Grand Canyon Pulls Away on Day Two

03/15/2014 -

ALLEN, Texas – Turns out Grand Canyon didn’t need the extra carryover points after all.
The Antelopes sent seven of their 11 wrestlers into the finals, and along with hefty bonus points earned in each rounds, take a 65-point lead into the final day of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships at the Allen Event Center.
Grand Canyon entered the tournament with 24 points earned from the Collegiate Cup, the association’s national duals tournament in which each team earns points based on its finish that carry into the nationals. GCU led Liberty by 10 points after day one, but expanded its lead Friday by advancing eight of nine wrestlers past the quarterfinals and seven of eight past the semifinals.
The Antelopes’ finalists are AJ Salazar (125 pounds), Zach Zehner (141), Mike Hamel (149), Bryant Wood (157), Martin Fabbian (174), Austin Gaun (184) and Peter Angel Anguiano (285).
While GCU cranked up the heat in the quarterfinals, Liberty wrestlers were only 4-4 in the same round, and of the four that advanced, only one, Ryan Diehl, moved ahead to the final. The Flames dropped to third on the day with 132 points, but still advanced Collin Lewis (141), Peter Tatanish (149), Chase Boontjer (157), Keyshaun Ward (174), Royal Brettrager (184) and Aaron Thompson (197) into the All-American rounds.
Diehl’s (34-0) title match at 133 pounds is one of the highlights of Saturday’s finals that begin at 3 p.m., as the undefeated freshman takes on another undefeated wrestler, now four-time All-American Sam Shames (39-0) of MIT. Shames is the top seed with Diehl second, and both have won all four of their matches by fall or technical fall. Shames was the national champion at 125 last year.
Second-place Shorter will have four wrestlers in the finals, starting with 125-pound top-seed Ben Smith, who stayed undefeated at 22-0. Smith will face Grand Canyon’s AJ Salazar (30-11) in the final. Shorter’s Terrence Smith (32-3) will face Grand Canyon’s Austin Gaun (29-10) in the 184-pound final as well. The Hawks also have Dalton Lane (174) wrestling in the All-American rounds.
Five of the finals matches will pair the 1-2 seeds in their brackets. Besides Shames and Diehl, two other wrestlers, Paul Ardila (13-0) of Georgia at 197 pounds, and Parker Maytrott (15-0) of the U.S. Military Academy Prep School at 174, will take the undefeated records into their respective finals.
Santiago Martinez (39-4) of fourth-place Central Florida will defend his national championship at 157, and is one of two Knights’ wrestlers to reach the final along with Tyrell Walker at 197. Martinez will wrestle Bryant Wood (13-8) of Grand Canyon in the final. Wood is one of three wrestlers with outside the top eight seeds to wrestle in the final. Wood was the 10-seed at 157, but his stay as the lowest-seeded finalist ended quickly as 11-seed Drew Daniels (21-6) of the U.S. Naval Academy Prep School reached the 165 final. Walker, a 13 seed, later reached the 197 final.
Eight of the 22 finalists are from the NCWA’s Southeast Conference, with representation from Shorter, Central Florida, North Florida and Georgia. North Florida’s Stuart Maddox (29-3) upset top-seed Josh Woods of UCF in the 235 semifinals to get a rematch with SEC mate Andrew Ewers (21-9) of Shorter in the final.
Middle Tennessee State is in fifth place with 87.5 points, and has its first finalist since 2009 in Rashied Rayford (17-4) at 285. Grand Valley State is a point behind MTSU in sixth with 86.5, and also ended a finalist drought when Kyle Horr (16-1) reached the 141 final. GVSU has not had a finalist since 2011.
Florida Gulf Coast remained in the lead in Division II with 61 points, just ahead of MIT with 57.5. But MIT could overtake the Eagles for the title with Shames wrestling in the 133 final and Jake Laux still alive in the 197 All-American matches. FGCU has already secured the third All-American in its program’s history, with Giovanni Jiovenetta wrestling in the 174 placing rounds.
Also of note is Texas, which earned its first All-American since 2009 in Antonio Martinez, who advanced to the 141 quarterfinals before securing his national honors with a fourth-round consolation win. He could face Texas A&M’s Austin Souders in the consolation semifinals. Souders also reached the quarterfinals before falling into consolations. Texas A&M’s last All-American came in 2010.

Here are the championship matches set to start at 3 p.m. Saturday:
125 lbs. – (1) Ben Smith (22-0), Shorter vs. (2) AJ Salazar (30-11), Grand Canyon
133 lbs. – (1) Sam Shames (39-0), MIT vs. (2) Ryan Diehl (34-0), Liberty
141 lbs. – (1) Zach Zehner (17-1), Grand Canyon vs. (2) Kyle Horr (16-1), Grand Valley State
149 lbs. – (1) Mike Hamel (33-10), Grand Canyon vs. (2) Luke Bilyeu (12-2), West Chester
157 lbs. – (1) Santiago Martinez (39-4), Central Florida vs. (10) Bryant Wood (13-8), Grand Canyon
165 lbs. – (1) Wally Figaro (27-3), Shorter vs. (11) Drew Daniels (21-6), U.S. Naval Aca. Prep
174 lbs. – (5) Parker Maytrott (15-0), U.S. Military Aca. Prep vs. (3) Martin Fabbian (27-13), Grand Canyon
184 lbs. – (1) Terrence Smith (32-3), Shorter vs. (3) Austin Gaun (29-10), Grand Canyon
197 lbs. – (13) Tyrell Walker (24-12), Central Florida vs. (2) Paul Ardila (13-0), Georgia
235 lbs. – (4) Stuart Maddox (29-3), North Florida vs. (2) Andrew Ewers (21-9), Shorter
285 lbs. – (1) Peter Anguiano (26-9), Grand Canyon vs. (2) Rashied Rayford (17-4), Middle Tennessee


STANDINGS AFTER DAY TWO
Division I
1. Grand Canyon - 210.5
2. Shorter - 142
3. Liberty - 132
4. Central Florida - 108.5
5. Middle Tennessee - 87.5
6. Grand Valley State - 86.5
7. U.S. Naval Prep - 72.5
8. North Florida - 63
9. Apprentice - 60.5
10. U.S. Military Prep - 52
11. Alfred State - 51.5
12. West Chester - 50
13. U.S. Air Force Prep - 45.5
14. Mott Community College - 42.5
15. Marion Military Institute - 36.5
16. Mercer - 34.5
16. Penn State - Mont Alto - 34.5
18. Md.-Baltimore County - 29
19. Penn State - DuBois - 21
20. East Tennessee State - 20.5
21. Wichita State - 19
22. Georgia Southern - 18.5
23. Penn College - 17.5
24. Douglas College - 17
24. New Hampshire - 17
26. Southern Virginia - 16
27. Penn State - New Kensington - 15
28. Tennessee Temple - 14.5

Division II
1. Florida Gulf Coast - 61.0
2. M.I.T. - 57.5
3. South Florida - 46.5
4. Montana Western - 44.0
5. Central Washington - 37.5
6. Washington State - 35.0
7. Texas - 32.0
8. RPI - 31.5
9. Georgia - 30.5
10. Auburn - 28.5
11. Wayne State - 23.5
12. Toledo - 21.5
13. Glendale CC - 18.5
14. Dixie State - 18
15. NW Missouri State - 17.5
15. Texas - Arlington - 17.5
17. Stony Brook - 17
18. Michigan - 16.5
19. Florida - 16
20. Southern Cal - 14.5
21. Massachusetts - 13
22t. Colorado State - 12.5
22t. William and Mary - 12.5
24. Maine - 12
25t. Saginaw Valley State - 11
25t. Tennessee - 11
25t. Texas A&M - 11
28. Brigham Young - 10.5
29t. Henry Ford CC - 10
29t. Slippery Rock - 10
29t. Pittsburgh - 10
32. Virginia Military - 9.5
33. Washtenaw CC - 9
34. Texas State - 8.5
35. Connecticut - 8
36t. Alabama - 7.5
36t. Memphis - 7.5
36t. Western Washington - 7.5
39t. East Carolina - 7
39t. Eastern Maine CC - 7
41. Yale - 6.5
42t. Bowling Green - 5
42t. Lafayette - 5
44. Montclair State - 4.5
45t. Illinois State - 4
45t. James Madison - 4
47t. Bridgewater - 3
47t. Evergreen State - 3
49t. Albany - 2.5
49t. Texas-Pan American - 2.5
51. South Puget Sound CC - 1
52t. Eastern Washington - 0
52t. Florida A&M - 0
52t. Rutgers - 0
52t. UC Santa Barbara - 0
52t. SUNY-Westchester - 0