The Big Ten Championships are in the rear view mirror and the new goal is a spot on the podium in Cleveland at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
The NCAA released the brackets and Rutgers has four seeded wrestlers among the six it is sending to the tournament. Without any Big Ten titles, it was not expected that any RU wrestler would get anything close to a one seed.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships will be held at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland from March 15-17. The full championships schedule is available here.
This will be the third career appearance at nationals for DelVecchio and Gravina, while Lewis, Suriano and Van Brill will all make their second career trips to NCAAs. This marks the first career national tournament for DeLuca.
Full NCAA Bracket here
Nick Suriano - 125
Despite taking a medical forfeit and finishing sixth at the Big Ten, Nick Suriano received the four seed at 125. Ranked number one or two virtually all season, Suriano got a decent seed from the committee. Suriano will face unseeded J.R. Wert, a redshirt senior from Rider in the opening round. Rider (13-5) is sending three wrestlers to the NCAAs. Wert was 17-6 and took third in the Eastern Wrestling League tournament.
Darian Cruz out of Lehigh is the top seed. Seeded two at 125 is Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello (11-1), a three-time All-American and at three is Iowa’s Spencer Lee (17-2).
John Van Brill - 157
Despite finishing eighth at the Big Ten tourney, Van Brill finished the regular season with back-to-back victories over ranked foes in No. 14 Andrew Crone (Wisconsin) and No. 13 Michael D’Angelo (Princeton). He has a tough opening opponent in Lock Haven’s Alex Klucker, the Eastern Wrestling League’s champion at 157. Lock Haven topped Rutgers early in the season, though Van Brill did not face Klucker that night. The Bald Eagles, EWL champions, are sending six wrestlers to the NCAAs.
NC State’s Hayden Hidlay is the one seed with Missouri’s Joseph Lavallee the two. Penn State’s Jason Nolf is the highest seeded Big Ten wrestler in the weight class.
Richie Lewis - 165
Lewis was Rutgers’ highest place winner at the Big Ten tournament, finishing in third and was awarded the six seed at 165. He will wrestle Quentin Perez (25-8) from Campbell to open the championships. Perez is a junior out of Texas who is an at large wrestler who won the SoCon title at the weight in 2017. He is one of two Camels (and ain’t that cool) to move on to the NCAAs.
Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez is the top seed followed by Virginia Tech’s David McFadden at two and Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph at three.
Nick Gravina - 184
Gravina made it to the NCAAs on an at large bid but still earned a seed at No. 14, a testament to his talent and the B1G’s strength. He’ll start competition against Brown’s junior Christian (CJ) LaFragola. Brown is sending three wrestlers to Cleveland. LaFragola is a returning NCAA qualifier and is from one of my favorite New Jersey town names, Little Egg Harbor.
Penn State’s Bo Nickal is the one seed with Ohio State’s Myles Martin at two.
Unseeded: Scott DelVecchio (133) and Eleazar DeLuca (149
DelVecchio and DeLuca both go into the tournament unseeded. DelVecchio will face No. 14 Korbin Myers (Edinboro) in the first round, while DeLuca gets a rematch from Big Ten’s with Steven Bleise (Minnesota) to start the championships.
On the Banks will do a preview of Rutgers and the Big Ten at nationals next week. Come on back and join the conversation....but feel free to toss in a comment below, too.
Yes, the NCAA has a selection shoe to introduce the brackets and talk about the wrestlers. And if you want - and have a half hour to spare - you can watch it here.