March 8, 2014
Day 1 Brackets | Championship Central
MADISON, Wis. -- Tyler Graff advanced to the 133 lbs., championship and Ryan Taylor and Isaac Jordan are still vying for a spot near the top of the podium after Session II of the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships.
Rylan Lubeck, Scott Liegel, Timmy McCall and Connor Medbery all punched tickets to the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships with their performances Saturday night in front of 9,405 fans at the Kohl Center.
The Session II performances give the Badgers a total of seven automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla. on March 20-22.
Wisconsin finished day one with 58 team points, which is good for seventh place. Penn State leads with 122 points, while Iowa is in second with 121.
Graff was also the lone Badger to advance to a championship bout after beating Minnesota's David Thorn by decision, 9-4. He will face a familiar foe in Iowa's Tony Ramos, who beat Graff in Big Tens and the NCAAs last season.
Lubeck, a redshirt freshman wrestling at 149 lbs., needed to win his first two matches of Session II and did exactly that. He beat Michigan State's Nick Trimble by decision, 2-1, before defeating Illinois' Caleb Ervin by decision, 5-2, to secure his spot.
Liegel found himself in a similar situation to Lubeck's and faced a must-win situation in his first bout of Session II. He answered the bell by winning by decision, 7-4, over Indiana's Matt Irick at 174 lbs.
Liegel could have afforded to lose his next match but then would have had to emerge victorious in the seventh-place match to advance, but Liegel took matters into his own hands and came out on top of a close match against Ohio State's Mark Martin. Liegel sealed his first trip to the NCAAs with a takedown in the first sudden victory period to win by decision, 3-1.
McCall also received an automatic qualifier spot by winning his first match of Session II. He took down Nebraska's Caleb Kolb by decision, 5-3, to head to NCAAs for the first time in his career.
Wrestling at heavyweight, Medbery qualified for the second time in as many years after defeating Nebraska's Collin Jensen by decision, 5-2. He then fell to Michigan State's Mike McClure for a spot in the consolation semifinals.
The two other Badgers competing in semifinal matches very nearly advanced to the championship round.
Taylor, a redshirt freshman wrestling at 125 lbs., entered the third period against Penn State's Nico Megaludis down only 3-2. Taylor managed an escape point with about 20 seconds remaining, but Magaludis, the top-seeded wrestler in the weight class, had already secured riding time points and came out on top 4-3.
Jordan went into overtime with Iowa's Derek St. John for the second time this season and ultimately fell by decision, 4-3, in the second tie-break period.
St. John managed an escape point with just three seconds remaining in the period.
Redshirt freshman Jesse Thielke's chances for an NCAA bid might still be alive despite failing to win two-straight matches in Session II. He beat Indiana's Trevor Moody by decision, 7-1, but fell to Josh Dziewa of Iowa by decision, 7-4.
With a strong showing in the seventh-place match against Purdue's Danny Sabatello, who was seeded sixth, tomorrow, Thielke may receive an at-large bid.
Session III of the Big Ten Championships begin 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.