LARAMIE, Wyo. -
A trio of Cowboy wrestlers are set to compete inside the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City this week. Senior Tanner Harms, junior Drew Templeman and sophomore Bryce Meredith will be the first Wyoming student-athletes to compete in The Garden in 30 years. Action for the NCAA Championship opens on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. MT and runs through Saturday night.
ESPN will televise the semifinals (March 18) and finals (March 19) in prime time and ESPNU will televise the first and second rounds (March 17), quarterfinals (March 18) and medal round (March 19). ESPN3 will carry individual mat feeds throughout the entire tournament allowing fans to choose which wrestlers and/or schools to follow at any time. Eight mats will be used for the first, second and quarterfinals, before the competition is reduced to six mats for the semifinals, three mats for the medal round and one mat for the finals.
Additionally, for computer users, ESPN3 will once again offer multi-mat, simultaneous viewing which allows fans to watch up to four different mats at one time. Also for the third consecutive year, Off the Mat -- a special presentation of the Championships finals -- will be seen on ESPN3.
NCAA Championship Rundown
The Cowboys will send three wrestlers to the NCAA Championship this weekend. The trio will mark 301 Cowboy wrestlers that have competed at the NCAA Championship. It will also mark the first time the UW wrestling program has competed in Madison Square Garden. Two of the Cowboys received seeds to this season's championship with one Poke being unseeded.
Junior Drew Templeman has had a solid season for the Pokes at 125 pounds. He qualified for the NCAA Championship after earning one of six automatic bids to the NCAA Championship at the Big 12 Championship as he finished fourth at the event going 2-2. He is 18-8 on the season and was ranked in both the Coaches' Panel Rankings and the RPI. Templeman's first round opponent will be eighth seeded MAC Champion Barlow McGhee. The No. 1 seed at 125 pounds is Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State.
Sophomore Bryce Meredith has been the most consistent force for the Pokes this season. He sports a 25-4 record this season and ranked fifth in the NCAA RPI and 12th in the Coaches' Panel Rankings. He went 3-1 at the Big 12 Championship earning one of three automatic spots to the NCAA Championship, as he finished fourth. Meredith will meet up with Arizona State's Robbie Mathers, as he earned an automatic bid to the tournament at the Pac-12 Championship. The No. 1 seed at the weight class is Dean Heil of Oklahoma State.
Senior Tanner Harms may be the Cowboys hottest wrestler right now. He has won eight of his last nine matches with all his losses this season coming to ranked opponents. He finished second at the Big 12 Championship. He is 19-4 on the season. He won the Reno tournament of Champions this season beating two ranked wrestlers on his way to the title. Harms heads to the tournament with 60 career wins. Nick Gwiadowski of NC State is the No. 1 seed.
He Said it
"We are going to a special venue and it will be a memorable moment for our guys to compete for a national championship," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "It will be a challenge for us and we are trying to do everything we can to prepare."
"Everyone knows what is at stake and what they have worked for. We really don't have to hype it up that much," Branch said. "I felt that we have really focused on our guys competing and trying to stay healthy, which we have done."