March 8, 2014
MADISON, Wis. - Senior heavyweight Mike McClure qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year after recording two victories in Saturday night's session two of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships at the Kohl Center.
McClure, who went 1-1 in session one including a loss to third-seeded Michael McMullan of Northwestern in the quarterfinals, bounced back in his first consolation match and shut out Illinois' Chris Lopez, 2-0. The sixth-seeded McClure (26-6) then topped seventh-seeded Connor Medbery of Wisconsin, 4-1. It marked McClure's second victory over Medbery this season.
McClure will face Penn State's Jon Gingrich for his first match of session three on Sunday. If McClure defeats Gingrich, he will advance to the third-place match; if he loses, he will wrestle for fifth place.
The top-nine heavyweights at the Big Ten Championships automatically earn bids to the NCAA Championships. The class is the strongest in the Big Ten this season, as seven heavyweights are ranked in the Top 10 nationally.
At 184 pounds, junior John Rizqallah is one match away from automatically clinching his second straight trip to the NCAA Championships. The top-seven wrestlers in the 184-pound bracket automatically qualify for Oklahoma City, and Rizqallah will wrestle Luke Sheridan of Indiana for seventh place in session three on Sunday. Rizqallah beat Sheridan in the dual against the Hoosiers on Feb. 9, 3-1.
Rizqallah upset fourth-seeded T.J. Dudley of Nebraska in the first consolation round with a thrilling 7-6 tiebreaker win. He nearly won his second consecutive overtime match to clinch a top-seven finish, but lost a 4-2 sudden-victory heartbreaker to Nikko Reyes of Illinois.
Fifth-year senior Bobby Nash will wrestle in the ninth-place match at 165 pounds on Sunday after defeating Ohio State's Joe Grandominico, 6-1, on Saturday night. Nash lost to Dan Yates of Michigan, 10-2, in his first consolation match of session two, but rallied to take down Grandominico in the ninth-place round. Nash will take on Pat Robinson of Purdue on Sunday for ninth place.
Junior Nick McDiarmid will also wrestle for ninth place at 197 pounds on Sunday. McDiarmid dropped a 9-2 decision in his first match of session two to Northwestern's Alex Polizzi; however, he came back to shut out Garet Goldman of Indiana, 6-0, later in the evening. McDiarmid will take on Nebraska's Caleb Kolb in the ninth-place match.
At 125 pounds, fifth-year senior Brenan Lyon dropped a 6-4 decision to Michigan's Conor Youtsey in the consolation round.
In the 133-pound bracket, red-shirt freshman Garth Yenter lost both of his matches in the consolation round, falling to Ohio State's Johnni DiJulius (2-0) and Michigan's Rossi Bruno (7-2).
Sophomore Brian Gibbs was pinned by Iowa's Josh Dziewa (4:58) in the consolation round at 141 pounds.
Nick Trimble, who advanced to the quarterfinals at 149 pounds following his first-round victory over No. 8 seed Brandon Nelson of Purdue, lost his first consolation match with a close 2-1 decision to Wisconsin's Rylan Lubeck.
In the 157-pound weight class, Roger Wildmo suffered a 7-2 loss to sixth-seeded Taylor Walsh in the first consolation round. In the ninth-place round, Wildmo fell to Purdue's Alex Griffin, 9-5.
At 174 pounds, fifth-year senior Nick Kaczanowski lost his first consolation match to sixth-seeded Mark Martin of Ohio State, 5-3.
The Spartans are currently in 12th place with 15 points.
Session three of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships will begin Sunday at 12 p.m. ET; live brackets and video will be available at www.uwbadgers.com/b1gwrestling.
Session four, which includes the first-, third-, and fifth-place matches, will begin at 2 p.m. ET. BTN will have live coverage of session four.