CLEVELAND – Senior Austin Bellile of the MSOE wrestling team posted a dramatic fall in his third match of the day to advance to the second day of the NCAA Championships, winning twice Friday at the Cleveland Auditorium.
Bellile, seeded sixth in the 285-pound bracket, opened with a 3-2 win. After a 10-3 loss to the No. 3 seed, he won his first bout of the consolation bracket with a pin in 6:31 to advance to face Konrad Ernst of UW-La Crosse Saturday morning. The morning session starts at 11 a.m.
By advancing to Saturday, Bellile clinched a top-eight finish and, with it, All-America honors.
The highlight of the day was a hard-fought finish to his final match. Bellile faced D'Andre Johnson of UW-Platteville in a rematch of the first-place bout at the NCAA Regional Championships, in which Bellile secured a fall in just 0:49.
Johnson was quick to make sure history did not repeat itself with a pair of first-period takedowns and an escape for a 5-2 after three minutes. Each wrestler scored two points in the second period, leaving Bellile with a 7-4 deficit going into the final period. Johnson chose down and made it 8-4 with an escape 16 seconds in. Then, Bellile secured a takedown with 50 seconds remaining and turned it into a pin 21 seconds later to emerge victoriously.
The opening match of the day saw another late-match victory against Gabriel Mahaney of Baldwin Wallace. Bellile opened the scoring with a takedown inside the first minute of the match with Mahaney escaping 33 seconds later. The BWU grappler was then given a stalling warning. Mahaney chose down in the second period and leveled the score with an escape for the only point of the frame.
In the third period, Bellile earned the decisive point via a penalty after another stall by Mahaney with 1:11 remaining. He then held on to score the win, narrowly missing the riding time point with 0:59 totaled.
Bellile's first loss of the season came in his first match of the evening session against the No. 3 seed in Ithaca's Jake O'Brien. The Bomber jumped on the board early and often with a pair of takedowns and a near fall inside the first minute of the match and led 6-1 after one period. Neither wrestler scored in the second frame and began the third in neutral position. O'Brien opened with a takedown, leading to a Bellile reversal. O'Brien escaped 11 seconds later and snatched the riding time point to claim the win.