TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis and Iowa’s Spencer Lee remain on track to win their fourth Division I wrestling titles, and Penn State leads the team race after the opening day of action at the national championships on Thursday.
Lee pinned Air Force’s Tucker Owens in 36 seconds in the opening session of the 125-pound class. He beat Michigan’s Jack Medley 16-0 in the evening to advance to the quarterfinal round on Friday. His win streak is at an NCAA Division I-best 57 in a row.
Diakomihalis defeated Cornell’s Dom Demas 6-1 in his opener at 149, then got a fall against North Carolina State’s Jackson Arrington at 2:11 in the evening to advance.
Penn State sent seven wrestlers into Friday’s quarterfinals. The Nittany Lions lead Iowa 26-21.5. Missouri is in third with 17.5 points.
The three Penn State wrestlers seeking their third national titles — Roman Bravo-Young at 133, Carter Starocci at 174 and Aaron Brooks at 184 — are still in the hunt after successful performances.
Bravo-Young defeated Appalachian State’s Ethan Oakley 12-3 in the morning, then topped UT-Chattanooga’s Brayden Palmer 5-2 in the evening to move on. Starocci opened with a fall in 1:21 against Clarion’s John Worthing, then defeated Indiana’s Donnell Washington 4-0 to advance. Brooks — the No. 3 seed — defeated Matthew Waddell of UT-Chattanooga in the morning, then topped Clarion’s Will Feldkamp in the evening.
Penn State’s Levi Haines, a true freshman who earned the No. 2 seed at 157, defeated Lock Haven’s Ashton Eyler 10-3, then topped Wyoming’s Jacob Wright 8-2 to advance.
Penn State got an upset win at 149 when No. 13 seed Shayne Van Ness, a redshirt freshman, defeated No. 5 seed Paniro Johnson of Iowa State 14-8 to advance to the quarterfinals. He was fortunate to get that far — he trailed his opener 8-0 against Maryland’s Ethan Miller before rallying to win by fall.
Lee wasn’t the only source of action at 125. West Virginia’s 28th-seeded Killian Cardinale defeated No. 5 seed Caleb Smith of Appalachian State in the early session, then beat Wyoming’s Jore Volk to advance. Eddie Ventresca, the No. 27 seed from Virginia Tech, also pulled two upsets at 125. He defeated No. 6 seed Stevo Poulin of Northern Colorado — the Big 12 champ — in the morning session. He followed that by defeating the No. 11 seed, Minnesota’s Patrick McKee, in the evening to move on.
Michigan State’s Caleb Fish, seeded 29th at 165, upset fourth-seeded Julian Ramirez of Cornell and Pitt’s Holden Heller to advance.
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