ROANOKE, Va. — Augustana's Adarios Jones could not have had much different matches Friday at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships. But he came out on top both times to move into this morning’s semifinals at heavyweight.
Jones, a junior from Moline, defeated Trevor Piggott of Olivet (Mich.) 20-8 in his opening match and then edged Jake O’Brien of Ithaca (N.Y.) 2-1 in the quarterfinals. He will face unbeaten Drew Kasper, who became the first All-American for Otterbein (Ohio) when he defeated defending national champion Jake Evans in the quarterfinals.
Kasper scored 35 points in a pair of wins Friday, giving Jones the type of opponent he likes to see.
“Kasper, it looks like he’s had a good year, and I haven’t had a chance to wrestle him, but that’s good because he’ll never wrestle a guy like me or will come close to me,” Jones said. “I can’t wait to see him.”
Jones advanced when he scored the deciding point with 16 seconds remaining when O’Brien was called for backing off the mat for a second time, giving Jones a penalty point.
“That match was interesting, just for the fact that it goes to show my gas tank and my sheer will to be the best I can in this sport,” Jones said. “When I get guys like that, they do everything they can to negate my offense. Up until the last 30 seconds, he didn’t really shoot or do anything.”
Even though he knew O’Brien had been warned once for stepping out of bounds, Jones said he wasn’t necessarily trying to win with a pushout.
“I want to score points regardless, and I will push the pace consistently and as much as I can,” he said. “It looks like I’m just trying to push for that stepout or that stall call, but, honestly, I just want some kind of reaction instead of trying to clam up.”
Jones had just the type of opening match he was looking for, recording nine takedowns while not allowing any offensive points against Piggott.
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“It's always good (to open in that fashion),” he said. “It feels really good. It's a really nice chance for me to open up my body and get it ready for the next two days.
The most difficult part for Jones was the wait. As the No. 2 seed at heavyweight, he had the last match of the first round.
“The waiting is actually the worst, including the week building up,” he said. “It's not that I am nervous or anxious or anything like that; it's just that I am so ready to go. I just want to be on the mat.”
Already assured of ending the season today as an All-American for the second time in three years, Jones will head into the final day as the highest seed remaining since top seed James Bethel, last year’s runner-up from Oneonta State (N.Y.) lost in the quarterfinals.
Track and field
Eastburn reaches two finals at Div. III nationals: Augustana junior Katie Eastburn qualified for the finals in both the 200 and 400 meters at the NCAA Division III indoor track and field championships Friday.
Eastburn's 56.51 in the 400 was the second best qualifying time in the event and her 25.00 in the 200 left her third in that event heading into the finals.
On the men's side, Augustana sophomore Ryan Thornton placed fourth in the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 9 inches.