OMAHA, Neb. – Former Clearfield Area High School standouts Brad Pataky of Penn State and Matt Kyler of Army advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships by winning two matches apiece at the Quest Center Omaha Friday.
Unseeded at 125 pounds after finishing fourth in the Big 10 Conference Tournament two weeks ago, Pataky sent a pair of seeded conference champions into the wrestlebacks with hard-earned decisions.
The Nittany Lion redshirt junior upended Big 12 Conference titlist and No. 9 seed Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma 6-4 in what really wasn’t a big surprise since he had edged the Sooner freshman 8-6 in the Virginia Duals in early January.
Patterson (29-10) countered a low single-leg shot by Pataky for a takedown late in the first period but paid for choosing the down position for the second period. Pataky stuck him for a three-point near fall, missing a possible pin when the hold was ruled potentially dangerous.
A quick escape gave the Nittany Lion a 4-2 lead in the third period, but Patterson came out of a scramble on top of Pataky for a takedown with 21 seconds left.
An escape and riding time provided the winning margin for Pataky, who followed up with a 3-2 squeaker over Mid-American Conference champ and No. 8 seed Matt Steintrager of Central Michigan in the second round.
Pataky’s early takedown was the difference against Steintrager (24-4), a redshirt senior who managed only a pair of escapes. The Nittany Lion’s other point was a second period breakaway as the spent most of the match on their feet.
A rematch with Big 10 champ and No. 1-ranked Angel Escobedo (35-0) of Indiana is next for Pataky (28-8).
Escobedo, bidding to become Indiana’s first four-time All-American, beat Pataky 14-1 in the conference semis.
The Nittany Lion did score a 4-3 upset over the 2008 national champion when they met in a 2009 conference dual meet.
Another upset would send Pataky against No. 4 seed Anthony Robles (30-2) of Arizona State or No. 5 seed Andrew Long (25-6) of Iowa State in the semis.
No. 3 Matt McDonough (34-1) of Iowa is the lone seed left in the lower bracket. He takes on Jarrod Garnett (25-5) of Virginia Tech and Cashe Quiroga (27-12) of Purdue goes against Fred Santaite (19-9) of Boston. Santaite pulled off the biggest shocker of the first day when he took down defending champion and No. 2 seed Troy Nickerson (14-2) of Cornell with two seconds left for a 2-1 win.
Kyler, seeded No. 6 at 149 pounds, began his quest for a second All-American finish in his fourth trip to nationals with two impressive bonus-point wins.
The Black Knight senior spent most of the first five minutes controlling George Mason junior Brian Bucher (17-18) after a first-period takedown and second-period reversal. Bucher, who placed third in the Colonial Athletic Association, chose neutral in the final period, and Kyler took him down again and hooked up a cradle for a fall at the 6:46 mark.
In the second round, Kyler was equally dominant against No. 11 seed Desi Green (28-7) of Buffalo, breezing to a 9-0 major decision with two takedowns, an escape, three penalty points and more than four minutes of riding time. He led the Mid-American Conference champ 7-0 after two periods.
Kyler (32-3), the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion, will face a very familiar foe in the quarters as he and No. 3 seed Kyle Terry (28-2) of Oklahoma have a history dating back to the beginning of the 2007-08 season when the then No. 17-ranked Sooner eked out a 5-4 decision in the Oklahoma Gold Classic hosted annually by State University of New York-Brockport.
They met twice last season, Kyler winning 4-1 in the Oklahoma Gold Classic and Terry getting revenge 7-4 in the second round of the nationals. Kyler was the No. 8 seed and Terry the No. 9 seed.
In last November’s Oklahoma Gold Classic, Terry prevailed 6-2 in the semifinals.
The Big 12 champ’s only losses have come against No. 1 seed Lance Palmer (29-2) of Ohio State, 2-0 in the Oklahoma Gold Classic finals and 4-3 to Palmer in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational semifinals Dec. 4.
If Kyler wins, he will face either two-time NCAA finalist and second seed Brent Metcalf (32-1) of Iowa or No. 7 seed Mitch Mueller (27-8) of Iowa State.
Palmer gets No. 8 seed Jason Chamberlain (27-8) of Boise State and No. 5 seed Frank Molinaro (31-5) of Penn State meets unseeded Torsten Gillespie (30-13) in the upper bracket.
Penn State is locked in a four-way tie for 10th place with 17 points as the six Nittany Lion qualifiers were 5-1 in both sessions, with No. 4 seed Cyler Sanderson (30-4) at 157 and No. 6 seed Dan Vallimont (28-7) at 165 joining Pataky and Molinaro in the quarterfinals set for Friday morning at 10:30.
No. 11 seed David Erwin (30-9) at 184 and unseeded Cameron Wade (21-10) at heavyweight went 1-1 and will be wrestling in the third round of consolations.
The semifinals will highlight Friday’s 7 p.m. session that will set the pairings for Saturday’s 11 a.m. consolation finals and 7:30 p.m. championship matches.