March 7, 2013
The 2013 Big Ten Wrestling Championships are set for this Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, at Assembly Hall on the campus of the University of Illinois.
The event gets underway at 10 a.m. CT on Saturday, with the preliminary and quarterfinal matches taking place in Session I. Session II begins at 5 p.m., as semifinals and the opening rounds of wrestlebacks conclude the day’s action. Consolation semifinals and seventh-place matches get underway at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, while first-, third- and fifth-place matches begin at 1:30 p.m.
BTN will provide live streaming coverage of the Big Ten wrestling preliminaries on the Big Ten Digital Network, beginning at 10 a.m. CT on Saturday. Streaming coverage will continue with select matches in Sessions II and III, while the championship rounds will be carried live on BTN. Tim Johnson, Jim Gibbons and Shane Sparks will call the action.
Penn State enters the championships looking to claim its third straight Big Ten Championship after earning the title in 2011 and 2012. The Nittany Lions earned 149 team points last year, followed by Minnesota with with 134. Eight wrestlers that took home Big Ten titles last season return to this year’s championships, with Iowa’s Matt McDonough (125 pounds), Ohio State’s Logan Stieber (133), Iowa’s Derek St. John (157), Penn State’s David Taylor (165) and Ed Ruth (174; wrestling this season at 184), Minnesota’s Kevin Steinhaus (184), Illinois’ Mario Gonzalez (197) and Minnesota’s Tony Nelson (285) each taking home crowns at last year’s event.
The championships’ 10 top seeds are spread across six schools, with Penn State leading the way with three. The Nittany Lions’ Taylor (165), Ruth (184) and Quentin Wright (197) earned top billing in their weight classes, while Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State each hold two top-ranked wrestlers. The Hawkeyes’ McDonough (125 pounds) and St. John (157), the Gophers’ Logan Storley (174) and Nelson (285) and the Buckeyes’ Logan Stieber (133) and Hunter Stieber (141) each earned top seeds, while Michigan’s Eric Grajales (149) rounded out the group of top-ranked grapplers.
Eight Big Ten teams enter the championships ranked in the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll, led by top-ranked Minnesota. The Gophers are followed by No. 3 Penn State, No. 5 Iowa, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 8 Illinois, No. 12 Nebraska, No. 14 Purdue and No. 18 Michigan. Northwestern and Wisconsin are receiving votes in the poll.