ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Sophomore Franklin Gomez saw his path to a national championship ended on Friday night, as he fell in the 2008 NCAA Championships 133-pound semifinal bout to Iowa's Joey Slaton, 3-1 in overtime.
In front of near sell out crowd at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., the two wrestlers battled to a 1-1 score at the end of regulation. Starting the sudden victory overtime in a neutral position, Slaton, the weight class' No. 4 seed, went after Gomez, the No. 1 seed, and was able to take him down 31 seconds in for the 3-1 win.
The first period went scoreless and Gomez chose to start the second period down. He escaped 20 second in for the lone points of the second period. Slaton started the third down and also had a fast escape to even the match at one.
Gomez will face No. 7 Mike Grey of Cornell in tomorrow morning's consolation semifinals.
Tonight was the third meeting between Gomez and Slaton. Slaton gave Gomez his lone loss of the season, prior to tonight, at the Midland Championships on Dec. 30, but Gomez redeemed himself with a hard-fought 10-8 win in the Big Ten Championship semifinals.
Earlier today, Gomez moved onto the semifinals by beating No. 8-seed Mack Reiter of Minnesota, 5-3, in the quarterfinals. Gomez and Reiter went scoreless in the first period and Reiter chose to start down to begin the second. The Gopher escaped 23 seconds in, but Gomez quickly followed with a takedown 16 seconds later to take a 2-1 lead. Reiter would escape with 38 seconds remaining in the period, but again Gomez was quick to jump back on Reiter, posting a takedown with 21 seconds left. In what would be the last points scored in regulation, Reiter escaped with 11 seconds on the clock, bringing Gomez' lead back to 4-3. Gomez decided to start the third in a neutral position and withheld Reiter's attempts for a takedown, to hold on for the win. Gomez' 1:24 of riding time from the second period, moved the final tally to 5-3 in favor of the Spartan.
Gomez is has now defeated Reiter in both meetings this season.
Saturday morning's session is set to begin at 11 a.m. ET and can be seen live on ESPNU.