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All-American berths on the line today

PHILADELPHIA -- Five local wrestlers remain in the hunt for All-American status at the NCAA Division I Championships.

The University at Buffalo's Kevin Smith, Mark Lewandowski (Lancaster), Desi Green and John-Martin Cannon, and American University's Matt Mariacher (Iroquois) went 1-1 Thursday in the Wells Fargo Center and will enter the first round of wrestlebacks this morning with hopes of working their way to a top-eight finish. Both sessions of Thursday's action had announced crowds of 17,289.

In the preliminary round, Smith defeated Thomas Mitchell of Liberty, 3-2, in the 133-pound weight division, while Lewandowski rallied from behind, 0-2, forcing University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Josh Condon onto his back in the 157-pound division to secure a pin 3:37 into regulation.

Smith fell in the following round to No. 2 seed Andrew Hochstrasser of Boise State, 16-1. Lewandowski was nearing victory with a 4-2 lead over fourth-seeded Bubba Jenkins of Arizona State before being pinned late in the third and final period of the match.

John-Martin Cannon also overcame a first round loss to move on in the 165-pound weight class. Cannon broke a 5-5 tie with a two-point takedown in the final seconds of his second bout against Ryan DeRoches of Cal Poly State University.

For Cannon, it was just about getting the first-round jitters out.

"I didn't get on my attacks quick enough [in the first match] and let him hang around and I'm pretty average when I let kids hang around," he said.

But when the whistle blew in the second match Cannon was on the attack. After all, an All-American label was on the line.

"Right off the bat I got that takedown and I felt a lot better this match," he said.

With the match tied, Cannon escaped to capture the lead and bring his opponent down one last time, walking off the mat with an 8-6 victory.

"[Today] anything can happen," Cannon said. "Just got to keep being aggressive and hopefully I'll be an All-American."

Also advancing for UB is 12th-seeded Desi Green, who is UB's only seeded wrestler. After dropping a close match to Eric Terrazas of the University of Illinois, 3-1, in the preliminaries, Green defeated Daniel Zilverberg of the University of Minnesota, 8-5, in the second round to stay alive in the 149-pound bracket.

Eleventh-seeded Mariacher of American University defeated Kaleb Friedley of Northwestern, 7-2, in the 141-pound weight class before falling to No. 6 seed Andrew Alton of Penn State, 13-4.

Buffalo's Andrew Schutt (141) and Brett Corell (285) were both eliminated during Thursday's competition.

Wrestling resumes at 10:30 a.m. today.

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