UCF Leads After Day One at Nationals
By Scott Farrell
HAMPTON, Va. – Central Florida advanced seven of their 11 qualifiers into the quarterfinals, and earned enough extra bonus points to grab a three-point lead over defending champion The Apprentice School after the first day of the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships.
The Knights entered the tournament with seven seeded wrestlers and three returning All-Americans, and each will wrestle in Friday’s quarterfinals at the Hampton University Convocation Center. UCF scored 36.5 points thus far by advancing 10 of their 11 qualifiers through the first round. The first-round matches were the difference, as Apprentice was 8-3 among its 11 wrestlers in the first round and finished with 33.5 points.
The day’s surprise was Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, which sits just behind the leaders at 31.5 points. SIUE established itself as a title contender with a perfect 8-for-8 run through the first round. It was a dominating show for SIUE early on with five pins in the round, with three of them inside of a minute by fourth-seeded Brendan Murphy at 133 pounds (in 0:37), Chase Grafton at 235 (0:30) and second-seeded David Devine at 285 (0:41). Steve Ross won with a 15-0 technical fall at 157 pounds.
The day’s biggest upsets came in the final matches at heavyweight. Sidney Garrett of Tennessee Temple scored a third-period takedown to secure a 5-0 win over previously undefeated and top-seeded Michael Mullen of Marion Military Institute. Garrett, a freshman, was 10-4 coming in after placing third in the Southeastern Conference Championships. Mullen is now 32-1 on the season.
Moments later, Cam Miller of Winona State pinned fourth-seeded John Lapoint of Maryland-Baltimore County in 3:29. Earlier in the 235-pound bracket, Mark Koski of Florida upset second-seeded Joseph DiSalvo of Northeastern, 4-3, in a second-round match.
In all, 36 of the 44 top-four seeds advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals.
Apprentice took advantage of another surprise in senior Matt Perry at 157 pounds. In what is now regarded as the tournament’s toughest weight class, the unseeded Perry (32-13) advanced through his opening match by injury default over fifth-seeded Terry Long of Auburn. Perry then beat 12th-seeded Joe Kent of Illinois State 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Perry is a returning All-American following an eighth-place finish at last year’s NCWA Championships but had to earn a wild-card entry to this year’s nationals. He is Apprentice’s non-scoring wrestler at 157, but teammate Patrick McIntosh is also in the quarterfinals as Apprentice’s designated scoring wrestler.
The NCWA allows a team to have two entries in a weight class, but the team must designate which wrestler can earn team points. Perry faces fourth-seeded Eric Powell of Williamson School of Mechanical Trade in the quarterfinals.
Grand Valley State is in fourth with 29.5 points and has four wrestlers in the quarterfinals. The Lakers still have all 11 wrestlers alive in their respective brackets.
The NCWA divided its championships into two divisions for the first time this season, with Division I representing full programs and Division II representing club teams. Massachusetts leads the Division II standings with 13.5 points.
Team Scores after two rounds
Division I Teams
1. Central Florida – 36.5
2. The Apprentice School (Va.) – 33.5
3. So. Illinois-Edwardsville – 31.5
4. Grand Valley State (Mich.) – 29.5
5. Md.-Baltimore County – 24.5
6. Marion Military Institute (Ala.) – 23.5
7. U.S. Naval Academy Prep – 20.5
8. West Chester (Pa.) – 19.5
9. U.S. Military Academy Prep – 17.5
10. U.S. Air Force Academy Prep – 15.5
11. Colorado State - 15
12. Winona State (Minn.) - 13
13t. Northwest Missouri State - 9
13t. Rensselaer Polytechnic (R.I.) - 9
15t. New Hampshire – 8.5
15t. San Jose State – 8.5
Division II Clubs
1. Massachusetts – 13.5
2. Northampton CC (Pa.) - 13
3t. MIT – 12.5
3t. Kennesaw State (Ga.) – 12.5
5. Penn State-Dubois - 12
6t. Georgia Southern - 10
6t. Georgia - 10
8. South Carolina - 9
9t. Weber State – 7,5
9t. Wayne State – 7.5