ST. LOUIS With four members of the Ohio State wrestling team qualifying for the quarterfinals and three others looking to finish as high as third in the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships, the Buckeyes currently are in eighth place with 22 points after two sessions Thursday. The 2008 edition of the championships are being held in the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
J Jaggers, Lance Palmer, Mike Pucillo and J.D. Bergman will compete in quarterfinal action beginning at 11 a.m. ET Friday. Nikko Triggas, Reece Humphrey and Jason Johnstone will participate in wrestleback action. ESPNU/ESPN360.com will air the quarterfinals live and will broadcast live coverage of the semifinals beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Additionally, live updates of the championships are provided on www.ncaasports.com.
At 133 pounds, Humphrey, a redshirt-sophomore, nearly pulled off the biggest upset of the championships when he faced No. 1-seed Franklin Gomez of Michigan State. Down 3-0 after the second period, Humphrey scored a takedown and two-point nearfall with less than a minute left in the match to take a 4-3 advantage. As the seconds ticked off the clock, Gomez recorded an escape to tie the score and send the bout into overtime. Neither wrestler was able to score in three sudden victory periods and four tiebreakers. However, in the fifth tiebreaker, Gomez tallied a crucial escape, but his advantage did not last long as Humphrey countered with an escape of his own in the sixth tiebreaker. It was to no avail though as Gomez owned four seconds of riding time and it was enough for him to win 5-4 and avoid the upset.
In his first-round match, Humphrey edged Edinboro’s Rick Deubel, 4-3. It was Humphrey’s second victory over Deubel this season as the Indianapolis, Ind., native decisioned Deubel, 7-3 Feb. 14 in St. John Arena. Down 2-1 after the first period, Humphrey and Deubel were even (2-2) following the second stanza. Taking the down position with the scored tied 3-all, Humphrey scored an escape with 46 seconds left in the match for the win.
In his first match of the championships, the No. 6-seed Jaggers dispatched Nexi Delgado of UC Davis, 13-10, at 141 pounds. Jaggers, the sixth-seed, never trailed throughout the match, leading 7-3 and 9-5 after the first and second periods, respectively. Delgado attempted to rally in the third period, cutting Jaggers’ lead to four (11-7) on an escape and takedown, but the Buckeye native of Northfield, Ohio, scored a takedown and escape to pull ahead 12-10. Coupled with a riding time of 1:11, Jaggers garnered the first-round victory.
Jaggers then won his second bout by a 7-2 margin over Pittsburgh’s Drew Headlee. After a scoreless first period, Jaggers recorded a takedown and escape and owned a 3-1 advantage after the second stanza. In the third period, Jaggers cruised the rest of the way, compiling a three-point nearfall and escape for the final tally.
At 149 pounds, Palmer, a No. 9-seed, earned bonus points for the Buckeyes with his 14-3 major decision over Oregon State’s Kyle Larson. Up 8-2 following the first period and 8-3 after the second, Palmer tacked on six points in the third period for the Buckeyes’ largest margin of victory up to that point.
In a Big Ten Conference championship rematch from two weeks ago, Palmer met Purdue’s Jake Patacsil and earned a hard-fought 14-6 victory. Trailing 4-2 after the first period, Palmer rallied in the second with a pair of takedowns and took a 6-5 lead heading into the final period. After two more escapes, a reversal and a riding time of 1:16, Palmer earned redemption against Patacsil to qualify for the quarterfinals. In the Big Ten championships, Palmer dropped an 8-6 decision to the Boilermaker.
First-time NCAA qualifier Johnstone met No. 1 seed and 2007 NCAA Champion Gregor Gillespie in his first-round bout and lost 6-0.
No. 2-seed Pucillo, who enter the national championships on a 25-match win streak, recorded his first of two major decisions, beating Ian Murphy of Cal State Fullerton, 11-2. Pucillo made quick work of Murphy, allowing him to score only an escape in the first two periods. In the third period, Pucillo continued his control, scoring a takedown and escape to complement his riding time of 2:58.
In his second match, the Strongsville, Ohio, downed N.C. State’s Ryan Goodman, 14-1. Pucillo had control throughout the match, leading 4-1 and 10-1 after the first and second periods, respectively.
Bergman, a No. 2-seed, wasted little time in awarding Ohio State two points after pinning Patrick Walker of Liberty in 37 seconds. For the second time this season, the senior heavyweight defeated Joe Fendone of Edinboro. Thursday, the Oak Harbor, Ohio, native topped Fendone, 6-3, after defeating him, 5-1, Feb. 14 in St. John Arena. With a 4-0 lead following the first period, Bergman increased his advantage to 6-0 at the conclusion of the second stanza. Fendone scored a takedown in the third period in an attempt at a comeback, but Bergman was able to hold on.
Triggas drew 2007 NCAA Champion Pat Donahoe of Nebraska in his opening match at 125 pounds. The freshman dropped a 9-0 major decision to Donahoe. However, Triggas rebounded with a 3:24 pin of Caleb Flores of Northern Iowa in wrestleback action.
2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships
St. Louis, Mo.
1. Iowa 29 points
2. Nebraska 26.5 points
3. Iowa State 25 points
4. Central Michigan
Minnesota 24 points
Oklahoma State 23 points
8. Ohio State 22 points
Penn State 17.5 points
No. 3 Paul Donahoe (Nebraska) mdec. Nikko Triggas (Ohio State), 9-0
Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) pinned Caleb Flores (UNI), 3:24
Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) dec. Rick Deubel (Edinboro), 4-3
No. 1 Franklin Gomez (Michigan State) dec. Reece Humphrey (Ohio State), 5-4 TB6
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. 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 Gregor Gillespie (Edinboro) dec. Jason Johnstone (Ohio State), 6-0
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 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) pinned Patrick Walker (Liberty), :37 seconds
No. 2 J.D. Bergman (Ohio State) dec. Joe Fendone (Edinboro), 6-3