March 20, 2014
• Championship Central
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Three Wisconsin wrestlers continued their push through the championship bracket and three more are still alive in the consolation rounds after their performances in Session II of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Chesapeake Energy Arena Thursday night.
The Badgers now sit in eighth place in the team standings with 15.5 points. Penn State holds the top spot with 26.5 while Minnesota is tied for second with Oklahoma State at 21.5. Iowa (20.5) and Ohio State (19.5) are the other two Big Ten teams ahead of UW.
Tyler Graff’s pursuit of becoming a four-time All-American is much closer to becoming a reality after another commanding performance in Session II. He defeated No. 12 seed Joe Roth of Central Michigan by decision, 10-5, in a match that included four takedowns. Graff gained a quick 4-1 lead about two minutes into the first and never surrendered the lead.
With the win, Graff is one win away from becoming UW’s fourth four-time All-American. He will face Oklahoma’s Cody Brewer in the championship quarterfinals. Brewer, the No. 13 seed, pinned No. 4 seed Jonathan Morrison of Oklahoma State in Session II.
With a win in the championship quarterfinals, Graff will join Lee Kemp (1975-78), Matt Hanutke (1992-95) and Donny Pritzlaff (1998-2001) as UW’s wrestlers to notch All-America honors four times. Graff has two fifth-place finishes (2010-11) and finished third last year after falling to Iowa’s Tony Ramos in a second sudden victory period in the semifinals.
Ramos is still alive in the championship bracket this year and is seeded third. The two could potentially face off in the championship match with two victories apiece.
Redshirt freshman Isaac Jordan also secured a spot in the championship quarterfinals after an overtime victory over No. 12 Luke Smith of Central Michigan. Jordan trailed Smith 1-0 after two periods but used an escape with about 40 seconds remaining in the third to send it into overtime.
It then took Jordan about 20 seconds to record the deciding takedown in the first sudden victory period. Jordan will secure his first All-America honors with a win over No. 4 seed Ian Miller of Kansas State in the championship quarterfinals. Miller is 29-4 on the season while Jordan holds a record of 29-5.
Former Big Ten Freshman of the Year Connor Medbery catapulted into the heavyweight championship quarterfinals by pinning Boise State’s JT Felix in 3 minutes, 42 seconds. After an even first period, Medbery gained a four-point lead before claiming his second fall of the season. He will face 2014 Big Ten champion Tony Nelson of Minnesota next. Nelson defeated Medbery by decision, 4-1, in dual competition in January.
Redshirt junior Timmy McCall was the lone Badger that was unable to advance into the quarterfinals in the championship bracket. He held No. 4 seed Scott Schiller of Minnesota within striking distance the entire match but ultimately fell by decision, 4-1.
Ryan Taylor (125 lbs.) and Rylan Lubeck (149) stayed alive in the consolation brackets by winning their respective first-round matches. Taylor won by decision, 5-1, over Old Dominion’s Brandon Jeske while Lubeck won by major decision, 12-3, over Pittsburgh’s Mike Racciato.
Seniors Scott Liegel (174 lbs.) and Jackson Hein (184) fell in their respective consolation matches. Liegel fell by major decision, 12-3 to No. 16 seed Matt Miller of Navy while Hein fell by decision, 7-1, to No. 15 Ryan Loder of UNI.
Session III of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships will begin at 10 a.m. (CT) Friday with the championships quarterfinal matches and the second and third rounds of the consolation bracket. Session IV, consisting of semifinal matches and the fourth and fifth rounds of the consolation bracket, will start at 7 p.m. Friday.