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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Reece Humphrey, Lance Palmer, Colt Sponseller and Mike Pucillo, members of the third-ranked Ohio State wrestling team, advanced to the semifinals in their respective weight classes at the 2010 Big Ten Wrestling Championships at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. With four Buckeyes remaining in the championship brackets and six others wrestling for third place, Ohio State is in fifth place following the first session.

Iowa leads the team standings early, while Penn State is second. Minnesota rounds out the Top 3 and Wisconsin is fourth. Semifinal and wrestleback action gets underway in session two at 6 p.m. Saturday.  

The No. 1 seed at 141 pounds, Humphrey will face No. 4 Adam Lynch (Penn State) in the semifinals after downing eighth seed Cole Schmitt of Wisconsin, 6-5. Schmitt owned a 4-2 lead heading into the third period, but Humphrey showed his resiliency, scoring a reversal and takedown in the final two minutes for the win.

Palmer, the No. 2 seed in the 149-pound bracket, also wrestled just once in the opening session, beating No. 7 Mario Mason of Minnesota, 12-4. Palmer, one of three senior tri-captains, will face Wisconsin’s and third seed Kyle Ruschell next. Ruschell was responsible for one of Palmer’s only two losses during the regular season, defeating the Buckeye, 3-1, at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Wrestling Collegiate Invitational in early December. 

In preliminary action, Sponseller, the third seed, drew Michigan’s Aaron Hynes. Sponseller made quick work of the Wolverine, posting a 15-4 major decision. The junior then faced No. 6 Kyle Bounds of Michigan State and handed the Spartan a 7-2 loss. With a 2-0 advantage at the start of the second period, Sponseller chose bottom and escaped Bounds for the point. A takedown by Bounds ensued, making the score 3-2, but Sponseller would go on to record another escape and takedown for the win. Sponseller will face No. 2 Ryan Morningstar (Iowa) in his semifinal matchup.

The last Buckeye to remain alive in the championship bracket is fourth seed Pucillo at 184 pounds. Pucillo downed No. 5 Travis Rutt of Wisconsin, 6-2, to solidify a match against No. 1 seed John Dergo of Illinois. 

Looking to finish as high as third after falling in the championship brackets are Nikko Triggas (125), Ian Paddock (133), Sean Nemec (157), Dave Rella (174), C.J. Magrum (197) and Corey Morrison (285).

The sixth seed, Triggas opened his third conference championship with a 3-1sv win over Northwestern’s Robert Joyce, but lost to No. 3 seed Zach Sanders of Minnesota, 6-1. The Buckeye will await the winner of the No. 8 Drew Hammen (Wisconsin) and No. 7 John Deneen (Illinois) match in the second session.

Paddock will also have to wait to find out who his next opponent will be between Penn State’s Bryan Pearsall and No. 6 Zac Stevens of Michigan. Paddock opened his first Big Ten championship with a victory, beating Illinois’ Daryl Thomas, 7-3. However, Paddock drew No. 2 seed Daniel Dennis of Iowa in the quarterfinals and suffered a 4-0 loss.

Nemec, the fifth seed, lost, 5-3, to No. 4 Jake Kerr of Iowa to begin the day and will face No. 3 Kurt Kinser (Indiana) Saturday night.

Earning the fourth seed, Rella wrestled in his seventh overtime match this season in an 9-7 loss in the quarterfinals to No. 5 Jordan Blanton of Illinois. In preliminary action, Rella beat Wisconsin’s Brendan Ard, 7-2, and will face the winner of the Justin Ortega (Penn State) and Nick Avery (Indiana) bout. 

As the eighth seed, Magrum faced No. 1 Chad Beatty of Iowa and lost, 6-0. Magrum will meet Michigan State’s Tyler Dickenson next.

Morrison, the sixth seed, lost a close 1-0 decision to Cameron Wade of Penn State. Northwestern’s Marcus Shrewsbury is his next opponent.

2010 Big Ten Wrestling Championships
March 6-7
Crisler Arena
Ann Arbor, Mich.

Preliminary and Quarterfinal Results
125
No. 6 Nikko Triggas dec. Robert Joyce (Northwestern), 3-1sv
No. 3 Zach Sanders (Minnesota) dec. No. 6 Nikko Triggas, 6-1

133
No. 7 Ian Paddock dec. Daryl Thomas (Illinois), 7-3
No. 2 Daniel Dennis (Iowa) dec. No. 7 Ian Paddock, 4-0

141
No. 1 Reece Humphrey dec. No. 8 Cole Schmitt (Wisconsin), 6-5

149
No. 2 Lance Palmer dec. No. 7 Mario Mason (Minnesota), 12-4

157
No. 4 Jake Kerr (Iowa) dec. No. 5 Sean Nemec, 5-3

165
No. 3 Colt Sponseller mdec. Aaron Hynes (Michigan), 15-4
No. 3 Colt Sponseller dec. No. 6 Kyle Bounds (Michigan State), 7-2

174
No. 4 Dave Rella dec. Brendan Ard (Wisconsin), 7-2
No. 5 Jordan Blanton (Illinois) dec. No. 4 Dave Rella, 9-7tb1

184
No. 4 Mike Pucillo dec. No. 5 Travis Rutt (Wisconsin), 6-2

197
No. 1 Chad Beatty (Iowa) dec. No. 8 C.J. Magrum, 6-0

285
No. 3 Cameron Wade (Penn State) dec. No. 6 Corey Morrison, 1-0