The Ashland University wrestling team has to be happy after the first day of the NCAA Super Region II tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., on Friday (Feb. 26).
The Eagles had five wrestlers go unblemished through opening and quarterfinal rounds, advancing on to the semifinals on Saturday (Feb. 27).
Ashland sits in second place overall in the team standings with 48.5 points. Wisconsin-Parkside leads the way with 57 points. Newberry and Tiffin are right on the heels of the Eagles in third place with 47.5 points each.
Senior 197-pounder Joe Brandt (22-2 record) went in to the tournament as the top seed in his weight class. Brandt, a three-time All-American and No.3-ranked wrestler in the country, began Round 1 of tournament with a pin of Anderson University's Vojtech Velecky (0-13) in 1:55. In the quarterfinals, Brandt narrowly defeated Limestone College's Matthew Rudy (26-8) by a 3-2 decision.
At 184, junior Brandon O'Neill (8-11) won both of his matches to advance to the semifinals on Saturday. O'Neill won in sudden victory in the first round of the tournament over Mikey Thomas of UNC-Pembroke (21-9) by 3-1 decision. O'Neill then took on Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foe Jared Chambers (19-17) of Tiffin in the quarterfinals and slid past him by a 6-3 decision.
Junior Jordan Murphy (19-7) defeated both of his first two opponents at 174. Murphy took down Dennis Flores (15-16) of Newberry College by a 9-2 decision and Jordan Collins (24-8) of Indianapolis by a 10-6 count.
Redshirt junior Brent Fickel (10-8) had a bye in the opening round of the tournament and pinned Indianapolis's Neal Molloy (20-14) at the 5:30 mark in the quarterfinal matchup. He moves on to the semifinals on Saturday.
At 141, redshirt junior Bobby Mason (13-11) took an opening-round 3-0 decision over UNC-Pembroke's Jake Smith (15-18). Mason then defeated Justin Kieffer (7-9) of Indianapolis in a 9-1 major decision.
Four more Eagles are still alive in the consolation rounds of the tournament - redshirt freshman Sebastian Vidika (125), freshman Chandler Minnard (133), senior Zeb Beam (157) and freshman Christian Price (165).
Saturday's action will begin at 10 a.m.