Henrich Advances to Quarters at NCAA Championships
PHILADELPHIA – Chris Henrich (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.) advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Wrestling Championships Thursday night, highlighting five Virginia wrestlers who stayed alive through day one of the championships. The evening session was contested in front of a sellout crowd of 17,289 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Through day one Virginia has racked up nine team points and stands in a tie for 29th place with Iowa State. Penn State leads the team competition with 30.5 points, while Cornell is close behind with 29 points.
The quarterfinals will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday. ESPNU will have the live broadcast, with a webcast also available at ESPN3.com. Live stats can be located at VirginiaSports.com.
Four more Cavaliers picked up a win Thursday to advance to day two: Matt Snyder (R-Fr., Lewistown, Pa.) at 125, Nick Nelson (R-Jr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) at 141, Derek Valenti (Jr., Newton, N.J.) at 149 and Jon Fausey (R-Fr., Dalmatia, Pa.) at 184.
“We got five of our seven guys through, and Joe Spisak and Jack Danilkowicz each lost heartbreakers in the wrestleback round,” Virginia head coach Steve Garland said. “This tournament is all about highs and lows. The highs were Henrich beating Benefiel from Oklahoma State, who is an absolute stud. Now he’s got another stud next – that’s the way this tournament goes.
“We didn’t do a good job today of finishing off positions. That was frustrating because we do a lot scrambling and work a lot on specific positions. It was an exhausting day, but we’re excited to come back tomorrow.”
The No. 5 seed at 174 pounds, Henrich went down to the wire with No. 12 seed Mike Benefiel of Oklahoma State, winning 6-5. Henrich advanced to face fourth-seeded Colby Covington of Oregon State on Friday morning.
Henrich and Benefiel reprised their close bout from the quarters at the 2010 NCAA Championships, which Henrich won, 5-4. Benefiel jumped out early with a takedown at 1:45 of the first period, but Henrich escaped in 19 seconds. Henrich built a 6-2 lead in the second period with a takedown in each period and an escape point to start the second. He built up 58 seconds of riding time, but gave up an escape just before securing the minute needed for the bonus point. Benefiel closed to within 6-5 late after a pair of escapes and a penalty point, but Henrich held him off in the final 15 seconds to secure a trip to the quarterfinals against Covington.
“Covington is a stud,” Garland said. “He matches up well with us. Chris has a great arsenal of moves and if he opens up and hits them, he’s got a shot against anyone in the tournament. He’s focused and in the zone. It’s going to be a great match, win or lose.”
After winning their morning matches, Nelson and Valenti each dropped their second-round matches to the No. 2 seeds in their respective weight classes. Nelson fell 6-1 to Michael Thorn of Minnesota. Nelson gave up a takedown 42 seconds into the period and Thorn rode him for the final 2:18. Nelson chose the down position in the second, and Thorn staved off several reversal attempts and rode Nelson for the whole period. Thorn added a takedown in the third period to complete the win.
Valenti dropped a 6-3 decision to Frank Molinaro of Penn State and will wrestle No. 12 seed Desi Green of Buffalo on Friday. Molinaro scored a takedown midway through the first period, then rode Valenti for 1:18 before Valenti was able to escape. It marked the first point Molinaro had allowed in the postseason this year. Molinaro added a takedown with 42 seconds left in the second period, but Valenti quickly escaped again. Valenti added another escape to start the third, but Molinaro was able to hold off several aggressive shots by Valenti and notched the riding time point to win 6-3.
“I was really proud of the way Derek Valenti wrestled,” Garland said. “He wrestled his heart out against the No. 2 seed and had a couple calls that did not go his way, but he was out there to win and I was proud of him for having that mindset. The kid is a winner.”
Snyder advanced through the consolation bracket with a 5-4 decision over West Virginia’s Shane Young. He will face No. 11 seed Frank Perrelli of Cornell on Friday. Snyder gave up an early takedown to Young, but escaped after 44 seconds and scored a takedown late in the period to grab a 3-2 lead. He then rode Young for entire second period to build a 1:45 edge in riding time. Young scored a takedown with 1:26 left in the third, but Snyder quickly escaped. He then held Young off for the final minute of the match and used the riding time point to win 5-4.
Fausey jumped out to an early lead and coasted to an 8-2 win over Chattanooga’s Jason McCroskey. He advanced to meet Arizona State’s Jake Meredith on Friday. Fausey scored a quick first-period takedown before giving up an escape 23 seconds later. He then added a takedown with 50 seconds remaining in first before riding McCroskey the rest of the period. He scored on an escape and takedown in the second to take a 7-1 lead and was not challenged from there.
Danilkowicz concluded his wrestling career with a heartbreaking 4-2 loss to Michigan’s Ben Apland. Danilkowicz finished his senior season with a career-best 24 wins. After a scoreless first period, Danilkowicz reversed Apland following 1:17 in riding time, but gave up an escape 11 seconds later. In the third period Danilkowicz started on top and cut the riding time to 52 seconds before allowing an escape to tie the bout at two. After going in for a shot late in the period, Danilkowicz allowed a takedown with two seconds left to seal a 4-2 win for Apland.
Spisak saw his season come to an end with a 5-4 loss to Kent State’s Tyler Small. He ended his freshman season with a 23-16 record. Spisak took the early lead with a takedown, but Small battled back with an escape and takedown. Spisak reversed Small to grab the lead back entering the second period. Small then rode Spisak for the entire second period to build up 2:06 riding time advantage. Spisak cut 30 seconds from the riding time in the third period before Small escaped, and Spisak was unable to pick up the necessary takedown in the final minute.
Virginia’s Thursday Results/Friday Opponents
First Round – No. 1 Anthony Robles (Arizona State) tech fall Matt Snyder, 17-1 (4:23)
Wrestlebacks First Round – Snyder dec. Shane Young (WVU), 5-4
Wrestlebacks Second Round – Snyder vs. No. 11 Frank Perrelli (Cornell)
First Round – Levi Mele (Northwestern) vs. Joe Spisak, 5-1
Wrestlebacks First Round – Tyler Small (Kent State) dec. Spisak, 5-4
First Round – Nick Nelson dec. Casey Thome (Army), 5-4 (TB1)
Second Round – No. 2 Michael Thorn (Minnesota) dec. Nelson, 6-1
Wrestlebacks Second Round – Nelson vs. Stephen Dutton (Lehigh)
First Round – Derek Valenti dec. Dan Osterman (Michigan State), 3-1 (SV)
Second Round – No. 2 Frank Molinaro (Penn State) dec. Valenti, 6-3
Wrestlebacks Second Round – Valenti vs. No. 12 Desi Green (Buffalo)
First Round – No. 5 Chris Henrich major dec. Eric Starks (Arizona State), 10-2
Second Round – Henrich dec. No. 12 Mike Benefiel (Oklahoma State), 6-5
Quarterfinals – Henrich vs. No. 4 Colby Covington (Oregon State)
First Round – No. 9 Quentin Wright (Penn State) dec. Jon Fausey, 8-4
Wrestlebacks First Round – Fausey dec. Jason McCroskey (Chattanooga), 8-2
Wrestlebacks Second Round – Fausey vs. Jake Meredith (Arizona State)
First Round – Kevin Lester (Columbia) dec. Jack Danilkowicz, 5-4
Wrestlebacks First Round – Ben Apland (Michigan) dec. Danilkowicz, 4-2