NEW YORK -
In front of a sold out crowd inside Madison Square Garden in New York, sophomore Bryce Meredith earned a spot in the 141 pound finals with a pair of wins. He becomes the first Cowboy wrestler to make the finals since Reese Andy at 177 pounds in 1996. It will mark the eighth time in school history that a UW wrestler has wrestled in the finals.
Meredith also assured himself All-American status, as he became the 32nd All-American selection for the Pokes and the ninth under head coach Mark Branch. He is also is the eighth All-American from the state of Wyoming and the third equality state native to earn a spot in the finals.
The Pokes are in 17th place in the team standings with 24.5 points. Penn State is the leader after two with 114 points.
"It is very exciting and it has been a fun ride with another match coming tomorrow night," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "It is another goal we have been working towards. We are obviously wanting that next victory and walking out of here with a national champion."
In the semifinals against No. 2 Joey McKenna of Stanford, Meredith used a takedown and riding time to earn a 5-3 win. Meredith trailed 2-1 in the match, but battled back for a takedown with 24 seconds left. He added to his riding time on his way to the win.
Meredith moved on to the semifinals with a scramble for the ages in the final seconds of his match against No. 6 Micah Jordan of Ohio State in the quarterfinals. Meredith led 1-0 with 30 seconds left in the match, Jordan recorded a takedown, but a reversal and a near inside cradle for a nearfall gave Meredith the 5-2 win.
"Bryce (Meredith) has really put together some great victories," Branch said. "Not only with some big upsets, but with the way he has dug deep to find ways to win. It is a great thing to go to bed and realize what lies in front of us for tomorrow."
Senior Tanner Harms won his second round match in the consolation bracket with a pin of Ray O'Donnell of Princeton 2:35 into the match. A takedown by O'Donnell started the match, but Harms earned a reversal and then secured the fall. Harms's season ended with a 13-4 major decision loss to Austin Marsden of Oklahoma State in a Big 12 Championship final rematch. He finished his career with a 63-30 record for the Cowboys.
"Tanner (Harms) scored some great points for us on the back side and helped us in the team standings," Branch said. "He really had a great tournament and he wrestled the best he has in his entire career. He wrestled some of the toughest guys in the tournament and he should be proud of this and his career."
Junior Drew Templeman fell to No. 7 Darian Cruz of Lehigh in the second round of the consolation bracket in the morning. Templeman nearly had a reversal in the first period that could have stemmed the tide of the match before ultimately falling. He finishes the season with his first trip to the NCAA Championship and a 19-10 overall record.
Meredith hits the mat tomorrow night against top-seeded Dean Heil of Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. MT on ESPN.
125: Drew Templeman First Round: No. 8 Barlow McGhee (Mizzou), dec. (3-2) over Templeman
Consolation Bracket First Round: Drew Templeman, dec. (9-7 SV-1) over Shakur Laney (Ohio)
Second Round Consolation: No. 7 Darian Cruz (Lehigh), major dec. (13-5) over Templeman
141: Bryce Meredith
First Round: No. 14 Bryce Meredith, major dec. (16-3) over Robbie Mathers (Arizona State)
Second Round: No. 14 Bryce Meredith, dec. (5-4) over Kevin Jack (NC State)
Quarterfinals: No. 14 Bryce Meredith, dec. (5-2) over No. 6 Micah Jordan (Ohio State)
Semifinals: No. 14 Bryce Meredith, dec. (5-3) over No. 2 Joey McKenna (Stanford)
285: Tanner Harms
First Round: No. 15 Tanner Harms, major dec. (12-2) over Garrett Ryan (Columbia)
Second Round: No. 2 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State), tech fall (26-10) over No. 15 Tanner Harms
Fourth Round Consolation: No. 4 Austin Marsden (Oklahoma State), major dec. (13-5) over No. 15 Harms