March 21, 2009
The Big Ten had nine wrestlers earn berths to NCAA title matches after day two of the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. Overall, the conference saw 28 grapplers secure All-American honors with their wins Friday night. Ohio State surged into the lead of a tight team race, pacing the field with 84.5 points and three wrestlers in the championships bracket and one in the consolation. Iowa, with one wrestler vying for a title and four in the wrestlebacks, is second with 81.0 points, while Iowa State holds third with 71.5 points.
Ohio State’s Reece Humphrey (133), J Jaggers (141) and Mike Pucillo (184) will look to secure the Buckeyes’ lead in the title round, with Jaggers and Pucillo in pursuit of defending their respective national titles. Pucillo will take center stage on Saturday night when he meets Northwestern’s Jake Herbert in a battle of the weight class’ last two national titlists.
Humphrey will meet Michigan State’s Franklin Gomez in a battle of the top-two seeds. The grapplers first squared off for the Big Ten championship where Gomez earned a 7-4 victory for the conference title. The Spartan junior is 2-0 against Humphrey all-time.
Iowa’s Brent Metcalf will compete for his second straight national crown in Saturday’s 149-title match. The Hawkeye junior recorded his 69th straight win over fourth-seeded Lance Palmer of Ohio State in the semifinals to advance to the championship bout where he will put his unblemished 37-0 season record to the test against third-seeded Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State.
Top-ranked and second-seeded Mike Poeta of Illinois advance to the final round in the 157-pound bracket after winning the rematch of last year’s championship bout with Cornell’s third-seeded and fourth-ranked Jordan Leen, 6-4. The Illini senior will go head-to-head against Nebraska’s top-seeded and second-ranked Jordan Burroughs in Saturday night’s final bout.
Michigan’s fifth-year senior Steve Luke (174) and Wisconsin’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year Andrew Howe (165) dominated their semifinal matches to advance to Saturday’s championship final in their respective weight classes.
The Big Ten will return for the NCAA Championships fifth session at 9:30 a.m. CDT on Saturday, featuring third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches. The conference’s 28 All-Americans will walk in the Parade of All-Americans at 5:05 p.m. with title bouts beginning at 5:30 p.m. The finals will be televised live on ESPN.
Official NCAA Championships Web site
Complete Brackets Through Session IV
Team Standings (After Day Two)