Wrestling: Rauser advances while Tolbert’s career comes to a close on first day

NEW YORK —  Jade Rauser and Chasen Tolbert came to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Madison Square Garden with one goal: become an All-American.

For Rauser, that goal can still happen. The senior from Townsend, Mont. lost his first match to No. 2 Cory Clark of Iowa but rebounded in his second match of the day to earn a 12-4 major decision victory over Gary Wayne Harding of Oklahoma State. It is the second time in two weeks that Rauser has defeated Harding. Rauser pinned Harding in the third-place match at the Big 12 Championships on March 6.

“I wasn’t really expecting to wrestle him that quick because I just wrestled him two weeks ago,” Rauser said. “I felt like it was a good match to have because I knew I could beat him. When I got that take down and near fall…I knew I had the match in the bag.”

Rauser will face Nathan Kraisser of Campbell in the wrestle backs on Friday morning.

“Jade had a good first round draw,” UVU head coach Greg Williams said. “He started slow and then wrestled intense through the second and third period but it was just a little bit too late. Jade’s close. He can be there and be on the podium. He’s just going to have to put together a series of matches.”

Chasen Tolbert went 1-2 at the NCAA wrestling championships and his career came to a close on Friday night. Photo by Brooke Morrill.
Chasen Tolbert went 1-2 at the NCAA wrestling championships and his career came to a close on Friday night. Photo by Brooke Morrill.

Tolbert got off to a good start with a win in the 125-pound pigtail match. He defeated Brandon Jeske of Old Dominion, 6-1 but ran into three-time All-American Nico Megaludis of Penn State and the No. 3 seed dominated the match. Tolbert has been dealing with a torn MCL and Megaludis took advantage of it and defeated Tolbert 18-5.

A solid career came to an end with a disappointing finish though for Chasen Tolbert. The senior from Delta, Utah couldn’t get much offense going and lost to Sean Fausz of North Carolina State, 7-4.

“We were happy that Chasen was able to come compete,”  Williams said. “Unfortunately, he has a torn MCL and he did his best. He has been a true leader in our room. He’s been incredible leader the last two years in our program and it’s unfortunate that he couldn’t be 100 percent.”

Wrestling continues at 11 a.m. EST at Madison Square Garden and fans can watch all the matches on ESPN3.

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