March 13, 2013
2013 NCAA Wrestling Brackets
EVANSTON, Ill. – Official brackets and seeds for the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, were released today. Northwestern senior Jason Welch is the No. 1 seed at 157 lbs. while sophomore Mike McMullan pulled in the No. 5 seed at heavyweight. These two returning All-Americans lead a group of six Northwestern NCAA qualifiers to this year’s tournament, which runs March 21-23.
Welch, McMullan, sophomore Pat Greco (141) and Pierce Harger (165) all received automatic bids to the NCAA Championships while sophomores Lee Munster (174) and Alex Polizzi (197) were at-large selections as announced by the NCAA on Wednesday. This group of six includes four returning NCAA qualifiers (Welch, McMullan, Harger and Munster) and a pair of first-time participants (Greco and Polizzi).
Greco will be the first NU wrestler on the mat in Des Moines and he meets No. 5 seed Evan Henderson of North Carolina to open the tournament. These two have never met as Greco brings a 14-11 mark into the tournament while Henderson is 34-6.
Welch’s first opponent will be a familiar one as he meets Boston University’s Nestor Taffur (33-5), a wrestler he defeated 8-6 en route to his Keystone Classic title in November. The Northwestern Big Ten champion brings a 30-1 record with him into the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 157 lbs. Welch as a 13-1 record against this year’s NCAA Championship field, meaning 14 of his 31 matches this season have been against NCAA qualifiers. The two-time All-American is making his fourth appearance at the NCAA Championships.
At 165 lbs., Harger faces No. 4 seed Tyler Caldwell (29-4) of Oklahoma State. The Northwestern sophomore brings a 25-8 record into the tournament and has wrestled a team-high 15 matches against the NCAA field this year (8-7).
After receiving an at-large selection, Munster has the task of wrestling first-time opponent Phillip Joseph of Eastern Michigan. Munster posted a 24-7 record this season while Joseph brings a 17-13 record into the tournament. Munster is on the same side of the bracket as the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds and the winner of the first-round bout would face the victor of the No. 3 Mike Evans (Iowa)/Craig Kelliher (Central Michigan) match. Munster is 5-7 against the NCAA field at 174.
Competing in his first NCAA Championships, Alex Polizzi (16-14) takes on another Eastern Michigan wrestler, Nick Whitenburg (17-7). The winner of that match advances to face either No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez of Wyoming (30-1) or Nebraska’s Caleb Kolb (18-16). Polizzi has wrestled 14 matches against the NCAA field (4-10).
After finishing runner-up at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, McMullan received the No. 5 seed at the NCAA Championships and meets Stanford’s Dan Scherer in his first bout. McMullan and Scherer have wrestled each other twice in the last two seasons, with both bouts coming in NU’s season-opener vs. the Cardinal. McMullan has won both meetings with a 6-3 decision in November and a 6-2 decision in his first career start on November 5, 2011. The 2012 All-American is 18-3 on the year, including 6-3 against the NCAA field.
Complete brackets can be found in the PDF link above.
The 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships run from Thursday, March 21-Saturday, March 23 inside the Wells-Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. Fans can watch all of the sessions on the ESPN family of networks, with the finals being broadcast live on ESPN on Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m. CT.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!