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  • Photo: Photo/Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Photo/Tony Rotundo

    Iowa leads by 14.5 heading into final day; PSU, with most finalists, sits in second

    Iowa's Jaydin Eierman celebrates after getting a pin in the NCAA semifinals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    Link: Results

    ST. LOUIS -- The finals of the 2021 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are set.

    The Iowa Hawkeyes who have led throughout the tournament still hold a lead. At the conclusion of the Friday evening session, Iowa had collected 109 team points, which is 14.5 ahead of second-place Penn State.

    Early in the semifinal round, news broke that Alex Marinelli medically forfeited out of the tournament. He had entered the 165-pound bracket as the top seed, but he could not continue following a quarterfinal loss against No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford). Despite not earning any further points at 165 pounds, the Hawkeyes appear in good position to return to the top of the podium as a team.

    Iowa's success this season is due in no small part to No. 1 Spencer Lee, who punched his ticket to the 125-pound final with an 11-0 major decision over No. 4 Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan). The Chippewa had some success in the second period riding from the top, but Lee regained control and closed out the match. The Hodge Trophy winner has won all four of his matches in this tournament with bonus points.

    ASU's Brandon Courtney defeated Utah Valley's Taylor LaMont (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

    Lee will face off against No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State). He scored a 2-1 victory over No. 7 Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley) in rideouts. Lee and Courtney have never previously met on the collegiate mats.

    At 133 pounds, Lee's teammate No. 4 Austin DeSanto (Iowa) pushed hard for the upset against No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State), but it did not materialize. Fix scored an early takedown and dealt with the constant pressure from the Iowa wrestler. In their previous meeting, DeSanto struggled on the bottom. That was not the case here, but Fix still prevailed.

    Penn State's Roman Bravo-Young after picking up a win in the semifinals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    In the bottom half of the 133-pound bracket, No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) took care of business against No. 3 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech). The match was tied at 2-2 going into the third period. Bravo-Young surprised some by taking neutral, but he got it done adding a takedown and riding time for the 5-3 victory.

    Iowa added their second finalist at 141 pounds. No. 1 Jaydin Eierman's match against No. 4 Tariq Wilson (North Carolina State) appeared to be headed towards a 0-0 first-period. However, late in the frame, Eierman turned a shot from Wilson into a pinning combination and finished the match by fall. It was his second fall of the tournament, and he also picked up a technical fall in his opening-round match.

    Eierman will face off against No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State) in a rematch of the Big Ten tournament final. Lee took on No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) for the second time this month. Once again it was a close match until Lee busted it open late and finished with a 9-3 victory. Eierman vs. Lee was a one-point match in the Big Ten final, and this one is expected to be just as close.

    The seeds held at 149 pounds. No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) locked in a cradle and pinned No. 4 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State) to make the finals. Sasso now has two falls in the tournament, but he escaped with an 11-10 victory in the round of 16 against No. 17 Kyle Parco (Fresno State).

    No. 2 seed Austin O'Connor (North Carolina) needed overtime to best No. 3 Brock Mauller (Missouri). O'Connor was the aggressor throughout the contest and got to leg often, but he struggled to finish. After escaping in the first rideout, he held Mauller down for the victory.

    Rider's Jesse Dellavecchia celebrates with his coaches after pinning Ryan Deakin (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    At 157 pounds, No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) became the second number-one seed to fall in the tournament. He allowed an early takedown against No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider). Once on top, Dellavecchia went to work. He exposed Deakin with a half nelson before stacking it for the fall. There was an extensive series of challenges following the bout, but the result held.

    No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) had little trouble with No. 2 Hayden Hidlay (North Carolina State). Carr scored an early takedown and rode for long periods of the match. Hidlay got back into the bout with a late reversa, but it was not enough. Carr took the decision via a 6-4 score.

    165 pounds features one of the more interesting stories of the tournament. Prior to this season, Stanford announced they were dropping their wrestling program following the year. Despite this, No. 8 Shane Griffith finds himself in the finals. He upset No. 1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa) in the quarter. In the semifinals, he defeated No. 5 Zach Hartman (Bucknell) with a 9-2 decision to advance to the finals.

    Griffith will take on No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh). Wentzel allowed an early takedown against No. 7 Ethan Smith (Ohio State). However, Smith then took bottom, which allowed Wentzel to get back into the contest with his riding. In the end, it was a 4-2 decision for the Pittsburgh representative.

    No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) continued his run of dominance at 174 pounds. He continually got to legs and controlled from the top against No. 12 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly). It was his first victory of this tournament without bonus points, but after the 8-1 victory he has now outscored his opponents 60-13.

    The NCAA final will be a rematch of the Big Ten tournament final. No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State) used an impressive third period rideout to win a close 2-0 decision over No. 2 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley). The Kemerer vs. Starocci match at Big Tens was a 7-2 decision for the Iowa wrestler.

    At 184 pounds, No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) handed No. 4 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) his first loss of the season and advanced to the finals. The final score was 6-4, but that is after Keckeisen narrowed it with a last second takedown. Brooks was dominant throughout the contest.

    NC State's Trent Hidlay reached the finals with a 2-1 win (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

    His opponent will be No. 2 Trent Hidlay (North Carolina State). Hidlay struggled to get his offense going against No. 6 John Poznanski (Rutgers), and the match ultimately went to rideouts. After keeping Poznanski down in the first period, Hidlay escape to take the 2-1 decision.

    Oklahoma State's A.J. Ferrari took out No. 1 Myles Amine of Michigan in the semifinals (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

    The first semifinal at 197 pounds was one of the most anticipated matches of the round. 2021 Olympian No. 1 Myles Amine (Michigan) moved up to 197 pounds this year, won the Big Ten tournament and entered the NCAA tournament undefeated on the year. In the semifinals, he faced off against true freshman super recruit No. 4 AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State). Ferrari scored an early takedown and never let Amine get on track. The bout went into the third period with Ferrari leading 3-1. He rode out the final period and added the riding time and a penalty point to win 5-1.

    Pitt's Nino Bonaccorsi reached the finals as the No. 6 seed (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    In the bottom half of the 197-pound bracket, the Cinderella story of No. 26 Jake Woodley (Oklahoma) came to an end. He held tough against No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh), but ultimately the Pittsburgh wrestler was too persistent with his offense.

    At heavyweight, No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) continued his dominant season with a 16-6 major decision over No. 5 Anthony Cassioppi (Iowa). Steveson allowed a takedown in his semifinal match, but other than that he has been in complete control. This victory over Cassioppi was his third bonus-point win of the tournament.

    No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan) earned a rematch against Steveson with a second-period fall over No. 6 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State). Parris had built a sizable lead before turning and pinning Gremmel with an arm bar.

    Steveson and Parris appeared to be developing a rivalry after their 2020 Big Ten tournament match was a close 8-6 decision. However, in their most recent match at the 2021 edition of the conference tournament, Steveson was thoroughly dominant and won via 12-4 major decision. Parris gets a chance to right that result on Saturday night.

    Saturday's medal round will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The NCAA finals -- scheduled for 6 p.m. CT -- will begin with 133 pounds and conclude with 125 pounds.

    Team Standings (Top 10)

    1. Iowa 109
    2. Penn State 94.5
    3. Oklahoma State 86.5
    4. Arizona State 67
    5. Michigan 58.5
    6. Missouri 56.5
    6. NC State 56.5
    8. Minnesota 55.5
    9. Ohio State 45.5
    10. Pittsburgh 40.5

    Finals Matchups

    125: No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State)
    133: No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) vs, No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State)
    141: No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) vs. No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State)
    149: No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) vs. No. 2 Austin O'Connor (North Carolina)
    157: No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) vs. No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider)
    165: No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh) vs. No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford)
    174: No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State)
    184: No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) vs. No. 2 Trent Hidlay (NC State)
    197: No. 4 A.J. Ferrari (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh)
    285: No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) vs. No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan)

    Semifinal Results

    No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) maj. dec. No. 4 Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan), 11-0
    No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) dec. No. 7 Taylor LaMont (Utah Valley), 2-1 TB1

    No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 4 Austin DeSanto (Iowa), 3-2
    No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) dec. No. 3 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech), 5-3

    No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) pinned No. 4 Tariq Wilson (NC State), 2:59
    No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State) dec. No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers), 9-3

    No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) pinned No. 4 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State), 4:01
    No. 2 Austin O'Connor (North Carolina) dec. No. 3 Brock Mauller (Missouri), 2-1 TB1

    No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider) pinned No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern), 3:18
    No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) dec. No. 2 Hayden Hidlay (NC State), 6-4

    No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford) dec. No. 5 Zach Hartman (Bucknell), 9-2
    No. 3 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh) dec. No. 7 Ethan Smith (Ohio State), 4-2

    No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) dec. No. 12 Bernie Truax (Cal Poly), 8-1
    No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State) dec. No. 2 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley), 2-0

    No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) dec. No. 4 Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa), 6-4
    No. 2 Trent Hidlay (NC State) dec. No. 6 John Poznanski (Rutgers), 2-1 TB1

    No. 4 A.J. Ferrari (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 1 Myles Amine (Michigan), 5-1
    No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) dec. No. 26 Jake Woodley (Oklahoma), 4-1

    No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) maj. dec. No. 5 Tony Cassioppi (Iowa), 15-5
    No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan) pinned No. 6 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State), 4:02

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