ST. LOUIS, Mo. With five of nine wrestlers earning wins in front of a crowd of 15,226 in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships, Ohio State is third with 17.5 points. Iowa State is in first place with 25 points and Iowa is second with 22 points.
The Buckeyes received pins from juniors Reece Humphrey and Lance Palmer, major decisions from senior J Jaggers and sophomore Colt Sponseller and a technical fall from junior Mike Pucillo. The five student-athletes move on to the second round of competition in the championships bracket. The Scarlet and Gray return to the Scottrade Center for the second round of competition at 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday.
Starting things off for Ohio State was Palmer who made quick work of George Hickman of Bloomsburg, pinning Hickman in 4:48 in the pigtail round. The returning All-American and fourth-seed at 149 pounds jumped ahead in the first period, scoring a takedown and two nearfalls, one three-point and one two-point, to hold a 9-0 advantage. In the second frame, Palmer posted another takedown to move ahead, 11-0, before securing the pin with 12 seconds remaining in the stanza. The fall is the Columbia Station, Ohio, native’s eighth of the season, the third most by a Buckeye in 2009.
Wrestling in his second match of the morning, Palmer took a 4-2 lead over Matt Cathell of Delaware after two minutes of work, posting two takedowns. The score remained at 4-2 until the end of the match. Palmer was awarded the win, 4-3, after Cathell held the advantage in riding time. Palmer, 30-3 on the season, will face Mitch Mueller, 21-7, of Iowa State.
Nikko Triggas fell at 125 pounds to the championships’ 12th-seed, Anthony Robles of Arizona State, by a 5-0 score. Triggas was behind, 2-0, after the first period when Robles converted a takedown with the final seconds ticking off the clock. The score remained 2-0 until late in the third stanza when Robles recorded an escape and takedown to win, 5-0. Triggas now enters the consolation bracket and will meet the winner of the Ian Moser (Bloomsburg)-Derek Reber (Bucknell) bout Thursday evening.
Humphrey showed why he was the No. 2-seed at 133 pounds at the national championships, pinning Jimmy Conroy of Pittsburgh in just 12 seconds, his 10th and fastest fall of the season. The junior’s fall ranks as the third fastest in NCAA championships history and second in program history. The fastest pin was recorded at 177 pounds in the first round in 1983 when Clarence Richardson of Louisiana State pinned Scott Mansur of Portland State in nine seconds. Humphrey faces Christian Smith of Liberty in the second round.
The next match up was another Buckeye in Jaggers cruising his way to an 11-2 major decision of Adin Duenas of Cal State Fullerton. The reigning 141-pound NCAA champion paced the match with four takedowns and allowing Duenas to post just two escapes. In the second round, the Northfield, Ohio, native meets Pittsburgh’s Tyler Nauman, a redshirt freshman with a 29-7 record.
“With this being my last tournament, after dedicating 20 years of my life to this sport, my final judgment is the last seven minutes of my career at this championships,” Jaggers said.
At 157 pounds, senior Jason Johnstone fell to the championships’ seventh-seed in Matt Moley of Bloomsburg. Moley pinned Johnstone with nine seconds remaining in the third period. The Buckeye now moves into the wrestlebacks and will face Penn’s Matt Dragon Thursday evening.
Sponseller improved to 31-6 on the season and scored bonus points for the Buckeyes, delivering a 12-3 major decision to William Garvin of Chattanooga. The sixth-seed at 165 pounds, Sponseller had five takedowns to up his team-leading season total to 138. Hailing from Glenmont, Ohio, Sponseller will meet No. 11 Trevor Stewart of Central Michigan (24-8).
Junior Dave Rella lost a 3-0 decision to Newly McSpadden of Oklahoma State, the ninth-seed at 174 pounds. The Akron, Ohio, native will wrestle Shane Smith of Millersville in consolation action.
Pucillo, the defending national champion at 184 pounds, got Ohio State right back on course, scoring a technical fall in the second stanza. Pucillo recorded four takedowns, three two-point nearfalls and a two-point nearfall against Matthew Gevelinger of Brown to post a 17-2 technical fall, his second this season. He meets Thomas Spellman of Virginia Tech in the second round.
In the Buckeyes’ final match of the morning session, junior Corey Morrison fell, 3-1, in overtime to North Carolina’s Justin Dobies. In the wrestleback, the heavyweight meets Eddie Bordas of Rider.