Past, present Buckeyes knock off No. 1 seeds in semifinals of Senior Nationals

Joey McKenna advanced to the finals at 65 kilograms (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Former Ohio State wrestlers Joey McKenna and Myles Martin, along with current Buckeye Kollin Moore, fell short of their NCAA goals last season when they failed to win NCAA titles.

On Saturday, all three scored upsets over No. 1 seeds to advance to the finals of Senior Nationals in freestyle.

McKenna, seeded No. 5, exacted revenge on two-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis -- the same wrestler who beat him in the NCAA finals -- with a 6-5 victory in the semifinals at 65 kilograms. McKenna trailed late in the match before scoring a go-ahead takedown in the final seconds of the match. Diakomihalis challenged the call, but it was upheld, giving McKenna the one-point victory.

He will face Jordan Oliver in the finals. Oliver, a past U.S. Open champion, was dominant in the semifinals, picking up a 10-0 technical superiority over Penn State All-American Nick Lee in the semifinals.

Martin, also seeded No. 5, led top-seeded Alex Dieringer 3-0 in the second period before surrendering his lead. Dieringer scored two takedowns to go up 4-3. Martin inched closer with a step out late in the match, but still trailed on criteria. With short time remaining, Martin fired off a shot and scored a takedown with five seconds left and claimed a 6-4 victory.

His finals opponent will be Zahid Valencia, a two-time NCAA champion and silver medalist at the Junior World Championships. Valencia blanked Penn State freshman Aaron Brooks 6-0 in the semifinals.

Moore knocked off top-seeded Kyven Gadson, 6-3, to reach the finals at 97 kilograms. Gadson scored the first takedown to grab a 2-0 lead, but Moore responded with a takedown to take the lead on criteria. Moore extended his lead to 4-2 with a takedown in the second period. Gadson scored a step out with just under 20 seconds remaining, but Moore came right back with a step out of his own and held on for the win.

He will meet second-seeded Hayden Zillmer in the finals. Zillmer edged Ty Walz in the semifinals, 4-3.

Iowa's Spencer Lee, a two-time NCAA champion, showed little rust after a long layoff from freestyle. He advanced to the finals at 57 kilograms with a 14-4 technical superiority over Cornell All-American Vito Arujau, a silver medalist at the Junior World Championships earlier this year.

On the top side of the bracket at 57 kilograms, No. 1-seeded Nathan Tomasello cruised to the finals with a 13-2 technical superiority over Nahshon Garrett. Tomasello outscored his four opponents on Saturday 45-6.

At 74 kilograms, a pair of wrestlers with college eligibility remaining reached the finals, Mekhi Lewis and Logan Massa. Both are taking Olympic redshirt seasons. Lewis edged Thomas Gantt, 3-1, in the semifinals. Massa earned a 15-6 victory over over top-seeded Nazar Kulchytskyy.

No. 1-seeded Tony Nelson was pushed in his semifinal match at 125 kilograms, but grinded out a 3-2 win over 2019 No. 1 recruit Greg Kerkvliet, who recently transferred from Ohio State to Penn State. On the bottom side of the 125-kilogram bracket, second-seeded Dom Bradley advanced to the finals with an injury default victory over 2019 NCAA champion Anthony Cassar. Bradley led the match 7-2 before Cassar defaulted.

Semifinal results

57 kilograms:
Nathan Tomasello tech. Nahshon Garrett, 13-2 3:21
Spencer Lee tech. Vito Arujau, 14-4 5:04

65 kilograms:
Joey McKenna dec. Yianni Diakomihalis, 6-5
Jordan Oliver tech. Nick Lee, 10-0 2:42

74 kilograms:
Logan Massa dec. Nazar Kulchytskyy, 15-6
Mekhi Lewis dec. Thomas Gantt, 3-1

86 kilograms:
Myles Martin dec. Alex Dieringer, 6-4
Zahid Valencia dec. Aaron Brooks, 6-0

97 kilograms:
Kollin Moore dec. Kyven Gadson, 6-3
Hayden Zillmer dec. Ty Walz, 4-3

125 kilograms:
Tony Nelson dec. Greg Kerkvliet, 3-2
Dom Bradley by injury default over Anthony Cassar 5:18

Quarterfinal results

57 kilograms:
Nathan Tomasello tech. Frank Perrelli, 10-0 2:15
Nahshon Garrett tech. Alan Waters, 15-2 3:31
Spencer Lee tech. Darian Cruz, 10-0 3:59
Vito Arujau dec. Nick Suriano, 2-2

65 kilograms:
Yianni Diakomihalis dec. Ben Whitford, 11-3
Joey McKenna tech. Evan Henderson, 11-1 3:22
Nick Lee tech. Joey Lazor, 10-0 3:40
Jordan Oliver tech. Bryce Meredith, 10-0 2:40

74 kilograms:
Nazar Kulchytskyy tech. Alec Pantaleo, 14-3 5:22
Logan Massa tech. Anthony Valencia, 20-8 5:49
Thomas Gantt dec. Evan Wick, 10-4
Mekhi Lewis by injury default over Chance Marsteller

86 kilograms:
Alex Dieringer dec. Brett Pfarr, 2-1
Myles Martin dec. Nick Heflin, 7-0
Aaron Brooks dec. Sam Brooks, 15-9
Zahid Valencia dec. Nate Jackson, 3-2

97 kilograms:
Kyven Gadson dec. Jacob Kasper, 6-5
Kollin Moore dec. Derek White, 6-3
Ty Walz dec. Kevin Beazley, 5-2
Hayden Zillmer dec. Timmy McCall, 3-0

125 kilograms:
Tony Nelson dec. Tanner Hall, 6-0
Greg Kerkvliet pinned Nick Nevills, 0:36
Anthony Cassar dec. Ceron Francisco, 10-2
Dom Bradley tech. Garrett Ryan, 11-0 3:39


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