ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Wrestlers from all 14 Big Ten schools will head to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, to compete in the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships, which begin Thursday morning and conclude Saturday evening. The Big Ten is sending 89 wrestlers, including 54 seeded grapplers, and six No. 1 seeds across the 10 weight classes.
ESPN will broadcast every match on every mat again this year on ESPN3/WatchESPN, in addition to linear coverage of all six sessions. For the first time ever, ESPN will televise action on Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday on ESPN, while all other sessions are on ESPNU.
Seventy-seven Big Ten wrestlers earned spots in the NCAA Championships field by virtue of their Big Ten Championships finish, while 12 others received at-large bids. The conference is sending at least seven wrestlers in each weight class, including seven in the 285-pound weight class, eight in the 149- and 165-pound weight class, nine in the 125-, 133-, and 197-pound weight classes and 10 in the 141-, 157-, 174-, 184-pound weight classes.
Six Big Ten wrestlers hold the top seed in their respective weight classes – Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez (165), Iowa’s Thomas Gilman (125), Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder (285) and Nathan Tomasello (133), and Penn State’s Jason Nolf (157) and Zain Retherford (149).
Six Big Ten schools have claimed NCAA Championships, led by Iowa with 23. Penn State is the defending champion, winning the sixth title in program history last season. Minnesota follows with three national titles, while Indiana, Michigan State and Ohio State also own one title each. A Big Ten school has taken home the national title in each of the last 10 years.
The three-day, six-session event will begin with preliminary matches at noon ET Thursday and will continue into the evening session beginning at 7 p.m. The third session will begin Friday at 11 a.m., with quarterfinal action and wrestlebacks highlighting the schedule. The fourth session begins at 8 p.m. and will feature semifinal action.
Saturday morning marks the conclusion of the consolation bracket as third-, fifth- and seventh-place winners will be decided beginning at 11 a.m. The sixth, and final, session is scheduled for Saturday evening at 8 p.m., where team and individual class champions will be crowned.