BC-WRE--NCAA Wrestling Championships
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Penn State sits atop the standings at the NCAA wrestling championships, where a handful of Nittany Lions will chase individual titles when the tournament resumes Friday night.
The Nittany Lions, trying to win their eighth team title in nine years, went unbeaten in the quarterfinals to send six wrestlers to the semifinals.
Jason Nolf (157 pounds), Vincenzo Joseph (165) and Bo Nickal (197) are two wins away from clinching their third straight individual championships. Nolf and Joseph are the two-time defending champions at their weights while Nickal is a two-time champion at 184 pounds.
Nick Lee (141), Mark Hall (174) and Anthony Cassar (285) also wrestled their way into the semis.
All six helped the Nittany Lions bolster their lead for the team championship. After three sessions, Penn State leads Ohio State 80-66½.
The Nittany Lions suffered a pair of setbacks, however.
Though Roman Bravo-Young (133) is still alive in his consolation bracket, Brady Berge (149) and Shakur Rasheed (197) were knocked out of the tournament with consolation losses in the morning session.
Ohio State, the only other team to win a team title during Penn State’s current run, tried to stay close in the team score. The Buckeyes went 5-1 in the quarterfinals, with Luke Pletcher (133), Joey McKenna (141), Micah Jordan (149), Myles Martin (184) and Kollin Moore (197) advancing to the semis.
Oklahoma State moved into third place overall with a 4-0 showing in the quarters. Nick Piccininni (125), Daton Fix (133), Preston Weigel (197) and Derek White (285) are the Cowboys’ semifinalists.
Iowa, which ended Thursday 1½ points out of second place, with seven quarterfinalists, struggled Friday morning.
Of the Hawkeyes who won on Thursday, only defending 125-pound champion Spencer Lee and Kaleb Young (157) moved on to the semis. Top-seeded 165-pounder Alex Marinelli was knocked out by Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes missed a chance to make up ground in the team race when Max Murin (141) lost to Penn State’s Lee and Pat Lugo (149) fell to Ohio State’s Jordan in the quarters.