With the first session in the books at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships, it’s time to look for the best matchups in Thursday’s second session at PPG Paints Arena. There are going to be some good ones, especially at 133 pounds. (Wrestlers’ seeds are designated before their names.)
5-Luke Pletcher, Ohio State (25-5) vs. 12-Montorie Bridges, Wyoming (31-8)
The first 133-pound weight class bouts will feature two returning All-Americans. Pletcher finished fourth at 133 in 2018, and Bridges placed eighth. They did not face each other in the tournament. Pletcher posted a 12-3 win in his opening match Thursday, and Bridges won by a point.
7-Austin DeSanto, Iowa (20-4) vs. 10-Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State (23-4)
DeSanto, the Iowa sophomore who transferred from Drexel, defeated the Penn State freshman 12-8 in the Big Ten semifinals at 133. Bravo-Young split with Pletcher this season, and he was pinned by Iowa State’s Austin Gomez.
13-Austin Gomez, Iowa State (23-5) vs. 4-Micky Phillippi, Pitt (21-2)
Gomez and Phillippi come in with impressive resumes at 133. Gomez pinned Bravo-Young, and Phillippi has defeated No. 1-ranked Daton Fix of Oklahoma State and Pletcher. Phillippi’s losses were to No. 2 Nick Suriano of Rutgers and Virginia Tech’s Korbin Myers.
22-Max Murin, Iowa (17-8) vs. 6-Michael Carr, Illinois (14-5)
Two Pennsylvania wrestlers from the Big Ten Conference are set to meet at 141. The two have split their matches this season. Carr (South Fayette) won the dual 6-3, but Murin (Central Cambria) won the consolation-round match at the Big Ten championships. Murin also won 3-2 in the 2017 Midlands.
26-Ryan Blees, Virginia Tech (18-14) vs. 10-Pat Lugo, Iowa (22-7)
Blees already pulled off an upset in the first session when he defeated Oklahoma State’s Kaden Gfeller. Blees is a former Cowboy. Lugo won a tough battle against Arizona State’s Josh Maruca (Franklin Regional), 5-2, at 149.