NCAA reveals brackets
UNIVERSITY PARK — The NCAA announced the brackets and pairings for the 2020 NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships on Wednesday night, but those matchups will be seen in person by very few fans.
Just hours before the brackets started to be announced at 6 p.m., the NCAA made the unprecedented decision to hold its winter championships without fans. That includes the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and hockey’s Frozen Four.
“I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships venue will seem especially empty since, for the first time, the event is scheduled in an NFL stadium, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On a conference call in early December, NCAA Director of Championships Anthony Holman said that around 43,000 tickets had already been sold for the tournament.
Now, wrestlers will vie for championships in front of far fewer fans.
A trio of Mifflin County wrestlers earned seeds in the Top 17 of their respective weight classes.
Hayden Hidlay, a 157-pounder for North Carolina State, is seeded second. Younger brother Trent, a 184-pounder for the Wolfpack, is seeded fifth. Noah Stewart, who wrestles at 184 for Army, is seeded 17th.
Penn State, fresh off a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten Championships, earned just one No. 1 seed, Mark Hall at 174 pounds.
Nick Lee is seeded second at 141 as is Vincenzo Joseph at 165. Aaron Brooks is seeded 3 rd at 184 and Roman Bravo-Young is 5th at 133. Jarod Verkleeren is seeded 19th at 149 and Shakur Rasheed is the 21st seed at 197.
Here is the complete list of first-round pairings for defending champion Penn State and the three Mifflin County wrestlers:
(5) Roman Bravo-Young (19-2), Penn State vs. (28) Collin Gerardi (14-11), Virginia Tech
(2) Nick Lee (20-1), Penn State vs. (31) Ryan Pomrinca (14-8), Lehigh
(19) Jarod Verkleeren (17-8), Penn State vs. (14) Andrew Alirez (24-4), Northern Colorado
(2) Hayden Hidlay (28-1), North Carolina State vs. (31) Mike Van Brill (19-18), Rutgers
(2) Vincenzo Joseph (15-1), Penn State vs. (31) Chase Straw (14-15), Iowa State
(1) Mark Hall (23-1), Penn State vs. winner of (33) Phillip Spadafora (17-16), Maryland vs. (32) Mason Eaglin (21-13), Duke
(3) Aaron Brooks (15-1), Penn State vs. (30) Max Lyon (19-15), Purdue
(5) Trent Hidlay (23-4) North Carolina State vs. (28) Jonathan Loew (26-13), Cornell
(17) Noah Stewart (18-6), Army vs. (16) Tanner Harvey (24-8), American
(21) Shakur Rasheed (8-6), Penn State vs. (12) Nathan Traxler (20-5), Stanford