Brackets Released for 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships
INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA released the brackets for next week's Division I Wrestling Championships on Wednesday evening during the NCAA selection show and both Chasen Tolbert and Jade Rauser of Utah Valley University received tough draws, as they will each be tested early this year.
Both Wolverine seniors will enter the tournament unseeded and the 125-pound Tolbert (17-7) will begin his 2016 run right out of the gate in the pigtail round against Old Dominion's Brandon Jeske. Jeske (18-11) enters the NCAA Championships after placing fourth at the MAC Championships last weekend. The winner of that contest will then advance on to face the three-time All-American and No. 3 seed Nico Megaludis (27-3) of Penn State while the loser will drop to the wrestlebacks.
The 133-pound Rauser (20-6) too received another tough draw at nationals, as he will open against the two-time All-American and No. 2 seed from Iowa Cory Clark (22-1) in the opening round. Clark will enter the tournament off of a Big Ten title last week, while Rauser will enter following a third-place finish at the Big 12 Championship. The winner of that contest will then face the winner of No. 15 Josh Alber (26-10) of Northern Iowa vs. Oklahoma State's Gary Wayne Harding (15-11) of Oklahoma State, while the loser will fall to the wrestlebacks.
Rauser punched his ticket to the 2016 NCAA Championships after placing third at the Big 12's last week while Tolbert received an at-large selection on Tuesday.
Next week's NCAA Championship will mark Rauser's fourth consecutive appearance at the tournament while Tolbert will enter the "Big Show" for the second straight time.
This year's NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be contested at Madison Square Garden in New York City March 17-19. The first session of the national tournament will begin at noon ET/10 a.m. MT on Thursday, March 17 and can be watched live on ESPN3.
Utah Valley's first-round matches at the 2016 NCAA Championships
- 125: Chasen Tolbert (17-7) vs. Brandon Jeske (Old Dominion, 18-11)
- 133: Jade Rauser (20-6) vs. #2 Cory Clark (Iowa, 22-1)