The Oklahoma State wrestling team, winners of five straight Big 12 championships and last year’s NCAA runner-ups, heads to the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships with five top-five seeds among its 10 national qualifiers.
The national tournament is March 16-18 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The event will be broadcast by ESPN on a variety of its platforms. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday night sessions will be televised on ESPN. Morning sessions will be televised on ESPNU. Every match of the tournament can also be see online on ESPN 3.
Head coach John Smith has one No. 1 seed with reigning national champion Dean Heil at 141 pounds.
Heil (27-0) will meet Clarion’s Brock Zacherl in the opening round. The redshirt junior went 5-0 at last year’s NCAA tournament to become OSU’s 140th individual national champion.
Anthony Collica (20-2) is the next top ranked Cowboy at No. 2 at 149. Collica faces Wyoming’s Cole Mendenhall in the first round. The senior defeated Mendenhall at the Big 12 Championships. Collica placed fourth at last year’s national tournament.
Kaid Brock (25-2), Nolan Boyd (21-4) and Joe Smith (11-4) round out the top Cowboys’ top five seeds.
At 133, Brock enters nationals as the No. 3 seed behind defending champion Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State and Seth Gross of South Dakota State. Brock lost to Gross in the Big 12 final. The redshirt freshman will face Rutgers’ Scott Delvecchio in the first round.
Boyd is the No. 4 seed at 184. He’ll face Wisconsin’s Hunter Ritter in the first round. Boyd, a returning All-American, is on the top side of his bracket with two-time defending champion Gabe Dean of Cornell. Boyd handed Dean is lone loss last season.
Smith, another returning All-American, is the No. 5 seed at 157. Smith will face Bucknell’s Victor Lopez in the first round. The two did not face each other in OSU’s season opener. Smith defeated North Carolina’s Tony Gnett for seventh-place in 2016.
Preston Weigel (18-5) and Austin Schafter (22-1) are both seeded No. 6 at 197 and heavyweight, respectively. Weigel draws Iowa State’s Marcus Harrington in the first round while Schafter will wrestle Campbell’s Jere Heino.
Kyle Crutchmer (18-5), Nick Piccininni (22-6) and Chandler Rogers (20-6) wrap the Cowboys’ roster at this year’s NCAAs.
Crutchmer, who missed last year’s national tournament, due to an ankle injury is the No. 7 seed at 174. Crutchmer is in an unique situtation where he doesn’t know his first round opponent. He’ll face the winner of Southern Illinois Edwardsville’s Jake Reisdori-Oklahoma’s Matt Reed.
Redshirt freshman Piccinni is the No. 8 seed at 125. Piccinni draws Indiana’s Elijah Oliver in the first round. If he gets by Oliver, he’s expected to face North Dakota State’s Josh Rodriguez in a Big 12 final rematch in the second round.
Rogers is the No. 9 seed at 165 and will face North Dakota State’s Andrew Fogarty in the first round. The redshirt sophomore did not face Fogarty at the Big 12 Championships.
125: Piccininni (8)
133: Brock (3)
141: Heil (1)
149: Collica (2)
157: Smith (5)
165: Rogers (9)
174: Crutchmer (7)
184: Boyd (4)
197: Weigel (6)
HWT: Schafer (6)