Two fourth-seeded sophomores shared the spotlight on the second day of the NCAA Division I wrestling tournament, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Penn State's Nico Megaludis and Edinboro's Mitchell Port both upset an unbeaten top seed in Friday night's semifinals. And both matches were decided by riding time.
Megaludis (28-3), a Chartiers Valley graduate, earned his second trip to the 125-pound final with a 3-2 win that took four overtimes to settle. He upset Missouri's Alan Waters (32-1) and his riding time advantage of 15 seconds was the difference.
"I knew it was going to come down to riding because he's really good on top," Megaludis said. "I just needed to use my bottom skills and not let him ride me and pretty much use my attitude."
Both wrestlers escaped in regulation, both rode out the other in the first tiebreaker periods, then both escaped in the second set of tiebreaker periods.
Megaludis will face No. 2 seed Jesse Delgado (25-3) of Illinois in the title match at 8 p.m. today on ESPN. Megaludis beat Delgado twice during the season, but lost to him in the Big Ten tournament.
"Last year, I expected to get to the finals, but this year I just really, really expected it because I've been here already," Megaludis said. "I've been to this stage before."
Port (34-3), a sophomore seeded No. 4 at 141 pounds, rallied from a 6-2 deficit to pull out a 7-6 upset of unbeaten Hunter Stieber (34-1) of Ohio State in the semifinals. A riding time advantage of 1:09 gave Port the deciding point.
"That's what I came here to do," said Port, who has a chance to become Edinboro's fifth NCAA champion. "It shouldn't leave any doubt now that this was the right place to come to for me. I don't think I would be where I am now if it wasn't for being at Edinboro and the coaching staff that I have."
Port will face another unbeaten opponent, No. 2 seed Kendrick Maple (29-0) of Oklahoma State, in tonight's title match. Maple beat Port, 14-11, in the Midland tournament.
"He went out and got the first takedown," Edinboro coach Tim Flynn said. "We knew then that he was engaged. He made some adjustments during the match. He dropped his level in the third period and kept him off his legs. He really did a nice job."
Pitt's Matt Wilps (22-3), the No. 3 seed at 197, wasn't as fortunate in his semifinal match with Penn State's Quentin Wright (31-0), the No. 2 seed and returning champion. Wright earned a third consecutive trip to the final with a 4-3 win, a match that was decided in four overtimes by a riding time advantage of three seconds.
Edinboro's A.J. Schopp (32-3) was also defeated in the semifinals. Schopp, the No. 4 seed at 133, lost, 18-2, to Ohio State's Logan Stieber (25-0), the top seed.
Megaludis and Wright were two of five Penn State wrestlers who won in the semifinals, as the Nittany Lions all but wrapped up a third consecutive team title. David Taylor (31-1 at 165), Matthew Brown (29-4 at 174) and Edward Ruth (32-0 at 184) all were semifinal winners. Taylor and Brown are defending champions.
Ruth, last year's 174-pound champ, defeated defending 184-pound champ Steve Bosak, 4-1, in his semifinal match. Taylor recorded a fourth consecutive pin in his semifinal and will face three-time champ Kyle Dake (36-0) in the title match.
Clarion's James Fleming earned All-America status for the second consecutive year at 157 pounds. Fleming, a West Mifflin graduate, will wrestle for seventh place today.
Pitt's Zac Thomusseit (27-3 at 285) and North Carolina's Evan Henderson (38-7 at 141), a Kiski School graduate, also earned All-America status.