DES MOINES, Iowa — Utah Valley University 125-pounder Jade Rauser and 149-pounder Josh Wilson advanced to day two of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships with victories in the wrestlebacks Thursday evening, while heavyweight Adam Fager was eliminated with a loss.
Rauser, Wilson and Fager all opened the tournament with first-round losses Thursday morning to drop them into must-win matches to stay alive in the wrestleback brackets on Thursday evening.
"I would've liked to have seen Adam (Fager) win at least one match here but I'm proud of Jade (Rauser) and Josh (Wilson) for taking care of business tonight," UVU head coach Greg Williams said. "There are no easy matches here and I was proud of the way Jade was able to take it to the Big Ten kid (Indiana's Joe Duca). Josh also did a nice job by pulling out a tough win over the higher ranked Ervin from Illinois."
Rauser (21-9) advanced to Friday's third session with a first period fall over Indiana's Joe Duca (15-18) in his first consolation bout. Rauser took the upper hand early in the contest as he scored a quick takedown in the first period. About a minute later the UVU redshirt freshman turned Duca to on his back and pinned him just 1:49 into the bout.
With the victory over Duca, Rauser will now face Michigan's Sean Boyle (23-11) Friday morning in the wrestlebacks.
Wilson (23-9) too advanced to day number two of Nationals for his second consecutive year by holding on to defeat Illinois' Caleb Ervin (22-13) by a point. The Utah Valley senior scored a takedown midway through the first period to take an early 2-0 advantage over Ervin. The score remained 2-0 until the third when Ervin picked up an escape to pull within one. Despite being issued a late stall warning, Wilson held on to defeat Ervin by a point.
Wilson will now meet up with Virginia's Derek Valenti (18-9), a 2011 All-American, Friday morning in the consolation bracket.
Fager (20-12) had his first NCAA Tournament run come to an end with a tough 5-4 loss to Penn State's Jimmy Lawson (22-8). Fager began the consolation bout by taking down the Penn State foe early in the opening period. Lawson then picked up an escape to pull to within 2-1 at the end of the first period. The UVU redshirt sophomore then extended his advantage to 3-1 with an escape in the second, but Lawson tied it, at 3-all, with a takedown a little later. Lawson took his first lead of the bout in the third with a reversal to pull ahead 5-3. Fager countered with an escape, but Lawson held on to defeat and eliminate Fager.
Fager became just the second wrestler in Utah Valley program history to end his NCAA Tournament run with an 0-2 record.
Earlier in the day, Wilson dropped a tight, 4-3 decision, to the former All-American from Oklahoma Nick Lester (17-10), while Fager and Rauser each lost by major decision. Rauser fell 13-4 to the No. 2 seed from Illinois Jesse Delgado (22-3), while Fager dropped a 10-2 contest to Iowa State's Matt Gibson (18-9).
Session III of the 2013 NCAA Championships will begin Friday at 10 a.m. CT. The session will be televised live on ESPNU as well as streamed online at ESPN3.com. Live results can also be followed by visiting TrackWrestling.com.
"Getting to day number two is one step but both Jade and Josh have some work to do here tomorrow," Williams said.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.