At the end of the first day in the NCAA Division I National Wrestling Championships, only 5.5 points separate Penn State from the first place Iowa Hawkeyes.
Both teams have seven quarterfinalists headed into Friday morning’s session. Both teams also have three in the wrestle-backs and could gain significant ground on each other if they push these three during the All-American rounds tomorrow.
Winners of the quarterfinal rounds will automatically earn All-American status. Quarterfinal losers will have to win their first match in the wrestle-back round to become an All-American.
— NCAA Wrestling (@ncaawrestling) March 19, 2021
The 2019 NCAA National Champion Mehki Lewis envisioned his return to the tournament differently, as the Virginia Tech sophomore suffered what probably should have been a season-ending shoulder injury in an early-season dual meet against Pitt. Lewis tried to battle through the ACC tournament two weeks ago, but was forced to injury default.
The NCAA seeding committee decided to bestow Lewis a wildcard bid to return to the event. As #4 seed, Lewis is clearly struggling through a major injury. After every referee’s whistle, pain returns to Lewis’s face.
Lewis faced Navy’s Tanner Skidgel in the second round. During the match, Lewis took the majority of a two-minute injury timeout, and some wondered if the returning champion would continue. Despite the injury, Lewis battled his way through yet another match, thus securing a spot in the quarterfinals, but also proving that he has the heart of a lion.
— NCAA Wrestling (@ncaawrestling) March 18, 2021
The evening was not without controversy, though: Campbell’s Josh Heil took on Boo Lewallen of Oklahoma State. During the Ultimate Tie Breaker period, the table workers forgot to start the clock during the thirty-second countdown.
Rather than checking how much time elapsed during the video review, the referees decided to restart the entire period. This gave Lewellen a second chance to win, and win he did. By winning the do-over, Lewallen advances to the semis.
The head official provided a weak explanation of why clock-time doesn’t count during video reviews. According to this idea, it means every other sport can use video to review how much time had actually passed—except for college wrestling, which apparently exists inside of a black hole where neither time nor space matter.
It must be nice to have John Smith in your corner.
Friday morning’s quarterfinals are as follows and available to stream on ESPN.com.
- No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. No. 9 Devin Schroder (Purdue)
- No. 5 Brody Teske (Northern Iowa) vs. No. 4 Drew Hildebrant (Central Michigan)
- No. 3 Brian Courtney (Arizona State) vs. No. 6 Jakob Camacho (NC State)
- No. 7 Taylor LaMont (Virginia) vs. No. 2 Sam Latona (Virginia Tech)
- No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 8 Chris Cannon (Northwestern)
- No. 5 Micky Phillippi (Pitt) vs. No. 4 Austin DeSanto (Iowa)
- No. 3 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech) vs. No. 6 Matt Schmitt (Mizzou)
- No. 10 Louie Hayes (Virginia) vs. No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State)
- No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) vs. No. 9 Dresden Simon (Central Michigan)
- No. 21 Real Woods (Stanford) vs. No. 4 Tariq Wilson (NC State)
- No. 10 Zach Sherman (North Carolina) vs. No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State)
- No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) vs. No. 6 Allan Hart (Mizzou)
- No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) vs. No. 25 Yahya Thomas (Northwestern)
- No. 12 Max Murin (Iowa) vs. No. 4 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State)
- No. 3 Brock Mauller (Mizzou) vs. No. 6 Bryce Andonian (Virginaal Tech)
- No. 2 Austin O`Connor (North Carolina) vs. No. 7 John Millner (App State)
- No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider) vs. No. 12 Brady Berge (Penn State)
- No. 8 Jared Franek (ND State) vs. No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
- No. 2 Hayden Hidlay (NC State) vs. No. 23 Jacob Wright (Wyoming)
- No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) vs. No. 6 Brayton Lee (Minnesota)
- No. 1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) vs. No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford)
- No. 4 Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech) vs. No. 5 Zach Hartman (Bucknell)
- No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pitt) vs. No. 6 Keegan O’Toole (Mizzou)
- No. 7 Ethan Smith (Ohio State) vs. No. 2 Zahid Valencia (Arizona State)
- No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. No. 8 Daniel Bullard (NC State)
- No. 12 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly) vs. No. 4 Michael Labriola (Nebraska)
- No. 6 Andrew McNally (Kent State) vs. No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State)
- No. 7 Kaleb Romero (Ohio State) vs. No. 2 Demetrius Romero (Virginia)
- No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) vs. No. 8 Taylor Venz (Nebraska)
- No. 4 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) vs. No. 5 Hunter Bolen (Virginia Tech)
- No. 3 Lou DePrez (Binghamton) vs. No. 6 John Poznanski (Rutgers)
- No. 2 Trent Hidlay (NC State) vs. No. 7 Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois)
- No. 26 Jake Woodey (Oklahoma) vs. No. 15 Michael Beard (Penn State)
- No. 3 Kordell Norfleet (Arizona State) vs. No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt)
- No. 5 Jacob Warner (Iowa) vs. No. 4 AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State)
- No. 1 Myles Amine (Michigan) vs. No. 8 Stephen Buchanan (Wyoming)
- No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs. No. 9 Greg Kerkvliet (Penn State)
- No. 14 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin) vs. No. 6 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State)
- No. 4 Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State) vs. No. 3 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa)
- No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan) vs. No. 7 Ethan Laird (Rider)