Brackets Released for NCAA Tournament
The NCAA released the brackets for the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships on Wednesday, revealing the first-round matches for eight Husker NCAA qualifiers. Along with releasing the brackets, the NCAA also revealed the at-large bids for this year's tournament, which included Nebraska wrestlers Ridge Kiley (133) and Tyler Koehn (174).
Both Kiley and Koehn earned an at-large bid after failing to earn an automatic bid at the Big Ten Tournament, but each wrestler met three of the four criteria needed to qualify for an at-large bid. Kiley will open his tournament against the No. 5 overall seed Joe Colon at 133 pounds. The two-time NCAA qualifier fell to Colon in the Huskers' final regular-season dual. Koehn will take on Ryan DesRoches (Cal Poly) in his first round dual. Koehn dropped a 6-1 decision to DesRoches in the second round of the Cliff Keen Invitational early this season.
Five Husker wrestlers earned top-12 seeds for the tournament, including junior Josh Ihnen, who was placed as the No. 7 seed at 184 pounds. Ihnen, who has now qualified for three NCAA tournaments, will take on Ophir Bernstein (Brown) in the first round.
True freshmen Jake Sueflohn (141) and James Green (157), two of three freshmen to qualify for NU, earned the No. 10 and 11 seeds at their respective weight classes. Sueflohn will take on Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech) in the first round, while Green is set to battle Brian Tanen (Lehigh) to open his tournament.
Redshirt freshman Robert Kokesh earned the No. 8 seed at 165 pounds and will take on Zach Toal (Missouri) and senior Tucker Lane (Hwt) will be the No. 11 seed as he looks to earn his first All-America honor in his fourth NCAA tournament. Lane will wrestle Maciej Jochym (Cornell) in the first round.
Senior James Nakashima qualified for his first NCAA tournament at 197 pounds and will wrestle Kelby Smith (Citadel) in the pigtail round for the chance to wrestle Joe Budi (Old Dominion) in the opening round.
The 2012 NCAA Championships will kick off from St. Louis, Mo., on Thursday, March 15 and run through Saturday, March 17 at the Scottrade Center. A complete list of first round matches are below and compete brackets are available at the link at the top of the page.
First Round Matches
133- Ridge Kiley (NU) vs. #5 Joe Colon (Northern Iowa)
141- #10 Jake Sueflohn (NU) vs. Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech)
157- #11 James Green (NU) vs. Brian Tanen (Lehigh)
165- #8 Robert Kokesh (NU) vs. Zach Toal (Missouri)
174- Tyler Koehn (NU) vs. #6 Ryan DesRoches (Cal Poly)
184- #7 Josh Ihnen (NU) vs. Ophir Bernstein (Brown)
Hwt- #11 Tucker Lane (NU) vs. Maciej Jochym (Cornell)
Pigtail Round Match
197- James Nakashima (NU) vs. Kelby Smith (Citadel)