Tonight on ESPN, the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships finals begin at 8 p.m. EST. at Madison Square Garden. For the past three days, 330 wrestlers have been filtered down to 20 of the best college wrestlers in the nation. Ten weight classes will have champions crowned tonight on the world’s biggest stage, at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden.
Penn State has already clinched the team national title on the back of their five finalists. The Nittany Lions have won their fifth title in the last six seasons.
At 125-pounds, four-time all-American Nico Megaludis reached his third finials, still seeking a national championship. Megaludis of Penn State and Thomas Gilman of Iowa have only met once during the season, in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Championships, where Megaludis won 4-3 via tie-breaker. Gilman stuck the returning national champion in the semi-finals, Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State, to advance to the finals. Gilman finished last season fourth in the nation.
133-pounds will be a battle between No. 1-seed Nahshon Garrett of Cornell and Iowa’s No. 2-seed, Corey Clark. Garrett entered the championships with a 36-0 record and has plowed his way through to the finals. In the Semi-finals, Garrett pinned returning national champion, Cody Brewer of Oklahoma. Clark won a tight 4-3 match over Richards of Illinois.
The 141-pound finals are between No. 1-seed Dean Heil of Oklahoma State and No. 14-seed, Bryce Meredith of Wyoming. Heil, the top seed has grinded his way through to the finals with solid decision victories’. Meredith has been the Cinderella story of the tournament; as he earned a major decision in the first round, and went on to upset the next three wrestlers he faced. Scoring five points in each of his matches, Meredith reversed McKenna of Standford and scored near fall in the final seconds of the semi-finals to become the first Cowboy to make the finals in over 20-years.
At 149, Penn State’s Zain Retherford carried his dominating performance during the season into the tournament. He’ll face Iowa’s Brandon Sorenson, the No. 2-seed. These two have met once before during the season, where Retherford won a decisive 4-0 match. The Nittany Lion had over four-minutes of riding time.
157- The finals will be the third time these two wrestlers have met this season. Returning national champion, Isaiah Martinez, of Illinois, suffered his first loss of his career to Jason Nolf during the conference dual-meet. At the Big Ten Championships finals, Martinez avenged his sole loss by defeating Nolf in a 2-2 tie-breaker victory.
165- Alex Dieringer, returning two-time national champion is on a mission to claim his third national title in his senior campaign. The Oklahoma State Cowboy scored two falls, a major decision, and a decision on his journey to the finals. His opponent, No. 2-seed, Isaac Jordan, of Wisconsin, showed up 29-0 to the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships.
174- Bo Nickal and Myles Martin will square off in the finals at 174. The two have wrestled three times. All three time Nickal came away with the victory. A 4-3 win, 11-5 victory, and a fall. Martin wrestles out of Ohio State, and Nickal is a Nittany Lion. The two wrestlers are freshman.
184- Will be between last year’s national champion Gabe Dean of Cornell, and No. 7-seed, Nebraska’s Tim Dudley. These two wrestlers met once this season and Dean won 11-3 in the match.
197- Penn State’s Morgan McIntosh still in search of his first title will face J’Den Cox, the 2014 National champion. McIntosh is 29-0 entering this tournament and is the Big Ten Champion. Cox, the MAC conference champion, hopes to snag his second title. These two wrestlers have not met during the season.
285- THE MATCH OF THE NIGHT- It is what every wrestling fan has been talking about since the start of the NCAA DI Wrestling Championship. Kyle Snyder of Ohio State, the No. 2-seed, and No. 1-seed, Nick Gwiazdowski, whom is the returning two-time national champion. Snyder, a runner-up last season at 197, became the youngest World Champion on the senior freestyle level, at the age of 19. These two wrestlers have not wrestled each other during the season, Snyder came out of red-shit mid-season and enters the finals 10-0 on the year.
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