No. 2 Dardanes loses, Iowa suffers setbacks in Session I

Andrew Hipps

3/20/2014
Andrew Hipps, InterMat Senior Editor
andrew@intermatwrestle.com, Twitter: @InterMat

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships opened on Thursday morning at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., with 330 wrestlers from 72 schools participating. The first session saw three top-five seeds lose matches and two All-Americans lose pigtail matches.

No. 2 Nick Dardanes was upset by The Citadel's Matt Frisch (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
The biggest upset came at 149 pounds, where Minnesota All-American Nick Dardanes, seeded No. 2, lost 8-5 to Matt Frisch (The Citadel). Iowa had a disappointing opening session, losing three matches. The biggest disappointments for the Hawkeyes came at 165 pounds and 184 pounds as two of their No. 5 seeds, Ethen Lofthouse and No. 5 Nick Moore, lost first-round matches.

Below is a look at some of the notable results from Session I.

125: Jared Germaine (Eastern Michigan) pinned No. 7 Ryan Taylor (Wisconsin) just 46 seconds into the match. With the win, the unseeded Germaine improved to 22-2 this season. Earl Hall (Iowa State) picked up a mild upset over Pac-12 champion Evan Silver (Stanford), seeded 13th, 7-3.

133: Not too many surprises in this weight class. The No. 15 and No. 16 seeds dropped first-round matches. Rossi Bruno (Michigan) sent No. 15 Mark Grey (Cornell) to the consolation bracket after an 8-5 victory. Matt Manley (Missouri) edged No. 16 Mack McGuire (Kent State) in sudden victory, 7-5. Three-time national champion Penn State suffered its first loss when Jimmy Gulibon was blanked by No. 4 Jon Morrison (Oklahoma State), 4-0, in a rematch from the Southern Scuffle finals in early January.

141: Nick Lester (Oklahoma), a 2012 All-American, fell 5-4 to Gabe Moreno (Iowa State) at 141 in the pigtail match. One of the most anticipated matchups of the round pitted No. 3 Zain Retherford (Penn State) against All-American Undrakhbayar (The Citadel). Retherford scored an early takedown and added a late takedown to cruise to a 5-0 victory. Ugi wasn't the only returning All-American to lose at 141 pounds. Cornell's Mike Nevinger, a two-time All-American, lost in sudden victory to No. 7 Zach Horan (Central Michigan), 9-7. No. 6 Chris Dardanes was pushed to sudden victory, but prevailed 5-3 over Danny Sabatello (Purdue). No. 10 Todd Preston (Harvard), an EIWA champion, was also pushed, but came away with a win in tiebreaker over Dan Neff (Lock Haven), 7-4. Laike Gardner (Lehigh) took out No. 16 Joe Spisak (Virginia), 9-8. Iowa's Josh Dziewa dropped a 4-1 match to No. 13 Steve Dutton (Michigan). It was the third time the two Big Ten wrestlers had met this season, with Dutton owning all three victories.

149: Matt Frisch (The Citadel) silenced the Gopher faithful with an 8-5 victory over No. 2 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota). NCAA champion Kendric Maple (Oklahoma), seeded fourth, was pushed by Tywan Claxton (Ohio), the only wrestler to defeat top-seeded Drake Houdashelt (Missouri). Maple held a 1-0 lead in the third period before picking up a takedown off a leg attack in the final 40 seconds to win 3-1. James English (Penn State), who earned the starting spot in the Nittany Lions' lineup late in the season, topped No. 12 Dylan Cottrell (Appalachian State), 5-4, in tiebreaker.

157: This weight class saw virtually no surprises in the opening session. No. 15 Cody Pack (South Dakota State) was the lone seeded wrestler to lose. He dropped a 5-3 decision to Aaron Walker (The Citadel). No. 13 Dylan Alton (Penn State) won a hard-fought match over Brian Murphy (Michigan), 5-1. Alton scored late takedown to secure the victory in a match that was close the entire way. It was the rubber match between the two wrestlers this season.

165: Iowa suffered a big blow when No. 5 Nick Moore was handled by Josh Veltre (Bloomsburg), 15-7. Moore trailed 10-7 in the third period, but gave up a late takedown with nearfall points. Another Big Ten seeded wrestler, Jackson Morse (Illinois), seeded 12th, lost to Ryan LeBlanc (Indiana) in a Big Ten battle. It was the first meeting between the two wrestlers this season.

174: The biggest upset in this weight class came when Cody Caldwell (Northern Iowa), who entered the tournament with a 16-13 record, defeated returning All-American Cody Walters (Ohio), 9-6, in tiebreaker. Three other seeded wrestlers in this weight class dropped matches in the first round, No. 13 Hayden Zillmer (North Dakota State), No. 14 Mark Martin (Ohio State), and No. 15 Matt Miller (Navy). Zillmer lost Mike Dessino (Bloomsburg) in sudden victory, 8-6. Martin fell to Conor Brennan (Rider), 7-2. Miller dropped a 12-8 decision to Tony Dallago (Illinois).

184: Iowa lost its second top-five seed when Vic Avery (Edinboro), who entered the NCAAs ranked No. 12 by InterMat, defeated No. 5 Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa), 5-3. Avery scored a late takedown in the second period, which proved to be the difference in the match. Ninth-seeded Domenic Abounader (Michigan), who finished third at the Big Tens, was upset by Blake Stauffer (Arizona State), 4-1. Other seeded wrestlers who failed to advance to the second round included No. 15 Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) and No. 16 Nick Vetterlein (Virginia Tech). Loder, a returning All-American who has battled injuries this season, lost to freshman Nikko Reyes (Illinois) in sudden victory, 6-4. Vetterlein's loss came to Harrison Hightower (Air Force), 5-1.

197: Returning All-American Blake Rosholt (Oklahoma State) lost in the pigtail round to Mario Gonzalez (Illinois), 10-3. No. 9 Christian Boley (Maryland) had a disappointing start to his NCAA tournament, losing to Cody Reed (Binghamton), 3-1. Boley struggled at the ACC tournament less than two weeks ago, finishing fourth as the No. 1 seed. EIWA champion Jace Bennett, seeded No. 10, was edged by Connor Hartman (Duke), 2-1. No. 13 Daniel Mitchell, a third-place finisher at the EIWA tournament, was upset by Timmy McCall (Wisconsin), 4-2. McCall is the only wrestler this season to defeat top-seeded Nick Heflin (Ohio State). Pac-12 champion and OW Dan Scherer (Stanford) defeated No. 16 Alex Polizzi (Northwestern), 11-9.

285: Adam Fager (Utah Valley), seeded No. 15, was the lone seeded heavyweight to lose in the first round. He fell to Billy Smith (Rutgers), 6-2.

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