The National Wrestling Coaches Association will be bringing the National Duals back to campuses around the country in February to set up a finale weekend at the University of Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena
The EAS Sports Nutrition/NWCA National Duals presented by Hibiclens and the United States Marines Corps in honor of Cliff Keen will start the weekend of February 14 at eight separate regional sites with the winners of the dual matchups coming together the following weekend. The Division I portion National Duals, coupled with the recently conducted Multi-Division National Duals, is dubbed Mat Mayhem.
“We have the opportunity to engage a very wide fanbase by starting our regional event with effectively a play-in type of match,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. “We saw success a few years ago with a regional model, but we took what we liked about the regional format with what we liked about a Final Four-type of format and put together a great way to finalize the dual meet portion of the season, culminating in a national dual meet championship.”
Cornell, Edinboro, Lehigh, Chattanooga, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and North Dakota State will all host the regional play-in round. Winners of each of those eight matches will come to Iowa City the following weekend where teams will be reseeded and then wrestle in an advancement-style bracket.
Fans looking for dates, times and ticket information can go to www.nationalduals.com to find out how to purchase tickets online for each of the eight regional matchups and the finals weekend in Iowa City.
“Some matchups have regional intrigue and some of our higher-ranked teams will be going on the road to kickstart fanbases in those particular regions,” said Moyer. “For example, there is a large contingent of dedicated wrestling fans in the Upper Midwest and with Minnesota being the only Division I school in Minnesota and there are ties with the coaching staff at North Dakota State, that’s a natural regional matchup that will have great individual matches and also have storylines for the local media and local wrestling community.”
Action begins on February 14 as George Mason will take on Lehigh at Grace Hall and the seven other duals will take place on February 15.
Other first-round matchups are Drexel at Cornell, Ohio State at Edinboro, Oklahoma at Chattanooga, Kent State at Illinois, Virginia at Iowa, American at Missouri and Minnesota at North Dakota State.
The championship round will take place on February 21-22 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena with the quarterfinals and semifinals getting underway on Saturday and the finals and third-place dual continuing on Sunday.
The semifinals and finals will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
“Since the founding days of the National Duals back in Hampton, Virginia in 1989, the dual meet advancement concept has provided some of the most exciting collegiate wrestling each season,” said Moyer. “We’re extremely pleased that EAS Sports Nutrition has maintained its title sponsorship of the event and with the continued support from Hibiclens and the Marines. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to bring the National Duals to eight different venues across the country over a two-week span in February.”