ST. LOUIS – University of Iowa wrestlers Thomas Gilman, Cory Clark, Brandon Sorensen, and Sammy Brooks won quarterfinal matches Friday afternoon to advance to the semifinals of the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center.
Gilman (125), Clark (133), Sorensen (149), and Brooks (197) each won their respective quarterfinal bouts, securing All-America honors and earning a berth in Friday night’s semifinals.
Clark’s All-America honor is the fourth of his career. He is the 19th four-time All-American in program history. Sorensen, a junior, is a three-time All-American. Gilman, a senior, is a three-time All-American. All three wrestlers are making return appearances to the semifinals. For Gilman and Clark, it’s their third straight appearance. Sorensen is making his second straight.
Brooks, now a two-time All-American, is making his first career appearance in the semifinals. Both he and Gilman advanced past the quarters with third-period falls.
Brooks trailed 2-1 before whipping Illinois’ Emery Parker to his back and getting the pin in 6:01.
“Hats off to my opponent,” Brooks said. “He came to wrestle. This is the NCAA tournament. That’s why you get the best wrestling at the crazy moments. You have to stay cool and keep wrestling.”
Gilman led his match 7-4 before taking Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni to his back and finishing a fall in 6:03.
“I’m fired up right now,” Gilman said after scoring bonus points for the third time in as many matches. “I’ve got another gamy opponent. I have to get fired up and ready to go (for the semis), but between now and about five o’clock I’ve got to cool my jets a little bit.”
Clark and Sorensen each moved on with a pair of decisions. Clark used a first-period reversal, second period takedown, and 3:16 of riding time to defeat Michigan’s Stevan Micic, 6-4.
“The only thing crossing my mind right now is the next match in front of me,” said Clark, who faces Ohio State’s top-seeded Nathan Tomasello in the semifinals.
Sorensen moves on with a 3-0 win over Ohio State’s Michal Jordan. Sorensen recorded a takedown in the second period and escaped to open the third to avenge a loss to Jordan two weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships.
“It feels good,” Sorensen said. “Moving on and avenging a loss, but we are in the semifinals and there is work to be done. There are still things to do.”
Michael Kemerer and Alex Meyer both lost in the quarterfinals and were bounced to the backside of the bracket. Kemerer and Meyer are two of three Iowa wrestlers who need one win Friday night to reach the All-America stand. Cash Wilcke is the third. The redshirt freshman won two matches in the wrestle-backs, first 6-2 over Stanford’s Josh Marchok and later 4-3 in the second sudden victory period against Frank Mattiace of Penn.
Topher Carton (141) and Joey Gunther (165) where eliminated from the tournament following losses in the consolation bracket. Carton lost 9-6 in his final collegiate match. He finished the season with a career-high 26 wins and advanced to the national tournament for the first time. Gunther, a redshirt freshman, split two decisions Friday and finished his rookie season with 20 wins.
Iowa enters the semifinals in third place with 58 points. The Hawkeyes have seven wrestlers alive in the tournament, four on the top of the bracket and three on the bottom. Penn State leads the team race with 74 points. Ohio State sits one point ahead of Iowa with 59.
“We have seven alive and you control what you can control,” said UI head coach Tom Brands. “Tonight’s another round. We feel good about our guys. We always feel good about our guys. It’s Day 2 of the tournament. We’re into another big round where all the lights are on and there’s a lot of fanfare. It’s going to be electric and our guys are competitors. They thrive on that.”
The semifinal and consolation rounds begin Friday at 7 p.m. (CT). ESPN will televise the semifinals. ESPN3 will stream the consolation rounds.
125 – #1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) pinned #8 Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma State), 6:03
133 – #4 Cory Clark (Iowa) dec. #5 Stevan Micic (Michigan), 6-4
149 – #5 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. # 4 Micah Jordan (Ohio State), 3-0
157 – #7 Dylan Palacio (Cornell) pinned #2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa), 1:32
174 – #3 Bo Jordan (Ohio State) dec. #11 Alex Meyer (Iowa), 4-3
184 – #3 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) pinned #11 Emery Parker (Illinois), 6:01
141 – #12 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) dec. Topher Carton (Iowa), 9-6
165 – Joey Gunther (Iowa) dec. #14 Branson Ashworth (Wyoming), 6-3
165 – # 11 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa) dec. Joey Gunther (Iowa), 8-3
197 – Cash Wilcke (Iowa) dec. Josh Marchok (Stanford), 6-2
197 – Cash Wilcke (Iowa) dec. #12 Frank Mattiace (Penn), 4-3 SV2
125 – #1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) vs. #4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh)
133 – #4 Cory Clark (Iowa) vs. #1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State)
149 – #5 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) vs. # 1 Zain Retherford (Penn State)
184 – #3 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) vs. #2 Bo Nickal (Penn State)
157 – #2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) vs. May Bethea (Penn)
174 – #11 Alex Meyer (Iowa) vs. #7 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State)
197 – Cash Wilcke (Iowa) vs. #10 Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion)
1. Penn State 74.0
2. Ohio State 59.0
3. Iowa 58.0
4. Oklahoma State 47.5
5. Cornell 47.0
6. Missouri 43.5
7. Minnesota 39.0
8. Virginia Tech 35.0
9. Wisconsin 29.0
10. Nebraska 27.0