CLEVELAND (GoThunderWolves.com – Mar. 14, 2014) — Colorado State University-Pueblo senior wrestlers Ray Hall (Oak Park, Mo.) and Trevor Grant (Winnemucca, Nev.) each clinched all-America honors as both bounced back from championship quarterfinal setbacks to post clutch wins in the consolation brackets in first day action in the NCAA Division II Championships here at the Cleveland Public Auditorium.
Hall, who finished eighth in the 174-pound bracket at last year's tournament, was wrestling at 157 pounds and claimed pins in both of his victories by pin to earn his second career all-America honor. Grant, a 3-time national qualifier, earned his first such honor with a 6-2 win over Fort Hays State's Josh Rodriguez in the "All-America" round of this year's 174-pound bracket.
Thanks to their four combined wins, the Pack have 13 team points and stand 23rd in the team standings heading into Saturday's second day of action, which will sort out the exact placings for the top eight finishers in each of the 10 weight classes.
CSU-Pueblo's other qualifier was Matt Addington (Jr., Florence, Colo.), who went 0-2 at 165 pounds. He finishes the season with a 10-14 record.
Hall, who is now 11-5 on the season, started his day with a second-period pinning of Mercyhurst (Pa.) redshirt freshman Francis Mizia. He then dropped an 8-4 decision to third-ranked Zak Vargo of Lake Erie (Ohio) in the championship quarterfinals. However, Hall came back to pin Cal Baptist's Brady Bersano in 77 seconds. Bersano, who was the NCAA West Region/Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Champion, was ranked second in the country coming in to the tournament and was 31-8 on the year before going 1-2 on Friday.
Meanwhile, Grant scored a 6-1 win over Maryville's (Mo.) Zeb Whale in the first round. He then fell to top-ranked an undefeated Joey Davis of Notre Dame (Ohio) before coming back to defeat the sixth-ranked Rodriguez. Grant, who entered the day ranked seventh in the NCAA Division II individual rankings, is now 22-14 overall.
Grant will wrestle Chester Granard of Colorado Mesa in his first match on Saturday while Hall will take on Bobby Williams of Ouchita Baptist (Ark.), who was ranked sixth coming into the tournament. Grant and Granard split earlier meetings as Grant defeated the Maverick during the NCAA West Regional/RMAC Championships.
Saturday's action will begin at 10 a.m. (EDT).