March 3, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten Conference has announced the preliminary seeds for the 2014 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, which are set for March 8-9 (Saturday-Sunday) at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
The pre-seeds, as voted on by the conference's coaches, rank the top eight wrestlers in five weight classes, along with all 12 starters in five weight classes due to the Big Ten receiving eight or more NCAA Championships qualifier allocations in those classes. Each team enters the championships with a seeded wrestler in the 133-, 157-, 165-, 197- and 285-pound weight classes.
Michigan State has three wrestlers who earned top-10 pre-seeds, led by sixth-seeded senior Mike McClure at heavyweight. Junior John Rizqallah was tabbed a No. 8 seed at 184 pounds, while junior Nick McDiarmid earned a No. 9 seed at 197 pounds.
McClure is in his third year as a starter at heavyweight for the Spartans. The Holland, Mich., native earned his first trip to the NCAA Championships last season as a junior and is looking to return to the national stage to earn All-America honors. McClure, who owns a career record of 95-27, ranks tied for 19th in MSU history in wins. He also ranks tied for 10th in the school record book with 22 falls.
Ranked seventh by InterMat, McClure has collected a 23-5 overall record this season, including a 14-4 mark in dual meets (5-3 Big Ten). He's also the team leader with eight falls. McClure is 3-4 against ranked opponents, with victories over No. 1 Adam Coon (Michigan), No. 6 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) and No. 18 William Smith (Rutgers) and losses to No. 4 Adam Chalfant (Indiana) [twice], No. 4 Bobby Telford (Iowa) and No. 2 Tony Nelson (Minnesota).
McClure went 9-1 in open tournaments and claimed first place at both the Northern Iowa Open in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Dec. 14 and the Cradle Gear Invitational in Lock Haven, Pa., on Dec. 29.
Rizqallah ranked second on the team with 11 dual wins and has produced an 18-8 overall record this season at 184 pounds. Rizqallah entered the national rankings in January after going 4-0 and taking first place at the Cradle Gear Invitational on Dec. 29 in Lock Haven, Pa.
Rizqallah is 2-4 against ranked opponents this season, including a victory over No. 15 Jackson Hein of Wisconsin in the dual against the Badgers on Dec. 8. Rizqallah nearly upset No. 3 Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa on Jan. 4 in Iowa City, but lost 4-2 after giving up the lead in the third period.
Rizqallah, who qualified for the NCAA Championships last season, owns a 53-27 career record.
McDiarmid has collected a career-high 10 dual wins this season at 197 pounds. The junior from Fowlerville, Mich., went 10-5 in duals this season and 17-8 overall. He placed runner-up at the Cradle Gear Invitational and fifth at the MSU Open. McDiarmid also owns wins over two ranked opponents in duals this season (No. 14 Brandon Palik of Drexel; No. 15 Nick Whitenburg of Eastern Michigan). For his career, McDiarmid is 55-30. This marks the second Big Ten Championships appearance for McDiarmid (0-2 in 2013).
The Big Ten Championships are the most prestigious conference championships in the nation, year in and year out. Eight teams from the Big Ten are currently ranked in the Top 25 of the NWCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll, including five in the top 11 (No. 1 Minnesota, No. 2 Penn State, No. 3 Iowa, No. 7 Michigan, No. 11 Ohio State, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 19 Northwestern and No. 20 Illinois).
NCAA QUALIFIER INFORMATION:
The NCAA announced the qualifier allocations for the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Feb. 27.
Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking. For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his qualifying tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class.
Each qualifying tournament, with automatic qualifying status, was awarded a minimum of one wrestler per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have any wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds. NCAA tournament spots for each qualifying event will be awarded at the tournament based solely on place-finish.
This year, the following allocation numbers per weight class for the Big Ten are: 125 (7), 133 (8), 141 (6), 149 (6), 157 (8), 165 (8), 174 (7), 184 (7), 197 (8), and heavyweight (9).
The Big Ten leads all conference with 74 qualifiers; the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association is second with 47.
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 12. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.
The NCAA Championships will be held March 20-22 in Oklahoma City, Okla.
For more information, visit: http://www.ncaa.com/news/wrestling/article/2014-02-27/ncaa-announces-qualifier-allocations-2014-di-wrestling