NCAA Wrestling: Cowboys Advance Five To Semis

OKLAHOMA CITY – It may all be over except the shouting as Oklahoma State won seven of nine matches Friday in the quarterfinal session of the 2006 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The Cowboys kept seven wrestlers alive in the event, including advancing five wrestlers on to the semifinals.

Two of those semifinalists were fourth-seed Jake Rosholt at 197 and second-seed Steve Mocco at 285 pounds. Rosholt and Mocco disposed of Bedlam rivals in the quarterfinals to further distance the Cowboys in the team standings. As the Friday morning/afternoon session was coming to a close Oklahoma State had 76 points and a 28.5-point lead over second-place Iowa with 47.5 points. Oklahoma was in third with 47 points, Minnesota in fourth with 44.5 points and Hofstra in fifth at 39.5. The Cowboys advanced five wrestlers into Friday night's semifinals with Oklahoma advancing just three.

"Those two wins (Rosholt and Mocco) at the end may end up in the big picture being the difference for us," said Oklahoma State head coach John Smith. "It's round by round though, Just because you have momentum in this round doesn't mean it will carry over. You go back to the hotel and then come back and have to restart. Winning this round does help though in restarting tonight."

With the Oklahoma schools being one-two in the standings those late quarterfinal matches were pointed to as huge. Rosholt, who has dominated OU's Joel Flaggert with a 4-0 career record, came out and with a single leg for a first period takedown and never trailed. It was a simple match as the Cowboy senior added an escape in period two and another takedown in the third frame for a 4-0 decision. Rosholt moves on to wrestle unseeded Chris Weidman of Hofstra in tonight's semifinals. Weidman upset top-seed Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan 9-7 in the quarterfinals.

Mocco has been equally dominant over OU heavyweight Jacob Hager with a 4-0 career record over the Sooner. Mocco, seeded second, led 2-1 after the first period, then rode out Hager the second period before combining an escape and two takedowns to win a 9-3 decision. Mocco now faces third-seed Greg Wagner of Michigan who won his quarterfinal with a fall over Tulsa Cascia Hall graduate Tanner Garrett, who wrestled for Navy.

Three other Cowboys advanced to the semifinals as second-seed Nate Morgan decisioned upset specialist Jason Borrelli of Central Michigan 8-4. Morgan now faces sixth-seed Matthew Valenti of Penn in a 133-pound semifinal. Zack Esposito has been on a tear in the NCAA Championships and it continued Friday. Esposito scored his third fall of the event as he finished up Jonathan Masa of Hofstra in 3:57. Esposito, seeded third, now faces Iowa's Tyler Eustice in the semifinals. Johny Hendricks, the local Edmond, Okla., hero and one of the Cowboys' four defending individual national champions, scored a 9-3 decision over another upset quarterfinalist in Daniel Thompson of The Citadel. After a scoreless first period Hendricks scored two second period takedowns and went on to a 9-6 win. Hendricks will now see third-seed Muzaffar Abdurakmanov in the semifinals. Abdulrakmanov won his quarter in 1:39 with a fall over Deonte Penn of Edinboro.

In a story of family twists the Cowboys' 174-pounder Brandon Mason fell into the consolations as he lost his quarterfinal to Iowa's Mark Perry, a nephew of Cowboy head coach John Smith. Perry scored the fall over Mason at 4:28.

Coleman Scott, already in the consolations, continued to hold strong as he scored a 22-5 technical fall over Obenson Blanc of Lock Haven and came back in iron man fashion and closed out the session with a 9-2 decision over Michael Silengo of Penn.

The only Cowboy eliminated in the session was Kevin Ward at 157 pounds as he lost his consolation wrestle back to Minnesota's C.P. Schlatter in a hard fought 3-2 decision.

The five OSU semifinalists are guaranteed All-America status and the two wrestlers in the consolations could earn that tonight with a win in the next round.

"That next round is about being tough," said Smith. "If they can push through and we end up with seven All-Americans that is good for this team. We are in a position to control our destiny and that is a good place to be. We need to stay there."

The semifinal session begins at 6 p.m. in the Ford Center in downtown Oklahoma City with the actual semifinals on tap first.

Oklahoma State Results
125 pounds: (6) Coleman Scott tech. fall 22-5 (7:00) over Obenson Blanc, Lock Haven
(6) Coleman Scott dec. Michael Silengo, Penn 9-2 (Scott advances to Consolation quarterfinals)

133 pounds: (2) Nate Morgan dec. Jason Borrelli, Central Michigan 8-4 (Morgan advances to semifinals)

149 pounds: (3) Zack Esposito fall (3:57) over Jonathan Masa, Hofstra (Esposito advances to semifinals)

157 pounds: (2) C.P. Schlatter dec. Kevin Ward 3-2 (Ward eliminated)

165 pounds: (2) Johny Hendricks dec. Daniel Thompson, The Citadel 9-6 (Hendricks advances to semifinals)

174 pounds: (3) Mark Perry, Iowa, fall (4:2 over (11) Brandon Mason (Mason moves to consolations)

197 pounds: (4) Jake Rosholt dec. (5) Joel Flaggert, Oklahoma (Rosholt advances to semifinals)

285 pounds: (2) Steve Mocco dec. (7) Jacob Hager, Oklahoma (Mocco advances to semifinals)

2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships Team Scores
1. Oklahoma State .... 76
2. Iowa ..................... 47.5
3. Oklahoma ............ 47
4. Minnesota ............ 44.5
5. Hofstra ................ 39.5

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