The Big Ten released preliminary seeds for this weekend’s Big Ten Wrestling Championships yesterday and seven Fighting Illini are officially seeded, headlined by Michael Carr grabbing the top seed in the 141lb weight class.
Carr is 11-2 this season with both losses coming to Missouri’s Jaydin Eierman, but hasn’t wrestled since Feb. 10. Though he did not wrestle Penn State’s Nick Lee or Ohio State’s Joey McKenna, his undefeated record at Big Ten dual meets seems to have been the deciding factor.
Emery Parker (184) and Travis Piotrowski (125) also secured top-5 seeds (4 and 5 respectively).
The Big Ten Championships are essentially the sole determining factor for qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Perhaps no other sport has a conference tournament quite as important as that of wrestling. The NCAA released tournament allocations for each conference this past weekend. 330 wrestlers compete in the NCAA championships. 286 berths were allocated. Each conference is guaranteed one berth at each weight class for their conference champions. The remaining 206 berths were assigned to each conference based on how many tournament-caliber wrestlers were in each conference at each weight class (determined by coaches’ ranking, RPI and winning percentage), but they’re not assigned to those specific wrestlers; instead, they’re up for grabs at the conference tournaments.
The Big Ten received the most allocated berths at 78. From 125 to HWT by class, there are 9, 8, 9, 6, 9, 9, 8, 8, 5 and 7 berths available. What this means is that the top nine finishers at the Big Ten Championships at 125 will go to the national championships regardless of who they are.
In short, no wrestler’s spot in the national championships is guaranteed and an unseeded wrestler can earn his way into the NCAA’s with a strong showing this weekend.
After the conference tournaments, the NCAA has 44 at-large bids to distribute to the best wrestlers that didn’t qualify through their conference tournament.
The Big Ten Championships will begin this Saturday at 10 a.m. CT at Minnesota’s Williams Arena. Sessions 1-3 will be on BTN Plus, while Session 4 (championship round) will be on the Big Ten Network on Sunday at 3 p.m. CT. Follow Illini Wrestling on Twitter at @IlliniWrestling for updates, or check back right here on The Champaign Room after the tournament.
NCAA Wrestling Championships will be held two weeks later in Pittsburgh (March 21-23).
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