ALL-TIME LEADER: Ryan Williams Ties Career Wins Mark at NCAA Tournament
March 19, 2009
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Senior Ryan Williams (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) won both of his first day matches at the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships to tie the all-time wins mark at ODU, with 135 career victories. The Monarch 141-pounder tied Jeff Rusak ('02) with 135 wins after dropping Frank Molinaro (Penn State) and Joe Caramanica (NCSU) in the first and second round of the tournament. He is still alive in the championship bracket and five of the six Monarch qualifiers will move on to the second day.
Williams has totaled 37 wins so far in his final campaign, adding to 29 his rookie year, 30 his sophomore year and 39 last season. This historic win came in a 10-5 decision over NC State's Joe Caramanica. The two had matched up just a couple of weeks ago in dual meet action, with Williams winning a 9-6 decision. The senior will look for sole possession of the all-time mark in tomorrow morning's quarterfinal round, against Ryan Prater (Illinois), who is coming off a pin of the number one seed.
The Monarchs are tied for 26th at the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships with 10.0 points so far. Tied with Bucknell and North Carolina State, ODU is just six points shy of the top fifteen.
ODU's James Nicholson, the six seed at 125 lbs, was upset by number 11 seed Zachary Sanders (Minnesota) in the second round, after notching a win over Penn State's Brad Pataky in the first round. Nicholson will have to battle through the consolation bracket for a return trip to the All-American podium, starting with a match against Obenson Blanc (Oklahoma State) in the second round consolations tomorrow. Nicholson and Blanc wrestled earlier this season with Nicholson winning a tight match, 5-3, while Blanc ranked sixth in the nation at the time.
Juniors Jesse Strawn and Chris Brown both won a match in the championship bracket before being bounced to the consolation rounds. Brown won a pigtail match against Michigan's Justin Zeerip, 4-0, but then dropped a 2-0 decision to Bucknell's Andy Rendos. Strawn dropped his first round opponent, UNC's Dennis Drury, in an 11-4 decision, but then had to face the number one seed, Craig Brester (Nebraska) and lost a 14-5 major decision.
Brown was eliminated after his second round consolation match against Mike Galante (Lehigh), suffering a 5-3 decision. Brown's season ends with a 28-8 overall record and a 1-2 NCAA Tournament finish.
Kyle Hutter and Eric Decker lost first round matches, but both bounced back in the consolations and will return to the mat on Friday morning. Hutter was pinned by #5 seeded Andrew Hochstrasser (Boise State), but then won a 7-3 decision over Oregon State's Kelly Kubec. Decker also had to face a top seed, and lost a 12-4 major decision to #3 seed Brandon Browne (Nebraska), but toppled Buffalo senior Nate Rock in the consy's, 4-1, to move on in the tournament.
Williams still has his sights set on a national championship and is just one win away in tomorrow's quarterfinals from earning All-American status. The other Monarch grapplers will have to wrestle back in the consolation rounds to end up on the podium.
The quarterfinals and second round consolations are set to begin at 11:00 am (EST) on Friday morning. ESPN will broadcast the rest of the tournament on its family of networks. Check local listings for coverage. Live updates will be available here. Also tune into odusports.com for recaps following each round.
Day One Results: