Four Badgers advance in championship bracket at NCAAs


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March 20, 2014

 Championship Central

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Four of eight Wisconsin wrestlers posted victories in Session I of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships Thursday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena to advance in the championship bracket.

The Badgers are also tied for ninth place with Iowa in the team standings with 8.5 points. Penn State leads with 16.5 while Oklahoma State sits in second with 13.5. Minnesota is tied for third alongside Edinboro with 11 while Nebraska is in fifth with 9.5.

Redshirt senior Tyler Graff started his quest to become a four-time All-American by defeating Northwestern’s Dominick Malone in dominating fashion, winning by technical fall, 25-9. 

Graff, a No. 5 seed, rushed out to an 8-3 lead after the first period but hit his stride in the second. After two periods, Graff led 18-8 before closing things out in the third.

Graff will square off against Central Michigan’s Joe Roth in the second round. Roth is seeded 12th and is 24-7 on the season.

Redshirt freshman Isaac Jordan put up an equally impressive performance at 157 lbs. He recorded his fastest fall of the season in his win over Army’s Paul Hancock. Jordan recorded a quick takedown just moments into the match and turned it into a pin in just 1 minute, 26 seconds. 

Jordan will take on Central Michigan’s Luke Smith in the second round. Smith is a No. 12 seed and is 20-10 on the season. He defeated Old Dominion’s Tristan Warner by decision, 3-2, in the first round.

The Badgers closed out Session I with victories in each of the final two weight classes. At 197 lbs., Timmy McCall recorded a late takedown over No. 13 Dan Mitchell of American. McCall secured the upset win by breaking a 2-2 tie with about 20 seconds remaining in the third with a takedown.

McCall is set to face Minnesota’s Scott Schiller in the second round. The two squared off earlier this season in dual competition at Minnesota, with Schiller coming out on top by major decision, 15-7.

At heavyweight, ninth-seeded Connor Medbery handed Missouri’s Devin Mellon his 12th loss of the season by defeating him by major decision, 11-2. Medbery used a two-point near fall in the second and a three-point near fall in the third to bolster his performance. Medbery will battle Boise State’s JT Felix in the second round.

Ryan Taylor (125 lbs.), Rylan Lubeck (149), Scott Liegel (174) and Jackson Hein (184) will all compete in the consolation bracket later tonight after suffering defeat in Session I.

Taylor and Hein were pinned while Lubeck nearly recorded an upset over Oregon State’s Scott Sakaguchi. Lubeck fell to No. 14 seed Sakaguchi in sudden victory, 3-1, while Liegel fell by major decision, 8-0, to No. 1 seed Chris Perry of Oklahoma State.

Session II will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday with the wrestle-back prelims and wrestle-back first round matches. The second round of the championship bracket and the consolation round will follow the wrestle-back matches.

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