Terao Reaches EIWA Final; Four Advance to NCAAs

AU Wrestling placers and coaching staff

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Josh Terao lost in the championship match at 133 pounds, but led four American University wrestlers who earned berths to the NCAA Division I Championships with performances Saturday at the 115th annual Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships.

Terao, Gage Curry and Michael Sprague each will repeat as NCAA qualifiers, while Tanner Harvey earned his first trip, having transferred to AU after winning a junior-college national championship a year ago.

American had six place-winners, one more than last year and marking the fourth time since 2012 the Eagles had six. AU finished seventh in the team standings, being edged by host Binghamton in the final bout of the tournament.

Terao was second at 133, Curry and was third at 125, Harvey placed fourth at 184, Sprague was fifth at 149, and Jack Mutchnik and Kizhan Clarke won seventh-place matches at 141 and 157. Curry and Sprague each won overtime matches in their final bouts of the day.

American won the EIWA Team Sportsmanship Award.

TOURNAMENT NOTES

• Wrestling the opening match of the day, Curry scored a reversal in the opening seconds of the third period to break a tie and went on to beat Antonio Mininno of Drexel, 4-3. 

• With a return berth to the NCAA Nationals on the line in the consolation semifinals, he held on to beat 27th-ranked Trey Chalifoux of Army West Point. The bout was tied 2-2 and 4-4 after the second and third period, and Curry got a takedown with 18 seconds left in the sudden-victory period to claim the win and his trip to his hometown for the NCAAs. Curry attended North Hills High School in Pittsburgh.

• Curry and 29th-ranked Carmen Ferrante locked up in a low-scoring match in the third-place match. Both wrestlers scored escapes as regulation ended 1-1. After a scoreless sudden-victory period, Curry rode Ferrante to the end of the period, but escaped with one second remaining to earn third place.

• In his semifinal, Terao improved a 2-1 first-period edge over third-seeded Brandon Paetzell of Lehigh with a four-point near fall in the second period. He used an eight-point third period for a 14-3 major decision.

• Chas Tucker of Cornell used two takedowns in the first, one in the second and another in the third to finish off a 9-4 win over Terao in the 133-pound championship. Despite the loss, Terao becomes the seventh Eagle ever to reach the NCAA Championships three times.

• Mutchnik lost 6-3 to Wil Gil of Franklin & Marshall in his opening match of the day, as Gil scored a reversal and takedown in the third period. He came back to overpower 32nd-ranked Marshall Keller of Princeton in the seventh-place match. Mutchnik led 2-0 and 5-1 after the first two periods, claiming a 6-3 victory that included more than three minutes of riding time. The senior captain finished his regular season at 29-12.

• Sprague wrestled aggressively in his first match of the day, taking leads of 8-1 and 11-3 on his way to a 6:26 pin over Patrick Quinlan of Franklin & Marshall.

• In the consolation semifinals, Sprague ended up being paired with top-seeded and third-ranked Matt Kolodzik of Princeton. Kolodzik used a pair of takedowns in the first period to take a 4-2 lead and went on for a 9-3 win, forcing Sprague into the fifth-place match with five automatic-qualifying berths available.

• Sprague, who had lost to P.J. Ogunsanya in yesterday's first round, faced him again in the fifth-place match. He led 1-0 going into the third period and they traded points on takedowns, escapes and stalling, and went into overtime tied 4-4. Following a scoreless sudden-victory period, Sprague gained a point by successfully riding Ogunsanya through the first tie-breaker. They started the second tie-breaker in the neutral position, but there was no change, giving Sprague the 5-4 win and a return trip to the NCAAs.

• Clarke just missed getting his first trip to Nationals, losing a close match in the consolation third round. He was tied 3-3 with Christian LaBrie of Brown after the first period and trailed 7-6 after an active second. Clarke tied the score with an escape, but LaBrie got a takedown with 1:29 left and used the riding-time point for a 10-7 victory.

• Clarke recovered, though, using an escape and mid-period takedown in the third to earn a 5-3 victory over Quentin Hovis of Navy. Clarke will also await word from the NCAA as to a possible at-large invitation with a 27-13 season record.

• Harvey earned his berth to the NCAAs by dominating his first match of the day in a third-round consolation bout. He got a takedown and four-point near fall in the final 43 seconds of the opening period, going up 6-0. He got another takedown in the third and went on to post a fall in 6:39. The fall was his 11th of the season for the Eagles, tying him for fifth with current assistant coach Jeric Kasunic on the single-season list and moving him into a tie for 13th on the career list.

• Harvey moved on to the consolation semifinals against fourth-seeded C.J. LaFragola of Brown. Harvey led a tight match 5-2 with a minute left, but LaFragola got an escape and takedown to tie. Harvey escaped with four seconds left in a controversial move that drew video review. A long replay session awarded the point, the victory and a berth in the third-place match to Harvey.

• 11th-ranked Lou DePrez of Binghamton controlled the third-place bout with Harvey, scoring the two takedowns and finishing with better than three minutes of riding time in a 6-1 win.

• The Eagles scored 75.5 points as a team, the most since they scored 103 in a third-place finish in 2012.

• Lehigh repeated as team champion in another back-and-forth battle with Cornell. The Mountain Hawks scored 153 points to 139 for Cornell. Princeton was third with 122.5.

 

SATURDAY'S AU RESULTS AT 115TH EIWA CHAMPIONSHIPS

 

GAGE CURRY (125) – Finished 3rd

ConsR3 – Curry (AU) dec. Antonio Mininno (Drexel), 4-3

ConsSF – Curry (AU) dec. #27 Trey Chalifoux (Army), 6-4

3rd – Curry (AU) dec.#29 Carmen Ferrante (Penn), 2-1 (TB-2)

 

#19 JOSH TERAO (133) – Finished 2nd

SF – Terao (AU) major dec. Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh), 14-3

F – #12 Chas Tucker (Cornell) dec. Terao, 9-4

 

#30 JACK MUTCHNIK (141) – Finished 7th

ConsR3 – Wil Gil (Franklin & Marshall) dec. Mutchnik, 6-3

7th – Mutchnik (AU) dec. #32 Marshall Keller (Princeton), 6-3

 

MICHAEL SPRAGUE (149) – Finished 5th

ConsR3 – Sprague (AU) pinned Patrick Quinlan (Franklin & Marshall), 6:26

ConsSF - #3 Matt Kolodzik (Princeton) dec. Sprague, 9-3

5th – Sprague (AU) dec. P.J. Ogunsanya (Army), 5-4 (TB-2)

 

KIZHAN CLARKE (157) – Finished 7th

ConsR3 – Christian LaBrie (Brown) dec. Clarke, 10-7

7th – Clarke (AU) dec. Quentin Hovis (Navy), 5-3

 

#26 TANNER HARVEY (184) – Finished 4th

ConsR3 – Harvey (AU) pinned Brian Bonino (Columbia), 6:39

ConsSF – Harvey (AU) dec. #24 C.J. LaFragola (Brown), 6-5

3rd – #11 Lou DePrez (Binghamton) dec. Harvey, 6-1

 

NEXT UP

American will await word over the next few days about possible at-large invitations from the NCAA. The NCAA Division I Championships are March 21 through 23 in Pittsburgh.