NCAA TOURNAMENT UPDATE: Williams An All-American, Strawn Still Alive
March 20, 2009
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- After the third session of wrestling at the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships a pair of ODU Monarchs are still wrestling, including the newest Monarch All-American, Ryan Williams. Williams is just one win away from the finals while teammate Jesse Strawn pinned Oklahoma State's Clayton Foster to move onto this evening's fourth session. Wrestling begins at 7:00 pm (EST) tonight and will be aired on the ESPN family of networks. Live stats are also available here.
Ryan Williams won his only match of the morning in dramatic fashion and will head to the semi-finals in Session IV this evening. The ODU senior faced Illinois' Ryan Prater in the quarterfinals and was ahead 6-2 going into the third period, but Prater mounted a comeback.
Prater got a takedown with 20 seconds remaining that, with the riding time advantage in hand, tied the match. But Williams did not quit and in the final few seconds of the third period, slipped out from underneath Prater and took the advantage for a reversal as time expired.
The win assured Williams a spot on the All-American podium, as he can finish no lower than eighth place. It is the first time in his three trips to the NCAA Tournament that he will be an All-American and he becomes the second Monarch All-American in the last two years.
Williams will face unseeded Alex Krom (Maryland) in the semifinals. Krom is coming off a pair of big upsets after beating the #4 seed Alex Tsirtsis (Iowa) and the #12 seed Drew Lashaway (Kent State). He is 24-4 overall this season.
"Williams is wrestling very tough," said head coach Steve Martin. "He's doing what we expected of him coming in and we're really proud of him becoming an All-American and also becoming the first semi-finalist under our coaching regime." Williams is the first semi-finalist since Jody Staylor in 1994, who finished second overall, and just the third Division I semi-finalist ever for Old Dominion, joining Buddy Lee (1980) and Staylor.
Junior Jesse Strawn battled through a pair of tough matchups on the second day and is still alive headed into Session IV tonight. Both were rematches against nationally ranked opponents from earlier this season, and Strawn earned redemption against both.
First, against 11 seeded Andrew Anderson (UNI), Strawn won a 6-1 decision, making up for a 6-4 loss at home to the Panther grappler. Strawn had two take downs, an escape and added the riding time advantage point against Anderson.
He followed up Anderson with another upset victory, this time against eight seeded Clayton Foster (Oklahoma State). Foster pinned Strawn in dual action earlier this season, but this time it would be Strawn returning the favor. Foster led 4-2 going into the third period, but Strawn got a reversal early in the third period to tie it up. Foster escaped, but Strawn got another takedown to lead 6-5. In the ensuing moments, Strawn was able to get Foster on his back and get the pin 6:01 into the match.
Strawn is still one win away from assuring himself All-American status and has a tough matchup to do so. Strawn will have to beat his third straight seeded opponent, as he's slated to face #7 Brandon Halsey (CSU-Bakersfield). Halsey reached the quarterfinals and was bounced by the #2 seed Jake Varner (Iowa State).
"Strawn battled hard against a kid who pinned him earlier this year," said Martin. "He's got another tough match tonight, but he's wrestling well right now."
The rest of the Monarchs were eliminated by the end of the third session.
James Nicholson, an All-American in 2008, lost his only match of the day to Obenson Blanc (Oklahoma State) by just one point, 3-2. Blanc's upset victory over six-seeded Nicholson ended the year for the ODU sophomore with a 36-4 overall record.
At 133 lbs, Kyle Hutter won his third round consolation matchup against Liberty's Christian Smith, 9-5, but then was charged with facing the number three seed and was eliminated by the Illini grappler, James Kennedy. Kennedy won a 10-1 major decision over Hutter in the fourth round of consolations.
The sixth and final qualifier, Eric Decker (174 lbs), was eliminated by the number nine seed, Newly McSpadden (Oklahoma State), in a tight 4-1 decision.
Results After Session III:
125: James Nicholson (1-2)
#6 James Nicholson (ODU) def. Brad Pataky (Penn State), 11-6
#11 Zachary Sanders (Minnesota) def. #6 James Nicholson (ODU), 5-4
Obenson Blanc (Oklahoma State) def. #6 James Nicholson (ODU), 3-2
133: Kyle Hutter (2-2)
#5 Andrew Hochstrasser (Boise St) pinned Kyle Hutter (ODU), 2:20 fall
Kyle Hutter (ODU) def. Kelly Kubec (Oregon State), 7-3
Kyle Hutter (ODU) def. Christian Smith (Liberty), 9-5
#3 James Kennedy (Illinois) def. Kyle Hutter (ODU), 10-1 maj dec
141: Ryan Williams (3-0)
#8 Ryan Williams (ODU) def. Frank Molinaro (Penn State), 7-1
#8 Ryan Williams (ODU) def. Joe Caramanica (NC State), 10-5
#8 Ryan Williams (ODU) def. Ryan Prater (Illinois), 8-6
174: Eric Decker (1-2)
#3 Brandon Browne (Nebraska) def. Eric Decker (ODU), 12-4 maj dec
Eric Decker (ODU) def. Nate Rock (Buffalo), 4-1
#9 Newly McSpadden (Oklahoma State) def. Eric Decker (ODU), 4-1
197: Jesse Strawn (3-1)
Jesse Strawn (ODU) def. Dennis Drury (UNC), 11-4
#1 Craig Brester (Nebraska) def. Jesse Strawn (ODU), 14-5 maj dec
Jesse Strawn (ODU) def. #11 Andrew Anderson (UNI), 6-1
Jesse Strawn (ODU) pinned #8 Clayton Foster (Oklahoma State), 6:01 fall