The NCAA awarded at-large bids to the NCAA Wrestling Championships to those who did not already qualify through conference tournaments. From Rutgers, Sean McCabe earned his at-large yesterday,
That makes two Big Ten squads that are sending their entire team to the NCAAs in Madison Square Garden, March 17-19. In all, 79 Big Ten wrestlers will be competing at the "World's Most Famous Arena". In addition to the 20 Knights and Huskers, who finished fifth and fourth in the team scoring, Penn State, which won the Big Ten Championship, along with Iowa will send nine. The Hawkeyes came in second. That says a great deal about the consolation rounds/wrestlebacks where RU did very well in scoring points.
The 79 Big Ten athletes account for just under a quarter of all competitors. The 49 at-large slots were added to the 281 automatic qualifiers. Eight of the at-large bids went to Big Ten wrestlers.
Despite the excitement about the record-setting ten qualifiers, it isn't enough for the Knights. "This program is excited about Sean McCabe's at-large bid," said head coach Scott Goodale. "Based on his body of work all season long, he deserves to be in this tournament. To go 10-for-10 is a goal we set out to attain at the beginning of the year. We are happy for our guys, but that being said, we cannot allow ourselves to be content with being there. It needs to be about getting our hands raised."
The full list of all competitors can be found on the NCAA website here. The NCAA Wrestling Championships Selection Show is set to air at 6 p.m. EST on NCAA.com. The show will reveal the brackets and seeding for next week's national tournament at Madison Square Garden.
See you at the Garden!