W. Randy Martin
Utah Valley 125-pound redshirt freshman Taylor LaMont (left) looks to take Northwestern's Sebastian Rivera down to the mat on March 15, at the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. LaMont finished his first trip to nationals Friday just one win shy of securing a podium finish.

CLEVELAND — Utah Valley's Taylor LaMont (125 pounds) lost both of his matches Friday at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships, missing All-American status by just one match. The good news is LaMont is just a freshman.

No. 2 seed Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State defeated LaMont in his quarterfinal match by major decision, 12-4. Then in the consolation round, LaMont was tripped up by West Virginia's Zeke Moisey, the No. 13 seed, 8-5.

Utah Valley had three wrestlers still alive in the second day of the tournament but LaMont's teammates Demetrius Romero (165) and Kimball Bastian (174) were defeated in their initial bouts Friday morning as both went 1-2 in the tournament.

Wyoming's Branson Ashworth, who prepped at Spanish Fork, was eliminated two matches short of All-American status by No. 6 seed Richie Lewis of Rutgers.

Utah Valley is locked into 43rd place out of 72 teams that qualified wrestlers for the 2018 NCAA meet as action continues Saturday.

Penn State went 5-for-5 in the semifinals Friday night to take control of the meet with 120.5 points. The Nittany Lions are coached by Cael Sanderson, the former four-time state champion from Wasatch. Sanderson was also the only undefeated wrestler in college wrestling history and an Olympic gold medalist.

Ohio State had six wrestlers in the semifinals but only put two managed to get their hands raised, so the Buckeyes are in second with 109 points. Iowa is a distant third with 86.6 points.

Brian E. Preece is a freelance sportswriter. He was also the head wrestling coach at Provo High School from 1994-2006. In 2006 Preece was named as the Utah Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.