College wrestling’s postseason has already begun and the state’s three NCAA Division I programs will compete in conference tournaments this weekend.
University of Iowa will travel to Michigan State for the Big Ten Championships Saturday and Sunday in East Lansing, Mich. Iowa State and University of Northern Iowa will wrestle in the Big 12 Championships at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. Wrestlers will compete for berths to the national tournament March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The conferences released tournament pre-seeds for each weight Monday.
The third-ranked Hawkeyes have four wrestlers seeded in the top two of their respective weights, including 157-pound sophomore Michael Kemerer (20-0). He split votes with Penn State NCAA champion Jason Nolf, who is 19-1 after missing some time due to injury that resulted in his lone loss. Freshmen Spencer Lee (125) and Alex Marinelli (165) and three-time All-American and former NCAA finalist Brandon Sorensen (149) are seeded second.
Lee is behind Rutgers’ Nick Suriano. Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez is the top seed at 165 and Penn State’s Zain Retherford is first at 149.
Iowa’s Cash Wilcke is seeded third at 197, while heavyweight Sam Stoll is fourth. Joey Gunther is seventh at 174 and Mitch Bowman received the eighth pre-seed at 184.
UNI has three wrestlers seeded first in the Panthers’ debut at the Big 12 tournament. All-Americans Max Thomsen (149) and Drew Foster (184) are joined by 174-pounder Taylor Lujan as top seeds.
The Panthers have six seeded in the top six, including Josh Alber (141) and 197-pounder Jacob Holschlag, who are both seeded third. Logan Ryan is fifth at 157 and Jay Schwarm (125) is sixth for UNI.
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Iowa State heavyweight and NCAA qualifier Marcus Harrington is seeded second. He could face UNI’s Carter Isley in the quarterfinals. Harrington is the highest Cyclone pre-seed. Ian Parker and Jarrett Degen are fourth at 141 and 149, respectively. Sam Colbray (197) is fifth, while former Independence prep Chase Straw is sixth at 157.
Pre-seeds could change before the start of each tournament.
Both conference tournaments serve as a national qualifier. The Big Ten will have 80 automatic berths, leading all NCAA D-I conferences. The top-10 Big Ten finishers at 125 and 165 will advance to the national tournament. Nine automatic spots are up for grabs at 149. Eight automatic bids are available at 141, 157 and 184. Heavyweight, 133 and 174 have seven qualifying spots. Six were earned at 197.
The Big 12 is third with 45 automatic NCAA berths, two back of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA). The 125-pound bracket leads the way with seven qualifying spots. There are six at 165 and five each at 133, 149 and 174. The top four wrestlers at 184 and 197 will advance. All other weights have berths for the top three medalists.
Each allocation is determined by a formula that includes winning percentage at the current weight class, Ratings Percentage Index and coaches’ rankings. Conferences received an automatic berth at the weight for each competing wrestler that reached a specified threshold in at least two of the three categories.
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