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Big Ten Wrestling Championships Session II Recap

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Six Scarlet Knights are on their way to nationals with one more still with an opportunity to auto-qualify after Saturday night.

Syndication: Asbury Park Press Kevin R. Wexler-NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s now six Scarlet Knights that have punched their tickets to the National Tournament in Detroit after the second session of the Big Ten Championships Saturday night at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Dylan Shawver (125lbs), Connor O’Neill (174lbs) and Greg Bulsak (197lbs) will all wrestle for 7th place Sunday afternoon, while Mike VanBrill (149lbs) can still finish as high as 3rd.

They all join teammate Sebastian Rivera (141lbs) who qualified during Saturday’s morning session, but injury defaulted prior to his semifinal match during the second session.

Joe Olivieri (133lbs) still can earn an automatic qualification spot Sunday afternoon as he dropped into the 9th Place bracket and received a first round bye.

John Poznanski (184lbs) fell to the 9th place bracket as well, but his first round bye gives him at least a top-12 finish, which is enough to earn a trip to nationals at this incredibly deep weight class.

Rob Kanniard (157lbs), Andrew Clark (165lbs), and Boone McDermott (HWT) were all eliminated from the tournament Saturday night.

At the conclusion of Session II, Rutgers remained in 9th place with 37 points, ahead of Purdue and behind Minnesota.

If you missed the recap of Saturday morning’s Session I, you can find it here.

No. 27 Dylan Shawver once again got the action going for the Scarlet Knights in the second session of wrestling Saturday night, as he took on No. 22 Justin Cardani of Illinois, whom Shawver bested in the regular season, 3-1.

Shawver scored the only takedown of the match with a go-behind in the first, but then got ridden out for the entirety of the second period. Not to be outdone, though, Shawver put on his own tough ride to secure the all-important riding time point, which allowed him to overcome a late locked-hands penalty point against him.

With the win, Shawver punched his ticket to nationals, a great accomplishment for the Rutgers’ freshman.

Shawver looked to continue his run in the consolation bracket in third-round where he met Ohio State’s No. 10 Malik Heinselman in a rematch of an earlier season meeting which was won by the Buckeye.

Shawver never got his offense going against Heinselman, though, and the Ohio State product was able to score a takedown in each period to take out the Scarlet Knight by an 8-3 decision.

Shawver will now wrestle for 7th place Sunday afternoon, with his trip to nationals already locked up.

Joe Olivieri, the No. 15 ranked wrestler nationwide, began his second session against Northwestern’s No. 9 Chris Cannon, with the winner earning an auto-qualification to nationals.

The Scarlet Knight Olivieri opened the scoring late in the first period with a takedown on the edge right after he was warned for stalling. Cannon then showed some grit on top as he rode Olivieri for the entire period, before earning an escape at the beginning of the third period.

With the match virtually tied thanks to Cannon’s riding time, the Wildcat was able to take Olivieri down on the edge and held him there to take the match.

Olivieri was not eliminated from the tournament, though, as 133lbs has 10 auto-qualification spots, so he drops to the 9th place bracket, still looking to secure his trip to nationals.

No. 3 Sebastian Rivera injury defaulted prior to his semifinal showdown with Iowa’s returning national runner-up Jaydin Eierman, and it is assumed he will forfeit his next two matches as well to finish in 6th place at 141lbs.

The move isn’t surprising as Coach Donny Pritzlaff confirmed in an interview with the legendary Jordan Burroughs that Rivera underwent knee surgery after an injury he suffered a few weeks back. Hopefully this allows Rivera to be in great shape come nationals in 12 days.

In his first consolation bracket match, No. 15 Mike VanBrill faced a familiar foe in Peyton Omania of Michigan State. The Spartan upset VanBrill in the first round of last year’s Big Ten Tournament, but VanBrill got his revenge during the regular season dual meet between Rutgers and Michigan State.

From the beginning the match, it was clear Omania’s strategy was to put VanBrill in dangerous upper body positions and run him out of bounds. It worked early as the VanBrill was hit for two stall warnings in the first period, conceding a point to Omania.

VanBrill then took the Spartan down but was quickly reversed before earning an escape to close out an action packed first period.

The Scarlet Knight showed off his strong top wrestling in the second, keeping Omania down for the entire period. Omania attempted a comeback in the third but was tossed to his back like a rag doll by VanBrill late in the period for four points, to take the 9-3 decision win. VanBrill now needed just one more win to automatically qualify for nationals.

For his third-round consolation match, VanBrill took on No. 17 Beau Bartlett of Penn State, with whom he wrestled a memorable match back in January that went to six rounds of overtime before the Scarlet Knight prevailed.

This time around, it was almost the exact same outcome as each wrestler scored only a single escape point in regulation and we once again headed to sudden victory and tie breakers. I said it was almost the same outcome because although VanBrill once again prevailed, but this time it only took three overtime periods to do it.

With the win, VanBrill guarantees himself a spot at the dance but first he’ll look to continue his consolation bracket run Sunday afternoon.

Rutgers’ Rob Kanniard had a daunting task in his first consolation bracket match, as Iowa’s 2x All-American Kaleb Young stepped on the line across from him, but it was the Scarlet Knight hitting a textbook double-leg takedown to gain the early lead.

After that though, it was all the Hawkeye, as Young worked three takedowns and a reversal to gain the 10-5 decision. Kanniard has to be applauded for his effort today, wrestling with a broken nose and an overbearing mask to protect it.

At 165lbs, Andrew Clark took on David Ferrante of Northwestern in is second round consolation matchup and looked to open the scoring with a takedown of the edge, but Ferrante worked some magic to get his hips back and the first period ended scoreless.

The Wildcat carried that magic into the second as he reversed Clark off the whistle to begin the period. Clark would eventually earn an escape, but Ferrante picked up two third period takedowns to take out the Scarlet Knight Clark 7-2, ending his tournament Saturday night.

For Rutgers’ Connor O’Neill, his first-round consolation win over Indiana’s Nick South in the morning session proved to be his most important of the year. His opponent for the second consolation round, Bailee O’Reilly of Minnesota, sustained an injury in his prior match and had to default the win to the Scarlet Knight.

With the victory, O’Neill stamped an unlikely ticket to nationals after an up and down season where he filled in for injured All-American Jackson Turley.

In Division 1 college wrestling, it doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there, and O’Neill earned his spot to the dance Saturday night.

O’Neill’s night wasn’t done, though, as he had a chance to advance in the consolation bracket if he could take out Northwestern’s Troy Fisher in his third-round match.

Unfortunately, O’Neill couldn’t get any offense going against the Wildcat and fell by a 7-4 decision. Fisher scored a takedown or reversal in each period to earn the victory and the Scarlet Knight O’Neill will now wrestle for 7th place Sunday morning.

No. 9 John Poznanski looked to shake off his first-round loss and also gain a measure of revenge during his second-round consolation bracket match against No. 8 Kyle Cochran of Maryland who took out the Scarlet Knight a few weeks ago.

It wasn’t to be as Poznanski again struggled with finding his offense and getting out from bottom, two aspects of wrestling that were strengths during his All-American run last season.

Cochran wasn’t lighting the world on fire with his attempts either, but a late takedown from the Terp, following a full ride out in the second, gave Cochran the 4-0 victory over Poznanski.

There are 12 auto-qualification spots at 184lbs in the Big Ten, so Poznanski drops to the 9th place bracket, where a first round bye actually ended up earning his automatic qualification to nationals as he’s guaranteed at least a 12th place finish.

It took a lot of blood and sweat, but I didn’t see any tears for Rutgers’ No. 12 Greg Bulsak to punch his ticket to nationals when he took on Wisconsin’s No. 20 Braxton Amos, but the Scarlet Knight showed why he’s a veteran leader of the team as he prevailed 5-3 over the Badger.

Amos opened the scoring with a takedown in the first, during which Bulsak’s nose started to bleed profusely, and held a 3-1 lead heading into the third period after adding an escape point in the second.

The match was stopped several times in attempts to stop the bleeding Bulsak, but it didn’t slow down the Scarlet Knight in the final frame, as he earned an escape and then added a takedown on the edge to take the win and punch his ticket to Detroit in the process.

Because wrestling is a truly ruthless sport, Bulsak, who had to be lite on blood after his match against Amos, had another bout Saturday night, this time against No. 13 Thomas Penola of Purdue.

Bulsak never had a chance to work on top as Penola scored the only two takedowns of the match and chose neutral when offered the chance to go under the Scarlet Knight. The strategy paid off for the Boilermaker as he took the 4-3 decision and Bulsak will wrestle for 7th place Sunday afternoon.

At heavyweight, Nebraska’s Christian Lance kept Boone McDermott of Rutgers from earning a spot a nationals, when he took out the Scarlet Knight 7-4 in their second-round consolation match.

McDermott was close to converting a takedown a couple of times, but the Wildcat was in control of the match from the beginning, converting two scores of his own in the third period to seal the win.

McDermott still had a chance to earn an automatic qualification spot, as he dropped to the 9th place bracket, but he needed to win his next three matches to do so, starting with Maryland’s Zach Schrader who McDermott beat three weeks ago.

This time around, the Terp got the best of McDermott and he fell via a 5-2 decision to end his tournament.

Of the eliminated Scarlet Knights, McDermott has the best shot to earn an at-large bid to nationals, but it doesn’t look great after Saturday night.

125: No. 27 Dylan Shawver (2-2) Qualified for Nationals

Rd. 1 vs No. 10 Patrick McKee (Minnesota) - wins by dec., 7-4

Quarterfinal vs. No. 1 Nick Suriano (Michigan) – loses by major dec., 18-6

Consi. Rd. 2 vs No. 22 Justin Cardani (Illinois) – wins by dec., 3-2

Consi. Rd. 3 vs No. 9 Malik Heinselman (Ohio State) – loses by dec., 8-3

7th Place Match vs. No. 11 Drake Ayala (Iowa)

133: No. 15 Joe Olivieri (0-2)

Rd. 1 vs No. 23 Matt Ramos (Purdue) - loses by dec., 7-5

Consi. Rd. 1 vs BYE

Consi. Rd. 2 vs No. 9 Chris Cannon (Northwestern) loses by dec., 4-2

9th Place Bracket Rd. 1 vs BYE

9th Place Bracket Rd. 2 vs Dominick Serrano (Nebraska)

141: No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (2-0*) Qualified for Nationals

Rd. 1 vs Danny Bertoni (Maryland) - wins by FALL (5:32)

Quarterfinals vs No. 31 Parker Filius (Purdue) – wins by major dec., 15-5

Semifinals vs No. 2 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) – loses by medical forfeit

Consi. Semifinals vs No. 15 Stevan Micic (Michigan)

149: No. 15 Mike VanBrill (3-1) Qualified for Nationals

Rd. 1 vs Kanen Storr (Michigan) - wins by FALL (4:26)

Quarterfinal vs No. 6 Ridge Lovett (Nebraska) – loses by dec., 2-0

Consi. Rd. 2 vs Peyton Omania (Michigan State) – wins by dec., 9-3

Consi. Rd. 3 vs No. 17 Beau Bartlett (Penn State) – wins by dec., 2-1 (TB2)

Consi. Semifinals vs No. 10 Max Murin (Iowa)

157: Rob Kanniard (0-2) Eliminated

Rd. 1 vs Bryce Hepner (Ohio State) - loses by dec., 10-6

Consi. Rd. 1 vs BYE

Consi. Rd. 2 vs No. 9 Kaleb Young (Iowa) – loses by dec., 10-5

165: Andrew Clark (1-2) Eliminated

Rd. 1 vs Caleb Fish (Michigan State) – loses by dec., 8-3

Consi. Rd. 1 vs Kasper McIntosh (Indiana) – wins by dec., 2-0

Consi. Rd. 2 vs David Ferrante (Northwestern) – loses by dec., 7-2

174: Connor O’Neill (2-2) Qualified for Nationals

Rd. 1 vs No. 4 Mike Kemerer (Iowa) - loses by FALL

Consi. Rd. 1 vs Nick South (Indiana) – wins by dec., 3-1 SV1

Consi. Rd. 2 vs Bailee O’Reilly (Minnesota) – wins by injury default

Consi. Rd. 3 vs Troy Fisher (Northwestern) – loses by dec., 7-4

7th Place Match vs Dominic Solis (Maryland)

184: No. 9 John Poznanski (0-2) Qualified for Nationals

Rd. 1 vs No. 22 Isaiah Salazar (Minnesota) – loses by dec. 8-3

Consi. Rd. 1 vs BYE

Consi. Rd. 2 vs No. 8 Kyle Cochran (Maryland) – loses by dec., 4-0

9th Place Bracket Rd. 1 vs BYE

9th Place Bracket Rd. 2 vs No. 27 Chris Weiler (Wisconsin)

197: No. 12 Greg Bulsak (2-2) Qualified for Nationals

Rd. 1 vs No. 28 Andrew Davison (Northwestern) – wins by dec., 9-2

Quarterfinals vs No. 1 Max Dean (Penn State) – loses by dec., 6-2

Consi. Rd. 2 vs No. 20 Braxton Amos (Wisconsin) – wins by dec., 5-3

Consi. Rd. 3 vs No. 13 Thomas Penola (Purdue) – loses by dec., 4-3

7th Place Match vs No. 23 Gavin Hoffman (Ohio State)

HWT: Boone McDermott (1-3) Eliminated

Rd. 1 vs No. 10 Lucas Davison (Northwestern) – loses by tech. fall, 15-0

Consi. Rd. 1 vs Brad Wilton (Michigan State) – wins via injury default

Consi. Rd. 2 vs No. 11 Christian Lance (Nebraska) – loses by dec., 7-4

9th Place Bracket Rd. 1 vs Zach Schrader (Maryland) - loses by dec., 5-2

Actions continues Sunday afternoon at 12:00PM EST and information on how to watch can be found below.

On Sunday, March 6, competition begins at noon ET on B1G+ with individual mat cameras for the consolation semifinals. At 4:30 p.m. ET, television coverage resumes as Big Ten champions are crowned while streaming coverage of the third and fifth-place bouts will be available on B1G+.

*Medical Forfeits don’t count as a loss against the injured wrestler.