Oxford’s O’Connor advances to national quarterfinals

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Iowa started a methodical march toward a third straight national title at the NCAA championships Thursday night.

The Hawkeyes advanced eight of their 10 wrestlers to the quarterfinals and finished the meet’s first day with 34.5 points. Oklahoma State was second with 26 points and Iowa State third with 24.

“We’ve got to keep a good thing going,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said.

Iowa’s quarterfinalists are No. 2 seeds Daniel Dennis (133), Brent Metcalf (149) and Jay Borschel (174); No. 3 Matt McDonough (125), No. 5 Daniel Erekson (heavyweight), No. 6 Montell Marion (141), No. 7 Ryan Morningstar (165) and No. 9 Phillip Keddy (184).

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Brands said. “For the most part I feel like we wrestled better tonight than we did this morning. I explained this morning that we were maybe looking out at the other guy a little too much. Tonight it seemed like we were attacking from the get-go a little bit better.”

Iowa’s only losses were by unseeded 157-pounder Jake Kerr, to Harvard’s top-seeded J.P. O’Connor in the second round, and by No. 9 Chad Beatty, to Oklahoma State’s Alan Gelogaev in the first round.

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