One Chippewa in Quarterfinals, five in consolation bracket after first day of NCAA Championships

After day one at the NCAA Championships, one Central Michigan wrestler remains in contention for a National Championship, with five others still alive in the tournament.

Freshman Justin Oliver (149-pound class) won both of his matches to advance to the Friday's quarterfinal round at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Oliver defeated Clayton Ream of North Dakota State in the first round 11-7. After advancing to the Championship Bracket, Oliver defeated Bryant Clagon of Rider 9-7 to move on to the Quarterfinals.

"He had two tough matches. The second match went into double overtime," said Head Coach Tom Borrelli. "He competed really hard and I liked the outcome in his other match. He's looking good."

Oliver — the ninth seed — will face the top-ranked 149-pounder in the country Friday morning, in Penn State's Zain Retherford. The sophomore was the Big Ten champion and is 31-0 this season. 

The winner will wrestle in the semifinals Friday evening.

Senior Zach Horan (141) was forced to drop out of the tournament due an injury he sustained in his opening round match, which he lost 2-1 to Joey McKenna of Stanford.

"He had really tough loss against the No. 2 seed, who took the takedown in overtime," Borrelli said. "He dinged his head in that match and the medical staff wouldn't let him compete due to concussion protocol."

Sophomore Jordan Ellingwood (184) defeated Nicholas Gravin of Rutgers 9-3 in his first match, but dropped his next match to Sammy Brooks of Iowa 10-8, to fall to the consolation bracket. 

Ellingwood was the only MAC Champion for the Chippewas in the March 6 meet.

Senior Mike Ottinger (174) won a close match against Te’Shaun Campbell of Pittsburgh 3-2 in the opening round. In the Championship bracket, Ottinger went up against Cody Walters of Ohio — who he had faced several times before — and lost a 3-2 decision to fall to the consolation bracket.

"That was a really close match, Cody got the takedown this time and that's just how it goes," Borrelli said. "I told him to just be ready for tomorrow."

Sophomore Brent Fleetwood (125) lost to Thomas Gielma of Iowa by technical fall, 24-8, in the opening round. Fleetwood won his match in the consolation bracket 3-1 over Zach Fuentes of Drexel. Fleetwood had a late takedown to earn the narrow decision and advance.

Junior Corey Keener (133) lost a late 6-5 decision to Jordan Conaway of Penn State in the opening round, but responded and beat Zach Synon of Missouri 9-4 in the consolation bracket.

Senior Luke Smith (157) also lost his opening round match 4-1 to Bryce Steiret of Northern Iowa, but rebounded to beat Jake Ryan of Ohio State 2-1 to advance in the consolation bracket, joining four of his teammates.

Central Michigan as a team sits in 26th place with 5.5 points. Penn State leads the way with 27.5 points.

"We still have six available spots left on the podium, one for a National Champion," Borrelli said. "We are just working to get the next best thing."

Friday's matches begin at 11 a.m. and can be found on ESPNU and ESPN3.