March 20, 2013
Wrestlers from all 12 Big Ten schools will head to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, this weekend to compete in the 2013 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 45 seeded grapplers and four 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 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-two Big Ten wrestlers earned spots in the NCAA Championships field by virtue of their Big Ten Championships finish, while 10 others received at-large bids to nationals. The conference sends at least seven wrestlers in each weight class, including 10 grapplers in the 197-pound bracket.
Four Big Ten wrestlers hold the top seeds in their weight classes, with Ohio State’s Logan Stieber (133 pounds) and Hunter Stieber (141), Northwestern’s Jason Welch (157) and Penn State’s Ed Ruth (184) entering the championships at No. 1. Iowa’s Matt McDonough looks for his third consecutive national title at 125 pounds, while Logan Stieber (133), Penn State’s David Taylor (165) and Ed Ruth (184, won at 174 last year) and Minnesota’s Tony Nelson (285) each won championships a season ago, while the Nittany Lions’ Quentin Wright (197) also seeks his second national crown, taking home the 184-pound title in 2011.
Five Big Ten schools have claimed NCAA Championships, led by Iowa with 23. Penn State enters this year’s event as the two-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 six years.
The three-day, six-session event will begin with preliminary matches at 11 a.m. CT on Thursday and will continue into the evening session beginning at 6:30 p.m. The third session will begin Friday at 10 a.m. with quarterfinal action and wrestlebacks highlighting the schedule. The championships' fourth session begins at 6 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 10 a.m. The sixth and final session is scheduled for Saturday evening at 7 p.m., where NCAA weight class champions will be crowned.