Boise State's wrestling team came into the NCAA National Championships in St. Louis hoping for a top ten finish. They might do better than that.
Coach Greg Randall's Broncos are in the thick of the race after one day of competition. The Broncos are fifth in the country with 20.5 points, behind Iowa State's 32, Iowa (30), Ohio State (24) and Nebraska (23). Illinois sits in sixth place with 18, Hofstra and Missouri are tied with 16, Cornell and Edinboro have 15.5 points each and Lehigh is in 11th with 15 points. Kent State has 14 points in the very tight race, Central Michigan and Penn State have 13 each, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have 12 while Minnesota and Northern Iowa have 11 points apiece. Those appear to be the teams with the strongest chance to make the final top ten.
Six of nine Broncos advanced to the second round in St. Louis and then Boise State won six of ten matches. Only Brian Owen (125 pounds) has been eliminated so far. Iowa State still has all 10 wrestlers alive with five each in the championship and wrestleback brackets. Iowa has six still in the championships round and three on consolation. Ohio State has five in championship and four in consolation while Nebraska has four in the championship bracket and three in consolation.
Illinois still has nine wrestlers remaining (three and six), Hofstra eight (3-5), Missouri eight (4-4), Cornell eight (2-6), Edinboro eight (3-5), Lehigh seven (1-6), Kent State six (3-3), Central Michigan eight (1-7), Penn State six (2-4), Oklahoma eight (2-6), Oklahoma State eight (1-7), Minnesota five (3-2) and Northern Iowa six (1-5).
Andrew Hochstrasser (133 pounds), Kirk Smith (184) and Brent Chriswell (197) are still alive in the winner's bracket for the Broncos. The trio will wrestle in the quarterfinals tomorrow morning.
Hochstrasser (30-2) came out of the gate with a fall over Kyle Hutter (22-13) of Old Dominion and then recorded a 9-2 decision over #12 Steve Bell (25-5) of Maryland. He meets #4 Daniel Dennis (29-4) of Iowa tomorrow.
Smith coasted to a 3-1 win over Jerome Ward of Iowa State then blanked Vincenzo DiDona of Central Michigan in the second round. Smith takes on #12 Vince Jones (33-6) of Nebraska tomorrow morning.
Chriswell (15-1) at 197 pounds, blasted Illinois junior Patrick Bond 9-2 before beating Luke Feist of Stanford 8-4. Chriswell wrestles vs. Missouri junior Maxwell Asken (28-5) in the quarters tomorrow. This is a very important match not only for Chriswell but for the Broncos as Missouri is one of the teams chasing Boise State.
Adam Hall (33-5) nearly joined them in the quarterfinals. Hall downed Matt Dragon of Penn 8-5 at 157 pounds and then outpointed Andrew Jones of Michigan State 9-7. He then faced #9 Cyler Sanderson of Iowa State but lost 4-3. Sanderson got his points from a reversal and a takedown. Late in the match, Hall took a shot but Sanderson scrambled out of bounds to preserve the win.
Tyler Sherfey downed Paul Young of Indiana 3-1 in his opening match at 165 pounds before suffering a 10-3 defeat to #4 Moza Fay (27-4) of Northern Iowa, who also is in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
Nate Lee (19-4) smacked Nate Rock of Buffalo 14-4 in the opening round of the 174-pound bracket but then ran into #3 seed Brandon Browne (28-3) of Nebraska. Lee put up an excellent fight but was defeated 9-6.
Cory Fish won two wrestleback matches but will take on the #2 wrestler in the country--Zach Tanelli of Wisconsin. Tanelli is 26-5 this season. Fish lost a tough 5-2 decision to #12 Drew Lashaway of Kent State, who is now in the quarterfinals. Facing elimination, Cory then pined #11 Cody Cleveland of Chattanooga and shut out Richard Rappo of Penn State 7-0.
Jason Chamberlain lost 5-2 to Mitch Mueller (21-8) but rebounded with a 9-3 decision over Matt Cathell of Delaware State.
Owen lost 5-0 to the defending champion at 125 pounds, Angel Escobedo of Indiana. Escobedo is in the quarterfinals tomorrow. Owen then suffered a 9-6 loss to Nicholas Bedelyon of Kent State.
The quarterfinals will be televised nationally on ESPNU beginning and 9 a.m. Friday morning. The semifinals will be on ESPN2 beginning Friday at 5 p.m.