Iowa Hawkeyes

Wrestling notes: NCAA announces national tournament allocations

Big Ten leads all conferences with 78 automatic bids; Grand View names women's coach; Sarasin makes D-III field

Iowa Hawkeyes' Alex Marinelli (right) controls the leg of Maryland Terrapins' Philip Spadafora during the 165-pound bout of their Big Ten Conference dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Marinelli won with a fall in 3:50. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes' Alex Marinelli (right) controls the leg of Maryland Terrapins' Philip Spadafora during the 165-pound bout of their Big Ten Conference dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Marinelli won with a fall in 3:50. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

The Big Ten Conference remains college wrestling’s most competitive.

The national tournament allocations provide proof.

The Big Ten has earned 78 automatic bids to the Division I Championships, according to Friday’s news release from the NCAA. The Big 12 Conference is second of the eight D-I wrestling conferences with 53.

The Big Ten received the most automatic berths in eight of 10 weight classes, including nine at 125, 141, 157 and 165. The conference is assured of eight qualifiers at 133, 174 and 184 with seven at heavyweight.

The Big 12 leads the way with seven automatic bids at 149 and 197.

Each NCAA tournament consists of 33 wrestlers. Twenty-nine spots have been allocated to conference placewinners at seven weight classes. Twenty-eight were handed out at 149 and 197 and 27 at 174.

The rest of the brackets will be filled with at-large selections based on head-to-head performance and results against common opponents, quality wins, coaches’ rankings, placement at qualifying tournaments, winning percentage and RPI.

Iowa has all 10 wrestlers ranked 29th or better in the latest coaches’ rankings, including No. 2 Alex Marinelli at 165. Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto are third at 125 and 133, respectively.

Iowa State has eight in the coaches’ rankings, including fifth-ranked 197-pounder Willie Miklus and No. 10 Austin Gomez at 133.

Northern Iowa has six in the rankings, including Josh Alber (141) and Taylor Lujan (174), who are both seventh. All-Americans Max Thomsen (149) and 184-pounder Drew Foster are ninth and 10th, respectively.

Grand View names women's coach

Grand View struck gold when it hired Nick Mitchell to start up the Vikings’ men’s wrestling program in 2008. The school will try to mirror the same success with the addition of women’s wrestling.

Grand View named Angelo Crinzi as the inaugural head coach for the Vikings’ women’s program that will begin this fall.

“I am excited about this position at my alma mater,” said Crinzi, who graduated from Grand View in 2014 and was a member of three NAIA national champion and three NWCA National Duals champion teams. “I am at the stage in my career where I have developed an understanding that my mission is to be the best possible coach for my student-athletes so they can achieve things they might not have thought possible.

"Joining a reputable and growing academic institution, like Grand View, is an amazing opportunity.”

Crinzi is in his fourth season leading the men’s and women’s teams at Lindenwood (Mo.) University-Belleville.

The Vikings’ men’s team is wrestling for its eighth straight NAIA Championships team title this weekend in Des Moines. Former Cedar Rapids Prairie prep Josh Wenger is in search of his third All-American finish. He was a national champion as a freshman at 141, placing fifth last season.

Fourth-ranked Wenger opened the tournament Friday with two wins, including one major decision.

Ben Sarasin advances to NCAA

Former Cedar Rapids Kennedy state champion and University of Chicago freshman Ben Sarasin qualified for the NCAA Division III national tournament March 8-9 in Roanoke, Va.

Sarasin improved to 29-6 this season, going 4-0 at the Upper Midwest Regional on Saturday. He opened with a fall and major decision, receiving a medical forfeit in the final and becoming the Maroons’ first regional champion since 2015.

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Sarasin earned United Athletic Association Wrestler of the Week honors for his performance and was one of the program’s two NCAA qualifiers.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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