PITTSBURGH, Penn. — Cal Poly 197-pounder Tom Lane has won his first two matches in the 2019 NCAA Division I National Wrestling Championships on Thursday inside PPG Paints Arena.
Seeded No. 21 in his weight class, Lane upset the 12th seed, Rocco Caywood of Army, in an 8-3 decision during the opening round Thursday afternoon.
In the second session Thursday night, Lane scored another upset, edging fifth-seeded Jacob Warner of Iowa 4-2 in overtime.
Lane is the first Mustang to reach the quarterfinal round since both Boris Novachkov and Ryan DesRoches won their first two matches in the 2012 NCAA Championships. Novachkov finished third at 141 pounds while DesRoches was eighth at 174.
"Tom trains unbelievably hard and has made a conscious effort to improve his wrestling," said third-year Mustang head coach Jon Sioredas. "Most people do not get to see the years of training that goes into a performance like today. I have been lucky enough to have had a front row seat."
Caywood scored a takedown in the opening period for a 2-0 lead and Lane was warned twice for stalling in the second period, giving Caywood a penalty point and a 3-0 lead.
The third period was all Lane, however, as the junior scored eight unanswered points — a four-point near-fall, an escape and a takedown plus riding time — for the win in his first-ever match against Caywood.
Against Warner, Lane gave up a takedown in the first period, rode Warner out in the second period and tied the match with a third-period takedown to force overtime. Lane won the match with a takedown with one second remaining in the sudden-victory period.
"I was telling myself that I know I am in amazing shape and have to give it my all," Lane said.
Lane faces fourth-seeded Patrick Brucki (33-1) of Princeton in the quarterfinals Friday afternoon. Lane faced Brucki one time before, at the Midlands in December 2017, and Brucki won by injury default.
Lane is one of four wrestlers seeded 20th or lower to reach the quarterfinals in the 10 weight classes.
"I'm a kid who wasn't supposed to be here," Lane told Andy Hamilton of trackwrestling.com. "I'm a 21 seed. Everyone's writing about Jacob Warner and Pat Brucki. Everyone's writing about how Caywood's supposed to kill me, Jacob Warner's supposed to kill me. I'm supposed to go 0-2 or 1-2 in this tournament. No one gave me a shot.
"I've got three coaches that believe in me and I believe in them," Lane added. "I think with those guys in my corner I can do anything. … It's just showing everyone in the country that kids from (a school) with one qualifier, an engineering school that's not the biggest in athletics, can beat big, bad Iowa with (nine) qualifiers and an RTC."
Lane is 21-11 for the season and 66-41 in his Mustang career following Thursday's pair of wins. The Garden City, N.Y. native also qualified for the nationals a year ago in Cleveland, winning one of three matches.
Cal Poly has not won a dual meet since February 2017, has claimed just one Pac-12 individual title in the last five years (Colton Schilling in 2018) and has not produced an NCAA All-American in seven years. Lane feels that will change soon.
"We are building and we are showing that you can win at Cal Poly," Lane said. "I am doing this for my team and showing the entire country that you can do it at Cal Poly."
Photo at top of page courtesy of Larry Slater; Photo on left side of page courtesy of David Hague | Pittsburgh Sports Now; Photo on lower right side of page courtesy of Randy Martin