CEDAR RAPIDS – Cornell junior Alex Coolidge kept his title hopes alive with a pair of overtime wins during Day 1 of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships Friday at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
Session III begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with championship semifinal matches. The finals are set for 7 p.m.
The second-seeded Coolidge (31-13) secured his first All-America medal at 197 pounds in his second NCAA appearance. He advances to Saturday's semifinals to face third-seeded Aaron Karns (33-4) of Delaware Valley. The other semifinal pits Heidelberg's Andrew Lovins, who upset the No. 1 seed in the first round, against fourth-seeded Mike Benefiel of Elmhurst.
Cornell 149-pounder Trevor Engle (31-10) saw his fine freshman season end one win short of a top-eight All-America finish. He went 2-2 in the tournament.
Coolidge fought past 2012 All-American Nathan Schmitz of Concordia-Moorhead in the first round, a 2-1 battle decided in the first tiebreaker. The score was 1-1 through three periods and an extra one-minute session. A Coolidge escape in the 30-second tiebreaker was the difference.
Coolidge also needed extended time in a 6-4 quarterfinal sudden victory over seventh-seeded Darren Faber of Wheaton. Coolidge scored the winning takedown with 47 seconds left in the overtime period.
Coolidge is the 15th Ram to garner All-America honors in Coach Mike Duroe's eight seasons at the helm. He will attempt to become Cornell's first NCAA finalist since 2009, when Nick Nothern took second at 133.
Engle tackled a tough draw at 149, falling 21-9 in a preliminary pigtail bout to fifth-seeded Robert Dierna of Cortland State. He battled back for a pair of consolation wins before dropping a 4-1 decision to fourth-seeded Emanual Ajagbe of Delaware Valley. Engle took a 1-0 lead into the third period. Ajagbe escaped and recorded the decisive takedown with 30 seconds to go.
Engle notched a 3-1 win in the first round of consolations over John Carroll's Daniel Mirman. He followed that with a 9-6 victory against Elroy Perkin of UW-Whitewater.
The Rams are tied for 28th with 9.0 points in the 64-team field, led by Wartburg with 66.0.
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