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Semifinal drama.

WHO: the best wrestlers from across the country
WHEN: Friday, March 20, 7 PM CT
WHERE: Scottrade Center; St. Louis, MO
RADIO: AM 800 KXIC (local), Hawkeye All-Access (non-local; $) or the expanded radio network
TV: ESPN (select matches)
ONLINE: ESPN3 (all matches, all mats)

BRACKET: Click here (or use these excellent brackets with live updates from Penn State Wrestling Club)


1) 64.5 Ohio State (5 in SF, 0 in consos)
2) 47.5 Iowa (3 in SF, 4 in consos)
3) 45.0 Missouri (3 in SF, 4 in consos)
4) 41.5 Cornell (3 in SF, 1 in consos)
5) 40.5 Edinboro (1 in SF, 5 in consos)

Iowa went 3-2 in the quarterfinal round and 5-1 in the consolation bracket this morning, which was a very solid performance.  Unfortunately, they needed to be perfect to keep pace with Ohio State, which went 5/5 in the quarterfinal round.  The only saving grace is that Ohio State doesn't have any other wrestlers alive in the consolation bracket.  Missouri also had a pretty good round (they went 3/3 in the quarterfinals) and have 4 wrestlers still alive in the consolation bracket, just like Iowa.


125: #6 Thomas Gilman DEC (7-5 SV) #3 Joey Dance (Virginia Tech)
133: #3 Cory Clark DEC (7-1) #6 Earl Hall (Iowa State)
174: #3 Mike Evans DEC (2-1 OT) #6 Logan Storley (Minnesota)
184: #1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) DEC (3-2) #9 Sammy Brooks
197: #3 Kyven Gadson (Iowa State) MAJ DEC (12-2) #6 Nathan Burak

The quarterfinals got off to a rip-roaring start with Thomas Gilman engineering an impressive come-from-behind win to defeat Dance in the lead-off match of the quarterfinal session.  Gilman trailed 5-2 (with riding time against him, too) at one point in the third period, but an escape and a late takedown later (with just enough time on the clock for him to wipe out Dance's riding time advantage) and the match was tied up and headed to sudden victory.  Gilman applied a body lock and horsed Dance to the mat for the winning takedown.  It was an emphatic victory and a tremendous comeback performance from Gilman; the only quibble is that he didn't start wrestling with that urgency earlier in the match.

Cory Clark kept the good times rolling for Iowa with a 7-1 win over Iowa State's Earl Hall in one of the 133 lb semifinals.  Hall tried every big move in his bag of tricks in the first period, but Clark stayed solid and was able to roll through Hall's attempts at big moves and secure a solid takedown.  A hard ride and a quick turn at the end of the period later and Clark had a 5-0 lead heading into the second period.  Clark rode well for the rest of the match, but wasn't able to turn Hall.  The major decision bonus point would have been nice, but an easy, drama-free win to get into the semifinals is nice, too.

There's not much to say about Mike Evans-Logan Storley, Round 87634.  It was boring.  It did not feature much action (and by "much" I mean "almost any").  Both guys could (and should) have been dinged for stalling (more than once).  It was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and tied 1-1 after a sudden victory period.  Evans got an escape in the tiebreakers and Storley didn't.  The end.  Hopefully we never have to watch another Evans-Storley match.

Unfortunately, Iowa's winning streak in the quarterfinals came to a halt after Evans' win at 174.  Sammy Brooks kept things close with #1 Gabe Dean, but couldn't get the decisive takedown -- and Dean could, securing it late in the third period.  Brooks needs to make more of an attempt to take the legs and force the action in matches like that.  Nathan Burak added another loss for Iowa in the 197 semis, dropping a 12-2 major decision to Iowa State's Kyven Gadson.  That score makes it look like Burak got absolutely abused, but I actually didn't think he wrestled that poorly (minus a mistake near the end of the second period that allowed Gadson to grab a late takedown).  Burak was aggressive and active and close to scoring on a few shots; Gadson was just much, much better.  He was phenomenal here and, on this form, he'll be tough for anyone to beat at this weight.


141: #5 Josh Dziewa MAJ DEC (18-4) #6 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota)
149: #4 Brandon Sorensen DEC (5-0) UN Clayton Ream (North Dakota State)
285: #3 Bobby Telford FALL (1:46) #13 Tyler Deuel (Binghamton)

Iowa went 3-0 in the early consolation matches, highlighted by Telford's second-straight pin (he's going straight scorched earth on the field in the consolation bracket, which is fun to see) and one of the most flabbergasting results of the tournament: Dziewa's 18-4 (!) major decision (near-technical fall) of Minnesota's Nick Dardanes.  Dziewa was up 11-0 after the first period!  It was a stunning, hugely impressive performance.  And it's certainly not one I saw coming after watching Dardanes manhandle Dziewa when they first met this year, at the Minnesota-Iowa dual.

141: #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) DEC (9-3) #5 Josh Dziewa
149: #4 Brandon Sorensen DEC (3-1 SV) UN #6 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan)
285: #3 Bobby Telford DEC (9-2) UN Collin Jensen (Nebraska)

Alas, Dziewa's good run came to a halt in his next match as he dropped a 9-3 decision to Missouri's Lavion Mayes.  Dziewa was able to reverse the result in his two rematches with Nick Dardanes after that match at the dual meet, but he was not able to solve the problem posed by Mayes; Mayes' quickness and strength was just too much for him to overcome.  Sorensen added his second win of the consolation bracket with a nail-biting 3-1 overtime win over Michigan's Alec Pantaleo; Pantaleo has given Sorensen problems in the past, so that sort of result was no surprise, but it has been frustrating to see Sorensen seem less willing to open up from neutral at this tournament.  Finally, Telford's pinning streak ended, but he did pick up a dominant 9-2 win over Nebraska's Jensen to stay alive in the consos.


125: #6 Thomas Gilman vs. UN Zeke Moisey (West Virginia)
133: #3 Cory Clark vs. #7 Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State)
174: #3 Mike Evans vs. #2 Matt Brown (Penn State)

Upsets have wreaked havoc in the bottom half of the 125 lb bracket, which sets Gilman up against an unseeded wrestler for a spot in the finals on Saturday night.  That said, it would be a bad idea to overlook Moisey -- he's already posted wins over #2 Nahshon Garrett and #7 Eddie Klimara at this tournament, so he's wrestling very well here.  He and Gilman have never wrestled before.  Clark and Evans are facing opponents they've faced earlier this season.  Clark lost a frustrating 8-5 decision to Gulibon at the Iowa-Penn State dual (he was leading late, but got sloppy and Gulibon punished him with a big move).  Evans has a pair of identical 2-0 losses to Brown (from the Iowa-Penn State dual and the Big Ten Tournament): both featured Brown getting an escape in the second period and then riding Evans for the entire third period.  Hopefully Evans has a better gameplan in store for this meeting.


149: #4 Brandon Sorensen vs. #7 Sal Mastriani (Virginia Tech)
184: #9 Sammy Brooks vs. #3 Blake Stauffer (Arizona State)
197: #6 Nathan Burak vs. UN Canaan Bethea (Penn)
285: #3 Bobby Telford vs. #7 Blaize Cabell (UNI)

At this point, Iowa needs every win they can get and wins at this round are even more crucial because they lock up All-America status for the winner.  None of the Iowa guys have faced any of these opponents earlier this season.  On paper, Iowa should be favored in every match except 184 and even there Brooks isn't a huge underdog -- 184 was an odd weight to seed this year (almost every conference/region had one really good guy at that weight, but very few of them wrestled each other) and Stauffer doesn't have a lot of high-end wins on his resume.  Still, Sammy will likely need to be in top form to win here.

I'll update the results in the comments here, as usual.  Feel free to join in.

The usual rules apply.