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NCAA Wrestling Session 3: Ashnault leads the way

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One All American guaranteed with others still possible; Gravina with a stunner to move on

Roy DeBoer with permission

The big Rutgers story of the third round of the NCAA Wrestling Championships was Anthony Ashnault. The redshirt junior became the first three time All American in Scarlet wrestling history.

But Nick Gravina (see photo above - do you want to anger him?) made the wrestlebacks exciting.

For the rest of the remaining wrestlers, it was a mixed bag of results. Rutgers advances four while three Knights have their seasons come to a close.

Wrestlers still in: Scott DelVecchio (133), Anthony Ashnault (141), Ken Theobold (149), Nick Gravina (184)

Wrestlers eliminated: John Van Brill (157), Jordan Pagano (174), Matt Correnti (197)

133: Stayin’ alive. Scott DelVecchio kept his medal hopes alive with a 4-0 win over Princeton’s Pat’ D’Arcy. Ironically, DelVecchio was not in the lineup in November when RU and Princeton met in the dual. Northern Iowa’s Josh Alber (26-9) was DelVecchio’s next opponent this afternoon. Alber was seeded 12th; DelVecchio didn’t care. With a late takedown, SD topped Alber, 4-3. He needs one more win for All American honors.

141: Anthony Ashnault avenged a close loss at the Battle at the Birthplace by topping No. 4 seed Matt Kolodzik of Princeton. Kolodzik had said that he thought he was better than Ashnault in a conversation with nj.com’s Ryan Dunleavy. "I think I'm inside his head a little bit," Kolodzik said. "In addition to that, I think I'm better than him. I guess we'll find out (Friday), but right now I'm happy, I'm content, I'm healthy, I'm ready to go in and just wrestle." Good luck in the wrestlebacks, Matty. Ashnault goes tonight against Oklahoma State’s Dean Heil (32-0) who beat Ashnault in the NCAA Tournament in 2015, 9-4.

149: Ken Theobold is still in it, but he’s in the wrestlebacks after a 5-1 loss to Northern Iowa’s No. 7 seed Max Thomsen. After a scoreless first period, Thomsen pulled away. Theobold, coming out of the championship bracket, gets a slight rest before taking on the winner of the Alfred Bannister (Md, 13 seed)-Andrew Crone (Wis, unseeded). Bannister won the dual with Theobold, 3-2, then lost by way of a medical forfeit in the Big Ten Championships. Crone did not wrestle either one. Theobold still has a route to third place if he wins out.

157: John Van Brill did not want or expect it to end this way. Virginia Tech’s Sal Mastriani, by way of Don Bosco Prep, took the match on a major decision, 10-2.

174: Jordan Pagano also had his tourney come up short in a loss to Navy’s Jadaen Bernstein, 10-0.

185: The unseeded Scarlet Knight was facing off against No. 13 seed Bryce Carr of Chatanooga. Riding out Carr, but giving up a point on riding time, the match went into overtime. And then into the second sudden victory where....

Gravina then turned around to face unseeded redshirt senior Hunter Gamble from Gardner-Webb (24-7) in the afternoon. With a 6-3 lead after two periods, Gravina started the third on top and extended the lead to win, 7-3

Team Scores

After three rounds, the Big Ten was still a force at the top of the team standings. Penn State has pulled well ahead of the field with 74 points, as Oklahoma State fell to fourth behind Iowa and Ohio State.

With Ashnault moving to the semifinals, along with Gravina’s pin, Rutgers scored 15 points in the round. The team bulled up to 17th place from the 26th. With four wrestlers still alive, including the one in the championship bracket, RU can still have a nice finish. Tonight’s matches are important for points and potential All Americans..

Big Ten Team Standings

1 Penn State 74 - five in championship bracket

2. Ohio State 59 - four in championship bracket

3. Iowa 57.5 - four in championship bracket

7. Minnesota 40 - two in championship bracket

9. Nebraska 27 - one in championship bracket

10. Wisconsin 26.5 - two in championship bracket

13. Illinois 22 - one in championship bracket

17. Rutgers 18 - one in championship bracket

18. Michigan 17 - one in championship bracket

35. Maryland 8

40. Michigan State 4.5

47. Northwestern 3.5

38. Indiana 5

51. Purdue 2.5

New Jersey Schools

Princeton: 26th place, 10 points

Rider: 24th place 11 points

Upcoming sessions

Session 4: Friday, 8:00 pm ESPN

Session 5: Saturday, 11:00 am, ESPNU

Session 6: Saturday, 8:00 pm, ESPN