Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder needed a cortisone injection in his ribs shortly before his match tonight, after suffering an injury this morning, but that didn’t help Jacob Kasper who had said that he was going to go right after Snyder and punch him in the mouth.
Snyder, after winning 19-6, said that it’s good to hype a match, but when you talk like that, you have to back it up. Snyder, a junior at Ohio State who has only lost one match in his college career, goes for his second heavyweight championship against Connor Medberry of Wisconsin, who defeated Ty Watz of Virginia Tech by a 4-3 score in the other semifinal.
Snyder, who weighed in a 226 pounds, will be giving up 39 pounds against the 265-pound Medberry. He is attempting to become the first American wrestler in modern history to win an NCAA championship after winning an Olympic gold medal.
The most unique season in history, with ten different undefeated wrestlers, all contending for the Hodge Trophy, came to an end in the semifinals with the upset losses of Thomas Gilman of Iowa, who came into tonight’s event 30-0, Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State, who came in 22-0 and Zahid Valencia of Arizona State, who came in 36-0.
A crowd of well over 18,000 fans sold out the Savvis Center for the fourth time in two days.
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Cael Sanderson’s Penn State is running away with the team title, going 5-0 tonight, placing five wrestlers in the finals. Penn State has 121 points to Ohio State’s 89.5 and Oklahoma State’s 86.
Seven wrestlers will go into the finals with a shot at being undefeated national champions, Dean Heil of Oklahoma State at 141 (31-0), Zain Retherford of Penn State at 149 (27-0), Jason Noff of Penn State at 157 (26-0), Isaiah Martinez of Illinois at 165 (31-0), Gabe Dean of Cornell at 184 (34-0), J’Den Cox of Missouri at 197 (27-0) and Snyder of Ohio State at 285 (16-0).
Martinez, Dean and Cox are all going for their third NCAA championship. Dean and Cox are both seniors, but should Martinez go to the finals he will join the small select group of four-time NCAA champions (there are only four in history).
Retherford comes into the finals with a 62 match winning streak.
Saturday night’s matches are —
125 – Darian Cruz (Lehigh) vs. Ethan Lizak (Minnesota)
133 – Cory Clark (Iowa) vs. Seth Gross (South Dakota State)
141 – Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. George DiCamillo (Virginia)
149 – Zain Retherford (Penn State) vs. Lavion Mayes (Missouri)
157 – Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs. Joey LaValleee (Missouri)
165 – Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) vs. Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)
174 – Mark Hall (Penn State) vs. Bo Jordan (Ohio State)
184 – Gabe Dean (Cornell) vs. Bo Nickal (Penn State)
197 – J’Den Cox (Missouri) vs. Brett Pfarr (Minnesota)
285 – Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) vs. Connor Medberry (Wisconsin)