EVANSTON, Ill. - In a field featuring almost 100 ranked
wrestlers and 15 ranked teams, Columbia showed it can compete with the best in
the nation on day one of the 50th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships. Columbia
will head into the final day of the Midlands in 12th place (35.5 points), with
three wrestlers still competing on the mat, including No. 8/15 Steve Santos who
has reached the semifinals of the 149-pound weight class.
Santos reached the semifinals with four victories, each
coming in a different fashion. In the opening round, it would be UW-Park's Dan
Argueta who would be Santos's first victim, going down by way of technical
fall, 17-0, in 4:43. In the next round, Chicago's Josh Hotta found himself
pinned in 6:49. In a round of 16 matchup against Shawn Fayette from Northern
Illinois, Santos captured a major decision, his second win Saturday via
shutout, 11-0. No. 12/12 Eric Grajales served as a staunch challenger in the
quarterfinals, but Santos secured his spot in Sunday's semifinals with an 8-3
decision. No. 1/3 Donnie Vinson from Binghamton awaits Santos in the
Two Columbia wrestlers also remain alive to place at the
Midlands in the wrestleback brackets of their respective weight classes.
In the 157-pound weight class, No. 17/15 Jake O'Hara reached
the quarterfinals with three triumphs. Michigan's Michael Carpenter went down
10-3 in the opening round with Sunnyvale's Mike Schmidlin going down in the
form of a technical fall, 18-3, in 5:37 in the round of 32. No. 20/- Tommy
Churchard would be the next opponent of O'Hara's to fall, finding himself on
the losing end of a 13-6 decision in the round of 16. Unfortunately, top seed
and No. 2/2 ranked Jason Welch from host Northwestern forced O'Hara to the
wrestleback draw with an 8-0 major decision in the quarterfinals. O'Hara will
take on No. 14/12 Matt Lester from Oklahoma in his first match Sunday.
No. 12/18 Stephen West also made his way to the
quarterfinals of the 174-pound weight class. West began competition in the
round of 32 following a bye, defeating Rider's James Brundage in his first
match, 7-4. In a very close round of 16 match, West secured a 3-1 sudden
victory over Virginia Tech's Austin Gabel. In the quarterfinals, No. 10/12 Dan
Yates from Michigan halted West's pursuit of a title with a 9-1 major decision
victory. West will begin Sunday with a matchup against Central Michigan's Craig
Kelliher who won four matches in the wrestleback draw Saturday.
Drew Rebling (184 pounds) and Josh Houldsworth (165 pounds)
each won a pair of matches Saturday.
Illinois sits atop the team standings with 61.5 points, just
0.5 ahead of Virginia Tech. CMU is next on the leaderboard, but trails the
Hokies by 12.5 points.
Semifinals, consolations and seventh-place matches will commence
Sunday at 1 p.m EST with the finals slated for an 8 p.m EST start time.