Big Ten brings talent to championship

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – There’s no argument that by any measure, the Big Ten Conference rules the collegiate wrestling world. One number that is especially telling is the number of semifinalists.

In this year’s tournament, the conference claimed at least one semifinalist at each weight and had a total of 17. That’s almost three times as many as the runner-up conferences of the MAC and ACC. The Big 12 (really four) was next with five, then the EIWA with four and the EWL and West Region with one each.

That is an indication of the top-end talent. For another indicator, consider qualifiers.

The Big Ten was awarded 74 automatic qualifiers and received another eight at-large bids for a total of 82.

The EIWA was next with 57, followed by the MAC with 43, the ACC with 41, Big 12 with 29, the EWL with 24, Western Wrestling Conference with 19, the Pac-12 with 18 and the Southern Conference, or SoCon, with 17.

DQ with a vengeance

It’s not often that a wrestler is disqualified from the NCAA Championships, and the consequences are dire.

Central Michigan’s Mike Ottinger was disqualified in his third-round consolation bout with Navy’s Matthew Miller.

Ottinger was whistled for a flagrant misconduct when he bit Miller in the arm, Mike Tyson style.

Adding insult to Miller’s injury, not only were the Chippewas docked a team point, they also lost all the points Ottinger had scored in the tournament.


Seeds scatter

Most years the NCAA Wrestling Committee does an admirable job seeding the weight classes. This year, the committee drew slings and arrows for some apparent inconsistencies.

As usual, the committee’s best intentions were ruined by upsets. Here’s a look at the seeds that advanced to the semifinals at each weight.

125: 1 vs. 5, 3 vs. 2; 133: 1 vs. 5, 3 vs. 2; 141: 9 vs. 4, 3 vs. 2; 149: 1 vs. 5, 11 vs. 5; 157: 9 vs. 4, 3 vs. 7; 165: 1 vs. 4, 3 vs. 2; 174: 1 vs. 4, 6 vs. 2; 184: 1 vs. 13, 3 vs. 2; 197: 1 vs. 4, 14 vs. 2; 285: 1 vs. 5, 3 vs. 2.

At only one weight, 165, did the seeds hold. At 125, 133 and 285, the No. 5 seed advanced instead of the No. 4.

Three undefeateds

Going into the semifinals, three of the four wrestlers who entered the tournament undefeated had remained perfect. Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter (141), Penn State’s David Taylor (165) and Maryland’s Jimmy Sheptock (184) made the semifinals. Only Edinboro’s Mitchell Port (141) lost, in the quarterfinals.

By the numbers

A total of 67 colleges and universities are represented at the 2014 championships … The 330 wrestlers from 67 colleges and universities are from 37 American states and two countries – Canada and Mongolia … There are lots of cities around the country that are represented by two or three wrestlers. Only three are represented by more: Harrisburg and Virginia Beach have four each and Cleveland has five.