Three members of the Oklahoma State wrestling team advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships on Friday at the Scottrade Center. All earning All-America honors with their wins in the quarterfinals, Kaid Brock, Dean Heil and Nolan Boyd will each compete for a spot in the national finals Friday night at 7 p.m.
With eight Cowboys still competing, OSU sits fourth in the team race with 47.5 points. Penn State leads with 74.
"We've got eight alive, which is a good number going into Friday night," head coach John Smith said. "I think it's really important that we try to finish strong and pull as many All-Americans as we can. We really want to put some guys in orange in the finals."
Redshirt freshman Kaid Brock became the 34th freshman in Oklahoma State wrestling history to earn All-America status, dropping Buffalo's Bryan Lantry, 7-3, in his 133-pound quarterfinal match. Brock scored a trio of takedowns in the win and denied Lantry any hope of the upset.
The Cowboy will look to avenge his only two losses of the season Friday night in the semifinals when he matches up with second-seeded Seth Gross of South Dakota State.
"We've seen it several times," Smith said. "I think it's been one of those matches where Kaid has scored early and (Gross) keeps clawing himself into the match. The key is going to be Kaid being able to get off bottom at will and it's going to take some effort from his part. It's another tough match for him. (Gross) is a kid that we know could be the best guy in the bracket right now."
Junior Dean Heil continued his defense of the 141-pound crown, defeating the No. 8 seed in Jaydin Eierman of Missouri to claim his third career All-America honor. With Heil leading, 5-2, after two periods, Eierman chose the down position to open the final frame and escaped before scoring a takedown in the final seconds. With riding time added, however, Heil would advance to the semifinals, where he is set to take on No. 5 seed Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers.
"Dean Heil had a good match and a solid effort from a standpoint of putting his points up early," Smith said. I didn't care for him giving up that takedown at the end. We've been a little sloppy at the end of matches throughout the tournament."
Nolan Boyd earned his second career All-America accolade at 184 pounds with an 11-7 victory over Northern Iowa's Drew Foster. Boyd opened with a takedown and four-point nearfall to jump out to an early 6-0 lead and never looked back from there, clinching a spot in Friday night's semifinals where he will face No. 1 Gabe Dean of Cornell.
"It was good to see him have his best match of the tournament in the quarterfinals because that's where you need to have it," Smith said. "It's going to take a special effort (tonight). He's got to be really intelligent and he's going to have to leave it all out there. We're talking about a guy that knows how to win. For Nolan, his best effort could be good enough."
Redshirt freshman Nick Piccininni was pinned in the third period by No. 1 Thomas Gilman of Iowa in his quarterfinal match. Piccininni will move to the consolation bracket where he will face Brock Hudkins of Northern Illinois on Friday night.
Sophomore Joe Smith came up short, 3-1, in sudden victory against Nebraska's fourth-seeded Tyler Berger. Tied at one at the end of regulation, Berger scored the decisive takedown 12 seconds into the first sudden victory period to move on. Smith will go against Minnesota's Jake Short, the eighth seed, in Session IV.
Despite an impressive effort against No. 1 Isaiah Martinez of Illinois at 165 pounds, Chandler Rogers took his first loss of the weekend by way of 10-5 decision. The two traded attacks in the first period, with Martinez landing the only successful blow of the frame to lead 2-1 after one. A four-point nearfall from Martinez early in the second would essentially seal the match, although Rogers would notch a late takedown to quell Martinez's hopes of bonus points. Rogers will take on No. 11 seed Bryce Steiert of Northern Iowa in consolation action Friday night.
Redshirt sophomore Preston Weigel dropped a 13-5 major decision to No. 3 seed Kollin Moore of Ohio State. He'll match up with Daniel Chaid of North Carolina.
In the 174-pound wrestlebacks, senior Kyle Crutchmer picked up a couple more victories in the day's first session. Crutchmer recorded decisions over No. 8 Ethan Ramos of North Carolina and Central Michigan's 16th-seeded Christia Brucki to advance. Crutchmer will go for his second career All-America honor Friday night when he takes on No. 11 seed Alex Meyer of Iowa.
"It's a statement to him," Smith said. "(Brucki) is about as dangerous as I thought he would be, and wrestling Ramos in the round before. I've said it all year long that this weight class is deep…That was the match that I was really hoping we'd see his best effort. He needed it all. Of course, he's got a familiar opponent tonight, which is another tough match. He needs to regroup and recognize the effort he's given in his last two matches is enough, but he's going to have to keep it up."
Although eight wrestlers are still competing, Cowboy seniors Anthony Collica and Austin Schafer were eliminated from competition Friday.
In his consolation match against Arizona State's Josh Marruca, Collica led, 4-2, with riding time locked up in the third period. The senior made one last attack, but Marruca countered, scoring a takedown and four-point nearfall at the final whistle to come away with the 8-5 decision. Collica wraps a remarkable career that saw the Cowboy go 107-33 with a 2016 All-America honor and four Big 12 titles on his resume. His 107 wins rank 33rd all-time in program history.
Schafer dropped a 5-1 decision to Lehigh's Doug Vallaro in his consolation match. The loss puts an end to the senior Cowboy's impressive campaign, which saw him go 22-3 on the season with 15 bonus-point wins, a 10-0 dual mark and five wins against ranked foes. Overall, Schafer finished with a 60-25 record during his time in Stillwater.
Fans can watch the action during Session IV on ESPN or online at ESPN3.com.
2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships | St. Louis, Missouri | Scottrade Center | Session Three
Championship Quarterfinal Round
125: No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) fall No. 8 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) 6:04
133: No. 3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 11 Bryan Lantry (Buffalo) 7-3
141: No. 1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 8 Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) 6-5
157: No. 4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska) dec. No. 5 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) 3-1 SV
165: No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) dec. No. 9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) 10-5
184: No. 4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 12 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa) 11-7
197: No. 3 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) MD No. 6 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) 13-5
Consolation Round Two
149: Joshua Maruca (Arizona State) dec. No. 2 Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) 8-5
174: No. 7 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 8 Ethan Ramos (North Carolina) 5-3
285: Doug Vollaro (Lehigh) dec. No. 6 Austin Schafer (Oklahoma State) 5-1
Consolation Round Three
174: No. 7 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 16 Christian Brucki (Central Michigan) 5-3
Championship Semifinal Round Schedule (Friday Night)
133: No. 3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 2 Seth Gross (South Dakota State)
141: No. 1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 5 Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers)
184: No. 4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 1 Gabe Dean (Cornell)
Consolation Round Four Schedule (Friday Night)
125: No. 8 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) vs. Brock Hudkins (Northern Illinois)
157: No. 5 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 8 Jake Short (Minnesota)
165: No. 9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 11 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa)
174: No. 7 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 11 Alex Meyer (Iowa)
197: No. 6 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) vs. Daniel Chaid (North Carolina)