March 8, 2014
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MADISON, Wis. -- Three Badgers advanced to the semifinals in the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships at the Kohl Center Saturday and will compete in those matches in Session II starting at 5 p.m.
Ryan Taylor (125 lbs.), three-time All-American Tyler Graff (133 lbs.) and Isaac Jordan (157 lbs.) also clinched spots in the NCAA Championships on March 20-22 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Fourth-seeded Taylor, a freshman, advanced to the semifinals by defeating Michigan's Conor Youtsey by decision, 7-3. Taylor received a first-round bye while Youtsey, the No. 5 seed, had to defeat Indiana's Alonzo Shepherd prior to his match against Taylor.
Taylor raced out to a strong start by scoring six points--three of which came from a near fall--and led by four after one period. Both wrestlers would only secure one more point the rest of the match, and Taylor's came from riding time.
Taylor will square off against No. 1 seed Nico Megaludis of Penn State tonight.
Graff, a No. 2 seed, held just a 2-0 lead after one period but dominated the rest of the way to come out on top by decision, 8-1, over Penn State's Jimmy Gulibon. He is set to square off against Minnesota's David Thorn later tonight. Graff defeated Thorn by decision, 3-2, in Minnesota earlier this season.
No. 1 seeded Jordan also impressed in his Big Ten Championships debut. He got out to a quick 2-0 lead over Michigan's Brian Murphy with a takedown in the first but would not score again until the third period. Jordan then recorded a reversal and had over three minutes of riding time to come out on top 5-0.
Jordan will go up against fourth-seeded Derek St. John of Iowa in the semifinals. It will be their third meeting this season. At the Midlands Championships, St. John beat Jordan in sudden victory, 5-3, while Jordan upset St. John in the regular season finale in the UW Field House by a score of 3-1.
Badgers' heavyweight Connor Medbery is still in contention for an automatic bid after going 1-1 in the first session. He shut out Ohio State's Nick Tavanello, 6-0, before falling to Indiana's Adam Chalfant by decision, 7-2.
Medbery will receive an automatic bid if he wins his next match. He will go up against Nebraska's Collin Jensen, who lost to Medbery in the regular season by decision, 5-2 on Feb. 21.
Timmy McCall can also clinch an automatic bid with a win tonight at 197 lbs. He faces Minnesota's Sam Brancale, who entered the tournament with a regular season record of 14-9.
Session II is set to begin at the Kohl Center at 5 p.m. with semifinal and wrestleback competition. Session III begins at 11 a.m. tomorrow with the consolation semifinal and seventh-place matches while Session IV, consisting of the first-, third- and fifth-place matches, will start at 1 p.m. tomorrow.