Today the NCAA announced which 330 wrestlers will be taking part in the NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio next weekend. 283 of those spots were awarded automatically to wrestlers across the eight Division I conferences for performances in their conference tournaments. The 47 additional participants were selected as wild cards for the event today.
Junior Tommy Thorn was awarded at-large selections for the 2018 NCAA Championships in the 141-pound division. The Gophers now officially have seven wrestlers that will head to the Buckeye state for the biggest tournament in collegiate wrestling.
Thorn owns a 19-11 record this season, and defeated three automatic qualifiers in the 141-pound division this season to earn his at-large position. The St. Michael, Minn. native returns to the NCAA tournament for the third straight season. Thorn was an All-American in 2017 and looks to return to those honors later this month. This will be Thorn’s third trip to the NCAA Championships.
The 2018 Gophers representatives are now comprised of Ethan Lizak (125), Mitch McKee (133), Tommy Thorn (141), Steve Bleise (149), Jake Short (157), Nick Wanzek (165), and Brandon Krone (184).
The Big Ten had nearly twice as many allocated spots as any other conference in the country, yet another validation of the league’s position as the nation’s best for college wrestling. Further validation came this afternoon when eight of the 47 available wild-card spots were awarded to Big Ten wrestlers, giving the Big Ten a whopping 88 individual representatives (more than one-fourth of the total field).
Now that Gopher fans know exactly who will be in the NCAA field, it will take until tomorrow before the path for each wrestler will be known. The NCAA will announce the top two seeds at the 10 different weight classes tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. (CT) along with full brackets after the NCAA Wrestling Championships Selection show, which begins at 5:00 p.m. (CT).