HERSHEY — Lycoming College sophomore Nolan Barger of Clearfield earned a 5-3 decision in his opening bout at the 2015 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships Friday.
The No. 6-ranked and No. 6-seeded 165-pounder advanced to the evening quarterfinals, slated to get under way at six o’clock in the Giant Center.
Barger (32-7) countered a takedown attempt by Blake Letney (19-12) of Luther (Iowa) for a four-point move late in the first period.
The Mideast Region champ rolled through a fireman’s carry try, stepped over and caught the Mideast Region third placer on his back for two-and-two.
Down to start the second period, Barger stood for a quick escape and then warded off a deep single-leg shot by Letney to lead 5-0 going to the final two minutes.
Letney escaped 16 seconds into the third period but only made it close with a takedown with five seconds remaining.
Barger’s next opponent will be Waynesburg senior Sam Guidi (41-4).
The Mideast Region third placer posted the only upset of the second round, taking down No. 3 seed Dylan Foley (24-3) in overtime for a 3-1 sudden victory.
Foley, the Northeast Region champ, attained All-American laurels with a sixth-place finish last year.
Barger and Guidi were finalists in the John Summa Tournament at Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) Feb. 7, but Waynesburg’s two-time Presidents’ Athletic Conference titlist did not wrestle because of an injury.
No. 2 seed Farai Sewera (26-2) of Coe (Iowa) and No. 7 seed Terner Gott (31-4) of John Carroll (Ohio) will meet in the bottom bracket’s other semi.
The top bracket bouts will pit No. 1 Andrew Steiert (17-3) of Wartburg against No. 8 Nick Velez of Ithaca (N.Y.) and No. 4. Tyler Schneider (21-5) of Wisconsin-La Crosse against No. 5 Jake Krogstad (22-8) of Concordia-Moorhead (Minn.).
The losers will have to take the mat again in the third round of wrestlebacks Friday night night, while the winners will advance to the championship semifinals that are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.
The final three rounds of wrestlebacks also will be contested in that session.
The first of the championship matches will begin at 7 p.m.