March 20, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Boise State redshirt senior Jake Swartz won each of his first two matches at the NCAA Wrestling Championships Thursday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, advancing to the quarterfinals at 184 pounds.
Senior heavyweight J.T. Felix won his first match, but lost in the second round.
Swartz, the No. 6 seed, opened the tournament with a 13-3 major decision over Phillip Joseph of Eastern Michigan. He then knocked off No. 11 seed Lawrence Thomas via a 2-0 decision, earning an escape in the third period. He rode out Thomas for the entirety of the second, and added a point for riding time to his decision.
"Jake just wrestled his style," head coach Greg Randall said about Swartz's second-round match. "The guy never came close to taking him down off his own shot. He kind of waited for Jake to make a mistake, but he hung in there."
Swartz will face Gabriel Dean of Cornell, the No. 3 seed, Friday in the quarterfinals. The two met earlier this season at the Las Vegas Invitational, and Dean earned a 4-2 decision in overtime.
"Jake knows he can go with this guy," Randall said. "Dean is a tough wrestler, but if Jake wrestles his style for seven minutes, we have a good chance of beating this kid."
Felix opened the tournament with a pin, putting away Virginia Tech's Ty Walz with just five seconds remaining in the opening period (2:55). But he fell via fall in the second round, as No. 9 seed Connor Medbery of Wisconsin got the pin in 3:42.
Despite the loss, Felix can still earn All-America honors and finish as high as third place at the national championships, working his way through the wrestleback.
"It's going to be a tough road for him," Randall said. "But he can do it if he has his mind set to it."
The third session of the NCAA Championships is scheduled to begin Friday at 9 a.m. (MT). The quarterfinals will take place on the middle four mats, while the second and third rounds of the wrestleback will be on the outside mats.
Felix is slated to open tomorrow against either Patrick Tasser of Pittsburgh, or Blake Herrin of American.
Coverage is available on ESPNU, and every match is available on ESPN3.