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Edinboro's Chris Honeycutt - who will wrestle Cornell's Cam Simaz for the national title tonight at 197lbs - spoke to the first-rate site Flowrestling after his semifinal win over Wilps. Honeycutt explains what the gameplan was headed into that match and how he'll prepare for Simaz. Honeycutt seems relaxed in this short interview and very much at peace with what he has to do tonight to win against the heavily-favored Simaz.
The reason he might be so calm is that as he says in the video, this is the last wrestling match of Honeycutt's career. He plans to pursue a career in mixed martial arts after college, so he doesn't appear to sweating the implications of the tonight's match. I'm sure he's eager to win, but it's about the end of one chapter in his athletic career as he transitions to the next.
There's debate about whether MMA is healthy for wrestling. Sure, more kids might wrestle in high school as a result of watching MMA, but what about the elite wrestlers? Are they being derailed from international wrestling by the lucrative dollars of MMA? In some cases that may be true. We'll always wonder what a two-time national champion like Johny Hendricks would've done at the international level. Same for three-time champion Jake Rosholt.
But a wrestler like Honeycutt seems to be the perfect example of how MMA can benefit transitioning wrestlers. It is highly unlikely Honeycutt's style and ability would carry him to success should he pursue international wrestling. His game is just not there for those kinds of challenges even if he's a sensational athlete. Instead, a career in MMA at this juncture in his athletic career makes a great deal of sense. In the absence of MMA, Honeycutt is the sort of wrestler who would ordinarily go on to coaching at the high school or collegiate level somewhere, likely starting in some sort of assistant role and not earning much of a salary. By contrast, now he can take his considerable skills and athletic ability to a modern fight camp and both make money as well as continue a life as a competitive athlete.
That's a win for Honeycutt, a win for MMA and given how his inclusion in fight sport will naturally mean an acknowledgement of his background in wrestling, a win for Honeycutt's first sport of wrestling, too.
Of all the rounds, the semi-finals of today's championships had to be the most exciting. For others, namely top heavyweight seed Ryan Flores of American University, they had to be intensely disappointing. In the course of executing a takedown, Flores seemed to absorb a bad headbutt that clearly rocked him. Able to keep participating, but unable to do much of anything, foe Zach Rey had his way with him. In a tournament where Flores pinned all four previous opponents, this loss has to be particularly upsetting.
Top seeds such as Cornell's Kyle Dake and Penn State's David Taylor rolled. Taylor, like Flores, has now pinned all four opponents (Flores pinned four as a result of first winning the pigtail round). Also of note, Penn State is sending five finalists in ten weight classes into the finals.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) prospect Chris Honeycutt managed to managed to earn a hard fought decision over Matthew Wilps, but will face a far more technical wrestler in Cornell's Cam Simaz tomorrow.
Team scores headed into the finals:
1. Penn State 124.0
2. Minnesota 94.5
3. Iowa 87.5
4. Cornell 86.0
5. Oklahoma State 57
Full results below. Tomorrow's finals begin at 7:30 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN:
Nicholas Megaludis (Penn State) dec. Frank Perrelli (Cornell) 3-2
Matt McDonough (Iowa) dec. Nicholas Bedelyon (Kent St.) 8-5
FINAL: Matt McDonough vs. Megaludis
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) dec. Futrell (Illinois), 8-2
Logan Stieber (Ohio St.) dec. Tony Ramos (Iowa), 4-2
FINAL: Logan Stieber vs. Jordan Oliver
Kellen Russell (Michigan) dec. Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) 4-2
Montell Marion (Iowa) dec. Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) 3-1
FINAL: Kellen Russell vs. Montell Marion
Kyle Dake (Cornell) dec. Ganbayar Sanjaa (American), 4-0
Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. Jason Welch (Northwestern), 5-1
FINAL: Kyle Dake vs. Derek St. John
David Taylor (Penn State) pins Bezkod Abdurakhmonov (Clarion), 4:44
Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh) dec. Josh Asper (Maryland) 5-4
FINAL: David Taylor vs. Brandon Hatchett
Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. Logan Storley (Minnesota), TF 17-1
Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) dec. Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) 6-3
FINAL: Nick Amuchastegui vs. Ed Ruth
Quentin Wright (Penn State) dec. Robert Hamlin (Lehigh), 3-2
Steve Bosak (Cornell) dec. Austin Trotman (Appalachian State), 4-2
FINAL: Steve Bosak vs. Quentin Wright
Cam Simaz (Cornell) dec. Cayle Byers (Oklahoma State), 6-3
Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro) dec. Matthew Wilps (Pittsburgh)
FINAL: Cam Simaz vs. Chris Honeycutt
Zach Rey (Lehigh) dec. Flores (American), 6-2
Tony Nelson (Minnesota) dec. Clayton Jack (Oregon St), 4-3
FINAL: Zach Rey vs. Tony Nelson
What a quarterfinals. Three pins alone at 133lbs, major upsets and continued dominance from top seeds like Cornell's Kyle Dake, Penn State's David St. Martin and despite not competing as much this year as many others, American University's Ryan Flores.
As of the end of the quarterfinals, Penn State is still in the leadwith 78.5 points. Cornell is in second with 61.5. Iowa is running third at 58.5 while Minnesota drops two spots to fourth with 56 points. Oklahoma State currently sits fifth with 50 points.
In terms of important matches, Penn State's tenth-seeded Nico Megaludis decisioned Minnesota's Zach Sanders. Sanders entered the tourney just behind Iowa's Matt McDonough. Penn State continues to roll off the backs of performances by Frank Molinaro, David Taylor, Quentin Wright and also Ed Ruth.
149lbs proved to be a bit of an open division as third-seeded Cole Von Ohlen was toppled by sixth seed Tyler Nauman of Pittsburgh. Jamal Parks, who was undefeated entering the tourney, lost to Dylan Ness (#7). The quarterfinals also saw our first number-one seed upended. Wyoming's Joe LeBlanc was absolutely manhandled by Austin Trotman of Appalachian State.
While he's ultimately in the toughest bracket to win for anyone not named David Taylor, Maryland's Josh Asper defeated second-seeded Shane Onufer of Wyoming.
In terms of mixed martial arts prospects, Borislav Novachkov of Cal Poly lost to Iowa's Montell Marion. Edinboro's Chris Honeycutt, however, moves on to the semis.
Tonight's semifinals kicks off at 7pm ET. Full results of today's matches:
Matt McDonough (Iowa) dec. Ryan Mango (Stanford), 13-3
Nico Megaludis (Penn State) dec. Zach Sanders (Minnesota), 7-4
Nic Bedelyon (Kent State) dec. Jesse Delgado (Illinois), 8-5
Frank Perrelli (Cornell) vs. Anthony Zanetta (Pitt), 6-3
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) pins Zach Stevens (Michigan)
Logan Stieber (Ohio State) dec. Chris Dardanes (Minnesota), 7-4
Tony Ramos (Iowa) pins Steven Keith (Harvard)
B.J. Futrell (Illinois) pins Joe Colon (Northern Iowa)
Kellen Russell (Michigan) dec. Nick Dardanes (Minnesota), 7-3
Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) dec. Zack Neibert (Virginia Tech), 5-3
Montell Marion (Iowa) dec. Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly), 7-6
Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) dec. Mike Mangrum (Oregon State), 6-5
Frank Molinaro (Penn State) dec. Eric Grajales (Michigan), 10-2
Dylan Ness (Minnesota) dec. Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State), 3-2
Tyler Nauman (Pitt) dec. Cole VonOhlen (Air Force), 9-5
Justin Accordino (Hofstra) dec. Nick Lester (Oklahoma), 11-3
Kyle Dake (Cornell) pins Frank Hickman (Bloomsburg)
Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. Dylan Alton (Penn State), 3-1
Jason Welch (Northwestern) dec. No. 11 James Green (Nebraska), 2-1
Ganbayar Sanjaa (American) dec. David Kolodzik (Princeton), 7-3
David Taylor (Penn State) pins Robert Kolesh (Nebraska)
Bedzod Abdurakmonov (Clarion) dec. P.J. Gillespie (Hofstra), 5-1
Josh Asper (Maryland) dec. Shane Onufer (Wyoming), 5-3
Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh) dec. Andrew Sorenson (Iowa State), 7-3
Ed Ruth (Penn State) dec. Nick Heflin (Ohio State), 11-4
Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) dec. Jordan Blanton (Illinois), 3-2
Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) vs. Nick DesRoches (Cal Poly)
Logan Storley (Minnesota) vs. Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa), 3-1
Quentin Wright (Penn State) pins Ben Bennett (Central Michigan)
Steve Bosak (Cornell) dec. Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota), 1-0
Austin Trotman (Appalachian State) dec. Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming), 12-9
Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Josh Ihren (Nebraska), 7-4
Cam Simaz (Cornell) dec. Alfonzo Hernandez (Wyoming), 8-2
Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro) dec. Sonny Yohn (Minnesota), 9-4
Matt Wilps (Pitt) pins Brent Haynes (Missouri)
Cayle Byers (Oklahoma State) dec. James Nakashima (Nebraska), 5-4
Ryan Flores (American) pins Andrew Delaney (Citadel)
Tony Nelson (Minnesota) pins Mike McMullan (Northwestern)
Clayton Jack (Oregon State) dec. Cameron Wade (Penn State), 7-0
Zach Rey (Lehigh) dec. Bobby Telford (Iowa), 2-0
Perhaps it'll happen after today's first or second session, but so far all of the number one seeds are still in place. And top seeds like Cornell's Kyle Dake or Penn State's David Taylor managed to advanced strictly by pinning opposition. American University's Ryan Flores, who entered the tournament first off the pigtail rounds, pinned all three opponents yesterday.
To note: Virginia Tech's Devin Carter at 133 was upset by Steve Keith, which is absolutely a monster upset. And it should be noted outside of Kellen Russell's expected dominance at 141, the entire weight class has been savaged by a host of upsets over seeded wrestlers.
Also of importance, there was bellyaching over where Stanford's Nick Amuchsategui was seeded and while he's advanced relatively easily, he has not looked overly impressive in his run. By contrast, Cornell's Cam Simaz has throttled opposition including a tech fall in his final match of the day.
Defending national champion Zach Rey has looked better after an early scare in the first round. A collision against Ryan Flores - which served as the national championship in last year's finals - will likely be seen in the semis this year.
MMA 'prospect' Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro is still in the tournament. He'll face Sonny Yohn of Minnesota in this morning's first round. That will serve as an important match for team points as the contest between Penn State and Minnesota heats up.
1. Penn State 38.5
2. Minnesota 33.0
3. Oklahoma St. 28.5
4. Cornell 27.5
5. Iowa 26.0
6. Illinois 23.0
7. Oklahoma 19.5
8. Ohio St. 19.0
9. Lehigh 18.0
9. Nebraska 18.0
9. Northwestern 18.0
Matt McDonough (Iowa) 33-1 won by pin over Trent Sprenkle (North Dakota St.) 31-11 (Pin 2:56)
Ryan Mango (Stanford) 27-5 won by major decision over Levi Mele (Northwestern) 31-7 (Maj 15-6)
Nicholas Megaludis (Penn State) 26-7 won by decision over Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) 28-7 (Dec 7-3)
Zachary Sanders (Minnesota) 27-3 won by decision over Jonathon Morrison (Oklahoma St.) 20-9 (Dec 2-0)
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma St.) 26-1 won by pin over Shelton Mack (Pittsburgh) 21-9 (Pin 1:30)
Zachery Stevens (Michigan) 25-9 won by decision over Cashé Quiroga (Purdue) 21-7 (Dec 14-9)
Tony Ramos (Iowa) 30-3 won by decision over Aaron Kalil (Navy) 32-10 (Dec 3-1)
Steven Keith (Harvard) 33-8 won by decision over Devin Carter (Virginia Tech) 31-4 (Dec 8-6)
Logan Stieber (Ohio St.) 30-2 won by pin over Jordan Thome (Army) 27-12 (Pin 1:19)
Kellen Russell (Michigan) 30-1 won by major decision over Luke Vaith (Hofstra) 24-9 (Maj 10-2)
Hunter Stieber (Ohio St.) 27-4 won by decision over Tyler Small (Kent St.) 31-10 (Dec 7-4)
Michael Mangrum (Oregon St.) 35-3 won by decision over William Ashnault (Rutgers) 25-15 (Dec 6-4)
Montell Marion (Iowa) 29-3 won by decision over Mitchell Port (Edinboro) 28-9 (Dec 6-1)
Borislav Novachkov (Cal Poly) 29-3 won by decision over Justin LaValle (Old Dominion) 26-15 (Dec 6-4)
Frank Molinaro (Penn State) 30-0 won by decision over Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon St.) 34-6 (Dec 6-5)
Justin Accordino (Hofstra) 25-11 won by pin over Ian Miller (Kent St.) 29-4 (Pin 3:33)
Cole VonOhlen (Air Force) 38-2 won by decision over Steve Santos (Columbia) 24-10 (Dec 7-4)
Jamal Parks (Oklahoma St.) 32-0 won by decision over Josh Wilson (Utah Valley) 20-10 (Dec 7-2)
Kyle Dake (Cornell) 32-0 won by pin over Joshua Kreimier (Air Force) 24-15 (Pin 1:31)
Frank Hickman (Bloomsburg) 31-5 won by decision over Justin Lister (Binghamton) 27-6 (Dec 7-4)
Ganbayar Sanjaa (American) 24-3 won by decision over Steven Monk (North Dakota St.) 33-8 (Dec 3-2)
Derek St. John (Iowa) 19-2 won by decision over Roger Pena (Oregon St.) 29-8 (Dec 8-4)
David Taylor (Penn State) 29-0 won by pin over Brandon Wright (Chattanooga) 22-10 (Pin 1:52)
Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (Clarion) 33-4 won by major decision over Coleman Gracey (Army) 25-13 (Maj 11-3)
Andrew Sorenson (Iowa St.) 28-2 won by decision over Marshall Peppelman (Cornell) 27-16 (Dec 4-2)
Josh Asper (Maryland) 27-1 won by decision over Dominic Kastl (Cal Poly) 13-4 (Dec 5-2)
Shane Onufer (Wyoming) 33-1 won by decision over Daniel Yates (Michigan) 24-9 (Dec 6-3)
Edward Ruth (Penn State) 28-0 won by pin over Dorian Henderson (Missouri) 20-12 (Pin 1:26)
Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) 27-7 won by decision over Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) 25-5 (Dec 5-3)
Logan Storley (Minnesota) 25-6 won by decision over Lance Bryson (West Virginia) 25-15 (Dec 2-0)
Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) 22-0 won by major decision over Tyler Koehn (Nebraska) 19-13 (Maj 8-0)
Chris Perry (Oklahoma St.) 28-0 won by decision over Curran Jacobs (Michigan St.) 25-13 (Dec 6-2)
Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming) 32-1 won by major decision over Erich Smith (Pennsylvania) 20-17 (Maj 11-3)
Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) 29-4 won by decision over Jonathan Fausey (Virginia) 22-4 (Dec 7-6)
Steve Bosak (Cornell) 30-4 won by major decision over Nathan Schiedel (Binghamton) 29-9 (Maj 10-0)
Quentin Wright (Penn State) 28-3 won by major decision over Ben Clymer (Hofstra) 30-7 (Maj 10-2)
Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) 25-5 won by decision over Jacob Swartz (Boise State) 20-5 (Dec 3-2)
Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) 31-1 won by decision over Tony Dallago (Illinois) 23-12 (Dec 8-3)
Cam Simaz (Cornell) 28-1 won by tech fall over Morgan McIntosh (Penn State) 18-9 (TF 22-7)
Cayle Byers (Oklahoma St.) 25-3 won by decision over Joseph Kennedy (Lehigh) 22-6 (Dec 5-2)
James Nakashima (Nebraska) 22-9 won by decision over Cody Reed (Binghamton) 24-17 (Dec 7-5)
Christopher Honeycutt (Edinboro) 38-1 won by decision over Daniel Rinaldi (Rutgers) 26-7 (Dec 6-3)
Ryan Flores (American) 20-0 won by pin over Wesley Schroeder (Eastern Mich.) 18-17 (Pin 2:21)
Andrew Delaney (Citadel) 29-2 won by decision over Steve Andrus (Michigan St.) 24-15 (Dec 9-6)
Bobby Telford (Iowa) 27-7 won by decision over Peter Capone (Ohio St.) 15-16 (Dec 4-1)
Zachery Rey (Lehigh) 24-2 won by decision over Brandon Williamson (West Virginia) 27-7 (Dec 2-1)
As many expected, the Penn State Nittany Lions lead by head coach and Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson were off to a roaring start in St. Louis after the first session for the 2012 NCAA Division I national wrestling championships. Strong performances by David Taylor, Quentin Wright and Frank Molinaro (as well as a host of bonus points) helped the team out to an early if narrow lead. Full bracket updates can be viewed here.
The team standings after the first round have Penn State in front, but not with a commanding lead, at least not yet:
1. Penn State 25.5
2. Minnesota 22
3. Oklahoma St. 17.5
4. Cornell 17
5. Iowa 17
Today's second session will kick off at 7:30 pm ET local time.
Iowa's Matt McDonough gave up an early takedown, but took over immediately after by pinning Jared Germaine of Eastern Michigan at 3:14. Stanford's Ryan Mango moved on as did Minnesota's Zach Sanders.
Oklahoma State's Jordan Oliver absolutely rolled in his first round match, getting the fall just after two minutes over Frank Marotelli of Penn State. Other top-seeded wrestlers like Iowa's Tony Ramos, Ohio State's Logan Stieber and Virginia Tech's Devin Carter easily advanced.
As for the University of Pennsylvania, twelfth-seeded Bryan Ortenzo was upset by Central Michigan's Zach Horan in a decision 5-4.
Top seed and defending national champion Kellen Russell out of Michigan cruised in his first round match, besting Nicholas Hucke of Missouri 6-1. Fourth-seeded Michael Mangrum of Oregon State had a tough match against unseeded Joshua Kindig of Oklahoma State, but managed to win 6-4 in OT.
Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech managed to upset tenth-ranked John Sueflohn of Nebraska. But as expected, other top seeds such as Kendric Maple of Oklahoma, Borislav Novachkov of Cal Poly and Hunter Stieber of Ohio State easily moved to the next round.
Penn State's Frank Molinaro easily moved to the next round, beating Christopher Villalonga of Cornell 9-0. Third seed Cole VanOhlen also cruised as did two-seed Jamal Parks.
In terms of upsets, ninth-seeded David Habat of Edinboro was upset by Nick Brascetta of Virginia Tech in a tightly contested match (3-1). 149 also say Justin Accordino of Hofstra get past twelfth-seed Ivan Lopouchanski of Purdue. But the biggest upset of the division for this session has to be fourth-seed Donald Vinson of Binghamton losing to Nick Lester of Oklahoma 9-4. Corey Jantzen of Harvard also defeated tenth-seed Cam Tessari of Ohio St.
Two-time defending national champion easily moved on, pinning John Nicholson of Old Dominion in just over a minute. He'll face Joshua Kreimier of Air Force in his next match. Two-seed Derek St. John and three-seed Jason Welch also easily advanced.
In terms of upsets, Walter Peppelman of Harvard - the fourth seed - was pinned by David Bonin of Northern Iowa at 2:55 of the matc.
To no one's surprise, Penn State's David Taylor easily moved, pinning Corey Lear of Bucknell in just over a minute. He'll face Brandon Wright of Chattanooga in the next round of the tourney. Andrew Sorensen (three seed) and Shane Onufer (two seed) also moved on.
Ninth-seed Conrad Polz of Illinois was upset by unseeded Patrick Graham of Oklahoma in an easy 8-3 decision. Sixth seed Peter Yates of Virginia Tech was easily bested by Dallas Bailey Oklahoma State 13-2.
Ed Ruth, the top-seeded wrestler in this weight class, also rolled. He pinned Jim Resnick of Rider in just over a minute. Nick Amuchastegui advanced by pin as well. Three-seed Chris Perry. Perry defeated Chris Moon of Virginia Tech 9-4.
Top seed Joe LeBlanc moved on to the next round where he'll face Erich Smith of Pennsylvania next. Robert Hamlin of Lehigh and Ben Bennett of Central Michigan, the other two top seeds, also advanced to the next round.
Other than that, there were no major upsets of seeded wrestlers.
As expected, Cornell's Cam Simaz easily got past Brandon Palik of Drexel winning by tech fall 12-1. Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro and Matthew Wilps of Pittsburgh, the other top seeds, also advanced.
There were upsets, however. Cody Reed of Binghamton got past four seed Christian Boley of Maryland. Boley had a hand a knee wrap headed into the match.
Defending national champion Zach Rey had a tough first round match and barely squeaked by Adam Chantal of Indiana in sudden death with a questionable takedown call.
Number 1 seed Ryan Flores of American rolled with two pins, the first coming in the pigtail rounds. The second came over Devon Mellon of Missouri at 4:23 of the match.
Can Cornell's Kyle Dake repeat? Will Penn State's David Taylor have another meltdown? Is Cael Sanderson's team ready to take another national title? SB Nation previews this week's big tournament including TV time, brackets, news, videos, photos and more.
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