By Pete Chiodo
DES MOINES, Iowa —
A.J. Schopp and Mitchell Port got Edinboro of on the right foot Thursday at the NCAA Division I national championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Schopp was dominant in his first two 133-pound bouts. In the opener, the Fighting Scot controlled Rosario Bruno of Michigan to score an 8-0 major decision. In his second championship bout, Schopp was even more impressive while capturing an 18-1 technical fall in 2:42 over Binghamton’s Derek Steeley.
Schopp remains in line to meet the No. 1 seed, undefeated Logan Steiber of Ohio State, in the semifinals. Schopp faces Minnesota’s Chris Dardanes in this morning’s quarterfinals.
Steiber advanced to the quarters with a pin against Pittsburgh’s Shelton Mack in 2:40. Mack, a Meadville graduate, won his opening match 3-2 over Hofstra’s Jamie Franco. Mack wrestles Nick Wilcox of Bloomsburg in this morning’s second round of consolations.
Port is also looking to meet Steiber in the semis, only he is hoping for Hunter, Ohio State’s undefeated 141 pounder. Port took care of business in his first two matches to reach today’s quarterfinals. The Scot picked up a 5-2 decision over Drexel’s Frank Cimato to open the tournament, then returned in the night session to add a 13-2 major decision against Hofstra’s Luke Vaith. Port faces North Carolina’s Evan Henderson in the quarterfinals.
Edinboro 285-pounder Ernest James won his opening match 3-2 over Rutgers’ William Smith. The heavyweight came up short of a spot in the quarters when he lost his next match 4-0 to Chad Hanke of Oregon State. James is still alive in the consolations.
Dave Habat was still alive at 149 pounds after a 2-1 day. Habat lost his opening match to Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver. Oliver, seeded No. 1 in the bracket, is the No. 1 wrestler in the nation and the defending champion in that weight class. Habat rebounded to post a 13-6 win over Ohio State’s Ian Paddock in a consolation pigtail match, then advanced with a 3-1 win over Cornell’s Chris Villalonga in the first round of consolations.
At 165 pounds, EUP’s Johnny Greisheiner was the only scot eliminated in the first day. Griesheiner went 0-2, losing a pair of close decisions to Chattanooga’s Josh Condon and Northwestern’s Pierce Harger.
With a few matches to go in the Thursday evening session, Penn State held a slight lead in the team standings. The Nittany Lions racked up 32.5 points in the competition, 3.5 better than Oklahoma State. Minnesota was third with 24 points, while Iowa made it three Big Ten schools in the top 5 with 21.5 points. The Fighting Scots, which were 25th after the morning session, moved up into a tie for 17th with Pittsburgh, Virginia and Virginia Tech, all with 9.5 points.