second of Minnesota's four No. 1 seeds heads the 141-pound division. Manuel Rivera wielded a 10-8 decision over Michigan's Jusin Chrzanowski in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals. He faces Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin, who is making his first appearance as a freshman. Northwestern's Ryan Lang, the 2006 runner-up, looks to get back into the final bout when he faces Iowa's Alex Tsirtsis in the other semifinal. Tsirtsis knocked out No. 3 seed Michigan State's Andy Simmons to the consolation bracket in a close 2-1 decision.
Minnesota's Dustin Schlatter used a 6-0 decision over Indiana's Matt Coughlin to move one step closer in defending his 149-pound title. He will face Wisconsin's Tyler Turner, who won a 7-2 decision against fourth-seed Jake Patacsil in the quarterfinals. The victor will face the winner of the other semifinal bout between Michigan's No. 2 Josh Churella and Ohio State's third-seeded Lance Palmer.
In the 157-pound bracket a veteran crew of the four of the top seeds advanced easily, with Illinois' Michael Poeta leading the way. Poeta will face Minnesota's No. 4 CP Schlatter, who is looking for his second straight title. The other semifinal pits No. 2 against No. 3 with Indiana's Brandon Becker taking on Wisconsin's Craig Henning.
In the 174-pound class, Michigan's Steve Luke fought off a gritty effort from Northwestern's Nick Hayes with a 3-1 decision to claim a spot in the semis. He will face second-seeded Eric Luedke from Iowa. Minnesota's fourth-seeded Gabriel Dretsch, who placed fourth last year, defeated fifth-seeded Trevor Perry of Indiana in the quarterfinals for a semifinal collision with No. 1 seeded James Yonushonis from Penn State.
At 184-pounds, Northwestern's Jake Herbert will have a chance to add another title to his resume after taking the 174-pound title last year. Herbert clashes with Michigan's Tyrel Todd in Saturday night's semifinal matchup. On the other side of the bracket, Minnesota's No. 2 Roger Kish will go up against Ohio State's Mike Pucillo.
At heavyweight, Cole Konrad hopes to add yet another title to his trophy case. The two-time defending champion from Minnesota advanced quickly to the semifinals,