DES MOINES, Iowa - In a hard-fought match that came down to the final seconds, top-seeded and unbeaten Hunter Stieber of Ohio State narrowly slipped past Franklin & Marshall's Richard Durso by a 9-8 decision in Friday morning's NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships quarterfinal round.
The defeat sends Durso (39-4) to the final 16 of the wrestlebacks, where he will face off against either Trevor Melde from Rutgers or Zach Neibert from Virginia Tech tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST. A victory guarantees Durso a top-eight finish and earns him All-American status, giving him a chance to become the first F&M wrestler to nab All-America honors since Craig Blackman in 1981.
It was a back-and-forth tussle from the start, with Stieber (34-0) taking a 4-2 edge into the second period with a pair of takedowns in the middle stages of the first. Durso started down in the second frame and notched an escape at the 1:45 mark to make it 4-3, and the remainder of the second featured both grapplers holding their ground as they entered the third with Stieber clinging to the one-point advantage.
Stieber registered an escape to begin the third to make it 5-3, but Durso tallied the bout's next four points with a takedown near the edge of the circle at the 1:16 mark and a two-point nearfall with just under a minute left to grab his first lead, 7-5.
A reversal by Stieber at the 32-second mark evened up the score, before Durso re-claimed the lead, 8-7, with a quick escape. With 16 ticks left on the clock, Stieber was awarded a questionable takedown call that was taken to video review. The review was upheld, and Durso was unable to notch an escape as time winded down, giving Stieber the dramatic 9-8 victory.