March 12, 2016
Two Dragons in title contention
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — SUNY Cortland wrestlers Joe Giaramita and Bobby Dierna are two wins away from national titles.
Both Red Dragons will be involved in semifinal matches early today when the NCAA Division III Championships resume at the U.S. Cellular Center and have earned All-America status by posting a pair of wins on opening day Friday.
Senior and defending national champion Giaramita needed to pull out two overtime wins to become just the second four-time All-America wrestler ever at Cortland. He joins Mike Bucci with that distinction, Bucci achieving the feat from 1996-99.
Cortland senior Lou Puca at 194 pounds and junior Andrew Roden at 125 pounds bowed out after day one.
Dierna, the top seed at 157 pounds, opened with a 13-5 major decision against New York University’s Raymond Jazikoff. Dierna recorded six takedowns during the bout and earned a riding-time point for the final margin.
The junior then pinned unseeded Ty Herzog of Roger Williams in the quarterfinals in 1:38 to secure his third All-America honors in advancing to the semifinals. Dierna raised his record to 22-2 on the season and will face unseeded Tristan Zurfluh of Luther in the semifinals.
In Giaramita’s first-round matchup against Malcolm Watkins of Loras, the two traded escapes during regulation and headed to overtime tied at 1-1. After a scoreless sudden-victory period, Giaramita recorded a reversal in the first half of the tiebreaker for a 3-1 lead. Watkins escaped early while down in the second half of the tiebreaker, but Giaramita made it 5-2 with a takedown before a late escape by Watkins resulted in a 5-3 decision.
The same scenario played out in Giaramita’s quarterfinal matchup with sixth-seeded Jamie James of Alma.
The two traded escapes in the second and third periods, which sent the bout to overtime tied at 1-1. Giaramita, however, ended the match in the first sudden-victory period with a takedown for a 3-1 decision, raising his record to 34-5 on the season.
Giaramita faces second-seeded Gerard Roam of Wartburg in the semifinals.Second-seeded Puca recorded an 8-1 decision in his first action at 174 pounds against Luther’s Javier Reyes. Puca led 2-0 after a first-period takedown and pushed his lead to 5-0 after two periods with an escape and a takedown. Reyes recorded an escape in the third period, but Puca registered a takedown and a riding-time point for the 8-1 final.
In the quarterfinals, Puca dropped a 6-3 decision to seventh-seed Ben Swarr of Messiah. Puca took a 2-0 lead with a second-period reversal, but Swarr answered with a reversal and two near-fall points for a 4-2 advantage after two periods. Swarr recorded an escape in the third period, and each wrestler was assessed a penalty point for the final score.
In his consolation match, Puca was even with Sonnieboy Blanco of Washington & Jefferson, 6-6, in the third period, but Blanco recorded a takedown to go ahead 8-6 and held on for an 8-7 victory as Puca was awarded a riding-time point.
Puca finished his career as a two-time All-American. He ranks third in all-time wins with 118 and is tied for fourth in career falls with 43
Roden dropped a pair of tough decisions against seeded wrestlers at 125 pounds. In his opening bout against fourth-seeded Arnulfo Olea of Wartburg, Roden led 3-2 early in the third period after a reversal. Olea regained the lead with a reversal of his own. Roden quickly escaped to tie the bout at 4-4, Olea recorded a takedown and nearfall points late to earn a 10-4 decision.
In the consolation bracket, Roden faced fifth-seeded Ryan Weinmann of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Roden took a 2-0 lead on a first-period takedown before Weinmann countered with a reversal to tie the match at 2-2. Roden led, 3-2, after an escape, but Weinmann went ahead 4-3 on a reversal in the second period and clinched the decision with a takedown and nearfall points late in the bout for a 10-3 decision.
Roden finished the season with a 15-15 record.
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe