March 10, 2011
The complete field for the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships was unveiled on Wednesday, including brackets for the event that will be held March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa.
After awarding 280 automatic bids through regional and conference qualifying tournaments last week, the NCAA named 50 at-large selections on Wednesday. Wyoming did not add to its total of six qualifiers, but the West Regional earned two at-large bids in North Dakota State's Trent Sprenkle at 125 pounds and Northern Colorado's Casey Cruz at 133.
With 33 wrestlers competing at each weight class, the NCAA seeds the top 12 in each class and draws in the remaining wrestlers. UW's Joe LeBlanc earned the fifth seed at 184 pounds, while Shane Onufer was tabbed seventh at 165. Of the four remaining Cowboys, LJ Helbig (197) is the only wrestler to face a seeded opponent in the first round.
"I like our draws at every weight," head coach Mark Branch said. "Any time you go to the NCAA Championships, you are going to face the best competition every match. We only have one match in front of us right now and that is our focus. The opportunity is out there for each one of our wrestlers and we need to seize that opportunity."
LeBlanc opens with Purdue's A.J. Kissel and Onufer wrestlers Turtogtokh Luvsandorj of The Citadel. Helbig squares off with No. 8 Matt Powless of Indiana, while Michael Martinez (125) will face Rutgers' Joseph Langel. Cole Dallaserra (149) wrestles the winner of Oklahoma's Matt Lester and Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi and Patrick Martinez (174) opens against Minnesota's Scott Glasser. Fans can view the complete brackets for each weight by clicking on the link above.