March 4, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A quartet of Hoosier grapplers will make the "March to the Arch" and compete in the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 15-17. Taylor Walsh (149 lbs), Ryan LeBlanc (174 lbs), Matt Powless (197 lbs) and Adam Chalfant (285 lbs) each qualified for the national tournament with their efforts at the Big Ten Championships this weekend.
The four IU grapplers rose to the occasion with three placing higher than their seed and Powless matching his No. 2 seed.
Complete Results & Team Standings
Matt Powless; ranked third nationally
Advanced to the 197-pound Big Ten title match, placing second
Won three bouts on Saturday to ensure his spot in finals
Hit a last second takedown to defeat #12 Morgan MacIntosh (Penn State) in semifinals
Season record of 33-4 and career mark of 122-41
122 career victories are the sixth most in IU history and just one shy of gaining a share of 5th place (Coyte Cooper, 123 wins; 2000-04)
Has tallied 30 or more wins in three consecutive seasons
Owns a double-digit major decisions total in back-to-back years after leading all of Division-I wrestling with 13 majors in 2011
Taylor Walsh; ranked 18th nationally
Placed fourth as the No. 6 seed at 149 pounds
Ripped off three straight wins in the wrestleback, including decisions over #19 Eric Terrazas (Illinois) and #12 Ivan Lopouchanski (Purdue)
Season record of 28-10 with 12 falls ... Just one pin shy of cracking the all-time top-10 for most pins in a season at IU
Owns six wins over nationally-ranked opponents heading into the NCAAs
Placed fifth as the No. 7 seed at 285 pounds
Defeated #8 Tucker Lane (Nebraska), 11-7, in his last bout Saturday. It marked his second victory over the top-10 Cornhusker this season, also defeating Lane during the regular season dual
Avenged a first-round loss to Michigan State's Steve Andrus, crushing the Spartan, 14-5, in the fifth-place bout
Tallied a pair of major decisions in the conference championships
Placed ninth as the No. 10 seed at 174 pounds
Recorded one of four first-round upsets in the Championships; out-lasting #17 Tyler Koehn (Nebraska), 2-1, in a second tiebreaker
Needed to win his final two bouts to qualify for the NCAAs, doing so with a 14-2 major decision over Drake Stein (Purdue) and besting Wisconsin's Frank Cousins, 6-2, in the ninth-place match
The quest for national titles and All-American stands begins on Tuesday, March 13th when the IU departs Bloomington en route for St. Louis. Wrestling action starts on Thursday, March 15 and concludes Saturday night with the finals being aired live on ESPN2.
DAY ONE RECAP
Returning All-American and senior Matt Powless
has advanced to the 197-pound title bout at the Big Ten Championships. He will face Illinois' Mario Gonzalez to become just the second Hoosier to win a Big Ten title since 1997. Angel Escobedo
won back-back-to-back conference championships in 2008-10.
In the semifinals, Powless hit a last-second takedown to get past Morgan MacIntosh (Penn State), 7-6, in the closing seconds.
Complete Results Thru Day One
Powless will be joined by at least two teammates in St. Louis for the NCAA Championships. Eighteenth-ranked Taylor Walsh and heavyweight Adam Chalfant have qualified for nationals and remain in contention for third place at Big Tens.
Ryan LeBlanc is still in play for a trip to the NCAAs as well. He needs to defeat Frank Cousins of Wisconsin on Sunday to secure his entry into nationals.
FIRST SESSION UPDATE
Senior Matt Powless
advanced to the Big Ten Championships semifinals of the 197-pound division on Saturday, winning a pair of bouts in the morning session. While all nine Hoosiers competing remain in contention for automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, four Hoosiers are just one win away from stamping their tickets.
Powless improved to 32-3 overall by topping Jackson Hein (Wisconsin) and seventh-seeded James Nakashima (Nebraska) in the first two rounds. Powless majored Nakashima, 10-2, for his 10th major decision of the season. He has now compiled double-digit major decision totals in back-to-back years after leading all of Division-I wrestling with 13 a season ago.
Ryan LeBlanc and Taylor Walsh also won matches in the first session of the conference championships. LeBlanc was one of four lower-seeded or unseeded wrestlers to pull-off an upset in the first round. His 2-1 victory in the second tiebreaker not only avenged a regular season loss to Nebraska's Tyler Koehn, but also puts him just one win away from qualifying for his first trip to the NCAAs. Koehn is seeded seventh at 174 pounds and ranked 17th nationally.
Meanwhile, Walsh was also victorious in his first bout of the day. The redshirt freshman got by Nebraska's Skyler Galloway, 3-2, before dropping down into the wrestlebacks. Walsh will face Frank Baer of Wisconsin with a bid to nationals on the line.
Also need just one win to extend their seasons are Preston Keiffer and Adam Chalfant.