Graff moves on to quarterfinals at NCAA championships
March 21, 2013
Session II Brackets**l *Session II Team Standings**l*Photo Gallery** l *Postmatch: Barry Davis*
DES MOINES, Iowa --*Tyler Graff continued his march through the 133 lbs., championship bracket in session II of the 2013 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships, knocking off Lehigh’s Randy Cruz to secure a spot in Friday morning’s quarterfinals.
In a tightly contested match, the third-seeded Graff broke through in the third period with a reversal after starting down to take a 2-0 lead. The Loveland, Colo., native was able to ride out Cruz for the remainder of the match to tack on a ride time point and secure the 3-0 victory.
Graff will resume competition during Friday morning’s session III in the quarterfinals against Missouri’s sixth-seeded Nathan McCormick.
“Tyler is getting better as the tournament is going on; he’s getting more cut throat,” head coach Barry Davis said of Graff. “[His match tomorrow] will definitely be a big match for us, so hopefully he gets us off to a good start.”
After winning their first round matches, Jackson Hein (197 lbs.) and No. 7 Connor Medbery (Hwt.) dropped into the consolation brackets at their respective weight classes with a pair of close losses.
Wrestling the No. 5-seed, Oregon State’s Taylor Meeks, Hein kept it close the entire match and the score was tied at three heading into the third period. Hein started down for the final period, and unfortunately was unable to escape, allowing Meeks to ride him out and earn a match-deciding ride time point for a 4-3 win.
Similarly to Hein, Medbery’s heavyweight match was tied heading into the third period, 2-2, but again the Badger wrestler was unable to close out the match. Central Michigan’s 10th-seeded Jarod Trice broke the tie with an escape to begin the third and added a takedown late in the match, as well as a ride time point, to defeat Medbery, 6-4.
For both Hein and Medbery, this is their first appearance at the NCAA championships, something Davis believes played a factor in their losses.
“Inexperience caught up with them in those situations,” Davis said. “They just have to be a little bit smarter.”
Hein and Medbery now face climbs up the consolation brackets to reach the medal stand, a task they can accomplish only if they put session II’s results out of their minds.
“They have to have a positive frame of mind,” Davis said of Hein and Medbery. “They have to take it one match at a time right now. They’ll have to win three straight to get on the stand. They have to realize that and can’t look past anybody.”
Session III, which includes the quarterfinals and wrestleback rounds, will begin at 10 a.m., Friday morning from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. The quarterfinal matches will be split between ESPNU and ESPN3. ESPN3 will also stream all matches on Mats 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Session II Results:
No. 3 Tyler Graff (WIS) dec. Randy Cruz (LEHIGH), 3-0
Will face No. 6 Nathan McCormick (MIZZ) in the quarterfinals
No. 5 Taylor Meeks (ORST) dec. Jackson Hein (WIS), 4-3
Will wrestle either Mario Gonzalez (ILL) or Braden Atwood (PUR) in the consolation second round
No. 10 Jarod Trice (CMU) dec. No. 7 Connor Medbery (WIS), 6-4
Will wrestle either Levi Cooper (AZST) or Riley Shaw (CLST) in the consolation second round
UW Athletic Communications*