BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (GoThunderWolves.com - Mar. 8, 2013) - Day one of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships had an All-American type of feel to it for the CSU-Pueblo wrestling team. With two wins by 125-pounder Jesse Hillhouse (Sr., Casper, Wyo.) and a 2-1 day for 174-pounder Ray Hall (Jr., Garfield, Ark.) those two at least assured themselves All-American honors.
Hillhouse showed why he was deserving of a No. 1 ranking for most of the year, winning a 6-2 decision over Eric Forde of St. Cloud State in his opening round match before making quick work of Willie Bohince of Mercyhurst with a pin at 2:46 in the first period.
Hall took a tougher route after he was pinned at 4:46 in his opening round match against Kyle Begin of Southwest Minnesota State. He looked strong in the consolation bracket by winning his next two matches beginning with a 6-5 decision over Dylan Zivcic.
In the second consolation to clinch All-American honors, Hall scored a couple of takedowns and fended off a late rally from Gary Lantz of Pittsburgh-Johnstown to win a 6-4 decision.
At 165-pounds, Trevor Grant (Jr., Winemucca, Nev.) suffered a disappointing day through a tough draw, first losing a 10-0 major decision against Blake Ridenour of Newberry, then losing in a close 3-0 decision to Mason True of Findlay.
Heavyweight Niko Bogojevic (So., Superior, Wisc.) also struggled beginning with his opening round draw against the No. 2 ranked 285-pounder Jake Kahnke of St. Cloud State. Kahnke was able to score two takedowns and an escape to defeat Bogojevic 5-1.
His consolation matchup featured a rematch between Bogojevic and No. 8 ranked Cody Dauphin from Central Oklahoma. When the two matched up earlier in the season Bogojevic was able to pull the upset as he beat Dauphin 4-3 in double overtime. Bogojevic wasn't as fortunate in the grudge match losing in a 3-2 decision nailbiter.
Earning All-American honors automatically at least assures Hillhouse of finishing no lower than sixth place and Hall of at least finishing no lower than eighth place. Session three of wrestling begins at 8 a.m. (MST).