Taylor Into Semis; Bell, Asper Advance

March 19, 2010

Updated Bracket (PDF) | Updated Team Standings (PDF)

OMAHA, Neb. - Third-seeded Hudson Taylor advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Wrestling Championships with a 9-3 decision over sixth-seed Eric Lapotsky of Oklahoma, in the process clinching All-American status and becoming Maryland's first three-time All-American.

Taylor will face second-seeded Craig Brester of Nebraska, who was NCAA runner-up at 197 pounds last year, in the semifinal Friday night. Taylor finished third the past two years.

Steven Bell and Josh Asper also advanced in the consolation bracket and are both one win away from becoming All-Americans. Bell faces tenth-seeded Nicholas Fanthorpe of Iowa State, while Asper will go against unseeded Chris Brown of Old Dominion, in the fifth round of the consolation bracket. The Terps are in a tie for 18th place as a team.

Alex Krom won his first match of the day but dropped the second, eliminating him from the tournament. Kyle John lost his first match of the day and was also eliminated.

Taylor had to battle for his 41st win of the season. He recorded an early takedown, but a reversal by Lapotsky tied the match at 2-2. But the redshirt senior took over after that, methodically wearing down Lapotsky and recording a reversal, takedown and near-fall.

Bell was the first Terp to wrestle Friday morning. He recorded an early takedown and later a reversal of opponent Flint Ray of Utah Valley State, holding a 4-2 lead after one period.

The senior nearly pinned Ray twice in the second period and took a commanding 8-2 lead into the final stanza. Just 22 seconds into the third period and 5:22 into the match, Bell pinned Ray to advance in the consolation bracket.

Bell faced Ian Paddock of Ohio State in the second match of the morning, with the two grapplers going through a scoreless first period. In the second, Bell quickly recorded a takedown and a near-fall, grabbing control of the match. Another takedown in the third period widened his lead, as he went on to win 6-3.

Asper dominated his first opponent of the day, Shane Onufer of Wyoming. He recorded three takedowns and accumulated 4:10 of riding time, winning by a 9-1 major decision. Asper wore down his second opponent, Cody Yohn of Minnesota, and eventually came away with a 6-3 decision.

ESPNU has live coverage of tonight's semifinals starting at 7 p.m. Eastern time.