OMAHA, Neb. – After having their championship hopes dashed in the quarterfinals Friday morning, Army 149-pounder Matt Kyler and Penn State 125-pounder Brad Pataky of Clearfield had the misfortune of bumping into the highest seeds for their weight classes in the wrestlebacks and suffered tough losses in the fifth round of consolations that denied them making it to the medal stand at the 2010 NCAA Division I Championships.
For Kyler, elimination in the Black Knight senior co-captain’s fourth trip to the nationals marked the end of a brilliant career at 146-32, the most wins in the Army program’s history.
For Pataky, the results of his second NCAA tourney meant taking some time off before beginning to prepare for his final season with the Nittany Lions.
Both of the former Clearfield Area High School standouts were shut out in the quarters at the sold-out Quest Center Omaha.
No. 3 seed Kyle Terry of Oklahoma beat the sixth-seeded Kyler for the fourth time in five meetings, 8-0, via takedowns in the final seconds of the first and second periods, a wrist tilt for two points in the third period, an escape and 2:29 in riding time advantage.
Terry (29-3) was beaten 6-2 by No. 2 seed Brent Metcalf of Iowa in the semis, so the Sooners’ redshirt senior can finish as high as third place but no lower than sixth Saturday afternoon. Metcalf (35-1) and No. 1 seed Lance Palmer (31-2) of Ohio State will wrestle for the gold medal Saturday night.
Pataky, one of four unseeded hopefuls seeking berths in the semis at 125, had split his first two matches with undefeated No. 1 seed Angel Escobedo of Indiana, but the 2008 NCAA champ virtually matched his 14-1 Big 10 Conference semifinal win over the Nittany Lion lightweight with a 15-0 technical fall.
Escobedo secured his place in Hoosier history as Indiana’s first four-time All-American with takedowns and pairs of near falls in the first and third periods and a reversal after being ridden for 1:45 by Pataky in the second period, ending the bout at the 6:27 mark.
However, Escobedo (36-1) was upset 7-4 by fifth seed Andrew Long (27-6) of Iowa State in the semis. Long will take on No. 3 seed Matt McDonough (35-1) of Iowa in a championship showdown of redshirt freshmen.
In the Round of 12, Kyler and Pataky couldn’t have wound up with the tougher opponents.
Kyler squared off against No. 4 seed Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin in a double-overtime match that ultimately was decided by a penalty point.
All of the other points in the 4-3 decision were escapes.
They were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and 2-2 after the first overtime.
Ruschell, who became only the third All-American from the state of Kentucky when he won the bronze medal last year, got the edge he needed in the second overtime when Kyler was called for locking hands while trying to keep the Badger redshirt senior from breaking free in the second period.
Kyler escaped in the third period but was unable to take down the four-time NCAA qualifier to pull out a win, a heart-breaking finish to a 32-5 season and career that was highlighted by an All-American performance for sixth place as a sophomore, two Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association titles, a prestigious Southern Scuffle crown this year, three All-Academy championships and four New York State Championships titles.
Pataky drew an even tougher assignment in Cornell redshirt senior Troy Nickerson, who was the defending champion and No. 2 seed.
The Nittany Lion was the aggressor and got the initial takedown with a double-leg shot. Nickerson (18-2) quickly reversed, but Pataky escaped and engineered another takedown to take a 5-3 lead into the second period.
The redshirt junior chose neutral and again forced the action, but Nickerson emerged from the scramble with the takedown and had Pataky fighting for 90 seconds to stay off his back. The near fall gave Nickerson an 8-5 lead and he went defensive after a quick escape in the third period to win 9-5.
Pataky finished 28-10, for the second year in a row just one win shy of attaining All-American honors.
Penn State will have three All-Americans, though.
No. 6 seed Dan Vallimont (30-7) will meet No. 1 seed Andrew Howe of Wisconsin for the 165-pound gold medal after taking down defending champ and No. 2 seed Jarrod King of Edinboro in the first overtime for a 3-1 sudden victory in the semis.
No. 5 seed Frank Molinaro (32-6) at 149 and No. 4 seed Cyler Sanderson (32-5) at 157 still are in the hunt for bronze medals. A 2-0 loss to top seed Palmer dropped Molinaro into the consolation semis, while Sanderson rebounded from a 9-5 quarterfinal loss to No. 5 seed Steve Fittery of American with two wins in the wrestlebacks.
With 47 points, Penn State is ninth in the team standings.
Iowa already has locked up its third consecutive title, No. 23 overall, with eight All-Americans, including five finalists.