Oregon State wrestling finishes strong

Danny Rice Sports Contributor

OSU stumbles on first day of tourney but regains momentum

By Danny Rice

Sports Reporter

Oregon State wrestling didn’t quite have the start they were hoping for at the NCAA tournament as the Beavers went 1-5 in the first round in New York City.

But the Beavers bounced back in the first consolation round as all five wrestlers won their respective matches and advanced to day two.

One of the highlights for OSU was redshirt sophomore heavyweight Amar Dhesi. Dhesi—seeded seventh—won his first match by way of a first round pin and followed it up by earning a dominating 12-4 major decision over Collin Jensen of Nebraska to gain a spot in the quarterfinals.

Dhesi will have his hands full as he faces Kyle Snyder of Ohio State—the runner up at 197 pounds a year ago.

Sophomore 125-pounder Ronnie Bresser was upset in the first round by Dalton Macri of Cornell, 6-5 in double overtime. Bresser was up 3-2 with 30 seconds left in regulation but was called for stalling for the second time and Macri earned a point to tie up the match and ultimately send it to overtime. Macri had the riding time advantage after double overtime and earned the upset.

Bresser had another overtime match as he faced the six-seed Eddie Klimara of Oklahoma State in the first round of consolation. In a match that didn’t feature a lot of action, Bresser won 2-1 after the first round of overtime where he rode Klimara for 30 seconds and secured the victory.

Redshirt junior 133-pounder Joey Palmer started off the day losing a hard fought match to the three-seed in Zane Richards of Illinois, 5-4. Palmer was leading 4-3 heading into round three, but an escape by Richards and riding time, solidified the win for the Fighting Illini.

Palmer defeated Austin Eicher of Northern Illinois 6-0 in the first round of consolation.

Redshirt junior 149-pounder Joey Delgado dropped an 11-8 decision to the 11-seed Anthony Collica of Oklahoma State to begin his tournament.

Delgado showed grit and toughness in his second match as he edged out Alex Kocer of South Dakota State, 9-7.

Senior Seth Thomas got off to a rough start as he lost by major decision to the eight-seed, Chad Welch of Purdue 13-4. Motivated by not ending his Oregon State career quite yet, he won his consolation match against Dakota Juarez of Eastern Michigan, 8-5.

Redshirt freshman Corey Griego lost by major decision in his first NCAA appearance but would bounce back in a big way by earning one of the biggest upsets on day one.

Griego defeated the three-seed in Victor Avery of Edinboro, 11-5.

With day one down, the Beavers were tied for nineteenth place with two other Pac-12 schools, Stanford and Arizona State, with 7.5 points.

After a day that saw five wrestlers get eliminated, day two ended with redshirt sophomore heavyweight Amar Dhesi earning All-American honors—ending the two-year drought for the Beavers. The last time a Beaver earned All-American honors was Scott Sackaguchi who got fifth, RJ Pena received fifth and Taylor Meek earned fourth.

Dhesi, in his second NCAA appearance, faced Arizona State’s Tanner Hall in the “blood round.” Where the winner would advance and guarantee a top eight finish and the loser would be sent home.

With the score tied 1-1 in the third round, Dhesi secured a takedown and the victory—solidifying All-American honors for the first time in his career.

Dhesi started the day losing to the number two-seed Kyle Snyder of Ohio State 16-5 but bounced back by defeating Hall and then earned an 8-5 victory over the number nine seed Michael Kroells of Minnesota, 8-5.

Sophomore Ronnie Bresser had a strong start to the day as he pinned Sean Russell of Edinboro in the second round and defeated Tim Lambert of Nebraska 5-4. He then faced a familiar opponent in Connor Schram of Stanford. Schram beat Bresser twice this season, including in the Pac-12 finals. Unfortunately for Bresser, history repeated itself.

After a scoreless first round, Bresser took the bottom position to begin round two. Schram turned Bresser for two points—which would turn out to be the difference in the match. Bresser would escape later in the second round and Schram would escape in round three to bring the final score to 3-1 in favor of Schram—ending Bresser’s season.

Bresser finished his standout season going 31-9.

Redshirt junior 133-pounder Joey Palmer won his first match of the day over the 13-seed Cameron Kelly of Ohio, 11-2. He then faced the number 12-seed Ryan Taylor of Wisconsin. Palmer was leading 3-0 midway through the second round but Taylor fought back to tie the score at 4-4 and ultimately earned a riding time point to win, 5-4.

Palmer ended the season going 26-12.

Redshirt junior 149-pounder Joey Delgado wrestled Geordan Martinez of Boise State to begin the day and was leading midway through the third round, 4-3. Martinez would escape and with riding time, beat Delgado 5-4—eliminating Delgado from the tournament.

Delgado finished his junior campaign going 25-16.

Senior 165-pounder Seth Thomas faced the number seven-seed Anthony Perrotti of Rutgers, seeking to regain revenge for an earlier season loss—but Thomas was unsuccessful.

Perrotti led 12-1 after two rounds—a lead Thomas couldn’t overcome. Thomas lost 15-6 and ultimately ended his Beaver career.

Thomas finished his senior season going 22-11 and his Beaver career at 82-36. He also finishes his career as a two-time NCAA qualifier.

Redshirt freshman 184-pounder Corey Griego had a tough draw to start day two as he wrestled the number four-seed, Domenic Abounader of Michigan.

Griego wrestled Abounader down to the wire and was reversed in overtime to solidify the win for Abounader—ending Griego’s redshirt freshman season. Griego finishes his breakout year going 24-12.

After day two, the Beavers placed 23 with 19 points.

After a weekend that saw five Beavers eliminated, Saturday was a bright day for Beaver nation as they saw one of their own earn All-American status.

Redshirt sophomore heavyweight Amar Dhesi claimed fifth place Saturday afternoon of the tournament—garnering All-American honors for the first time in his career. He is also the first Beaver to receive All-American status since 2013 and the first heavyweight since 2012 when Clayton Jack earned fourth.

Dhesi is the tenth All-American coached by Jim Zalesky in his time at Oregon State.

In the consolation semifinals, Dhesi faced the four seed in Adam Coon of Michigan—an opponent Dhesi is all too familiar with. Coon defeated Dhesi earlier this season, 6-3 and these two have squared off numerous of times in the offseason.

Unfortunately for Dhesi, Coon made quick work and pinned Dhesi in 48 seconds.

The Beaver’s heavyweight would fall to the fifth and sixth place match where he was determined to end his season on a good note. He wrestled the number four seed, Austin Marsden of Oklahoma State.

Marsden shot in on Dhesi and looked to almost get the takedown—but Dhesi had different plans. Dhesi sprawled out, got the takedown, and pinned Marsden in the first round with a minute and 31 seconds left on the clock.

Dhesi ends his outstanding season going 32-5, including a Pac-12 title.

As a team, the Beavers finished with 22 points, good enough for 21st place. The highest scoring Pac-12 team was Stanford, who scored 24 points and finished in 19th place.

Penn State won their fifth team title in the last six years as they scored 123 points, including two national champions. Oklahoma State was second with 97.5 points, followed by Ohio State with 86 and Virginia Tech tallying 82 points.

The future looks bright for the Beavers as they only lose one senior in Seth Thomas and will return seven wrestlers who have NCAA tournament experience.

On Twitter @DRice1730

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