A dream final for New Jersey
The NCAA wrestling final that New Jersey fans have been waiting for will take place Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
Michigan’s Nick Suriano and Princeton’s Pat Glory will fight for the 125-pound championship after both won semifinal fights on Friday night.
Three other wrestlers with New Jersey ties, including two former national champions, will join Suriano and Glory on the single center mat on Saturday.
Stanford’s Shane Griffith will be looking to defend his 165-pound championship. Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis (174) will be looking to win his second national title in four years and Princeton’s Quincy Monday (157) will be looking to join his father Kenny as the national champion.
The final airs on ESPN Saturday at 7 p.m. The wrestling semifinals and medal round will air on ESPN U at 11 a.m. Saturday.
SURIANO AND GLORY IS FINALLY HERE
Suriano, the 2019 133-pound champion while at Rutgers, beat Arizona State’s Brandon Courtney 4-1.
Glory, the 2019 sixth-place finisher at age 125 and struggling in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since, edged Cornell’s Vito Arujau 13-5.
The two combined for six NJSIAA championships and eight state finals appearances during their school careers.
Suriano won four state titles and went 159-0 at Bergen Catholic from 2012 to 2016. Glory won state titles in 2017 and 2018 and was a four-time runner-up at Delbarton.
Glory is also Princeton’s first finalist since Greg Parker at 174 in 2002. Bradley Glass, at heavyweight in 1951, is Princeton’s only national champion. Glory is only the fifth finalist for Princeton since Glass. Besides Parkr, Emil Deliere at 190 in 1972; John Sefter at heavyweight in 1978, John Orr at 142 in 1985 were the others.
Glory, beating Arujau for the second time in three meetings this season and avenging a 19-6 major decision loss in the EIWA final on March 6, took command in the second half after taking a lead 3-2 with one out.
In a wild scramble in which both wrestlers had the chance to put each other on their backs with a cradle, Glory maintained control and put Arujau on their backs with the cradle. It’s 7-2.
Arujau closed within 7-5 on a call and a reverse of locked hands, but Glory walked away with an out and two more runs back.
This time last year, Glory could only watch in frustration as the Ivy League hadn’t allowed its teams to have a season due to the pandemic.
“I was starting out on the screen (TV screen) wanting to put my head on it, to be totally honest with you,” Glory said in an ESPN interview after the fight. “To do all the work and not be able to reap the rewards was horrible.
“I’m so lucky to be back here. I want to thank my family, my friends, my coaches, my teammates, everyone who has supported me here. I’m thrilled to win tomorrow.”
Suriano, who will compete in his third final (he was beaten by three-time Iowa champion Spencer Lee in the 2018 125-pound final). took control against Courtney with one out with 1:57 left in the first period. He then took out Courtney in the second period.
Griffith showed why he’s a champion with a dramatic 7-6 win over Cal Poly’s No. 1 seed Evan Wick on a takedown with three seconds remaining.
Had Griffith not recorded the takedown, Wick, who had beaten Griffith three times this season, would have won on drive time point.
“You keep fighting until the whistle stops,” Griffith said. “I actually thought the score was tied because of driving time. I looked up and saw it was 7-5. It was a great moment.”
Griffith, who was a three-time NJSIAA champion at Bergen Catholic, likely saved Stanford’s program last season. The program was going to be a budget cut until Griffith won his title.
“Last year was last year, but this year is really special,” Griffith said.
Griffith will meet undefeated Missouri’s Keegan O’Toole in the Finals.
Lewis, the 2019 165-pound champion, showed off his all-around skills with his Logan Massa pin from Michigan.
With the score tied 1-1 in the final minute, Massa was deep on a shot, but Lewis came out the back door, put Massa on his back and pinned him in stunning quick fashion with 41 seconds left. play in combat.
Lewis had also fended off a ground shot from Massa in the second half with his agility.
A state champion in his senior season at Bound Brook, Lewis will face defending Penn State champion Carter Starocci in the finals.
MORE HISTORY FOR PRINCETON
Monday, whose father was a 1984 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State and a gold medalist at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, gave Princeton two first-time finalists with a 3-2 win over Michigan’s Will Lewan.
“It means the world,” Monday said. “Given where this program started with Ayres (Princeton head coach Chris Ayres), the work we’ve done has helped us take it to the next level. Pat (Glory) was the flag bearer for a He set the bar high and definitely helped lift me up.”
A first-period withdrawal was the difference for Monday.
The No. 5 seed on Monday will meet No. 2 seed Ryan Deakin of Northwestern in the final.
“I have to thank my coaches for the work I’ve done and the results show it,” Monday said.
RIVERA BECOMES ALL AMERICAN AGAIN
Rutgers’ 141-pound Sebastian Rivera rebounded from his quarterfinal loss to Pitt’s Cole Matthews with a 6-2 victory over South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson to earn All-American honors for the fourth time in the an NCAA Tournament and the fifth time overall.
Rivera can still finish third. He then beat Minnesota’s Jakob Bergeland by technical pinfall later Friday night in the wrestling quarter-final and will face Stanford’s Real Woods on Saturday morning in the wrestling semi-final.
The win over Bergeland moved Rivera into the top six. He finished in the top six four times in his career and was named a first-team All-American in 2020 after the tournament was canceled. Rivera was going to be the top seed at 133 in 2020.
A first-period strikeout against Carlson gave Rivera the lead. He won the fight with one takedown in the final 30 seconds.
It’s the eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament that Rutgers has had at least one All-American.
Greg Bulsak (197) went on to play in six straight NCAA Tournaments Rutgers had multiple All-Americans with a 3-2 win over Binghamton’s Lou Deprez on a knockdown with about a minute left. Bulsak then drove Deprez.
It was Bulsak’s third wrestling win of the day.
He was then beaten 4-3 by Yonger Bastida of Iowa State in the quarter-final fight and will face Eric Schultz of Nebraska in the fight for seventh place on Saturday. Schutlz beat Bulsak 4-3 Thursday night in the wrestling quarterfinal.
Former Westfield High School state medalist CJ Composto and Northwestern’s Chris Cannon (133) also picked up All-American spots.
Composto beat former runner-up and three-time top-four finisher Steven Micic of Michigan 10-4 in the sudden No. 1 win.
He was then beaten 14-10 by Oregon State’s Grant Willits in the quarterfinal wrestling and will battle Bergeland for seventh place.
Cannon pinned Pitt’s Micky Phillippi in the first period. He was then beaten 2-1 by Lucas Byrd of Illinois in the quarter-final wrestling and will face Devan Turner of Oregon State for seventh place.