OKLAHOMA CITY – Columbia kicked off the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Chesapeake Energy Arena Thursday morning with four wrestlers in action. Despite battling tough, each of Columbia’s grapplers dropped their first round bouts and will move to the wrestle-back bracket in session two Thursday evening.
At 165 pounds, senior Josh Houldsworth suffered a difficult loss in his opening round bout to freshman Jim Wilson from Stanford. Wilson, the 16-seed, tallied the first point of the bout with an escape in the second period, taking a 1-0 lead into the final period. Houldsworth was able to even the score with just over a minute left in the third period with an escape of his own, sending the bout to sudden victory.
Houldsworth and Wilson continued to clash through the extra period with each taking shots at the winning takedown, but it would be Wilson who would score the winning points with just six seconds remaining with a takedown near the outer edge of the match.
Next up for Houldsworth in the wrestle-backs will be South Dakota State’s Jordan Brewster who lost via fall to top-seed David Taylor from Penn State in the opening round.
First-year Markus Scheidel faced a tough opponent in the opening round at 157 pounds, battling 2013 All-American and eighth-seed Roger Pena from Oregon State. Pena was active from the start of the bout, scoring the first points with a takedown 32 seconds in. Pena choose to start the second period down and added another point with an escape at the 1:40 mark. With time winding down in the period, he was able to take down Scheidel again, extending his lead to 5-0. A third takedown, penalty point and the riding time pushed Pena to a major decision, 9-0.
Spartak Chino from Ohio will be Scheidel’s opponent in tonight’s wrestle-backs. Chino was pinned by ninth-seed Dylan Ness of Minnesota in the first round.
At 174 pounds, the Lions Shane Hughes rallied with three points in the final 35 seconds with a takedown and an escape, but 15th-seed Billy Curling from ODU captured an 8-3 victory at the final buzzer. Curling scored takedowns in each of the first two periods and added a reversal in the third to possess a 6-0 lead before Hughes scored his three points.
In the wrestle-backs, Hughes will face Missouri’s Mike England, who was downed by second-seed Andrew Howe of Oklahoma with a tech fall, 19-4, in the opening round.
Sophomore Zack Hernandez was the final Lion in action in the opening round, facing Brown’s Ophir Bernstein, the 12-seed, for the fourth time this season. Bernstein notched takedowns in the first two periods to carry a 4-0 lead into the final two minutes. Bernstein choose to start the third period down, with Hernandez staying top long enough to earn the riding time point, but the Brown wrestler came away with the 4-1 decision.
Hernandez will look to continue his first NCAA tournament in the wrestle-backs against Iowa’s Ethen Lofthouse. Lofthouse, the fifth-seed, was upset by Edinboro’s Victory Avery in a 5-3 decision in the opening round.
The second session begins tonight at 7 p.m. ET with coverage continuing on WatchESPN and live stats on TrackWrestling.com.
Roger Pena (Oregon St.) wins by maj. dec. over Markus Scheidel (COL), 9-0
Jim Wilson (STAN) won by decision over Josh Houldsworth (COL), 3-1, SV-1
Billy Curling (ODU) won by decision over Shane Hughes (COL), 8-3
Ophir Bernstein (BROWN) won by decision over Zack Hernandez (COL), 4-1