Graff advances to semifinals, cements All-America status
March 22, 2013
Session III Brackets**l *Session III Team Standings**l*Photo Gallery*
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Tyler Graff joined an elite group at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Friday, cementing his place as the ninth three-time All-American in Wisconsin history with a win in the 133 lbs., quarterfinals.
Graff, the No. 3 seed, defeated Missouri’s No. 6-seeded Nathan McCormick in the quarters, by decision, 5-3, to advance to Friday night’s semifinals, where he will face Iowa’s second-seeded Tony Ramos.
In that match-up, Graff will be looking to avenge the 3-1 loss he suffered to Ramos at the 2013 Big Ten Championships two weekends ago.
“He’s been in big matches; he’s been in tight matches,” head coach Barry Davis said of Graff. “He’s been here before, so it’s like second nature to him. He just has to hit his moves and go from there.”
By reaching the semis, Graff assured himself of at least a sixth-place finish, meaning he will be an All-American for the third time in his career. The Loveland, Colo., native joins eight others in Badgers’ history as a three-time All-American, and is the first Wisconsin wrestler to do so since Andrew Howe accomplished the feat at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Graff will be the only Badger wrestler competing in Friday night’s session IV, as both Jackson Hein (197 lbs.) and No. 7-seeded Connor Medbery (Hwt.) failed to advance out of the second round of the consolation bracket and were eliminated from the tournament.
Hein’s match was a re-match from the Big Ten championships, as he matched up with Illinois’ Mario Gonzalez.*Gonzalez defeated Hein, 2-0, in Champaign, Ill., two weekends ago.
Trailing 4-1 going into the third period, Hein made a spirited effort at a comeback, tying the score at four in the final frame, but a Gonzalez escape and the riding time point was too much for Hein to overcome, falling 6-4.
Hein finished with a 1-2 record in his first appearance at the NCAA championships.
Medbery and Arizona State’s Levi Cooper were tied at two going into the third period of their heavyweight consolation match, but Medbery was unable to pull out the win against the more experienced Cooper. A two-time NCAA qualifier and All-American, Cooper was able to quickly escape to start the final period and held on to win, 3-2.
Medbery finished his first NCAA championships with a 1-2 record.
Session III of the NCAA championships begins Friday night at 6 p.m., from Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. All of the session’s semifinal matches will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
Session III Results:
No. 3 Tyler Graff (WISC) dec. No. 6 Nathan McCormick (MIZZ), 5-3
Will face No. 2 Tony Ramos (IOWA) in the semifinals
Mario Gonzalez (ILL) dec. Jackson Hein (WIS), 6-4
Levi Cooper (AZST) dec. No. 7 Connor Medbery (WIS), 3-2
UW Athletic Communications*