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Lantry's Upset, Gunning's Final Berth Highlights UB Wrestling's First Day at the MAC Championships

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After one day at the MAC Championships, John Stutzman's Bulls have clinched 1 NCAA Tournament berth and 6 place finishers.

After not earning a conference victory in the regular season, Bryan Lantry earned  the biggest victory of his young career in the quarterfinals of the 133 pound  bracket at the Mid American Conference Wrestling Championships. After giving up an early takedown to #8 Mack McGuire and letting McGuire build a sizeable amount of riding time, Lantry used two 3rd period takedowns to upset the 1 seed and #8 ranked McGuire. The win moved Lantry to the semifinals and guaranteed him a top 6 finish in the tournament, and an NCAA tournament berth.

Kyle Akins earned an upset of his own at 125 pounds in the quarterfinals, beating CMU's Brent Fleetwood who was ranked #26 in the nation and was the 3 seed in the 125 pound bracket, 3-1. Akins will also earn a top 6 finish, but he will need to place top 4 to punch his ticket to Madison Square Garden.

Jake Gunning would be UB's 3rd semifinalist after pinning Arthur Bunce of Northern Illinois in their quarterfinal bout at 285 pounds. Unlike the rest of the team, Gunning will need to win the championship at 285 pounds to earn a berth in the NCAA Championships.

Gunning would be the only Bull to advance to the finals, however, using 4 takedowns and over 3 minutes of riding time to earn his spot in the finals. Gunning is UB's first finalist since the 2012-2013 season and will be looking to punch his ticket to the NCAA tournament tomorrow when he has a rematch with Northern Iowa's Blaize Cabell.

Lantry and Akins both fell in their semifinal bouts by major decision and were unable to parlay the momentum from their quarterfinal upset victories into semifinal wins. They will be in action tomorrow in the consolation semifinals; Akins will need to advance to the 3rd place match to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament, while Lantry has earned a spot in the NCAA tournament due to another wrestler leaving the tournament due to injury in the semifinals, meaning even if Lantry loses his consolation semifinal match he will place 5th no matter what.

Also earning wins for UB today was Brandon Lapi, Colt Cotten, Alex Smythe, Muhamed McBryde, Joe Ariola and James Benjamin.

Brandon Lapi earned a hardfought decision over Noah Forrider of Ohio in the preliminary round to move on and face the 1 seed Matt Manley. Lapi would lose in a close bout to the nationally ranked Manley, and then would drop another close decision to Northern Iowa's Trevor Jauch. Lapi finished his redshirt freshman campaign with a 14-17 record.

After losing in his quarterfinal bout, Cotten reeled off two straight victories including a last second victory over 6 seed Gabe Morse of Northern Illinois. Cotten advances to tomorrow and will at minimum place top 6 and if he places top 5 then he will earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Alex Smythe went 1-2 on the day, and considering he has only been on the mat for a short time, his performance was admirable. He lost in a double OT thriller in the preliminary round, but took his first consolation bout 7-3 before bowing out of the tournament. Rrok Ndokaj and Muhamed McBryde finshed their respective days 0-2 and 1-2 ending their careers for UB.

Joe Ariola came back from a quarterfinal loss to Willie Miklus of Missouri to beat 5 seed Cole Baxter to earn a top 6 finish as well. James Benjamin also earned an upset pinfall victory to move on to tomorrow over Jackson Lewis of CMU.

All-in-all, a great day for John Stutzman's Bulls as 6 of the 10 grapplers earned a place on the podium and Stutzman has at least 1 man heading to Madison Square Garden. In the team standings UB currently sits in 6th place with 44.5 points. Fourth place Ohio only has 52.5 points so a top 4 team finish is certainly feasible with 6 men coming returning for tomorrow's action.

Results:

125: Kyle Akins (1-1)

Kyle Akins (Buffalo) dec. #26 Brent Fleetwood (CMU), 3-1

#12 Barlow McGhee (Missouri) maj. dec. Kyle Akins (Buffalo), 12-4

133: Bryan Lantry (1-1)

Bryan Lantry (Buffalo) dec. #8 Mack McGuire (Kent State), 6-4

#28 Corey Keener (CMU) maj. dec. Bryan Lantry (Buffalo), 13-4

141: Brandon Lapi (1-2)

Brandon Lapi (Buffalo) dec. Noah Forrider (Ohio), 8-4

#9 Matt Manley (Missouri) dec. Brandon Lapi (Buffalo), 3-2

Trevor Jauch (UNI) dec. Brandon Lapi (Buffalo), 2-1

149: Colt Cotten (2-1)

#10 Justin Oliver (CMU) maj. dec. Colt Cotten (Buffalo), 14-4

Colt Cotten (Buffalo) SV-1 Cullen Cummings (Ohio), 8-6

Colt Cotten (Buffalo) dec. Gabe Morse (NIU), 3-2

157: Alex Smythe (1-2)

Devin Geohegan (ODU) TB-1 Alex Smythe (Buffalo), 2-1

Alex Smythe (Buffalo) dec. Devan Marry (EMU), 7-3

Andrew Morse (NIU) dec. Alex Smythe (Buffalo), 11-1

165: Rrok Ndokaj (0-2)

Colin Heffernan (CMU) maj. dec. Rrok Ndokaj (Buffalo), 16-3

Shaun'Qae McMurtry (NIU) dec. Rrok Ndokaj (Buffalo), 8-6

174: Muhamed McBryde (1-2)

#7 Blaise Butler (Missouri) dec. Muhamed McBryde (Buffalo), 8-4

Muhamed McBryde (Buffalo) dec. Jared Swan (ODU), 8-1

Jairod James (Kent State) dec. Muhamed McBryde (Buffalo), 6-4

184: Joe Ariola (2-1)

Joe Ariola (Buffalo) dec. Quinton Rosser (NIU), 8-4

#9 Willie Miklus (Missouri) maj. dec. Joe Ariola (Buffalo), 9-0

Joe Ariola (Buffalo) dec. Cole Baxter (Kent State), 4-1

197: James Benjamin (2-1)

Kyle Conel (Kent State) dec. James Benjamin (Buffalo), 9-6

James Benjamin (Buffalo) dec. Terrell Forbes (ODU), 6-2

James Benjamin (Buffalo) pinned Jackson Lewis (CMU), 3:58

285: Jake Gunning (2-0)

Jake Gunning (Buffalo) pinned Arthur Bunce (NIU), 6:30

Jake Gunning (Buffalo) dec. Devin Nye (Kent State), 9-4