While it was a slow start for Rutgers is Session I of the Big Ten Wrestling Championship, they had a lot more success in Session II on Saturday. After winning just three first round matches in the morning session, four wrestlers earned automatic berths to nationals in the night session. All ten wrestlers are still alive for automatic bids on Sunday.
No. 8 seed Brian Soldano will wrestle in the consolation semifinals at 184 pounds after a tremendous performance in Session II. After losing to No. 1 seed Aaron Brooks (Penn State) in the morning’s Quarterfinals, Soldano responded with two huge victories at night. He defeated No. 10 seed Tyler Dow (Wisconsin) 12-9 before pinning No. 5 seed Abe Assad (Iowa) who is ranked No. 9 nationally to keep his hopes alive for a program best third place finish at the Big Ten Championships. He earned his first ever berth to the NCAA Championships by clinching an automatic bid.
In addition, Rutgers had No. 8 seed Dean Peterson (125), No. 7 seed Joe Heilmann (133) and No. 6 seed Boone McDermott (HWT) all earn automatic bids to nationals.
Peterson beat No. 7 seed Braxton Brown (Maryland) in a 8-3 decision to redeem a regular season loss and punch his ticket. He was pinned in his next match to No. 3 seed Matt Ramos (Purdue). He will wrestle in the 7th place match against No. 9 seed Jack Medley (Michigan) on Sunday.
Heilmann defeated No. 9 seed RayVon Foley (Michigan State) in a 5-2 decision to advance to nationals. He then lost to No. 3 seed Lucas Byrd (Illinois) in a major decision 8-0. Heilmann will wrestle in the 7th place match against No. 8 seed Brody Teske (Iowa) on Sunday.
McDermott defeated No. 12 seed Ryan Vasbinder (Michigan State) in a 4-0 decision to become the fourth Scarlet Knight to earn an automatic bid to nationals. He then lost withdrawing due to injury in the fourth minute of the consolation quarterfinals against No. 7 seed Tate Orndorff (Ohio State). McDermott is scheduled to wrestle in the 7th place match on Sunday against No. 10 seed Hayden Copass (Purdue).
No. 10 seed Jackson Turley (174) guarantees a fifth Scarlet Knight on the podium on Sunday. He will wrestle for 7th place against against No. 6 seed Donnell Washington (Indiana). If wins, the former All-American will earn an automatic bid to nationals.
It will be the second straight year that Rutgers will have five podium finishers at the Big Ten Championships.
The other five wrestlers all still have a chance to earn automatic bids to nationals in their respective weight classes.
No. 7 seed Joseph Olivieri (141), No. 10 seed Tony White (149), No. 13 seed Andrew Clark (157), No. 12 seed Robert Kanniard (165) and No. 11 seed Billy Janzer (197) will all wrestle in 9th place semifinal matches on Sunday. Each weight class has at least nine allocations for the Big Ten to have automatic bids to the NCAA Championships later this month.
It was a disappointing start to the Big Ten Championships. In addition, only one wrestler is in the hunt for a top 3 finish. Through two sessions, RU sits in 11th in the team standings with 30.0 points. However, if Rutgers can have at least seven wrestlers earn automatic bids to nationals, the weekend should still be considered a positive.
Below is the full schedule of matches for each Rutgers wrestler in the Big Ten Championships on Sunday. Session III begins at 1 p.m. ET airing live on B1G+. Session IV begins at 4:30 p.m. with the placement matches also airing live on B1G+. To watch the championship bouts for each weight class, BTN will air them at the same time.
Placement and Consolation Semifinal Matchups
184 (Consolation Semifinals): (8) Brian Soldano vs. (3) Isaiah Salazar (Minnesota)
125 (Seventh Place): (8) Dean Peterson vs. (9) Jack Medley (Michigan)
133 (Seventh Place): (7) Joe Heilmann vs. (8) Brody Teske (Iowa)
174 (Seventh Place): (10) Jackson Turley vs. (6) Donnell Washington (Indiana)
HWT (Seventh Place): (6) Boone McDermott vs. (10) Hayden Copass (Purdue)
Ninth Place Semifinal Matchups
141: (7) Joseph Olivieri vs. (13) Cayden Rooks (Indiana)
149: (10) Tony White vs. (2) Austin Gomez (Wisconsin)
157: (13) Andrew Clark vs. (7) Michael Carr (Illinois)
165: (12) Robert Kanniard vs. (9) Andrew Sparks (Minnesota)
197: (11) Billy Janzer vs. (7) Gavin Hoffman (Ohio State)
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