March 4, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten Conference has announced the preliminary seeds for the 2013 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, which are set for March 9-10 at the University of Illinois in Champaign.
The pre-seeds, as voted on by the conference's coaches, rank the top eight wrestlers in five weight classes, along with 11 or 12 schools' 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 165-, 174- and 285-pound weight classes.
Michigan State has seven wrestlers who earned pre-seeds, six of which will make their first appearance at the Big Ten Championships.
Sophomore John Rizqallah is the highest-seeded Spartan, coming in at fourth at 184 pounds. Rizqallah, currently ranked No. 17 according to InterMat, will wrestle in his first career championships. He is currently second on the team in both dual victories (12) and overall victories (22).
Junior Michael McClure is the No. 5 seed at heavyweight and is currently ranked No. 6 in the country by InterMat. McClure is also making his first appearance at the championships and is 29-3 on the season and 15-3 in dual matches. McClure was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week twice this season.
At 157 pounds, sophomore Ryan Watts will make his first appearance at Big Ten's and is the seventh seed. Watts came into the starting lineup mid-season, filling in for the injured David Cheza and is 19-10, 8-5 in duals.
Senior Dan Osterman finished ninth last season and seventh in 2011. Osterman, a two-time NCAA Qualifier, is the No. 8 seed at 149 pounds and is 18-10 this season and 8-7 in duals.
At 165 pounds, sophomore Nick Proctor rounds out the field for MSU and he will be the No. 12 seed.
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 eight (No. 2 Iowa, No. 3 Penn State, No. 4 Minnesota, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 8 Illinois).
The conference will send 74 qualifiers to the NCAA Championships March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa, 29 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 (7), 133 (7), 141 (6), 149 (8), 157 (7), 165 (8), 174 (8), 184 (6), 197 (8), and heavyweight (9).