Alfred State senior George Van Valen (Ithaca) earned a pair of victories on Friday to advance to the NCWA National Championship match in the 184 lb. weight class on Saturday evening. Ryan Mattison (Brockport) split a pair of matches and will wrestle for a top eight finish.
Van Valen earned a tech fall 16-1 over Brad Kata (Central Florida) in the quartefinals in the morning session. In the semifinals, he led 2-0 after the 1st period before erupting for 13 points in the 2nd period en route to a 15-0 tech fall over Jarrod Smiley (Central Florida). He will battle Jerron Thomas from Mott CC (Michigan) in the finals of the 184 lb. weight class tomorrow evening.
Van Valen is now 41-1 on the season and is 80-8 the past two seasons. This will be the second straight year that he will wrestle for a chance at the National Championship.
After winning both of his matches on Thursday, Mattison suffered his first loss of the tournament in the quarterinals. He lost a tight 3-1 decision to Jesse Gaudin from Central Florida. In his next match, he advanced to compete on Saturday with a pin of Christopher Woods (Houston-Downtown) in 2:48. Mattison is one of eight wrestlers remaining in the 285 lb. weight class. He will take on Austin Wells (Middle Tennessee) early tomorrow morning.
Patrick Lehman (Marathon) earned a pair of wins in the morning session at 125 lbs. He earned a tech fall over Pleatheal Roberts (UNLV) and went on for a 7-4 win over David Woo (Washington State). He saw his run come to an end when he suffered a loss to Alberto Perez (Emmanuel).
Casey Connor (Barnstable, MA), Brandyn Whitacre (Jamestown), and Mike Galton (Warsaw) were each 1-1 on Friday. Connor pinned Daniel Rascher (Wisconsin Wrestling Club) in 2:06 but then lost a one-point (7-6) decision to Owen Gaffney (Grand Valley State) at 141, Whitacre pinned John Huff (Clemson) in his first match but lost to Caleb Smith (Richland) at 235, Galton pinned Timmy Samec (Clemson) but was defeated Tyler Rendina (UMBC) at 157.
As a team the Pioneers have scored 61 points and sit in 12th place out of 79 teams in the competition held in Allen, TX.
Consolation matches begin at 10 a.m. tomorrow while the All-American matches start at 7:15 p.m.