MINNEAPOLIS No. 1 seeds J.D. Bergman and Mike Pucillo are leading the charge for the Ohio State wrestling team at the 2008 Big Ten Championships at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. Bergman and Pucillo advanced to the semifinals at heavyweight and 184 pounds, respectively. As a team, the Buckeyes are in ninth place with 17 points.
Action will resume at 6 p.m. EST Saturday with semifinal and wrestleback competitions.
Iowa leads the field of 11 squads with 74 points. Minnesota is second with 64 points and Illinois rounds out the Top 3 with 50 points.
En route to his semifinal appearance, Bergman beat Nathan Everhart of Indiana, 5-4, after receiving a first-round bye. Up next for the senior heavyweight is No. 4-seed Matt Fields of Iowa. Prior to posting a 7-5 decision over fifth-seed John Wise of Illinois, Fields pinned Michigan State’s Alan O’Donnell in 5:13.
Pucillo wrestled twice in the early session, first downing Michigan State’s Nick Palmieri, 10-3. The redshirt-sophomore then scored a 12-3 major decision against A.J. Kissel of Purdue. Pucillo will meet fourth-seed Roger Kish of Minnesota in the semifinals. Kish posted a pair of decisions to advance to his matchup against Pucillo.
Freshman and seventh-seed Nikko Triggas dropped an 8-4 decision to third-seed Charlie Falck of Iowa and next will face Akif Eren of Purdue at 125 pounds.
Also facing a Top 3 seed, redshirt-sophomore Reece Humphrey lost, 12-6, to Joey Slaton of Iowa in his first match at133 pounds. Humphrey, the seventh-seed, has Northwestern’s Eric Metzler next on his slate.
As the third-seed, redshirt-junior J Jaggers matched-up against sixth-seed Manuel Rivera of Minnesota at 141 pounds. After ending the regular season with a 6-4 win over Rivera Feb. 24, Jaggers could not repeat, dropping a 6-2 decision in the first round. Jaggers and Matt Redmond of Purdue will meet in the wrestlebacks.
Sophomore Lance Palmer, the No. 5 seed, drew fourth-seed Bubba Jenkins of Penn State at 149 pounds in the first session and lost a close 6-5 decision to the Nittany Lion. Up next for Palmer is Kendall Vogel of Wisconsin.
At 157 pounds, redshirt-junior Jason Johnstone dropped a 4-2 decision to No. 2 seed Dan Vallimont of Penn State. Johnstone will face No. 8 John Fulger of Michigan State in session two.
Freshman Colt Sponseller, a fourth-seed, battled it out with Illinois’ and fifth-seed Roger Smith Bergsrud, but in the end Bergsrud posted a 6-2 decision at 165 pounds. In the wrestleback, Sponseller will matchup against Luke Manuel of Purdue.
Senior Alex Picazo dropped a 12-4 major decision to Nick Corpe of Purdue at 174 pounds to fall to wrestleback contention and next will face Michigan State’s John Murphy.
At 197 pounds, freshman John Weakley remains in contention in the wrestleback bracket after losing to No. 2 seed Phil Davis of Penn State (fall, 4:59). Due up for Weakley is eighth-seed Anthony Biondo of Michigan.