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Gutches storms into Midlands semis

EVANSTON, Ill. — Brock Gutches positioned himself for another historic finish at the 52nd annual Midlands Championships with four straight wins Monday on the first day of action at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Southern Oregon's 174-pounder will meet top-seeded Mike Evans of the University of Iowa during today's first session, which begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. The finals are slated to start at 5 p.m.

Gutches, seeded No. 7 after placing fourth at the 2013 Midlands Championships, started the day with a pin of Wisconsin's Ben Cox in 4:29. He defeated Princeton's Troy Murtha in the round of 32, 5-1, before reaching the quarterfinals with a pin of Brown's Richard McDonald in 2:29. Gutches won quarterfinal match against Indiana's Nate Jackson, the No. 8 seed, by a 4-2 decision.

He'll put an 18-1 record on the line against Evans, who is a two-time NCAA All-American and won the Midlands' 174-pound bracket last year. Meeting in the other semifinal are second-seeded Zac Brunson of Illinois and 10th-seeded John Sebastian of Northwestern.

Dalton Urrutia and Ryan McWatters picked up consolation wins for the Raiders. At 157, Urrutia lost by fall in the first round against Cal State Bakersfield's Spencer Hill but bounced back with a 6-1 triumph over Souther Illinois Edwardsville's Erik Travers. His run ended in the next round when Penn's Brooks Martino pinned him in 2:42.

McWatters' 7-4 win over Purdue's Tanner Lynde in the 184-pound consolation bracket was bookended by a first-round 12-3 loss against Penn's Lorenzo Thomas and a controversial 7-6 consolation loss to ninth-seeded Nikko Reyes of Illinois.

Tyler Cowger went down by major decision and fall in his two matches.