NEW YORK CITY — With a pair of wins, North Dakota State University 125-pounder Josh Rodriguez advanced following the third session of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Friday, March 18, before a sellout crowd of 17,899 at Madison Square Garden.
The NCAA tournament continues at 7 p.m. Central Time on Friday, March 18 with Session IV featuring the semifinals, and wrestle-back fourth and fifth rounds.
Top-ranked Penn State leads with 68.5 points, while defending champion Ohio State is second with 54 points. Iowa is third with 48.5 and Oklahoma is fourth 46. NDSU is tied for 39th with 5.5 points.
In workmanlike fashion, Rodriguez, a redshirt junior from Guadalupe, Calif. (Righetti H.S.), defeated Central Michigan’s Brent Fleetwood 7-0 in his first match. He recorded a takedown with 1:55 left in the first period for a 2-0 lead.
With the wrestlers in the neutral position in the second, Rodriguez picked up a takedown with 19-seconds remaining to extend the lead to 4-0. Fleetwood kept the top position for most of the third period, until Rodriguez recorded a reversal late and had 1:18 riding time for the win. He defeated Fleetwood for the third time this season including a pair of wins at the Reno Tournament of Champions in December.
Rodriguez (36-9) came out fast and held on during the 5-4 win over Cornell’s Dalton Macri. Rodriguez stormed out to a 4-1 lead after the first period with a takedown and 2-point nearfall. He gained an escape for a 5-1 lead in the second. Macri came back with an escape early in the third and recorded a takedown with 5-seconds left.
Hayden Zillmer, a redshirt senior from Crosby, Minn. (Crosby-Ironton H.S.), defeated West Virginia’s Jakob Scheffel 5-0 in his first match. He recorded a takedown with 13-seconds left in the first period to take control. Zillmer gained a quick escape and another takedown with 30-seconds left in the second for a 5-0 lead. Both wrestlers were neutral in a scoreless third period.
Zillmer (32-5) fell 3-2 in ultimate tie-breaker 2 overtime to No. 4-seeded Domenic Abounader of Michigan in his second match. The score was tied 1-1 through the 3:30 of overtime. Abounader gained an escape for a 2-1 lead. Zillmer gained a penalty point, but Abounader had 21-seconds of riding time to secure the victory. Zillmer finished the season with a 32-6 record and career mark of 105-29 to rank seventh all-time at NDSU. He was 7-7 in three NCAA appearances.
Clay Ream, a redshirt sophomore from Wentzville, Mo. (Holt H.S.), dropped a 12-3 major decision to No. 10-seed Mike DePalma of Kent State. DePalma built a 4-0 lead heading into the third period.
Ream rallied, cutting the deficit to 5-3 midway in the third on a takedown and penalty point. However, DePalma recorded a takedown, 4-point nearfall and received a point on 4:32 of riding time. Ream finishes season with a 22-17 record.
North Dakota State at the 2016 Championships
March 17-19, 2016 / Madison Square Garden / New York City
#14 125 Josh Rodriguez, RJr., Guadalupe, Calif. (Righetti H.S.)
Overall: 36-9 / 2016 NCAA Championships: 3-1 / NCAA Overall: 5-3
W dec Sean Mausz (North Carolina State), 7-3
L dec #3 Nico Megaludis (Penn State), 4-2
W dec Brent Fleetwood (Central Michigan), 7-0
W dec Dalton Macri (Cornell), 5-4
vs #9 Dylan Peters (Northern Iowa)
149 Clay Ream, RSo., Wentzville, Mo. (Holt H.S.)
Overall 22-17 / Big 12 Championships: 1-2 / NCAA Overall: 3-4
L dec #8 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan), 11-7
W tech fall #7 Evan Henderson (North Carolina), TF 17-2, 7:00
L major dec #14 Mike DePalma (Kent State), MD 12-3
#12 184 Hayden Zillmer, Sr., Crosby, Minn. (Crosby-Ironton H.S.)
Overall: 32-6 / 2016 Championships: 2-2 / NCAA Overall: 7-7
W dec Dane Pestano (Iowa State), 10-5
L dec #3 Zach Zavatsky (Virginia Tech), 3-2
W dec Jake Scheffel (West Virginia), 5-0
L ultimate tie-breaker-2 #2 Domenic Abounader (Michigan), UTB-2 3-2