PHILADELPHIA – Sophomore Robert Hamlin and junior Zach Rey won their second round matches to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals with victories Thursday night at session two of the NCAA Championships at Wells Fargo Center. Lehigh’s two-top two seeds led the way for the Mountain Hawks who advanced six wrestlers to the second day of competition.
As a team Lehigh sits in 11th place after day one with 18 points.
"This tournament is a roller-coaster ride," explained Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. "Some guys are wrestling tight, making mistakes. We have to open up and go get it tomorrow. If you sit around and wait for things to happen you will lose. We have to open up tomorrow and be more aggressive and seal the deal."
Hamlin picked up his third win this season against Dan Rinaldi of Rutgers, taking a 3-2 decision at 184. Down 1-0 in the third period, Hamlin escaped to tie the score and then fought off a Rinaldi shot by sprawling, freeing his legs and spinning around to gain control and the only takedown of the match. Hamlin will now face the No. 7 seed, Chris Perry of Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals.
"When you wrestle a guy four or five times you need to make adjustments," Santoro said. "Tonight he didn’t do that and it kept Rinaldi in the match. Hamlin outwrestled him but you can’t leave him in a match where he can hurt you in the end."
Rey needed sudden victory to defeat David Marone of Rutgers and move into the quarterfinals at 285 for the third straight year. With the match tied at one, Rey nearly scored a takedown in the final seconds of regulation, but he could not gain control of Marone before time expired. Rey finally finished a shot 39 seconds into sudden victory to win 3-1 and advance to the quarterfinals where he will meet Cameron Wade of Penn State.
Three other Mountain Hawks fell to tough opposition in the round of 16 and dropped into the wrestlebacks.
Sophomore Joey Napoli had an early 3-0 lead on No. 6 seed Jason Chamberlain of Boise State at 149 but a late stalling call sent the bout to overtime where Chamberlain prevailed 6-4. Napoli scrambled his way into a second period takedown, but gave a takedown up in the third. He was penalized a point for stalling late in the third period and Chamberlain was able to convert the winning takedown in the extra period. Napoli now drops down to the consolations where he will face Ivan Lopouchanski of UNC-Greensboro.
"This tournament is about sealing the deal and finishing the job and we didn’t do that," Santoro said. "Now Joey has to come back tomorrow and wrestle like an All-American."
Juniors Brandon Hatchett and Joe Kennedy had to deal with No. 2 seeds in their respective round of 16 matches and both men came up on the losing end. Hatchett dropped a 6-1 decision to defending national champion Andrew Howe of Wisconsin at 165, while Kennedy lost a 10-1 major to Clayton Foster of Oklahoma State at 197.
Hatchett will meet No. 12 seed Cody Yohn of Minnesota in the consolations Friday morning while Kennedy will face Riley Orozco of Cal-State Bakersfield.
In consolation round action, freshman Stephen Dutton advanced to day two and delivered a bonus point for the Mountain Hawks with a 9-0 major decision over Jon Kohler of Maryland. Dutton had takedowns in each of the first two periods plus a pair of first period two point near falls plus a hefty amount of riding time. Next up for Dutton is Nick Nelson of Virginia.
Fellow true freshman Frank Cagnina won his pigtail consolation 6-0 over Demetrius Johnson of Chattanooga at 133 but was eliminated after dropping a wild 12-9 decision to Zac Stevens of Michigan. Stevens scored an early takedown but Cagnina escaped and responded with one of his own. Cagnina then scored a takedown to go ahead, but Stevens scored a reversal and three point near fall to take the lead. Cagnina battled back with two escapes and a takedown to lead 9-8 in the third period, but he gave up a late two-and-two on another reversal and near fall, as his season comes to and end at 20-6.
Freshman Austin Meys also saw his season come to an end as he medically forfeited his consolation round match at 174 after dropping a major decision earlier in the day. Meys’ lingering back injury left him unable to continue so his season ends at 21-10.
Penn State leads the team standings after day one with 30.5 points and seven quarterfinalists. Cornell is second with 29 points, while Iowa and Oklahoma State are tied for third with 25. Lehigh’s 18 points put the Mountain Hawks half a point out of the top ten.
The 2011 NCAA Championships continue Friday at 10:30 a.m. with the championship quarterfinals and two rounds of consolations from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The quarterfinals will be televised live on ESPNU while all of Lehigh’s matches can be heard for free at Lehighsports.com.
133 – Frank Cagnina (Lehigh) dec. Demetrius Johnson (UTC) 6-0
Round of 16
149 – Jason Chamberlain (Boise St.) dec. Joey Napoli (Lehigh) 6-4, s.v.
165 – Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) dec. Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh) 6-1
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Dan Rinaldi (Rutgers) 3-2
197 – Clayton Foster (Oklahoma St.) major dec. Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) 10-1
285 – Zach Rey (Lehigh) dec. David Marone (Virginia Tech) 3-1, s.v.
First Round Consolations
133 – Zac Stevens (Michigan) dec. Frank Cagnina (Lehigh) 12-9
141 – Stephen Dutton (Lehigh) major dec. Jon Kohler (Maryland) 9-0