Ohio State sends 3 to finals, closes in on first NCAA title

ST. LOUIS (AP) Logan Stieber moved one win away from a fourth national title and Ohio State also sent two freshmen to the finals of the NCAA wrestling championships, taking a big step toward its first team title on Friday night.

Stieber is 28-0 after his fourth impressive win of the tournament at 141 pounds. The Buckeyes got upsets over top Missouri seeds by Nathan Tomasello at 125 pounds and Kyle Snyder at 197 pounds, dealing a huge blow to the host school that entered ranked first in the nation.

”Just trying to enjoy it. It’s been a fun ride,” Stieber said. ”And if we could win a team title along the way, that would be cool.”

Ohio State had 86 1-2 points, a 13-point cushion over Iowa, after entering the semifinals with a 17-point lead. Cornell was third with 66 1-2 points, Edinboro had 64 1-2 and Missouri had 60 after sending one of its three top seeds, 149-pound Drake Houdashelt, to the finals.

Tomasello made an early statement with a decisive takedown in the final seconds against previously unbeaten Alan Waters (33-1). Snyder parlayed a first-period takedown to a 3-2 victory over defending champion J’den Cox at 197, fending off Cox (36-1) most of the third period.

The Buckeyes were runners-up in 2008 and ’09 and are coming off their first Big Ten championship in 64 years under coach Tom Ryan.

Stieber could be the just the fourth to win four individual titles, joining Kyle Dake of Cornell (2010-13), Cael Sanderson of Iowa State (1999-2002), and Pat Smith of Oklahoma State (1990-92, 1994).

He’s feeling no pressure.

”I mean, I can flush it in and out,” Stieber said. ”So, I see the cameras in my face every time I go in the bathroom or talk to my mom, but it doesn’t affect me.”

Missouri set a tournament scoring record by winning its third straight MAC championship and beat both Ohio State and Iowa in dual meets.

Tomasello will face unseeded freshman Zeke Moisey of West Virginia. Moisey notched his second upset of the tourney at 125 on an adjacent mat, pinning Thomas Gilman of Iowa in 52 seconds.

”He’s a guy that’s not afraid of the big stage and neither am I,” Tomasello said. ”It’s just going to be some fireworks tomorrow night.”

Another unbeaten tumbled at 133 when Cody Brewer of Oklahoma, seeded 13th despite a 21-1 record, manhandled top seed Christopher Dardanes of Minnesota 15-3. Brewer will face Iowa’s Cory Clark, the third seed, in the final.

Unbeatens Isaiah Martinez of Illinois, Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State, and Nick Gwiazdowski of North Carolina State advanced at 157, 165 and 285 pounds. Martinez and Dieringer are 33-0 and Gwiazdowski is 34-0.

Dieringer, the defending champion at 157 pounds, beat fifth seed Bo Jordan of Ohio State 6-1 and will face sixth seed Taylor Walsh of Indiana.

”I was conservative,” Dieringer said. ”I should come out on top if I stick to my game plan.”

”Yeah, he’s a big name,” Walsh said. ”But I think a lot of times the first time wrestling a guy I can give him some fits because they don’t know my style and I can just work my stuff.”

Martinez, a freshman, had a 3-2 decision over James Green of Nebraska.

”He’s the only guy all year I haven’t been able to take down,” Martinez said. ”So, the great thing about that is it comes down to toughness and top and bottom wrestling.”

Missouri lost four points in the team standings in the first session after John Eblen was disqualified for a head butt at 174 pounds late in a losing cause against Zach Brunson in a loser bracket bout.

Gabriel Dean of Cornell, the top seed at 184, edged 13th seed Victor Avery 4-3 in overtime for his third straight one-point decision.

The first top seed to lose was Robert Kokesh of Nebraska, who’d been 35-0 before losing 3-2 to No. 8 Tyler Wilps of Pittsburgh in the quarterfinals.

Attendance was 18,761, near capacity for an event held in St. Louis for the seventh time in 12 years.