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    All-American Jake Herbert Advances to Semifinals; Wildcats Stand in 16th Place

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Sophomore All-American Jake Herbert has advanced to the semifinals at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
    Sophomore All-American Jake Herbert has advanced to the semifinals at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

    March 17, 2006

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- Northwestern's 12th-ranked wrestling team is in 16th place with 24.5 team points after session three of the NCAA Wrestling Championships Friday. Jake Herbert (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) advanced to the semifinals, while Ryan Lang (North Royalton, Ohio/St. Edward) and John Velez (Kings Mills, Ohio/Kings) remain alive in the wrestleback brackets. ESPNU will provide live coverage of the championship semifinals beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, March 17.

    "We're happy with where we're sitting right now," head coach Tim Cysewski said. "Jake (Herbert) is wrestling well right now and has qualified as an All-American already. Ryan (Lang) and John (Velez) need to just win one more match each to earn All-America honors. We need to focus on one match at a time, but we're not done yet," he said.

    Sophomore All-American Herbert -- who has been nothing short of spectacular thus far in the tournament, recording two pins in a total of 1:04 through his first two matches -- continued his mission to become an NCAA champion with a dominating quarterfinal victory over UC Davis' seventh-seeded Kenneth Cook.

    As soon as the first whistle blew, Herbert went to work, hitting on a shot for Cook's left leg and earning the takedown. Herbert entered the second period up just 4-3, but he recorded 2:04 of riding time.

    Herbert started down in the second and quickly increased his lead to 5-3 with an escape. With another takedown, Herbert took a 7-3 advantage into the final round.

    There, Herbert tallied another takedown and walked off with a 10-5 decision with 3:24 of riding time to advance to the championship semifinals.



    Herbert faces a familiar foe in the semifinals in Iowa's fourth-seeded Mark Perry. Herbert, the nation's second-ranked 174-pound wrestler, and Perry, the nation's third-ranked 174-pound wrestler, have met twice already this season with Herbert taking both matches. Herbert took a 5-3 decision in the Midlands title bout and pinned Perry to claim the Big Ten title just two weeks ago.

    The Sixth-seeded Lang fell in his quarterfinal match versus Lehigh's third-seeded Cory Cooperman, placing him in the wrestleback fourth round. After the two wrestlers battled to a scoreless first period, Cooperman got on the board first when he caught Lang trying to flip over, and tallied a three-point nearfall to take the 3-0 lead. Lang cut the deficit to 3-1 with a late escape, but Cooperman entered the third period with well over one minute of riding time.

    Cooperman increased his lead to 6-1 in the third before he turned Lang on his back for the pin at 6:05. Lang returns to action in the wrestleback bracket when he takes the mat with Northern Iowa's C.J. Ettelson.

    Eighth-seeded Velez took both of his wrestleback matches of the day. In the first, he defeated Hofstra's David Tomasette 3-1 to advance to the wrestleback fourth round.

    Neither wrestler scored in the first period, but Velez got up 2-0 early in the second when he notched a reversal. Velez rode Tomasette out for much of the second period and entered the third period with a 2-0 lead and over one minute of riding time. Velez remained solid throughout the third, and while Tomasette tallied a late escape to make it 2-1, Velez walked off with a 3-1 win with riding time.

    In his fourth-round wrestleback match, Velez notched a takedown in the first sudden victory period to secure a 5-3 decision over Wyoming's Bryce Leonhardt.

    Velez went up early with a first-period takedown, but Leonhardt cut the lead in half with an escape. Velez recorded one of his own in the second to enter the third round leading 3-1. Late in the third round, Velez was whistled for his second stalling call, then Leonhardt tallied another escape to tie the match at 3-3 in the blink of an eye.

    In the sudden victory period, Velez took a number of good shots early, but just couldn't connect. Scrambling to make something happen late, Velez took hold of Leonhardt's left leg, flipped him over and was awarded the takedown as time expired to take the thrilling win. Velez now advances to the wrestleback fifth round where he faces Bloomsburg's Michael Sees.

    Matt Delguyd (Mayfield Heights, Ohio/Mayfield) had his tournament run cut short when he fell to Missouri's Jeff Foust in his first wrestleback bout. Foust earned a takedown and an escape in the second period, then got two more takedowns in the third. Delguyd managed to score two escapes in the third, but the damage was done and he fell 7-2.

    In his first wrestleback match of the day, Will Durkee (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shady Side Academy) fell to Pittsburgh's Justin Nestor 3-0. After the first and second rounds went by without score, Nestor scored on a takedown to take a 2-0 lead early in the third period. Durkee wasn't able to hit on the shots he needed and Nestor took the decision, ending Durkee's run in the championships.

    Dustin Fox (Galion, Ohio/Galion) also suffered his second loss of the championships, eliminating him from competition. Fox took a 1-0 lead on Penn State's Joel Edwards in the second period, but Edwards scored a takedown and an escape to take a 3-1 lead. Fox got in one more escape with eight seconds remaining, but Edwards took the decision, 3-2.

    In the team race, the 'Cats stand in 16th place with 24.5 points. Oklahoma State continues to lead with pack with 76 team points, while Iowa has jumped up to second place with 47.5. Oklahoma stands at third with 47 points, while Minnesota and Penn State round out the top five with 44 and 39.5 points, respectively.

    Session four of the NCAA Wrestling Championships resumes at 6 p.m. Friday with semifinal bouts and two rounds of wrestleback action for each weight class.

    ESPN will air the championship finals live beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18.

    Updated brackets are available at


    Championship Bracket Jake Herbert (NU) dec. Kenneth Cook (UC Davis) 10-5 Cory Cooperman (Lehigh) pinned Ryan Lang (NU) 6:05

    Wrestleback Bracket John Velez (NU) dec. David Tomasette (Hofstra)-round 2 3-1 John Velez (NU) dec. Bryce Leonhardt (WYO) 5-3 (SV) Jeff Foust (Missouri) dec. Matt Delguyd (NU) 7-2 Justin Nestor (Pitt) dec. Will Durkee (NU) 3-0 Joel Edwards (PSU) dec. Dustin Fox (NU) 3-2