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Cal Poly -Bernie Truax Earns 3rd All American Wrestling Title

By   /  March 18, 2023  /  No Comments

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Wrestling – Bernie Truax.

TULSA, Okla. Cal Poly 197-pounder Bernie Truax can call himself an All-American for the third time. Truax Is a red shirt Junior from Rancho Buena Vista High School alum.

The Mustang redshirt junior earned a 4-2 decision over Michael Beard of Lehigh in the fourth round of wrestlebacks on Friday night at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., site of the 2023 NCAA Division I National Wrestling Championships.

Later on Friday, Truax needed just 16 seconds in overtime to beat ninth-seeded Max Dean of Penn State, 8-6.

Truax, who finished fourth at 174 pounds in 2021 and fourth at 184 in 2022, can finish as high as third with two more victories. He faces No. 4 seed Ethan Laird (28-2) of Rider in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning. The other semifinal pits No. 3 Rocky Elam (13-2) of Missouri against Jacob Warner (20-7) of Iowa. The winners battle for third place Saturday afternoon with the losers going for fifth and sixth place.

Truax is the second Mustang ever to earn three All-America awards in Division I. Boris Novachkov was the first, placing seventh at 133 pounds in 2010, second at 141 in 2011 and third at 141 in 2012.

Truax is 4-1 in this year’s national championships and 17-2 for the season after his second win of the season against Beard. Truax posted a 3-2 decision over Beard in Cal Poly’s dual meet against Lehigh in New Orleans in December.

On Friday, Truax notched a first-period takedown and a third-period escape along with riding time for the 4-2 decision against Beard.

Versus Dean, Truax notched a pair of takedowns for a 4-2 lead after the first period. Dean earned an escape and takedown for a 5-4 lead in the second period, but a reversal by Truax gave him a 6-5 edge in the final period. Dean compiled enough riding time — 1:40 in the final period — for the tying point, forcing overtime.

Earlier in the day, Truax lost in the quarterfinals, 6-4 in overtime, to No. 7 Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State. In the first-ever meeting between the pair, Truax, seeded No. 2, scored a takedown and escape in the first period that ended 3-3. Truax escaped in the second period, as did Sloan in the third period, forcing extra time. A takedown by Sloan 49 seconds into the two-minute sudden victory period ended the match.

Dom Demas earned an upset victory in the 149-pound wrestlebacks Friday as the No. 33 seed before he was eliminated.

Demas upset No. 15 Colin Realbuto of Northern Iowa in a 10-7 decision in the second round of consolation matches, jumping to an 8-1 lead with two takedowns and a four-point near fall in the first period and adding an escape in both the second and third periods.

In the third round of wrestlebacks, Demas fell 3-1 in overtime to No. 10 Michael Blockhus of Minnesota. After a scoreless first period, Demas earned an escape early in the second period and Blockhus did the same in the third period. Blockhus notched a takedown a minute into the sudden victory period for the win.

It was the fourth meeting between the two wrestlers. Demas earned 16-7 and 9-3 decisions during the 2019-20 season while at Oklahoma and Blockhus was at Northern Iowa. Demas also beat Blockhus in a 5-3 decision in Cal Poly’s dual meet against Minnesota in December.

Demas finishes the year 14-9, two wins shy of All-American status. He notched a pair of All-American awards while at Oklahoma, placing fourth in 2019 and he was named an All-American by the National Wrestling Coaches Association after the 2020 nationals were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Truax scored an 8-0 major decision against Austin Cooley of West Virginia in the first round Thursday, followed by an 8-2 decision versus Luke Serber of Oklahoma State.

Demas, the first alternate at 149 pounds who was extended an invitation to the nationals due to an injury to another wrestler, won two of three matches Thursday.

In a pigtail match to reduce the field from 33 wrestlers to 32 in each of the 10 weight classes, Demas earned an 18-3 technical fall against Isaiah Delgado of Utah Valley, then ran into top-seeded and three-time national champion Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell in the first round, falling in a 6-1 decision.

The transfer from Oklahoma bounced back with an 8-2 decision against Quinn Kinner of Rider in the first round of wrestlebacks Thursday night to set up his match with Realbuto.

Cal Poly’s other three national qualifiers were eliminated Thursday.

At 125, Antonio Lorenzo (8-10) was decisioned by third-seeded Liam Cronin of Nebraska 9-4 and fell 4-0 to Tanner Jordan of South Dakota State.

Ethan Rotondo (13-14) dropped a 12-6 decision to third-seeded Vito Arujau of Cornell, then in the pigtail match of the wrestlebacks at 133 defeated McGwire Midkiff of North Dakota State 7-2 before he was pinned by Domenic Zaccone of Campbell with 20 seconds left in the bout.

Trevor Tinker (15-10), an at-large qualifier at 285 pounds, was pinned by Wyatt Hendrickson of Air Force in 1 minute, 54 seconds, in the opening round, then suffered a 14-6 major decision loss to Josh Heindselman of Oklahoma in the wrestlebacks.

The medal round of consolation matches will be aired on ESPN+, with the championship finals on Saturday at 4 p.m. on ESPN.

Results for Cal Poly wrestlers:

125 — Antonio Lorenzo was dec. by Liam Cronin (Nebraska) 9-4, was dec. by Tanner Jordan (South Dakota State) 4-0.

133 — Ethan Rotondo was dec. by Vito Arujau (Cornell) 12-6, dec. McGwire Midkiff (North Dakota State) 7-2, was pinned by by Domenic Zaccone (Campbell) 6:40.

149 — Dom Demas tech. fall Isaiah Delgado (Utah Valley) 18-3 (6:48), was dec. by Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) 6-1, dec. Quinn Kinner (Rider) 8-2, dec. Colin Realbuto (Northern Iowa) 10-7, was dec. by Michael Blockus (Minnesota) 3-1 SV-1.

197 — Bernie Truax maj. dec. Austin Cooley (West Virginia) 8-0, dec. Luke Surber (Oklahoma State) 8-2, was dec. by Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State) 6-4 SV-1, dec. Michael Beard (Lehigh) 4-2 SV-1, dec. Max Dean (Penn State) 8-6 SV-1, vs. Ethan Laird (Rider).

285 — Trevor Tinker was pinned by Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force) 1:54, was maj. dec. by Josh Heindselman (Oklahoma) 14-6.

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