Brackets Released for NCAA Wrestling Tournament
By ODU Athletics
March 17, 2009
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The NCAA released the 2009 Wrestling Championship brackets for this weekends national tournament. Old Dominion boasts three seeded grapplers headed into the final event of the year, and three more that will look for the podium as unseeded wrestlers. James Nicholson is seeded 6th at 125 lbs, Ryan Williams 8th at 141 lbs and Chris Brown is the number 10 seed at 165 lbs.
Nicholson, an All-American in 2008, will begin his quest at a repeat trip to the podium with a first round bye followed by a match against the winner of the Brad Pataky (Penn State)/Ian Moser (Bloomsburg) matchup. Pataky is ranked 14th in the nation and Moser was ranked as high as 20th earlier this year. Nicholson and Pataky have never faced while Nicholson defeated Moser, 7-3, earlier this year. Should Nicholson advance, he would face the winner of the #11 Zachary Sanders (Minnesota)/Jay Ivanco (Clarion) match.
At 133 lbs, Kyle Hutter will be facing off against the #5 seeded Andrew Hochstrasser (Boise State). Hochstrasser is ranked fourth in the nation and sports a 30-2 overall record coming into the NCAA Tournament. The winner of that bout will face the winner of the Kelly Kubec (Oregon State)/#12 Steve Bell (Maryland) match. Hutter has never faced Hochstrasser.
ODU's next wrestler to take the mat will be senior Ryan Williams, seeded eighth in his final run at the podium. The Monarch 141-pounder, ranked third in the nation, will face Penn State's Frank Molinaro in his first round matchup. The two wrestled earlier this season as Williams dispatched the Nittany Lion by major decision, 15-7, en route to the Michigan State Open title. The winner of the first round matchup will face the winner of the #9 Corey Jantzen (Harvard)/Joe Caramanica (NCSU) bout. Williams defeated Caramanica this season, 9-6, and defeated Jantzen in 07-08 by a score of 9-3. Jantzen, however, is ranked fourth in the country this year.
Brown, CAA champion at 165 lbs, is the other seeded wrestler for the Monarchs, stepping in as the #10 seed. Brown will actually help open the tournament on Thursday morning as one of the first six matches, as he faces Michigan's Justin Zeerip. If Brown wins, he'll face Andy Rendos (Bucknell) for the third time in the last two seasons. Brown won a pair of decisions against the Bison grappler in dual meets over the last two seasons. Awaiting Brown in the second round should he advance will be the winner of the #7 Stephen Dwyer (Nebraska)/Mike Galante (Lehigh) matchup.
At 174 lbs, Eric Decker will have the toughest first round opponent of any Monarch wrestler, as he faces third ranked and #3 seeded Brandon Browne (Nebraska). The fifth year senior has a 26-3 record as he comes in to face the Monarch 174-pounder. Decker could face former teammate Anthony Trongone for the third time this season if he defeats Browne, and if Trongone topples Nathan Lee (Boise State).
The final ODU wrestler at the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships is junior 197-pounder Jesse Strawn. Strawn gets a first round bye and will face 19th ranked Dennis Drury (North Carolina) in his first match and unless Charles Silber (American) or Joe Fagiano (Hofstra) upsets the #1 seed in the first two rounds, Strawn will face #1 Craig Brester (Nebraska) on Thursday night.
All six NCAA Qualifiers for the Monarchs are in the NCAA Tournament for at least the second time in their careers.