NC State junior 149-pounder Darrion Caldwell moved to within one victory of the national championship Friday with an easy 13-2 major decision over Bryce Saddoris of Navy in the semifinals at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Caldwell (37-1) will face unbeaten and top-seeded Brent Metcalf (37-0) in the championship round Saturday evening. The finals will begin at 6:30 p.m. The 149-pound bout will be the fifth of the 10 matches in the championship round. The finals will be televised on ESPN.
“Bryce Saddoris is a really good wrestler, and Darrion completely dominated him,” Wolfpack head coach Carter Jordan said. “Darrion has faced four really strong opponents out here and hasn’t been challenged yet. He’s wrestling so well it’s scary.”
Caldwell has won once by fall and three by major decision. He has allowed six points, all on escapes, and has not been taken down by an opponent yet. Counting the 7-1 lead he had when he pinned Penn’s Cesar Grajales, Caldwell has outscored his four opponents by a combined 40-6.
Metcalf, who advanced to the finals with a 6-2 decision over Ohio State’s Lance Palmer, brings a 69-match winning streak into Saturday’s championship bout. Metcalf’s only college loss was a pin in 1:40 at the hands of Caldwell on November 24, 2007, at Cleveland, Ohio. A year later to the day, Metcalf got his revenge at the NWCA All-Star Classic in Columbus, Ohio, beating Caldwell with a 19-3 technical fall. The NWCA Classic is an exhibition and the matches do not count as official matches. Caldwell’s one loss this season was a medical default to Oklahoma’s Kyle Terry.
Caldwell now has a 93-12 record for his career with 50 pins. He is one of just six wrestlers in program history to break the 90-win plateau and ranks fourth in NC State history in career victories. He is one of just two Wolfpack grapplers, along with Sylvester Terkay (1990-93), to win 30 or more matches in a season twice. His current total of 37 wins ties for third most in a single season by an NC State wrestler. He is third in career pins, four behind Tab Thacker (1981-84) and 14 behind Terkay.
Caldwell is now 9-1 this season against ranked opponents, and 20-7 vs. ranked opponents for his career.
Darrius Little, 133 pounds
lost to Tristen DeShazer (Northern Illinois), by fall at 2:32
lost to #3 James Kennedy (Illinois), 8-3
(Darrius Little eliminated)
Joe Caramanica, 141 pounds
pinned #9 Corey Jantzen (Harvard), at 1:51
lost to #8 Ryan Williams (Old Dominion), 10-5
lost to Justin Accordino (Hofstra), 11-6
(Joe Caramanica eliminated)
#3 Darrion Caldwell, 149 pounds
pinned Cesar Grajales (Penn), at 3:18
defeated Desmond Green (Buffalo), 10-2
defeated #6 Jake Patacsil (Purdue), 10-1
defeated #7 Bryce Saddoris (Navy), 13-2
Kody Hamrah, 157 pounds
lost to #3 Jordan Leen (Cornell), 11-6
lost to Aaron Hynes (Michigan), 14-12
(Kody Hamrah eliminated)