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NCAA wrestling notebook: Wrestlebacks not easy for Panthers

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Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Max Thomusseit (left) controls Iowa State's Lelund Weatherspoon in their 184-pound wrestleback bout at the NCAA Divison I Wrestling Championships at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday, March 21, 2014, in Oklahoma City. Thomusseit won by a 4-0 decision.
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Friday, March 21, 2014, 10:24 p.m.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Pitt's Max Thomusseit had two words to describe wrestlebacks.

“It (stinks),” said Thomusseit, the No. 4 seed at 184 pounds.

By seed, Thomusseit should have been in Friday night's semifinals, but he instead had to beat Iowa State's Lelund Weatherspoon and Edinboro's Vic Avery in wrestlebacks to keep his dream of becoming an All-American alive.

Thomusseit cruised past Weatherspoon, 4-0, before defeating Avery, 7-6, on riding time to close the early session.

“It's certainly not what I wanted, what my dream was,” Thomusseit said. “I got away from my style a little bit. Felt like I was wrestling like a freshman. I need to figure it out and make it through wrestlebacks to get third.”

That didn't happen.

Thomusseit dropped a 6-5 decision to Minnesota's Kevin Steinhaus in the evening session, dropping him out of the competition.

Pitt's 125-pounder, Anthony Zanetta (Keystone Oaks), also failed to earn All-American status as he dropped his wrestleback with Iowa State's Earl Hall, 8-4.

Zanetta finished his Pitt career with 105 victories.

Tyler Wilps became an All-American at 174 pounds, though he dropped a later match to Robert Kokesh of Nebraska and will wrestle Bryce Hammond from CS-Bakersfield on Saturday for seventh place.

Tight team race

Despite losses by Nico Megaludis and Zain Retherford in the semifinals, Penn State still had a narrow lead in the team standings entering the final day.

The Nittany Lions led with 91 points. Minnesota was second at 90.5. Oklahoma State was third at 87.5, with four wrestlers in Saturday's championships.

Three Scots shine

Edinboro will leave Oklahoma City with three All-Americans for the first time since 2009.

A.J. Schopp did it with his win Friday morning in the quarterfinals at 133 pounds. Mitchell Port (141) major decisioned Minnesota's Chris Dardanes, 8-0, in his round-of-12 match in the evening to join Schopp as a two-time All-American.

David Habat (149) has won four straight in wrestlebacks.

Upset alert

The upsets didn't dissipate on Day 2. Two No. 1 seeds — Port and James Green of Nebraska at 157 — went down. Same for Kendric Maple, the defending NCAA champion at 141 pounds, at 149. Also dropping a quarterfinal-round bout was Iowa's No. 2 seed at 157 pounds, Derek St. John.

Penn's finest

Central Catholic grad Lorenzo Thomas became the University of Pennsylvania's first All-American when he defeated Arizona State's Blake Stauffer in the 184-pound wrestlebacks.

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