AUBURN HILLS, Mich. --- Matt Keller is on the verge of earning his second consecutive All-America medal at the 2007 NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Fifth-seeded Keller, who claimed All-America status last season by finishing in eighth place, will wrestle Cal Poly’s sixth-seeded Darrell Vasquez Saturday morning for the right to wrestle in the third-place match or the fifth-place match. Keller is guaranteed to finish anywhere from third through sixth place. The top eight placers in each weight class are All-Americas.
With a national-best nine qualifiers in the Nationals, the Mocs went deeper in the tournament than any year previously in the Division I era. They have a chance for their best team finish since a tie for 14th place in 1983.
Six Mocs advanced to the fifth round of the consolations Friday. Javier Maldonado was eliminated by fifth-seeded Charlie Falck of Iowa, 8-0 at 125 pounds. Eighth-seeded Aaron Martin lost to Harvard’s Max Meltzer at 149, Jake Yost dropped a 5-3 decision to Matt Molcher of Pittsburgh at 157, and heavyweight Matt Koz was knocked out by Northwestern’s Dustin Fox, 2-1.
Michael Keefe, an All-America in 2005, was one of a handful of unseeded wrestlers to make the championship bracket quarterfinals. After defeating two seeded wrestlers, No. 10 Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin and No. 7 Brandon Rader of West Virginia, Keefe was sent to the consolation bracket by second-seeded Derek Moore of Cal State-Davis, losing 8-4. Keefe’s ride ended with a 13-9 loss to Harvard’s Max Meltzer.
Yost was 4-2 in the tournament. Maldonado, Martin and Koz each went 3-2. T.J. Sayers (165), Lloyd Rogers (174) and Josh Edmondson (184) were eliminated Friday morning.
Keller advanced to the championship quarterfinals before dropping to the consolations by a 6-4 overtime loss to Oklahoma’s Coleman Scott, the fourth seed. Keller defeated Old Dominion’s Christian Staylor, 7-5, and Indiana’s Andrae Hernandez, 9-2. He will be UTC’s fourth All-America in the past three seasons and 11th in the Division I era since 1978.
The battle for the team title is between defending National Champion Minnesota and Iowa State. The Gophers lead the Cyclones 66 points to 62.5.
UTC INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
125 - (1)Sam Hazewinkel (Oklahoma) maj. dec. Javier Maldonado (UTC), 8-0
Consolations: Maldonado dec. Matthew Fisk (Lehigh), 5-3; Maldonado dec. Collin Cudd (Wisconsin), 7-1; Maldonado dec. Mike Sees (Bloomsburg), 4-3; (5)Charlie Falck (Iowa) maj. dec. Maldonado, 8-0
133 - (5)Matt Keller (UTC) dec. Kyle Anson (Northern Iowa), 9-6; Keller pinned (12)Robert Preston (Harvard), 4:47; Quarterfinals: (4)Coleman Scott (Oklahoma) dec. Keller, 6-4 ot
Consolations: Keller dec. Christian Staylor (Old Dominion), 7-5; Keller dec. Andrae Hernandez (Indiana), 9-2
141 - Michael Keefe (UTC) dec. (10)Kyle Ruschell (Wisconsin), 12-10 ot; Keefe dec. (7)Brandon Rader (West Virginia), 14-13; Quarterfinals: (2)Derek Moore (Cal State-Davis) dec. Keefe, 8-4
Consolations: Max Meltzer (Harvard) dec. Keefe, 13-9
149 - (8)Aaron Martin (UTC) dec. Joe Caramanica (N.C. State), 10-4
Tyler Turner (Wisconsin) dec. Martin, 6-0
Consolations: Martin dec. John Cox (Navy), 8-1; Martin dec. Matt Moley (Bloomsburg), 3-1; J.P. O’Connor (Harvard) dec. Martin, 6-3
157 - Jake Yost (UTC) dec. Zac Frying (West Virginia), 9-3; (10)Moza Fay (Northern Iowa) maj. dec. Yost, 11-0
Consolations: Yost dec. Devan Mesanko (Columbia), 3-2; Yost dec. John Jarred (Navy), 8-2; Yost dec. Will Rowe (Oklahoma), 6-4; Matt Kocher (Pittsburgh) dec. Martin, 5-3
165 - Justin Fraga (Purdue) maj. dec. T.J. Sayers (UTC), 16-8
Consolations: Daniel Atondo (Cal State-Bakersfield) dec. T.J. Sayers, 11-9
174 - (1)Ben Askren (Missouri) pins Lloyd Rogers (UTC), 6:24
Consolations: Rogers dec. Nathan Lee (Boise State), 5-2; (6)Kenneth Cook (Cal State-Davis) maj. dec. Rogers, 16-3
184 - (4)Tyrel Todd (Michigan) maj. dec. Josh Edmondson (UTC), 20-7
Consolations: Edmondson dec. Nathan Shirk (Bloomsburg), 6-4 OT; (3)Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) maj. dec. Edmondson, 17-5
285 - Matt Koz (UTC) dec. John Wise (Illinois), 5-2; (3)Ryan Gritter (Central Michigan) dec. Koz, 2-1
Consolations: Koz def. Josh Buck (Indiana), inj. Default 2:38; Koz dec. Ed Prendergast (Navy), 6-2; Dustin Fox (Northwestern) dec. Koz, 2-1