Feb. 27, 2012
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference has announced the preliminary seeds for the 2012 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, which are set for March 3-4 (Saturday-Sunday) on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
The pre-seeds, as voted on by the conference's coaches, rank the top-eight wrestlers in seven weight classes, along with all 12 schools' starters in three weight classes due to the Big Ten receiving nine or more NCAA Championships qualifier allocations in those classes. Michigan State has six wrestlers who earned pre-seeds.
Anthony Jones Jr. is the highest-seeded Spartan, coming in at fourth in the 157-pound class. Jones, currently ranked ninth in the nation at 157 pounds, missed all of last season due to injury and is a two-time NCAA qualifier. Jones placed third in the Big Ten Championships in 2010 and posted a 3-2 record at the NCAA Championships that season, one win shy of earning All-America honors. Jones led the Spartans with 11 dual wins this season and has won four consecutive matches; he is 19-6 overall.
Senior Curran Jacobs will be the No. 6 seed at 174 pounds. Ranked No. 18 in the nation, Jacobs is 22-8 overall and went 10-4 in dual meets. The Owosso, Mich., native will be looking for his second straight trip to the NCAA Championships after qualifying last season by placing seventh at the Big Ten Championships. Jacobs has defeated three ranked wrestlers this season, including No. 8 seed Jordan Blanton of Illinois and No. 9 seed Lee Munster of Northwestern.
At 125 pounds, Brenan Lyon (12-11 record) earned a No. 8 seed, while Dan Osterman is a No. 9 seed at 149 pounds. Osterman leads MSU with 23 victories this season and is tied for the team lead with five falls. He placed seventh at the Big Ten Championships as a sophomore last year to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Senior Ian Hinton, the No. 8 seed at 184 pounds, will be looking for his third trip to the NCAA Championships. A qualifier his first two seasons at 174 pounds, Hinton narrowly missed a trip last year in his first year wrestling at 184. Hinton is 18-10 this season and won six dual-meet matches.
Wrestling in his first career Big Ten Championships, junior Steve Andrus will be the No. 10 seed at heavyweight. Andrus owns a 20-11 record and placed in the top six at four tournaments this season.
The Big Ten Championships are the most prestigious conference championships in the nation, year in and year out. Nine teams from the Big Ten are currently ranked in the Top 25 of the NWCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll, including six in the top eight (No. 1 Minnesota, No. 2 Penn State, No. 4 Iowa, No. 5 Illinois, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 8 Nebraska). The conference will send 74 qualifiers to the NCAA Championships March 15-17 in St. Louis, 28 more than any other conference (a total of 290 wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships).
The RPI strength of each weight class determines the amount of qualifiers from each conference. This year, the following allocation numbers per weight class for the Big Ten are: 125 (6), 133 (7), 141 (5), 149 (9), 157 (6), 165 (8), 174 (9), 184 (7), 197 (7), and heavyweight (10).