Manheim, Pennsylvania — A record 92 college teams will be participating in Mat Mayhem this coming weekend at the Kentucky Exposition Center at the NWCA’s annual National Duals.
The 2020 U.S. Marine Corps NWCA Multi-Division National Dual Meet Championships presented by ARMS Software and Defense Soap hosted by NUWAY takes place January 10-11 with Louisville as the host for the second straight year.
“Last year, we saw great support from the wrestling community in Louisville and the state of Kentucky and we’re excited to expand even more this year with the record number of teams participating and even some local high schools getting into the mix, hosting one of their regional dual meet events here at the Kansas Exposition Center,” said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer.
With the rapid growth of the women’s college wrestling scene, the Women’s Division has been split into two, with NCAA teams on one tournament, NAIA teams in the other. In 2019, the NAIA hosted its first invitational championship for women’s wrestling. The NCAA is close to adding women’s wrestling as an emerging sport.
Of the 92 teams, 65 are nationally ranked, including the top-ranked teams in five of the six Divisions. Of the 92 squads competing, 12 different schools will have both their men’s and women’s wrestling teams in action.
“This is a real unique and progressive opportunity to showcase the growth of new programs in both men’s and women’s wrestling,” said Moyer. “We’ll begin to see the camaraderie shared amongst the men’s and women’s wrestling teams at these schools like we do in other sports that compete and travel at the same events like in swimming and track. That’s a win-win for our student-athletes, our coaches and the entire athletics model.”
Division II Men
Top-seeded St. Cloud State has won 54 dual meets in a row, tying its own record for the longest in Division II history. The streak also ranks 11th all-time for dual meet wins in college wrestling history. The Huskies, winners of the last three Division II National Duals, will await the winner of the Mercyhurst-Maryville preliminary and sit in a bracket with No. 8 Tiffin, which opens up with Newberry. McKendree is seeded second and awaits the winner of the UW-Parkside vs. Seton Hill winner. Down in that quarter bracket is No. 7 Upper Iowa, which will open with Gannon. Third-seeded Pitt-Johnstown will face the winner of the Limestone-Mary opener with No. 6 Nebraska-Kearney and Bellarmine also in that quarter bracket. Nebraska-Kearney is a two-time winner of the event. Fourth-seeded Notre Dame College, a two-time winner of the event, opens with Lindenwood, while No. 5 Central Oklahoma, which won the first Division II National Duals in 2002, will open with Colorado School of Mines.
Division III Men
There hasn’t been much imagination in the Division III field since 2002, where only two teams have ever won the event – Wartburg and Augsburg. Only eight different schools have ever made the finals, with Johnson & Wales breaking through last year, only to finish second to Augsburg, which won its second Division III title in a row and seventh overall. The Auggies are the top seed and await the winner of the Roger Williams-Olivet dual. Second-seeded Wartburg has won 11 Division II dual titles and has reached the final every year except 2019. The Knights have a bye and will face the winner of Millikin and UW-Oshkosh. Third-seeded Wabash awaits the winner of Heidelberg and UW-Whitewater, while fourth-seeded Loras will await the winner of the RIT-Washington & Jefferson dual. Up top with Loras is fifth-seeded Mount Union, which will face the winner NYU and Alma. Coe College, seeded sixth, will take on either Western New England or Ithaca. Baldwin Wallace comes in seeded seventh and will face either Luther or North Central. Up top, last year’s runners-up, Johnson & Wales, is the No. 8 seed and will face the winner of Westminster (Mo.) and UW-La Crosse.
Grand View is riding college wrestling’s second best dual win streak in history and the Vikings show no signs of slowing down. Winners of 81 straight duals, Grand View is also seeking its ninth straight NAIA National Duals crown. Six different teams have fallen to Grand View in the finals since 2012. Grand View opens with Brewton-Parker with the winner facing either No. 8 Southeastern or Providence (Mont.). Reinhardt will make its first National Duals appearance and comes in ranked second in the country. Coach Jeff Bedard’s team, on paper, could be a capable challenger to the crown, but first they’ll have to get past Midway and the winner of the No. 7 Oklahoma City vs. Indiana Tech dual just to reach the semis. Campbellsville is seeded third and opens with Cumberland University with the winner facing either No. 6 University of the Cumberlands or Life University. Fourth-seeded Baker opens with Lourdes with the winner facing either No. 5 Lindsey Wilson or Missouri Valley, which has been second on two different occasions in its history.
Fifteen teams will compete for the first NCAA Women’s National Duals title. The NWCA has sponsored the Women’s Division since 2005, but now with over 70 women’s college teams, the time to expand has come. Top-seeded McKendree won last year’s Women’s title, defeating rival King in the final. The Bearcats come in as the top-ranked NCAA women’s team and will have an opening round bye before facing the winner of No. 8 Augsburg and Presbyterian. Second-seeded Simon Fraser has been a powerhouse in women’s wrestling. The Canadian university has strong tradition and previously won the Women’s Division in 2013. Simon Fraser opens with Tiffin with the winner facing either Ferrum or seventh-seeded Adrian. King is seeded third and looks to win its first NCAA division title after winning four straight Women’s Division championships from 2014-2017. The Tornado open with Schreiner (Texas) with the winner facing either MacMurray (Ill.) or sixth-seeded Gannon. Fourth-seeded Emmanuel will open with North Central with the winner facing either Limestone or fifth-seeded Colorado Mesa. Amongst the NCAA field are one Division I school, eight Division II schools and six Division III schools.
Campbellsville, winners of the 2018 Women’s Division, will be the tournament’s top seed and will have an opening-round bye before facing off with the winner between No. 8 Lyon and Midland. Life, which was seventh in the Women’s Division last year, is seeded second and will have a bye before wrestling either No. 7 Providence (Mont.) or Missouri Valley, one of the pioneer programs of women’s wrestling. Third-seeded Menlo, last year’s WCWA and NAIA invitational champions, will face five-time Women’s Division champion Oklahoma City in the quarterfinals as both teams have opening-round byes. Fourth-seeded Wayland Baptist will face two-time winner and fifth-seeded U. of the Cumberlands in the quarterfinals.
Five different programs have claimed championships in the NJCAA and a sixth could be added to the list this season as seven of the eight teams in this year’s field have not won titles. Top-seeded Niagara Community College (N.Y.) will open up with Northland (Minn.). Niagara’s top finish came in 2013 when they finished fourth. Second-seeded Harper (Ill.) has a strong tradition and has placed 13 times in the event, placing third on three different occasions. Harper will open with Minnesota West. Third-seeded Rochester (Minn.) finished seventh in 2014 and will open with Rowan College of Gloucester County, which was formerly known as Gloucester County College. Fourth-seeded Nassau, the only school in the field with an NJCAA National Duals title, will open with Joliet Junior College, a school steeped in tradition which recently restarted its wrestling program. Nassau won the first two NJCAA National Duals titles in 2004 and 2005.
One of the event’s highlights is to showcase the growth of college wrestling. Of the 92 teams in attendance, 53 started since 2000.
“What’s unique about this event and where we are with our sport is there are going to be those new opportunities on center stage,” said Moyer. “Over half of our collegiate programs have been founded in the last 20 years and more than half of our teams here were started in the same era. These are schools building traditions before our own eyes.”
All-session adult passes are available at the door for $45, while student tickets are $30. A weekend corner pass is also available for $55. Single-day tickets are $25 for adults, $17 for students and $32 for a corner pass.
WHAT: 2020 U.S. Marine Corps NWCA Multi-Division National Dual Meet Championships presented by ARMS Software and Defense Soap hosted by NUWAY
WHERE: Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky
WHEN: January 10-11, 2020
WATCH: Trackwrestling.com (PPV)
RESULTS & BRACKETS: Men’s Divisions | Women’s Divisions
Division II Men (19): Bellarmine, Central Oklahoma, Colorado School of Mines, Gannon, Limestone, Lindenwood, Mary (ND), Maryville, McKendree, Mercyhurst, Nebraska at Kearney, Newberry, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Seton Hill, St. Cloud State, Tiffin, Upper Iowa, Wisconsin-Parkside.
Division III Men (24): Alma, Augsburg, Baldwin Wallace, Coe, Heidelberg, Ithaca, Johnson & Wales, Loras, Luther, Millikin, Mount Union, North Central, NYU, Olivet, RIT, Roger Williams, Wabash, Wartburg, Washington & Jefferson, Western New England, Westminster (Mo.), Wisconsin-La Crosse, Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Wisconsin-Whitewater.
NAIA Men (16): Baker, Brewton-Parker, Campbellsville, Cumberland University, Grand View, Indiana Tech, Life, Lindsey Wilson, Lourdes (Ohio), Midway (Ky.), Missouri Valley, Oklahoma City, Providence (Mont.), Reinhardt (Ga.), Southeastern (Fla.), U. of the Cumberlands
NCAA Women (15): Adrian, Augsburg, Colorado Mesa, Emmanuel (Ga.), Ferrum, Gannon, King (Tenn.), Limestone, MacMurray (Ill.), McKendree, North Central, Presbyterian, Schreiner, Simon Fraser, Tiffin.
NAIA Women (10): Campbellsville, Life, Lyon, Menlo, Midland (Neb.), Missouri Valley, Oklahoma City, Providence (Mont.), U. of the Cumberlands, Wayland Baptist.
NJCAA Men (8): Harper, Joliet (Ill.), Minnesota West, Nassau, Niagara, Northland (Minn.), Rochester (Minn.), Rowan College at Gloucester County (N.J.).