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NCAA Wrestling Championships: Quarterfinal Madness, Semifinal Sneak Peak



By Brock Hite

The semifinals are set and half the All-American positions have been filled. The other forty All-American honors will be earned tonight at 8pm on the outside mats, while the finalists are determined in the center of the arena. 

Session Three Takeaways:

Jack Mueller (Virginia) and Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State) met in a marathon bout that saw Mueller take a 4-1 victory in tie-breaker two. Both guys scored escapes in regulation, but failed to get away in the first tie-breaker. Mueller made a great recovery getting his leg ride put back in after Bresser almost escaped. After another scoreless sudden victory period, Mueller once again rode Bresser out in the tie-breaker period. Mueller was able to break the tie with an escape, and iced the match with a takedown in the final 30-second period.

Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech) takes down “the Bull.” 

Mekhi Lewis upset No. 1 seed Alex Marinelli. David Hague

With a takedown in the closing seconds, Lewis took a 3-1 decision over top-seeded Alex Marinelli (Iowa). Many predicted this upset as Lewis defeated Marinelli last spring in freestyle.

Evan Wick (Wisconsin) will look to capitalize on Marinelli going down, and he took care of business in his anticipated quarterfinal with Chance Marsteller (Lock Haven). Wick didn’t fall behind like last year as he secured the opening takedown and transitioned right to a nearside cradle. Wick secured the fall at 1:25.

What To Watch In Session Four:

125lbs: Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs Nick Piccininni (Ok State)

Lee defeated Piccininni twice in 2018, including a fall at the NCAA Championships. Piccininni almost brought down Gallagher-Iba Arena this year when he stuck Spencer Lee in a late season dual.

Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) vs Jack Mueller (Virginia)

Both guys enter the bout undefeated. Rivera owns two wins over returning national champion, Spencer Lee. Those wins propelled him to the number one seed. Mueller had a red-shirt pulled midseason after spending a year up at 133lbs. The records and the unknowns adds a lot of intrigue to this bout.

141lbs: Nick Lee (Penn State) vs Joey McKenna (Ohio State)

McKenna holds the edge in the rivalry 2-1, but all three bouts have been by razor thin margins. Watch for McKenna to control the action early and Lee to make his push late in the match.

Nick Lee in the third round of the NCAA Tournament — March 22, 2019 David Hague/PSN

174lbs: Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) vs Daniel Lewis (Missouri)

Daniel Lewis is a pinning machine. He has three falls in three bouts here in Pittsburgh. He also stuck the returning national champion, Zahid Valencia in their dual meet. Valencia will need to stay out of Lewis’ cradle if he wants to get to his second straight final.

285lbs: Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs Anthony Cassar (Penn State)

Many weren’t willing to give Cassar a chance to win this bout heading into the Big Ten Championships. After the Big Ten’s those pundits have been forced to take Cassar seriously if they aren’t picking him. Cassar used a third period takedown and rideout to take the title from Steveson in his home arena. Pittsburgh has been a very pro-Penn State venue, can Steveson return the favor by taking out Cassar?

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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