Seeds Announced For 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships
The NCAA released the rankings for the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships, which will feature nine wrestlers from 2016 Big Ten Champion Penn State. The Nittany Lions will carry six veteran wrestlers to the tournament and three wrestlers who are brand new to the national stage.
At 125, senior Nico Megaludis will make his fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament after second place finishes in 2012 and 2013. He was awarded the No. 3 seed, and he will face the winner of the Brandon Jeske and Chasen Tolbert match. After a couple of high finishes in previous tournaments and this being his senior year, he will be gunning to stand at the top of the podium after everything is said and done.
Jordan Conaway comes in as the No. 5 seed at 133 where he will face Corey Keener from Central Michigan in the first round. It will be his final shot at an NCAA Championship or All-American bid as he’ll be graduating this year.
Jimmy Gulibon surprised everybody at 141 with his runner-up finish in the Big Ten Championships. That finish wasn’t enough to earn him a ranking in the NCAA Championships, but he still got an automatic bid. Gulibon will face No. 5 Matt Manley from Missouri in the first round.
Zain Retherford got an expected No. 1 seed from the NCAA after finishing atop the 149 weight class in the Big Ten Championships. The sophomore will face the winner of Chris Vassar and Bryce Hammond in the first round. This will be his second appearance in the national tournament after finishing fifth at 141 in 2014.
The surprising loss to Isaiah Martinez by Jason Nolf in the championship at 157 in the Big Ten Tournament dropped Nolf down a few spots in the rankings. The redshirt freshman earned a No. 3 seed where he will face Kamaal Shakur of Chattanooga in Nolf’s first trip to the NCAA Championships.
Geno Morelli, the eighth place finisher at 165 in the Big Ten Championships, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The junior is unranked, and he will face No. 11 John Staudenmayer of North Carolina in the first round. This is Morelli’s first appearance in the NCAA Championships so he will look to impress coaches and fans to show what he can do.
Bo Nickal earned the No. 1 seed at 174 after placing first in the Big Ten Championships. He will face Josef Johnson of Harvard in the first round in his first NCAA Championship appearance.
At 184, Matt McCutcheon received the No. 16 seed. This will be McCutcheon’s second straight appearance at the NCAA Championships, and he will face Bucknell’s Tom Sleigh in the first round.
Morgan McIntosh was a driven man in his final Big Ten Championship, and he rightfully earned the No. 1 seed at 197 after winning the Big Ten Championships. The senior will face Ryan Wolfe from Rider in the first round. McIntosh hopes to capture his first NCAA Championship in his final tournament.
With nine wrestlers qualified for the tournament in New York City which begins on Thursday, March 17, the Nittany Lions already have an advantage with their staggering number of qualifiers. Teams such as Iowa, North Carolina State, and Virginia Tech will still be right with the Nittany Lions until the end, making for a very competitive NCAA Championship field.