NDSU’s Rodriguez, Ream & Zillmer Alive in Wrestle-Backs at NCAA Wrestling Championships

NEW YORK CITY — North Dakota State University 125-pounder Josh Rodriguez, 149 Clay Ream and 184-pounder Hayden Zillmer are alive in the consolation round following the second session of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Thursday, March 17, before a sellout crowd of 17,805 at Madison Square Garden. The total day one attendance was 35,569.

Top-ranked Penn State leads after Session II with 27.5 points, defending champion Ohio State and Oklahoma State are tied for second with 24 points. Nebraska is fourth with 20, while Iowa, Missouri and Virginia Tech are tied for fifth with 17.5. NDSU is tied for 42nd with 4 points.

The NCAA tournament continues at 10 a.m. Central Time on Friday, March 18 with Session III featuring the quarterfinals, and the wrestle-back second and third rounds. Rodriguez squares off with Central Michigan’s Brent Fleetwood (20-12), Ream battled No. 10-seed Mike DePalma (25-9) of Kent State and Zillmer faces West Virginia’s Jakob Scheffel (22-15).

NDSU BisonRodriguez, a redshirt junior from Guadalupe, Calif. (Righetti H.S.) dropped a 4-2 decision to No. 3-seed Nico Megadulis (29-3) of Penn State in a physical second round match. Most of the scoring took place in the first period. Rodriguez struck first with a takedown at 2:09. Megadulis gained an escape and recorded a takedown with 54-seconds left in the first.

Megadulis picked up an escape at 1:56 to extend the lead to 4-2. That was all the scoring for the remainder as a match. Both wrestlers were in the neutral position in the third, a period that three stoppages to close a cut on Megadulis.

Rodriguez (34-9) opened with a 7-3 decision over North Carolina State’s Sean Fausz (16-10) in the first round. He gained control early with a takedown and 2-point nearfall 40-seconds into the first period. Rodriguez picked up another takedown in the second to build a 6-2 lead.

Zillmer, a redshirt senior from Crosby, Minn. (Crosby-Ironton H.S.), dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 5-seed Zach Zavatsky (26-5) of Virginia Tech in the second round. After a scoreless first period, Zavatsky gained an escape for a 1-0 lead in the second. Zillmer tied the match at 1-1 early in the third. Zavatsky recorded the winning takedown with 34-seconds left.

Zillmer (31-5) squared off with Iowa State’s Dane Pestano (24-14), winning for the third time. Zillmer missed a takedown attempt a minute into the first period that Pestano turned into a 2-0 lead. He gained the escape, but a takedown in the last seconds of the first that was waved off.

Trailing 2-1 and taking the bottom position, Zillmer gained the upperhand early in the second. An escape at 1:51 was followed by a takedown and 4-point near fall at 1:26 producing an 8-2 lead. The advantage widened to 10-4 with 1:24 left in the third.

Ream, a redshirt sophomore from Wentzville, Mo. (Holt H.S.) exploded past No. 8–seed Evan Henderson (22-8) of North Carolina with a resounding 17-2 tech fall in the wrestle-backs. Ream led 2-0 after the first and built a 10-2 lead after two periods with a pair of takedowns and 4-point nearfall. He recorded another takedown and 4-point nearfall in the third. Ream had 4:52 of riding time to complete the tech fall.

Ream (22-16) dropped an 11-7 decision to No. 9-seed Justin Oliver (29-5) of Central Michigan in the opening round. The first period was fast and furious with Oliver recording a takedown with 15-seconds left to take a 7-4 lead. Ream gained an early escape and takedown with 12-seconds left in the second to tie the match at 7-all. Oliver received an early escape, takedown midway in the third and built 1:45 of riding time.

Session I Photo Gallery
Session II Photo Gallery

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: 35-8 / 2016 NCAA Championships: 1-1 / NCAA Overall: 3-3
W dec Sean Mausz (North Carolina State), 7-3
L dec #3 Nico Megaludis (Penn State), 4-2
vs Brent Fleetwood (Central Michigan)

149 Clay Ream, RSo., Wentzville, Mo. (Holt H.S.)
Overall 22-16 / Big 12 Championships: 1-1 / NCAA Overall: 3-3
L dec #8 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan), 11-7
W tech fall #7 Evan Henderson (North Carolina), TF 17-2, 7:00
vs #14 Mike DePalma (Kent State),

#9 184 Hayden Zillmer, Sr., Crosby, Minn. (Crosby-Ironton H.S.)
Overall: 31-5 / 2016 Championships: 1-1 / NCAA Overall: 6-6
W dec Dane Pestano (Iowa State), 10-5
L dec #3 Zach Zavatsky (Virginia Tech), 3-2
vs Jakob Scheffel (West Virginia)

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