DES MOINES, Iowa — A 4-0 decision over The Citadel’s Undrakhbayer Khishignyam during Friday’s semifinals of the NCAA Championships propelled Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple into tonight’s 141-pound championship final bout.
“It’s not quite the match that I wanted, but you need to get it done no matter how it happens,” Maple said. “It will all be different tomorrow.”
Maple, seeded second, will have a shot to be the Sooners’ first NCAA champion grappler since 2005 if he can bring down No. 4 seed Mitchell Port of Edinboro. It wouldn’t be the first time the two have tangled.
“We wrestled earlier this year at Midlands,” Maple said. “It was a pretty tough match — and if I remember, we both scored pretty high. He’s going to come out battling — he’s a great kid. He’s a hard-nosed wrestler, and I’ve got to be the same tomorrow night.”
Cody Brewer stayed alive for the Sooners at 133 pounds, having worked his way through the wrestle-back brackets to set up a seventh-place match. The 14-4 major decision over Penn State’s Jordan Conaway that landed Brewer in the medal rounds also secured him All-America status along with Maple. Brewer will take on Missouri’s Nathan McCormick today.
Senior Bubby Graham just missed out on an All-America nod after dropping a 3-2 decision to Virginia’s Nicholas Sulzer in Friday’s consolation. Graham and Sulzer entered the third period tied at 2 points each, with Sulzer eliminating Graham with a single escape point in the third.
Earlier, it appeared that Graham added a takedown of his own in the second, but the ref never flashed the coveted two fingers to indicate the call. Oklahoma challenged the decision with a few seconds remaining on the clock to earn the potential lead, but it wasn’t overturned.