NCAA Tournament Day 3 Recap
By Seth Schwartz
Special to Illinois Matmen
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Two of the finest wrestlers to come out of the Chicago area, Illinois’ Mike Poeta and Michigan’s Eric Tannenbaum, were in the NCAA finals Saturday night at the Scottrade Center. Unfortunately, both came up short in two hard fought matches.
Cornell’s No.8 Jordan Leen (157) hit a low single with 35 seconds left in the first period to take control of the match. Leen escaped in the middle frame and got in on a low single again. Poeta tried to escape and a point was given to Leen for Poeta fleeing the mat. It was a controversial call because Poeta got to the edge of the mat, turned into Leen and got **[what looked to be]** a takedown. Poeta got a takedown in the third period with 50 seconds left to tie the match at four. He cut Leen loose to win the match on his feet, but was unable to take Leen down losing 5-4.
Perhaps Leen may have summed up the NCAA best.
“In this tournament unless you’re [former Iowa State four-time NCAA champion] Cael Sanderson whether you’re seeded No. 1, 2 or eighth there are a handful of guys who if they put everything together at the right time are all capable of winning it,” Leen said.
After finishing fourth, sixth and fourth Tannenbaum (165) tuned up his offense finishing efficiently and riding effectively this season. After beating Iowa’s Mark Perry in the Big Ten final two weeks ago, Tannenbaum had put together a solid NCAA tourney. But Perry was able to successfully defend his title with a 5-2 decision.
Perry got out of a Tannenbaum takedown attempt early in the first and rode him out for two minutes and 42 seconds. Tannenbaum hit a beautiful double leg midway through the third period to close to 3-2, but he let Perry go with 30 seconds left and couldn’t take him down.
“That’s his strategy [putting the leg in] and he does it well,” Tannenbaum said. “With the riding time it just changes the complexion of the whole match. Everything went wrong in this match. It’s a crazy sport; if we wrestle 10 times we’d probably split five and five.”
Northwestern’s Dustin Fox had been the class of the heavyweight division all season proved it by going into overtime to beat Ohio State’s J.D. Bergman. With 42 second left in the second 60 second overtime, Fox picked up a singleleg, kicked out Bergman’s other leg and got on top for two.
“I couldn’t get him as tired as I wanted because there were so many breaks in the match,” Fox said. “I knew I just had to get a shot because I could see he was dead tired. Winning this is a dream come true.”
Other All Americans from the Chicago area were: Illinois’ Jimmy Kennedy (133, fourth, Grant), Northwestern’s Brandon Precin (125, seventh, Sandburg) and Iowa State’s Nick Fanthorpe (133, seventh, Naperville North).
Precin rebounded after heartbreaking controversial call against Indiana’s top-seed and champion Angel Escobedo in the quarterfinals. He defeated Old Dominion’s James Nichols 5-2 for seventh.
“You always like to win it all, but being All-American is like having a PHD,” Precin said. “Nobody can take it away from you; you’ll have it the rest of your life.
“You use [this tournament] as a measuring stick and learn from your defeats.”
Last edited by admin; 03-24-2008 at 08:21 AM. Reason: correction