Zach Rey of Lehigh University ranks as the best of the big men as the top-seeded wrestler in the 285-pound (heavyweight) bracket at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships which begins Thursday in Philadelphia.
The massive Mountain Hawk has a near-perfect 29-1 record going into the NCAAs, with that one loss being to Ryan Flores of American University at the 2011 EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) championships two weeks ago. Despite beating Rey at the conference finals, Flores is seeded third, behind Rey and Jarod Trice of Central Michigan, the 2011 MAC (Mid-American Conference) champ. The fourth seed is another EIWA heavyweight, DJ Russo of Rutgers.
Looking back to last year’s NCAAs: The 2010 NCAA heavyweight title bout was a Big 12 affair, with David Zabriskie of Iowa State getting a 3-2 win over Oklahoma State‘s Jared Rosholt. Zabriskie and Rosholt have both graduated; the former Cowboy entering the world of MMA (mixed martial arts).
Meet the seeds: Here are brief bios of the 12 wrestlers who were seeded for the 285-pound bracket at the 2011 NCAAs — including four Big Ten wrestlers, and three each from the Big 12 and the EIWA — in order of their seedings:
- 1. Zach Rey, Lehigh, a junior with a 29-1 record this season. 2011 EIWA runner-up. Placed third at the 2010 NCAAs, earning All-American honors.
- 2. Jarod Trice, Central Michigan, junior, 26-3. 2011 MAC champ. Was a 2010 NCAA All-American by finishing eighth.
- 3. Ryan Flores, American, junior, 22-5. 2011 EIWA champ.
- 4. DJ Russo, Rutgers, senior, 30-6. This Scarlet Knight competes in the EIWA.
- 5. Dom Bradley, Missouri, junior, 25-3. 2011 Big 12 champ. Spent two seasons as understudy to 2009 NCAA heavyweight champ Mark Ellis.
- 6. Ryan Tomei, Pitt, senior, 28-4. 2011 EWL (Eastern Wrestling League) champ.
- 7. Blake Rasing, Iowa, junior, 17-5. 2011 Big Ten champ.
- 8. Tony Nelson, Minnesota, freshman, 29-6. 2011 Big Ten runner-up.
- 9. Cameron Wade, Penn State, junior, 28-6. Also wrestles in the Big Ten.
- 10. Nathan Fernandez, Oklahoma, senior, 20-5. 2011 Big 12 runner-up.
- 11. Tucker Lane, Nebraska, junior, 29-7. Another Big 12 big man.
- 12. Eric Bugenhagen, Wisconsin, senior, 28-11. The fourth Big Ten heavyweight who was seeded in the bracket.
First matches for top four seeds: Here are the first foes for the first four seeds in the heavyweight bracket at the 2011 NCAAs:
- No. 1 seed Rey vs. unseeded Parker Burns of Campbell, 17-13, East Region
- No. 2 seed Trice vs. unseeded Josh Wine of VMI (Virginia Military Institute), 19-5. 2011 Southern Conference champ.
- No. 3 seed Flores vs. unseeded Ben Apland of Michigan, 17-14. Yet another Big Ten wrestler.
- No. 4 seed Russo vs. unseeded Levi Cooper of Arizona State, 24-9. Pac-10 wrestler.
Want to know more? For the official 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling website, click here. For 2011 D1 brackets, click here. For TheMat.com‘s D1 page, click here. For predictions from InterMat writers, click here. For TheOpenMat.com preview of the 285-pound weight class, click here.
March Matness is just beginning! This week, College Wrestling Examiner will be providing a “Mat Bracketology” analysis for each of the ten weight classes at the 2011 NCAAs, along with other features. Click the “subscribe” button at the top of the page to make sure you don’t miss a single article… or any of the action from Philadelphia. It’s absolutely FREE!
College Wrestling 101: Links to College Wrestling Examiner articles answering basic questions about wrestling, including rules, scoring, uniforms, more
Follow College Wrestling Examiner Mark Palmer on Twitter