EVANSTON, Ill. -- Dylan Ness may have started the day unseeded and unattached, but he was far from unknown.
Dylan NessThe true freshman brother of 2010 NCAA champion Jayson Ness, Dylan went 4-0 and took down two seeded wrestlers at 149 pounds on the first day of action at the 48th Annual Midlands Championships on the campus of Northwestern University.
"Dylan doesn't really surprise me," said his father, Jay Ness. "He can step up, he always has. He's unpredictable, and stronger than opponents think he is. [Minnesota] is doing a great job with him, and he's wrestling well here."
Wrestling unattached with his father in his corner, Dylan upset No. 4 Eric Terrazas of Illinois in the first round, then recorded two straight falls to get to the quarters.
Wearing a navy blue and white singlet, Ness fought off numerous shot attempts by Iowa State's athletic No. 5 seed, Nate Carr, Jr., then scored in the third period to advance by a 4-2 decision to Saturday's semifinals.
"I knew he was quick, so I just tried to keep a close distance so he couldn't use his quickness," Dylan Ness said. "I just tried to keep that forward pressure, which helped me win at the end."
Despite the daunting prospect of facing Bucknell All-American Kevin LeValley in the semis, Ness plans to stay loose and use the training tips he has learned from his brother and the Golden Gophers' coaching staff.
"I'm just here to have fun," Dylan Ness said. "I know I'm the younger underdog here, so it's nice coming out here and wrestling without having any pressure."
InterMat's own T.R. Foley called it first, but indeed, notorious Maryland superfan Robin Ficker was on hand to lend his considerable vocal support to the Terrapins.
Robin Ficker (Photo/Morgan Hennessy)A longtime wrestling fan, Ficker's son, Flynn, wrestled heavyweight at UC Davis in the early 2000s. Once Flynn graduated, Robin chose to support a program a bit closer to home. His getup at Northwestern today included a Terps flag, a hat and a shirt to go along with Bermuda shorts.
"This is easier because I live near Maryland," Ficker said, laughing. Then he added, "The NCAAs are in Philly this year, so we're looking forward to having 10 guys eating Philly cheesesteaks in March!"
Ficker is an attorney and politician who wrote an editorial to the Washington Post last year that was critical of its lack of coverage of the Terps' program. Ficker has proven himself to be fiercely passionate and genuine about subjects he respects (such as wrestling).
"It's very competitive, the guys are highly disciplined and in great shape, it's one on one," Ficker said. "They work hard every day, long hours, giving up things that normal college students have. I'm just trying to be a positive force behind the Maryland team. We have a wonderful coach in Kerry McCoy, and if he doesn't deserve support, who does?!"
A quick glance at the brackets after Session 2 reveals some dandy match-ups still in tact. No doubt most wrestling fans in Evanston are salivating at the thought of these potential clashes in the finals on Saturday night.
125: No. 1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs. No. 2 Brandon Precin (Northwestern)
165: No. 1 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) vs. No. 2 Jordan Burroughs (Nebraska)
285: No. 1 Zach Rey (Lehigh) vs. No. 2 Ryan Tomei (Pittsburgh)
As evidenced on day one, however, crazy things can happen on the mat. So we'll wait until the semis are concluded before we being breaking down those battles.
In the meantime, final team scores following today's action can be found on www.intermatwrestle.com and www.NUSports.com. Be sure to tune into Foley's always-entertaining running notebook for detailed analysis and poignant witticisms.
No. 1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs. No. 10 Ryan Mango (Stanford)
No. 2 Brandon Precin (Northwestern) vs. Anthony Zanetta (Pittsburgh)
No. 3 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) vs. No. 10 Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan)
No. 5 B.J. Futrell (Illinois) vs. No. 8 Tony Ramos (Iowa)
No. 3 Jimmy Kennedy (Illinois) vs. No. 15 Chris Drouin (Iowa State)
No. 4 Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly) vs. No. 8 Tyler Nauman (Pittsburgh)
No. 3 Kevin LeValley (Bucknell) vs. Dylan Ness (Minnesota)
No. 7 Andrew Nadhir (Northwestern) vs. No. 18 Cole Schmitt (Wisconsin)
No. 13 James Fleming (Clarion) vs. No. 20 (at 165) Chase Nelson (Oklahoma)
No. 20 Daryl Cocozzo (Rutgers) vs. Kyle John (Maryland)
No. 1 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) vs. No. 11 Zach Toal (Missouri)
No. 2 Jordan Burroughs (Nebraska) vs. Chris Spangler (Iowa State)
No. 3 Jon Reader (Iowa State) vs. No. 16 Mike Letts (Maryland)
No. 5 Ben Bennett (Central Michigan) vs. Austin Meys (Lehigh)
No. 4 Grant Gambrall (Iowa) vs. No. 10 Josh Ihnen (Nebraska)
No. 5 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) vs. No. 6 Travis Rutt (Wisconsin)
Nate Patrick (Sunkist) vs. Byron Tate (Wartburg)
No. 13 Kennedy (Lehigh) vs. Matt Wilps (Pittsburgh)
No. 1 Zach Rey (Lehigh) vs. No. 4 Ryan Flores (American)
No. 2 Ryan Tomei (Pittsburgh) vs. No. 8 Jarod Trice (Central Michigan)