After being the only UB grappler to advance to the second day of competition at the Midlands Championships host by Northwestern, Tyler Rill earned a spot on the podium in the 165 pound weight class.
After a 3 win day 1 effort that say him take down #12 Cooper Moore of MAC rival Northern Iowa, avenge his earlier loss to Tyler Buckwalter of Kent State and take down Jordan Pagano of #13 ranked Rutgers; Rill earned a medical forfeit victory over Clark Glass of Oklahoma to be in position to place.
In his first time out on the mat Rill took on #15 Conor Brennan of Rider, a two-time NCAA qualifier and two-time EWL champion. The bout didn't go in Rill's favor as the reigning EWL Champion pinned Rill in 4:35. With that loss, Rill wound up in the 7th place match in a rematch with an opponent that he faced earlier in the tournament in Iowa's Patrick Rhoads.
Rhoads eked out a 6-5 decision over Rill to advance to the championship quarterfinals; and much like their first matchup Rhoads came out on top. Rhoads won by pinfall late in the third period, which is a disappointing result to be sure, but so late in the bout makes it seem like Rill was in desperation mode to score points and was caught out of position.
Coming away with a placewinner is an excellent result for John Stutzman and his team - the Midlands is the 2nd toughest in-season tournament behind the Southern Scuffle and getting a man on the podium when each weight class had 10 or more nationally ranked wrestlers is impressive.
As of the writing of this post UB is 23rd in the team standings with, ironically enough, 23 team points. Looking at the other teams below UB it seems like UB is more or less locked in to their spot. 23 team points and a placewinner is an improvement over only 7 team points and no placewinners at the Southern Scuffle a year ago.
John Stutzman's squad will have about a week off before they hit the buzzsaw that is the second half of their schedule. UB will travel to Columbia, Missouri on January 7th to take on the 8th ranked Missouri Tigers at 8 PM.