Preview: NCAA Wrestling Championships
The NCAA Wrestling Championships begin today at 11 in Omaha's Qwest Center. The second-ranked Cyclones will have their entire 10-man roster in attendance while hoping to compete for a national championship.
Here's today's first round lineup for Iowa State:
125 - (5) Andrew Long vs. Ryan Mango of Stanford. 133 - (10) Nick Fanthorpe vs. Cortlandt Choate of Brown. 141 - Dalton Jensen vs. (4) Reece Humphrey of Ohio State. 149 - (7) Mitch Mueller vs. Fank Gayeski of Liberty. 157 - Andrew Sorenson vs. Anthony Jones of Michigan State. 165 - (4) Jon Reader vs. Chris Brown of Old Dominion. 174 - Duke Burk vs. (10) Jordan Blanton of Illinois. 184 - Jerome Ward vs. (1) Kirk Smith of Boise State. 197 - (1) Jake Varner vs. Matt Casperson of Boise State. HWT - (1) Dave Zabriskie vs. Eric Bugenhagen of Wisconsin.
Television Information: ESPNU/ESPN March 19: ESPNU: 9:30 a.m., 6 p.m. March 20: ESPNU: 10 a.m.; ESPN: 6:30 p.m.
Official Iowa State Release
• No. 2 Iowa State heads to the 2010 NCAA Championships with its entire lineup of 10 wrestlers for the fourth-straight year. ISU looks to improve upon their third-place finish from a season ago. The Cyclones have placed in the top-five at three consecutive NCAA events. ISU head coach Kevin Jackson enters his first NCAA event with four returning ISU All-Americans.
• ISU crowned two Big 12 Conference individual champions en route to a team runner-up finish at the 2010 Big 12 Championship in Norman, Okla. March 6. Seniors Jake Varner (197) and David Zabriskie (HWT) took top honors for ISU.
• Iowa State notched the 1,000th dual victory in program history Feb. 7 at Arizona State with a 30-10 win. The Cyclones closed out the season on a seven dual winning-streak. ISU is 1,002-263-20 all-time in duals, dating back to 1916.
• ISU’s wins at No. 10 Oklahoma (21-12) and No. 3 Oklahoma State (20-18) Jan. 22-24 marks just the second time in Cyclone history (1971) that ISU has won at OU and at OSU in the same season. Iowa State is perfect in the Big 12 (4-0) with a Feb. 14 victory over No. 17 Missouri, 28-10, and a Feb. 21 win over Nebraska, 34-7.
• Iowa State posted their best National Duals finish since 2000, earning second place Jan. 10 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. ISU beat Bloomsburg, No. 8 Maryland and No. 3 Ohio State before falling to No. 1 Iowa, 19-12.
• Two Cyclones have at least 26 wins this season. Varner (197) is perfect at a 26-0 mark. ISU’s Andrew Sorenson (157) has also tallied 26 victories.
Iowa State at the NCAA Championships
• Iowa State has won the NCAA Championship eight times in program history (1933, 65, 69, 70, 72, 73, 77, 87).
• ISU has notched team runner-up finishes a NCAA-record 17 times, with 2007 being the latest such occasion.
• The Cyclones have recorded top-five finishes at the NCAA meet for three-straight seasons (2007, 2nd; 2008, T-5th; 2009, 3rd).
• ISU has established itself as one the premier wrestling programs in the country by finishing in the top five at the NCAA Championships 46 times in its history.
• ISU placed third at the 2009 NCAA Championships behind an individual title performance from Jake Varner at 197 pounds. Iowa State totaled four All-Americans in the event.
• For the fourth-straight season, a full ISU contingent of 10 wrestlers will battle for NCAA Wrestling bragging rights.
Scouting the NCAA Championships
• For this year’s edition of the NCAA event, 54 All-American wrestlers will step onto the mats in search of reclaiming their positions on the podium
• Eight NCAA champions return to this season’s finale in hopes of notching another individual title. One of the returning champions is Iowa State’s Jake Varner at 197 pounds.
• Competitors Angel Escobedo of Indiana and Troy Nickerson of Cornell will toughen the field at 125 pounds. Escobedo was the weight’s champion in 2008 and Nickerson took top-honors last season. Cyclone Andrew Long is the No. 5 seed in the 125-pound division.
• ISU 133-pounder Nick Fanthorpe has his work cut out for him in his final NCAA Championships. The 2008 All-American finds himself seeded 10th in a division returning six All-Americans, in total.
• Unseeded Iowa Stater Dalton Jensen will look to make a splash in the 141-pound division. Only two 2009 All-Americans return to this year’s 141-pound bracket.
• Senior Mitch Mueller will look to cap his ISU career with his best NCAA appearance. The No. 7 Mueller is seeded for the first time entering the event. Six All-Americans return in the 149-pound weight class.
• The chance for a repeat titlist at 157 pounds dissipated with the season-ending injury of Nebraska’s Jordan Burroughs. Six All-Americans will battle for top-honors in the division, with 2007 NCAA 149-pound champion Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota holding the No. 6 seed.
• At 165 pounds, last season’s finalists return in flip-flopped positions. Defending champion Jarrod King of Edinboro is seeded second to Wisconsin’s Andrew Howe, the top-seeded competitor. Two-time All-American Jon Reader holds the fourth-seed for Iowa State.
• Iowa State’s Jake Varner will look to make it four-for-four in NCAA finals appearances. Varner is the No. 1 seed at 197 pounds. The Iowa Stater was twice a runner-up at 184 pounds before claiming the 197-pound crown last season in St. Louis, Mo.
• The heavyweight division, nation-wide, has been exciting to follow all season. The competitive weight class sees the returning champion, Missouri’s Mark Ellis, stepping into action as the bracket’s seventh-seed. ISU’s David Zabriskie is the top-seed at the weight.
Varner On Path “Four” Greatness
• Iowa State 197-pounder Jake Varner could become ISU’s second four-time NCAA finalist at the end of his final campaign. Cael Sanderson was ISU’s first four-time finalist, with his four NCAA titles and undefeated 159-0 career record.
• Varner was a two-time finalist at 184 pounds as a freshman and sophomore before taking the title last year after moving up to 197 pounds.
• The native of Bakersfield, Calif., looks to join only 13 other four-time finalists in NCAA Division I history.
ISU Edged out for Big 12 Trophy; Varner, Zabriskie Win • Second-ranked Iowa State relinquished its stranglehold on the league championship March 6 to Oklahoma State, which took the Big 12 Conference crown with a 70.5-point performance.
• The Cyclones, paced by individual champions Jake Varner (197) and David Zabriskie (HWT), took team runner-up honors with 69 points. Oklahoma posted a 64-point score for third place, with Missouri (33) and Nebraska (32) rounding out the event.
• Varner’s finals win came over Nebraska’s Craig Brester by decision, 5-2. Varner holds a 5-1 advantage in matches against the Husker 197-pounder.
• Zabriskie avenged an earlier loss this season to OSU’s Jared Rosholt by knocking off the top-ranked Cowboy in the heavyweight finals in overtime, 3-1 (SV2). Zabriskie is 6-3 in his career against Rosholt.