CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – At the completion of day one of the 2016 NCAA DIII Wrestling Championships, freshman Greg Warner (Newville, Pa. / Big Spring) is the lone Spartan left standing as he advances to the consolation quarterfinals at 141 pounds. Warner has secured himself a spot on the podium and All-American status. As a team, the Spartans are tied for 18th out of 53 teams with 12 points after day one.
After losing his first match, 3-2, due to a riding time bonus, Warner looked like a man on a mission to battle back and earn his way on to the podium. The freshman unloaded his frustrations in his second match as he scored a 19-4 technical fall after building up a 13-4 lead through the first two periods. Warner jumped out to a hot start in his third match and he was well on his way to another technical fall as he took a 12-0 lead, but the match was blown dead 56 seconds into the first period as Warner was awarded the victory by injury default. In his fourth and final match of the day, Warner looked strong in the first period as he built up a 10-2 lead with eight near fall points. He then took a 13-9 lead into the third period and played it safe as he rode out the clock to clinch the 14-9 victory as he racked up 2:18 in riding time.
Warner will square off against now two-time All-American and eighth-seeded Jeremy Border of Mount Union in the consolation quarterfinals. The matchup will be a rematch from the Mideast Regional quarterfinals where Border handed Warner a loss in overtime.
Mike Spencer (Pompton Plains, N.J. / Pompton Lakes) started off the day with a close loss to fifth-seeded Kyle Foster of Roger Williams by a score of 5-3. The senior then moved to the consolation bracket where bounced back with a pin fall in 2:25 to advance to the first round of the consolation bracket. In his next match, Spencer remained in control throughout the bout as he squared off against Daniel Glinko of Ithaca. Spencer scored an escape and two takedowns, while racking up over two minutes in riding time en route to a 6-0 victory. The senior needed just one more win to advance to the second day of competition and earn the right to be named an NCAA All-American. Spencer was matched up with Paul Triandafilou of Gettysburg, who like Spencer, had broke into the top-10 rankings this season. The first period ended in a scoreless tie and then Spencer scored an escape to go up 1-0 in the second. Spencer then found himself trailing by one late in the third period as Triandafilou had the riding time bonus. Spencer made one last effort to score points with just seconds left on the clock, but he couldn't complete the shot and exposed himself to a reversal as time expired.
Spencer finishes his senior season with his first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships as he compiled a record of 31-9 for his second-straight 30-win season. With another pin fall today, Spencer set a personal-best record with 20 pin falls on the season. The senior concludes his career with 107 wins, which ranks second all-time in program history.
Ryan Flynn (Eagleville, Pa. / Marple Newtown) started out his day with a 4-0 upset victory over seventh-seeded Romeo Riley of Alma College to advance to the championship quarterfinals where faced-off against second-seeded Nathan Pike of NYU. Flynn suffered a 14-3 loss to Pike in the quarterfinal round, but moved over to the consolation bracket. Flynn had another tough draw in his next match as he squared off against top-seeded Connor Campo of Wartburg. Flynn wrestled a close match all the way to the end. He trailed 3-2 late in the third period and tried to pull off a reversal, but in his desperate attempt, Flynn got put on his back and surrendered four near fall points as time ran out.
Flynn closes out his junior season as a two-time national qualifier as he finishes with a record of 30-9, good for his second-straight 30-win season. The junior now has 91 career wins, which puts him in a tie for fifth on the program's all-time wins list.
Action will resume tomorrow with Session III starting at 11:00 a.m. (EST). The session will begin with championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals, followed by the third, fifth and seventh place matches. Session III will wrap up at approximately 4:00 p.m. (EST).
Greg Warner Photo courtesy of David Sinclair