Burak goes 1-1 at day one of NCAA Championships
By HEATHER KENNEDY
ST. LOUIS -- Northern Colorado Gabe Burak, who spent the first four years of career wrestling at Penn, advanced to the second day of the NCAA Division I Championships.
Burak, a 165-pound senior from Colorado Springs dropped his opening bout to fourth-ranked Bekzod Abdurakhmonov from Clarion University, 7-4. Both wrestlers actually had byes in the opening round before meeting in the second round.
After no scoring for over two minutes in the first period, Abdurakhmonov took down Burak with 56 on the clock. Thirty-four seconds later Burak escaped for the 2-1 score at the end of period one. Abdurakhmonov scored five straight in the second period with a reversal and a three-point nearfall after chosing down to start. With 40 seconds remaining, Burak had a reversal of his own for the 7-3 score. Burak picked the bottom and escaped immediately for the only points of the final stanza for the 7-4 total.
Burak again received a bye in the consolation before meeting Central Michigan's Mike Ottinger.
"Gabe is in a good spot in the bracket," said Head Coach Ben Cherrington. "He's prepared and ready to accomplish his goal of standing on the podium Saturday night. If he takes it one match at a time and wrestles to win, looking to score points, he will have a good tournament."
Burak got on the scoreboard first with a takedown with 1:02 on the clock and then stayed aggressive, recording a two-point nearfall with 37 ticks left. He also amassed 1:04 of riding time in the first period. Ottinger deferred his decision in the second period and Burak chose down. Just seven seconds in he managed to escape for the 5-0 lead. Forty-one seconds later he posted his second takedown for a 7-0 advantage.
In the third period, Ottinger chose neutral and took Burak down 25 seconds later, but it took Burak only six seconds to escape and with his riding time, won 9-2.
Burak continues competition tomorrow facing Dominic Kastl from Cal Poly. Kastl upset 10th-seeded Cody Yohn from Minnesta, 2-1, in the second round before losing a 5-2 decision to seventh-ranked Josh Asper from Maryland.
(photo by Mike Smith/Mat Shots)