TULSA, Okla. – Max Murin had to wait six years to hear his name announced as an All-American at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, so what were a few more minutes?
The Central Cambria grad beat Michigan’s Chance Lamer 3-2 on Friday night, but he had to wait out a challenge by the Michigan coaching staff after Lamer came close to scoring a takedown in the final seconds.
“That was a scary couple minutes, and I paid the price because I stopped wrestling,” said Murin, who beat Minnesota’s Michael Blockhus 6-2 late Friday night to advance to Saturday’s consolation semifinal round at 149 pounds.
North Carolina State’s Jackson Arrington – a Forest Hills graduate – and Virginia’s Justin McCoy – a Chestnut Ridge alumnus – each were eliminated from the competition on Friday.
Murin had reached the round of 12 – known in wrestling circles as the blood round – three previous times, but came up short each time. When it was announced over the public address system at the BOK Center that Murin had finally become an All-American in his fourth attempt, he received a loud ovation.
“It’s been a long couple of years in the blood round,” Murin said. “It feels good to finally conquer that. I didn’t get what I ultimately wanted – national champ – but coaches always preach next best thing, so that’s what I’m going for now.”
He’ll face Arizona State’s Kyle Parco on Saturday with the winner advancing to the consolation final.
Murin also got the crowd buzzing in the quarterfinal round. He escaped, then took down Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis in the third period and nearly grabbed the lead against the three-time NCAA champion.
Murin went to his own back – and was close to giving up a defensive fall – but also had Diakomihalis with his back to the mat, but a high bridge likely prevented nearfall points. Diakomihalis held on for an 8-7 victory.
“He’s a great wrestler,” Murin said. “He took me down multiple times. I knew I had to get back in the match somehow.”
Did he think he had the go-ahead nearfall points?
“I’m biased, obviously, so I thought I had backpoints, but I didn’t,” Murin said. “It’s OK. Now I’m just moving forward.”
Arrington rebounded from Thursday night’s loss to Diakomihalis by winning a pair of matches on Friday morning.
Arrington took down Oklahoma’s Mitch Moore in the first period, but gave up a pair of escapes that sent the match to overtime.
The Wolfpack wrestler didn’t waste any time, scoring a takedown just 16 seconds into the sudden-victory period for a 4-2 win.
He got another quick start against Oklahoma State’s Victor Voinovich, scoring 31 seconds into the match. Arrington added a second-period takedown and a riding time point on his way to a 5-1 victory.
He suffered heartbreak in the blood round, however, as Missouri’s Brock Mauller scored a takedown with 11 seconds remaining for a 4-3 victory.
Arrington went 23-9 as a true freshman.
McCoy beat Columbia’s Joshua Ogunsanya in the second round of consolations.
He was up 7-1 before Ogunsaya made a late push that included a takedown.
“I think I wrestled good for six minutes, but the goal is to put seven good minutes together,” McCoy said. “You’ve got to finish the match off, got to ice it, take him down and not let it get scary like it did for a second there.”
Unfortunately for McCoy, he was unable to replicate that success in the next round, as he fell 7-4 to North Dakota State’s Michael Caliendo III. McCoy scored the opening takedown, but Caliendo was able to win scrambles for takedowns in each period for the victory.
McCoy ends his season with 21-6 record.
Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi advanced to the 197-pound title match, where he’ll face South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan on Saturday night.
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