Redshirt junior Nick Corba of the Cleveland State University wrestling team won twice on the opening day of the NCAA Championships Thursday in front of a crowd of over 18,000 inside the Scottrade Center.
Making his NCAA Championships debut, Corba dropped his opening match of the day to a Big Ten opponent. He showed tremendous resolve in winning each of his next two matches, claiming a major decision and a pin, to advance to the second day of the national tournament.
“Nick rebounded nicely,” head coach Ben Stehura said. “Getting two bonus-point wins in this tournament is impressive, especially with it being his first time here. He’s wrestling really well right now. We’ve got to keep winning tomorrow and make a push to be an All-American.”
In his second match of the day, Corba pulled off an upset to earn his first NCAA Championships win, as he defeated Ville Heino of Campbell. Heino had taken the 10th seed to sudden victory in his opening match, was the 2016 Southern Conference champion and was ranked among the top 15 by various outlets entering the Championships.
However, Corba netted a takedown to open the scoring over Heino and then secured four near fall points to break the bout open. Corba netted an escape and another takedown in the second period to hold a 9-0 advantage after five minutes. He saw out the major decision victory in the final stanza and polished off his win by earning a point for riding time, where he held a 4:41 advantage.
In his second consolation match of the evening session, Corba was pitted against fellow Eastern Wrestling League foe Michale Fagg-Daves of Rider. Despite having wrestled more matches on the day coming in, Corba was the aggressor early. He nearly secured a takedown in the opening minute before the action went out of bounds. Fagg-Daves tried to take Corba to the mat after about 90 seconds, but the veteran soon turned the tables and pinned his conference rival, ending the bout in under 100 seconds.
Corba’s second win of the day marked the first win by fall for a Viking at the NCAA Championships since 2005.
In his NCAA debut match, Corba fell behind early to his Big Ten opponent, Robert Steveson of Minnesota, and was not able to recover. Steveson had a 5-1 lead after two periods, and Corba was unable to mount a comeback in the final frame.
Corba picked up his 24th and 25th wins of the season Thursday and his 14th and 15th of the bonus-point variety.
It is the third consecutive season that a Viking has won at least one match at the NCAA Championships.
Corba will continue action Friday morning when he faces his second Big Ten opponent in as many days, No. 9 seed Nathan Jackson of Indiana. The Championships resume at 11:00 a.m. (ET).
CSU Results at the NCAA Championships
First Round: Robert Steveson (Minnesota) over Nick Corba (CSU) – 13-3 MD
Consolation First Round: Corba (CSU) over Ville Heino (Campbell) – 13-2 MD
Consolation Second Round: Corba (CSU) over Michale Fagg-Daves (Rider) – Fall 1:38