Iowa's Kaleb Young receives at-large bid to the 2020 NCAA Championships
The Iowa wrestling team will, officially, be taking all 10 starters to the big dance.
The NCAA Wrestling Committee announced at-large selections for the 2020 NCAA Championships Wednesday afternoon. Iowa’s Kaleb Young, as well as Iowa State’s Todd Small and Northern Iowa’s Max Thomsen, received a wildcard bid.
Young’s inclusion means all 10 Hawkeye starters will compete at next week’s national tournament at U.S Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, which bolsters their odds to win the team title. Iowa’s last NCAA team championship was in 2010.
Nebraska is the only other school taking all 10 starters. Four schools are taking nine: Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and Lehigh.
Iowa’s other nine starters — Spencer Lee (125 pounds), Austin DeSanto (133), Max Murin (141), Pat Lugo (149), Alex Marinelli (165), Michael Kemerer (174), Abe Assad (184), Jacob Warner (197) and Tony Cassioppi (285) — all qualified through last weekend’s Big Ten Championships in Piscataway, N.J.
Young, a returning All-American, went 0-2 and failed to place after earning the 2-seed at 157 pounds. He needed to finish sixth place or better to earn an automatic bid. He was the only Iowa wrestler to not place. The Hawkeyes ultimately won the Big Ten tournament team title.
The NCAA Wrestling Committee uses a series of criteria as part of a formula to make its at-large selections, which includes head-to-head competition, quality wins, the coaches’ rankings, a wrestler’s RPI, overall winning percentage, results against common opponents and placement at their conference tournament.
Iowa State’s Small also earned an at-large bid at 133 pounds after going 0-2 and finishing 10th at last weekend’s Big 12 Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He needed a top-8 finish there to automatically qualify.
The other Cyclone wrestlers that will compete at the NCAA Championships all qualified automatically through the Big 12 tournament last weekend: Alex Mackall (125), Ian Parker (141), Jarrett Degen (149), David Carr (157), Chase Straw (165), Sam Colbray (174), Marcus Coleman (184) and Gannon Gremmel (285). Iowa State ended up second in the team race, behind Oklahoma State.
Northern Iowa’s Thomsen also earned a wildcard spot at 149 pounds. After reaching the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament, he medically forfeited to sixth place. The past All-American needed to finish fifth or better to automatically qualify.
Thomsen’s inclusion means seven Panther wrestlers will compete at the NCAA Championships. The others — Jacob Schwarm (125), Jack Skudlarczyk (133), Michael Blockhus (141), Bryce Steiert (174), Taylor Lujan (184) and Carter Isley (285) — qualified through the Big 12 tournament, where Northern Iowa finished third.
The 2020 NCAA Championships are set for March 19-21. The brackets for all 10 weights will be released Wednesday at 5 p.m. CST
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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