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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Two wrestling Buckeyes took another step closer on the long road to the national title Thursday evening at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb. Reece Humphrey (141) and Lance Palmer (149) advanced to the quarterfinals in their respective brackets, while six other Buckeyes remain alive in wrestlebacks at the 2010 NCAA Championships. 

As a team, Ohio State currently sits in fourth place with 23 points. Iowa continues to lead the field with 34.5 points. Oklahoma State is second 26 points, while Iowa State is third with 24 points. Action continues at 10:30 a.m. ET Friday. The third session will air live on ESPNU and ESPN360.com. Session four will begin at 7 p.m. ET and ESPNU will broadcast that portion of the championships live as well. 

A native of Indianapolis, Ind., and the fourth seed, Humphrey edged Michael Mangrum of Oregon State, 4-3. Humphrey will now face Lehigh’s Seth Ciasulli in the quarterfinals. These two wrestlers have a bit of history in 2009-10. They met earlier this season (Nov. 20) in a dual meet in Columbus where Humphrey won, 7-1. 

As the No. 1 seed, Palmer made quick work of Purdue’s Nicholas Bertucci. The Buckeye captain from Columbia Station, Ohio, scored a takedown to open the match before being credited with a 2-point nearfall. Following a quick escape by Bertucci, Palmer tried for the defensive fall and was successful, pinning the Boilermaker in 1:23. Palmer’s win set up a match against Boise State’s Jason Chamberlain.

True-freshman Ian Paddock (133) and junior Colt Sponseller (165) dropped 5-0 and 3-2 decisions, respectively, in the round of 16. Paddock faced No. 1 seed Jayson Ness of Minnesota, while Sponseller battled Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma.  Sponseller, the fifth seed out of Glenmont, Ohio, lost a heartbreaker that extended to back-to-back second-period tiebreakers. Knotted at two apiece at the end of regulation, neither wrestler scored in either sudden victory overtimes. Choosing bottom to open the second tiebreaker, Sponseller was unable to escape in the 30 seconds. In the next 30, it appeared Caldwell would suffer the same fate, but he managed to break free from Sponseller’s clutches with just one second remaining.

Paddock will meet Stanford’s Justin Paulsen next and Sponseller will wrestle Kent State’s Ross Tice. The two grapplers already have met this season, a 10-2 major decision by Sponseller Nov. 14 in the Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Classic. 

At 125 pounds, junior Nikko Triggas rebounded from an earlier loss and downed Allen Bartelli of Boise State, 4-1. The Moraga, Calif., native will face Ben Kjar of Utah Valley State Friday morning. Likewise, senior Dave Rella remained in contention for third place at 174 pounds after his second win over Ian Hinton of Michigan State this season. The Buckeye from Akron, Ohio, beat Hinton, 3-1, in consolation action and previously handed Hinton a 3-1 loss Feb. 14 in Columbus. Up next for Rella is Purdue’s Luke Manuel, a No. 9 seed. 

Tenth seed Mike Pucillo has now won two straight matches following his loss to open the tournament. The senior captain from Strongsville, Ohio, beat Austin Trotman of Appalachian State, 4-1, and will face Michigan State’s Nick Palmieri. In their previous meeting, Pucillo pinned Palmieri in 4:10 at the Big Ten championships March 6 in Ann Arbor, Mich.  

After suffering a 5-3 loss in his first NCAA championships, there is nothing like a 15-0 technical fall to make C.J. Magrum feel just a little better. The Buckeye from Oak Harbor, Ohio, shut out Parker Burns of Campbell, 15-0, to set up a meeting with Micah Burak of Penn. 

Senior Corey Morrison was eliminated from competition after dropping an 8-2 decision to Cal-State Bakersfield’s Mitchell Monteiro. A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Morrison finished the season with a 20-15 record and a career mark of 60-65. A graduate student in education, Morrison will most likely complete his collegiate career as a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and five-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics last spring. 

2010 NCAA Championships
March 18-20
Qwest Center
Omaha, Neb.
Through Session 2

Team Standings
1. 34.5 Iowa
2. 26.0 Oklahoma State
3. 24.0 Iowa State
4. 23.0 Ohio State 
 23.0 Oklahoma
 23.0 Wisconsin
7. 22.0 Cornell
8. 20.0 Minnesota
9. 18.5 Missouri
10. 17.0 Central Michigan
 17.0 Lehigh
 17.0 Penn State
 17.0 Virginia

125
Fred Santaite (Boston University) DEC Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) D 8-7
Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) DEC Allen Bartelli (Boise State) D 4-1

133
Ian Paddock (Ohio State) WBF Alex Radsky (Davidson) F 4:38
Jayson Ness (Minnesota) DEC Ian Paddock (Ohio State) D 5-0

141
Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) DEC Dalton Jensen (Iowa State) M 11-3
Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) DEC Michael Mangrum (Oregon State) D 4-3

149
Lance Palmer (Ohio State) DEC Seth Morton (Ohio University) D 8-1
Lance Palmer (Ohio State) WBF Nicholas Bertucci (Purdue) F 1:23

165
Colt Sponseller (Ohio State) WBF John-Martin Cannon (Buffalo) F 6:22
Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma) DEC Colt Sponseller (Ohio State) D 3-2

174
Christopher Henrich (Virginia) DEC Dave Rella (Ohio State) M 8-0
Dave Rella (Ohio State) DEC Ian Hinton (Michigan State) D 3-1

184
Mike Miller (Central Michigan) DEC Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) D 4-2
Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) DEC Austin Trotman (Appalachian State) D 4-1

197
Jesse Strawn (Old Dominion) DEC C.J. Magrum (Ohio State) D 5-3
C.J. Magrum (Ohio State) WBTF Parker Burns (Campbell) TF5 15-0 4:49

285
Nathan Everhart (Indiana) DEC Corey Morrison (Ohio State) D 5-2
Mitchell Monteiro (Cal-State Bakersfield) DEC Corey Morrison (Ohio State) D 8-2