UNI wrestlers Cael Happel and Derek Holschlag awarded at-large bids for NCAA Championships

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

A couple of Northern Iowa wrestlers were given new life on Tuesday and will compete at next week's national tournament in Tulsa.

Both Cael Happel (141) and Derek Holschlag (157) were awarded at-large bids for the NCAA Championships, set for March 16-18 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. Both failed to earn automatic qualifying spots at last weekend's Big 12 Championships, which were also held in Tulsa.

This will be Happel's first trip to the national tournament. The sophomore from Lisbon was an alternate for last year's NCAA Championships but ultimately did not get the opportunity to compete. After going 0-2 at last weekend's Big 12 tournament, Happel will take a 16-6 record into next week's competition.

Holschlag will make his second trip to the national tournament. He went 1-2 a year ago. The sixth-year senior from Union in LaPorte City went 1-2 at last weekend's Big 12 tournament, dropping him to 16-7 overall ahead of the national tournament next week.

Northern Iowa's Derek Holschlag, left, wrestles Oklahoma State's Kaden Gfeller at 157 pounds during a NCAA Big 12 Conference men's wrestling dual earlier this season.

The at-large selections were made by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee using the following selection criteria: Head-to-head competition, quality wins, results against common opponents, winning percentage, ratings percentage index, coaches ranking and conference tournament finish.

With Happel and Holschlag in the fold, Northern Iowa officially has seven qualifiers for the NCAA Championships. Five others — Kyle Biscoglia (133), Colin Realbuto (149), Austin Yant (165), Parker Keckeisen (184) and Tyrell Gordon (285) — qualified by earning automatic bids at last weekend's Big 12 Championships.

More:Has Northern Iowa won an NCAA wrestling championship? A look at UNI's championship history

Iowa, Iowa State wrestlers also heading to the NCAA wrestling tournament

In all, the state of Iowa's three Division I programs — No. 2 Iowa, No. 6 Iowa State, and the 20th-ranked Panthers, per InterMat's latest rankings — will take 25 combined wrestlers to next week's national tournament. In addition to Northern Iowa's seven, Iowa qualified all 10 starters and Iowa State qualified eight.

The Hawkeyes are one of four schools to qualify all 10 starters for the NCAA Championships, along with Oklahoma State and Missouri out of the Big 12 and the ACC's Virginia Tech. Iowa is expected to compete with Penn State, who qualified nine wrestlers, to finish atop the team race.

Iowa State's eight qualifiers all came through the Big 12 Championships, and will likely contend with the likes of Oklahoma State, Missouri, NC State, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan, Cornell and Arizona State, among others, for the third- and fourth-place team trophies.

The NCAA will announce the seeds and brackets for the 2023 NCAA Championships on Wednesday during its NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Selection Show, which will be streamed on at 7 p.m. CT.

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Below are all the qualifiers for Iowa, Iowa State, and Northern Iowa, as well as the six Iowa natives who compete for out-of-state schools that also qualified:

All 10 Iowa wrestlers qualified for the 2023 NCAA Championships

  • Spencer Lee, 125lbs
  • Brody Teske, 133lbs
  • Real Woods, 141lbs
  • Max Murin, 149lbs
  • Cobe Siebrecht, 157lbs
  • Patrick Kennedy, 165lbs
  • Nelson Brands, 174lbs
  • Abe Assad, 184lbs
  • Jacob Warner, 197lbs
  • Tony Cassioppi, 285lbs

More:55 Iowa wrestlers have won at least one NCAA title. Here's a look at the complete list

8 Iowa State wrestlers headed to the national tournament

  • Zach Redding, 133lbs
  • Casey Swiderski, 141lbs
  • Paniro Johnson, 149lbs
  • Jason Kraisser, 157lbs
  • David Carr, 165lbs
  • Marcus Coleman, 184lbs
  • Yonger Bastida, 197lbs
  • Sam Schuyler, 285lbs

More:How many NCAA wrestling championships have Iowa State wrestlers won?

7 from UNI wrestling qualified for the national tournament

  • Kyle Biscoglia, 133lbs
  • Cael Happel, 141lbs (at-large)
  • Colin Realbuto, 149lbs
  • Derek Holschlag, 157lbs (at-large)
  • Austin Yant, 165lbs
  • Parker Keckeisen, 184lbs
  • Tyrell Gordon, 285lbs

6 more Iowa natives will compete at the 2023 NCAA Championships

  • Jack Wagner, North Carolina, 125lbs (ACC; from Bettendorf; previously at Iowa and Northern Iowa)
  • McGwire Midkiff, North Dakota St., 133lbs (Big 12; from Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson)
  • Michael Blockhus, Minnesota, 149lbs (Big Ten; from Crestwood and New Hampton; previously wrestled at Northern Iowa)
  • Cade DeVos, South Dakota St., 165lbs (Big 12; from Southeast Polk and Waukee)
  • Tanner Sloan, South Dakota St., 197lbs (Big 12; from Alburnett)
  • Boone McDermott, Rutgers, 285lbs (Big Ten; from Dubuque Wahlert; previously wrestled at Iowa Central)

More:What to know about Iowa's Spencer Lee — who could be a 4-time NCAA wrestling champion

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at@codygoodwin.