Courtesy of Iowa State Athletics Communications INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Six Iowa State wrestlers are seeded among the top-eight competitors in their respective weight classes for the NCAA Wrestling Championship, March 18-20 in Omaha, Neb. Two Cyclones, Jake Varner and David Zabriskie are the top seeds at 197 pounds and heavyweight, respectively.
The NCAA released the brackets Wednesday. Iowa State will bring its full lineup to the event for the fourth-straight year. After qualifying nine wrestlers at the Big 12 Championship March 6, Cyclone 184-pounder Jerome Ward was awarded an at-large bid to the national tournament. The addition of Ward completes the ISU lineup for the trip to Omaha.
At 125 pounds, redshirt freshman standout Andrew Long earned the No. 5 seed for the Cyclones. Long will face Stanford’s Ryan Mango in the first round.
ISU senior 133-pounder Nick Fanthorpe is seeded 10th. The 2008 All-American matches up with Brown’s Cortlandt Choate in the initial round.
Iowa State 141-pounder Dalton Jensen faces No. 4 Reece Humphrey of Ohio State in the first round. Humphrey edged the Iowa Stater 6-5 at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals.
ISU senior Mitch Mueller garnered the seventh-seed at 149 pounds. His first round opponent is Frank Gayeski of Liberty.
ISU’s Andrew Sorenson will take on Michigan State’s Anthony Jones in initial action.
Cyclone Jon Reader was awarded the fourth-seed at 165 pounds. The two-time All-American is set to face Old Dominion’s Chris Brown.
At 174 pounds, ISU’s Duke Burk draws 10th-seeded Jordan Blanton of Illinois. Burk turned away the Illini wrestler at the Midlands Championships by decision, 9-8.
Ward will face top-seeded Kirk Smith of Boise State at 184 pounds. Ward drew Smith as his first round opponent at last year’s NCAA Championships. The Boise State wrestler escaped with a 3-1 victory over the Cyclone.
ISU’s Varner will look for a title-repeat at 197 pounds to cap his senior campaign. Varner, the top-seeded wrestler at the weight, faces Boise State’s Matt Casperson in first round action.
Fresh off his third Big 12 title at heavyweight, Iowa State’s Zabriskie holds the No. 1 seed entering the NCAA event for the second-straight season. The two-time All-American matches up with Wisconsin’s Eric Bugenhagen in the first round.
The first round of the NCAA Championships begins March 18 at 11 a.m. in the Qwest Center.
Iowa State NCAA Qualifiers (10) 125 pounds – No. 5 Andrew Long 133 pounds – No. 10 Nick Fanthorpe 141 pounds – Dalton Jensen 149 pounds – No. 7 Mitch Mueller 157 pounds – Andrew Sorenson 165 pounds – No. 4 Jon Reader 174 pounds – Duke Burk 184 pounds – Jerome Ward 197 pounds – No. 1 Jake Varner HWT – No. 1 David Zabriskie