Joe Ariola scratched and clawed his way into the NCAA Tournament by upsetting several higher seeds in the MAC Tournament and he did the same in his first bout in Madison Square Garden today. Ariola was able to upend returning All-American Vic Avery of Edinboro 7-5 in his first round match at 184 pounds for the biggest win of his young career.
After being taken down early, Ariola took advantage of several Avery cautions and dictated the pace of the match to force Avery into desperation mode. Ariola scored a takedown of his own in the 2nd period off of a beautifully executed ankle pick to take the lead and never looked back. Avery's cautions wound up being the deciding factor but Ariola wrestled a cerebral match and got inside of Avery's head forcing him in to mistakes, while wrestling mistake free for the rest of the bout.
Ariola's victory over the #5 ranked wrestler in the nation marks the 2nd time in the past few weeks that a UB underclassmen has upset a top 10 ranked wrestler.
Ariola then moved on to face Missouri's Willie MIklus who he faced in the 3rd place match at the MAC Championships but was unable to overcome a 2nd period deficit. Miklus executed a perfect Peterson to score a reversal on Ariola and parlayed that into a tilt to go up big. Nevertheless, Ariola will move on to wrestle tomorrow and will face either Sam Imonode of Army or Jeff Koepke of Illinois.
Bryan Lantry wasn't able to replicate his early MAC Tournament success at the national stage. Lantry lost big to Ohio's Cameron Kelly in their opening round bout. Lantry fell victim to a quick third period takedown and gave up 7 points in the final stanza to fall 8-3 to NC State's Jamal Morris. Lantry's season is over and he finishes his redshirt freshman campaign 18-16; his 18 wins are good for tied for 2nd on the team.
Last, but certianly not least, Colt Cotten, or as we call him 'Major', narrowly lost his opening round bout to Matt Kraus of Arizona State, 2-1. Kraus was on the defensive for much of the 2nd and 3rd periods and used his height advantage to keep Cotten clear of his legs.
Then, Cotten unleashed his frustration on SIU-Edwardsville's John Fahy, pinning the Illinois transfer in 1 minute and 3 seconds in their opening round consolation bout. Cotten locked up a tight cradle and planted Fahy on his back for the fall to keep his season alive. Cotten will face Mitch Finesilver of Duke tomorrow.
Ariola and Cotten are both 3 wins away from All-American status.
Wrestling will resume tomorrow morning at 11 AM.
133 - Bryan Lantry - (0-2)
#15 Cameron Kelly (Ohio) maj. dec. Bryan Lantry (Buffalo), 14-0
Jamal Morris (NC State) dec. Bryan Lantry (Buffalo), 8-3
149 - Colt Cotten - (1-1)
#13 Matt Kraus (Arizona State) dec. Colt Cotten (Buffalo), 2-1
Colt Cotten pinned John Fahy (SIUE), 1:03
184 - Joe Ariola - (1-1)
Joe Ariola (Buffalo) dec. #5 Vic Avery (Edinboro), 7-5
#15 Willie Miklus (Missouri) maj. dec. Joe Ariola (Buffalo), 9-1