March 22, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Kendric Maple becomes the first Sooner to make the NCAA Championship finals since 2011, following his 4-0 semifinals decision over The Citadel's No. 6 Undrakhbayer Khishignyam on Friday night in the Wells Fargo Arena in front of 16,131 onlookers.
"It's not quite the match that I wanted, but you need to get it done no matter how it happens," explained Maple. "It will all be different tomorrow."
Maple secured his first NCAA Championship appearance with a takedown in the first period to go up, 2-0. The Wichita, Kan., native would add an escape in the second and collect a bonus point with riding time to blank Khishignyam (4-0) in the semifinal bout and earn his ticket to the big stage for tomorrow night.
The two-time All American will face a familiar foe on Saturday night in Edinboro's No. 4 Mitchell Port.
"We wrestled earlier this year at Midlands," remarked Maple. "It was a pretty tough match - and if I remember, we both scored pretty high. He's going to come out battling - he's a great kid. He's a hard-nosed wrestler, and I've got to be the same tomorrow night."
The couple faced each other at the 50th Annual Midlands Championships, where Maple prevailed as the two-time Midlands Champion at 141 pounds. There, he rolled over Port with a 14-11 decision in the semifinal matchups.
Additionally for the Sooners, Cody Brewer advanced in the bracket to wrestle for a podium finish, while Bubby Graham wrestled his final match donning the OU singlet.
Oklahoma's rookie in Des Moines, Brewer, had a spectacular performance on the night as he earned the first All-America honors of his career against Penn State's Jordan Conaway. Brewer earned the coveted All-American addition to his name in thrilling fashion with a 14-4 major decision in his first match of the night.
The redshirt freshman went up 7-1 by the end of the first, courtesy of two takedowns and a last second three-point nearfall, to secure a lead he wouldn't relinquish, as he added another pair of takedowns and an escape in the second period to lead, 12-2. An escape and bonus point in the final two minutes of wrestling dished Brewer his ticket to wrestle for a podium finish and secure his All-American status.
In his second match of the night, Brewer took to the mat against Minnesota's No. 5 Christopher Dardanes, where the Wolverine prevailed with a 10-5 decision to advance higher into the wrestleback semifinals.
With the outcome, Brewer will now wrestle Saturday morning to determine the seventh- and eighth-place finisher, respectively. He'll grapple against Missouri's No. 6 Nathan McCormick. The two battled earlier this season in a bout that saw McCormick prevail with a 5-2 decision in Oklahoma's dual against Missouri.
Senior Bubby Graham fell just shy of an All-America nod after he dropped a 3-2 decision to Virginia's Nicholas Sulzer in the consolation bracket on Friday night. The Oklahoma captain ends his career in the Crimson and Cream as a two-time NCAA automatic qualifier with an 83-54 overall record.
Neither wrestler tallied any points in a slow first period, but it was Graham who was on the board first with an escape in the second. Sulzer countered with a takedown in the second, to take a one-point lead that Graham would recover with an escape to even it out, 2-2. Virginia totaled one escape in the third to earn a one-point buffer and secure the victory.
It appeared that Graham added a takedown of his own in the second, but the ref never flashed the coveted two fingers to indicate the call. Oklahoma challenged the decision with a few seconds remaining on the clock to earn the potential lead, but it wasn't overturned.
Saturday will mark the final day of the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Medal Round matches will begin at 10 a.m. CT, and will be broadcast through ESPNU. Championship wrestling will begin at 7 p.m. CT, and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
|NCAA Semifinal Championship Results|
141: No. 2 Kendric Maple dec. No. 6 Undrakhbayer Khishignyam (Citadel), 4-0
|NCAA Fourth Session Wrestleback Results|
133: No. 8 Cody Brewer (OU) major dec No. 12 Jordan Conaway (PSU), 14-4
165: No. 8 Nicholas Sulzer (UVA) dec. No. 6 Bubby Graham (OU), 3-2
|NCAA Fourth Session All-American Matchup Results (To Determine Medal Matchups)|
133: No. 5 Christopher Dardanes (Minnesota) dec. No. 8 Cody Brewer (OU), 10-5
|NCAA Championship Matchups|
141: No. 2 Kendric Maple (OU, 30-0) vs. No. 4 Mitchell Port (Edinboro, 34-3)
|NCAA Wrestleback Semifinal Matchups (For Seventh Place)|
133: No. 8 Cody Brewer (OU, 24-8) vs. No. 6 Nathan McCormick (Missouri, 33-6)