March 18, 2014
Rosemont, Ill. -
Wrestlers from all 12 Big Ten schools will head to the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., this weekend to compete in the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The championships begin Thursday morning and conclude with championship bouts on Saturday evening. The Big Ten leads the nation with 82 competing wrestlers, including 59 seeded grapplers and five No. 1 seeds across the 10 weight classes.
The ESPN family of networks will provide coverage for the entire event. All six sessions will be streamed on ESPN3.com, which will provide live mat-by-mat coverage of the championships. Both of Thursday’s and Friday’s sessions and Saturday’s first session will be broadcast live on ESPNU, while Saturday’s second session, featuring the championship bouts, will be shown on ESPN.
Seventy-four Big Ten wrestlers earned spots in the NCAA Championships field by virtue of their Big Ten Championships finish, while eight others received at-large bids to nationals. The conference sends at least seven wrestlers in each weight class, including 10 grapplers in the 184- and 285-pound brackets.
Five Big Ten wrestlers hold the top seeds in their weight classes, with Illinois’ Jesse Delgado (125 pounds), Minnesota’s Tony Nelson (285), Nebraska’s James Green (157), Ohio State’s Nick Heflin (197) and Penn State’s David Taylor (165) entering the championships at No. 1. Nelson, Ohio State’s Logan Stieber (141) and Penn State’s Ed Ruth (184) look for their third consecutive national titles, while Delgado and Iowa’s Derek St. John (157) won NCAA crowns a season ago. Taylor aims for his second national title, taking home the crown in 2012.
Five Big Ten schools have claimed NCAA Championships, led by Iowa with 23. Penn State enters this year’s event as the three-time defending champion. Minnesota boasts three championships, while Indiana and Michigan State have each earned one. A Big Ten school has taken home the team title in each of the past seven years.
The three-day, six-session event will begin with preliminary matches at Noon ET on 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 championships' fourth session begins at 8 p.m. and will feature semifinal action. Saturday morning brings 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 NCAA weight class champions will be crowned.