OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Jimmy Sheptock defeated Old Dominion’s Jack Dechow 3-2 in a hotly contested semifinal to advance to the 184-pound final of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City Friday night.
The now two-time All-American will take on second-seed Ed Ruth of Penn State on Saturday night. The senior will attempt to win Maryland’s first national title in wrestling since Gobel Kline took home the title at 152 pounds in 1969. Kline was also the last Terrapin to advance to a national final.
It's really exciting," Sheptock said. "I mean, I didn't even know [that he was Maryland's first finalist in 45 years] until the coaches said it after I walked off the mat. I know we have two national champs in history. So I'm looking to make it a third. Pretty excited about that.”
Against Dechow, Sheptock put on the type of solid performance that has marked his march through the top half of the 184-pound bracket. The Northampton, Pa. native took an early lead, capitalizing on a Dechow mistake to secure a takedown.
After the Monarch freshman logged an escape to start the second period, Sheptock wrestled smart, seeing off Dechow’s rare attacks. The senior easily escaped from the down position at the start of the third before defending a few late Dechow shots to secure a 3-2 victory.
With the win, Sheptock pushed his record to a perfect 32-0. He joins Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter and Penn State’s David Taylor as the only undefeated wrestlers remaining in the competition.
"I’m really proud of him," head coach Kerry McCoy said. "He came in with a goal in mind and now he’s one step away from it. We’ve got 24 hours to prepare to win a national championship. One more to go.”
In the quarterfinals, Sheptock faced off with unseeded Blake Stauffer of Arizona State. A single leg takedown with 20 seconds remaining in the first period gave Sheptock a 2-0 lead. The senior once again utilized a late takedown to extend the lead in the second period and finished with a 6-2 decision win.
Sheptock’s victory guaranteed All-America status for the second straight season. Sheptock becomes Maryland’s seventh multi-time All-American.
The finals of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships begin Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET. Coverage can be seen live on ESPN and the WatchESPN app.
Four other Terrapins were also in action on Friday. Spencer Myers and Shyheim Brown both lost their first match, while Christian Boley fell one win short of earning All-American honors.
At 141, Brown faced sixth-seeded Chris Dardanes and was unable to fend off the Minnesota grappler’s takedowns in a 13-5 defeat. Myers gave up a takedown in the waning moments to drop a 4-2 decision to Nick Tavanello of Ohio State.
Looking to become an All-American for the first time, Boley advanced via forfeit in his first match of the day before facing off with Braden Atwood of Purdue. In a rematch of the 2013 Midlands final, Boley repeated the result, getting past the 15th-seed by a 5-1 decision.
The two-time ACC Champion advanced to face Kyven Gadson of Iowa State. Boley succumbed to Gadson by fall at 2:44 in the final match of his career.
Boley finishes his time at Maryland with more than 100 wins and two ACC titles at 197 pounds.
The Terps complete the day in 19th place with 21 team points. The race for the overall title is a three-team affair. Penn State holds the lead with 91, while Minnesota is second with 90.5. Oklahoma St. is also still in contention with 87.5 points.