The first day of the NCAA Division II Super Region I tournament could have gone better for Pitt-Johnstown, but not much.

All 10 Mountain Cats are still alive in the tournament, which resumes today at Gannon University, and six of them are in the semifinals. UPJ is in second place, just eight points behind three-time defending champion Newberry.

“It was a solid day,” UPJ coach Pat Pecora said. “We lost four matches and they were all real tight.”

Newberry also has all 10 wrestlers still alive, but eight of them are in the semifinals. UPJ can make up some ground as two of the Mountain Cats in the semifinals – Ryan Link (133 pounds) and Zach Lundgren (157) – face Newberry wrestlers today.

Other UPJ wrestlers in the semifinals are Jack Bachman (141), Nathan Link (149), A.J. Brentzel (184) and Chris Dempsey (285).

“I still think we have a shot (at the team championship),” Pecora said. “We have an outside shot. We have the attitude that we’re going to have a good day and bring home the title.”

Ryan Link, one of the two brothers from Penn Cambria in the semifinals for UPJ, survived a wild quarterfinal match against Mercyhurst’s Michael Baxter. The top-seeded UPJ wrestler won 15-12.

“Ryan Link had a little scare in the second round, but he pulled it out,” Pecora said.

Bachman pulled off an upset at 141, knocking off third-seeded Tyquan Easton of North Carolina-Pembroke, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. Lundgren and Dempsey are the fifth-seeded wrestlers in their respective weight classes, and each beat a fourth seed to reach the semifinals.

The Mountain Cats were also on the other end of some upsets, as third-seeded Steve Makin, a Central Cambria graduate, lost at 174 pounds while fourth-seeded Gary Lantz fell to the consolation bracket at 165.

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