ST. LOUIS J.D. Bergman, J Jaggers and Mike Pucillo, members of the No. 9 Ohio State wrestling team will become the first Buckeyes since 2004 to make an appearance in the finals of the NCAA championships. All three wrestlers won their semifinal matches Friday night at the 2008 edition of nationals in Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. With three Buckeyes in the finals and Lance Palmer vying for a seventh-place finish Saturday morning, Ohio State currently is in second place with 71 points after four sessions.
Medal-round action will begin at 11 a.m. ET Saturday, while the finals will get underway at 8:30 p.m. ET. ESPNU will broadcast live coverage of the medal rounds and ESPN/ESPN360.com will air the finals live.
Jaggers, a sixth-seeded redshirt-junior, defeated the second-seeded wrestler and 2007 NCAA third-place finisher Charles Griffin of Hofstra, 11-9, to earn a spot in the final at 141 pounds against No. 1 seed Chad Mendes of Cal Poly Saturday night.
It was a hard-fought decision for Jaggers, a 2007 All-American and three-time NCAA qualifier. The Northfield, Ohio, native owned a 7-3 lead heading into the second period, but Griffin continued to attempt a rally, cutting Jaggers’ lead to one (10-9) in the third period. However, Jaggers would not be denied, scoring an escape with 24 seconds left to go up, 11-9. As the seconds ticked off the clock, Jaggers held on for the victory.
“During this tournament I have been able to execute my finishes,” Jaggers said. “I know what I can do and everyone in our wrestling room knows what I can do. It’s the outsiders who don’t know what you can do until you show them in a tournament like this.
“I was joking with Tom (Ryan), asking him whose corner he was in for this match. Was he with me or Griffin? He is going to go in the record book as one of the greatest coaches of all time. I mean he took this team from 45th to 10th in one year. Lou Rosselli is the coach I work with everyday and he has changed my life in the sport of wrestling.”
Pucillo, a redshirt-sophomore, was the second Buckeye to earn a trip to the 2008 finals. The second-seeded Pucillo posted a dramatic 2-1 decision over Missouri’s sixth-seed Raymond Jordan in a second tiebreaker. After a scoreless first period, Pucillo took a 1-0 lead in the second period after scoring an escape early in the stanza. Jordan countered with an escape of his own with 1:26 left in the third period to tie the score and send the match into overtime. With no scoring in sudden victory, both wrestlers were headed into the first of two 30 second tiebreakers. Pucillo took the down position in the initial round and recorded an escape with 27 seconds left on the clock. Up 2-1, Pucillo managed to keep Jordan in his grips to earn his first trip to the finals. Pucillo will face 2007 NCAA runner-up and No. 1-seed Jake Varner of Iowa State.
Bergman, a senior heavyweight, made it three Buckeyes in the finals after he beat third-seed Ed Prendergast of Navy, 5-4. With the score knotted at 2 apiece after the first period, Bergman took a 5-3 lead in the second period on an escape and takedown. Prendergast would keep fighting, recording an escape with 1:21 left in the match, but the Oak Harbor, Ohio, native was able to hold on for his first appearance on the stage at the national championships. Bergman and Northwestern’s Dustin Fox will square off in a rematch of the Big Ten championships final from two weeks ago. Fox is the No. 1-seed in the tournament.
At 149 pounds, Palmer, 2007 All-American, posted an impressive 11-3 major decision over Brandon Carter of Central Michigan in his opening match of session four to earn his second-career All-America laurel. Last season, as a freshman, the Columbia Station, Ohio, native finished fourth. Palmer was stopped short of chance to continue his progress towards the third-place matchup when he dropped a 6-2 decision to fifth-seed Josh Churella of Michigan. Palmer will now vie for seventh-place Saturday morning against Minnesota’s No. 2-seed Dustin Schlatter.
Redshirt-sophomore Reece Humphrey’s bid to become an All-American ended Friday night when he dropped a 9-6 decision to No. 7-seed Mike Grey of Cornell. Down 2-0 after the first period, Humphrey tied the score at 2-all when he scored a takedown with 39 seconds left in the second period. However, Grey notched an escape with just 16 second left in the period to go up by one. In the final period, Humphrey again evened the score at 4-4, but Grey scored a pair of takedowns and compiled a riding time of 2:27 to take control and earn the win.
2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships
St. Louis, Mo.
Day Two Final
Pl. School Points
1. Iowa 102
2. Ohio State 71
3. Iowa State 68
4. Penn State 63
5. Central Michigan 61.5
6. Michigan 61
7. Nebraska 58
Oklahoma State 58
9. Cornell 57.5
10. Minnesota 56.5
Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) dec. Rick Deubel (Edinboro), 4-3
No. 1 Franklin Gomez (Michigan State) dec. Reece Humphrey (Ohio State), 5-4 TB6
Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) dec. Kyle Hutter (Old Dominion), 6-3
Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) dec. Conor Beebe (Central Michigan), 6-2
No. 7 Mike Grey (Cornell) dec. Reece Humphrey (Ohio State), 9-6
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. Nexi Delgado (UC Davis) 13-10
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. Drew Headlee (Pittsburgh), 7-2
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. No. 3 Kellen Russell (Michigan), 5-3
No. 6 J Jaggers (Ohio State) dec. No. 2 Charles Griffin (Hofstra), 11-9
No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State) mdec. Kyle Larson (Oregon State), 14-3
No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State) mdec. No. 8 Jake Patacsil (Purdue), 14-6
No.1 Brent Metcalf (Iowa) dec. No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State), 3-2
No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State) mdec. Brandon Carter (Central Michigan), 11-3
No. 5 Josh Churella (Michigan) dec. No. 9 Lance Palmer (Ohio State), 6-2
No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) mdec. Ian Murphy (Cal State Fullerton), 11-2
No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) mdec. Ryan Goodman (N.C. State), 14-1
No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) dec. No. 7 Phil Keddy (Iowa), 4-3
No. 2 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) dec. No. 6 Raymond Jordan (Missouri), 2-1TB2
No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) pinned Patrick Walker (Liberty), :37 seconds
No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) dec. Joe Fendone (Edinboro), 6-3
No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) mdec. No. 7 David Zabriskie (Iowa State), 11-1
No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) dec. No. 3 Ed Prendergast (Navy), 5-4