Big Ten Championship Pre-Seeds Announced; Salazar No. 1 at 184

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota senior Isaiah Salazar earned the top seed at 184 pounds as the Big Ten conference released pre-seeds Monday night for this week’s 2024 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in College Park, Md.

Led by Salazar, Minnesota heads into the championships with seven wrestlers seeded within the conference allocations determined by the NCAA last week, including four Gophers who slot in within the top five in their weight class.

The pre-seeds, as voted on by the conference’s coaches, rank 14 starters in all ten weight classes. Official final brackets for the tournament are set to be finalized and released later this week.

After a perfect 11-0 dual season, where he posted a 7-0 mark in conference action for the second year in a row, Salazar claimed the top seed at 184 pounds. The only undefeated wrestler against the field at the weight class, Salazar finished fourth a year ago at Big Tens and eighth as a sophomore. Since the current weight classes were established in 1999, the only other Gophers to be the top seed at 184 pounds were Kevin Steinhaus in 2012 and current head coach Brandon Eggum in 2000.

Looking to build off last season’s runner-up finish at 149 pounds, sixth-year senior Michael Blockhus grabbed the No. 2 seed in the 157-pound field. Currently ranked fourth in the country by Intermat, Blockhus was 15-1 in the regular season, 12-1 in duals, 8-0 in the Big Ten and 6-0 against ranked opponents. Dylan Ness in 2015 was the last 157-pounder for Minnesota to be ranked second or higher, while current head assistant coach Luke Becker was the No. 1 seed in 2002 and the second seed his other three years of competition.

Making his fifth career appearance at the Big Ten Championships, sixth-year senior Patrick McKee earned the fourth seed at 125 pounds. He finished sixth last season but posted a top-three finish in 2022. McKee was 12-5 during the regular season, 8-4 in duals and 4-3 in Big Ten action.

After bumping to heavyweight a year ago, sixth-year senior Garrett Joles is back to 197 pounds as he claimed the No. 5 seed. Jokes is making his third career appearance at Big Tens after an 18-6 regular season and 6-2 record in the Big Ten.

Two Gophers will make their postseason debuts as the No. 8 seed in their respective weight classes as both true freshman Tyler Wells (133) and redshirt sophomore Bennett Tabor (285) hit the mats this weekend. Wells was 12-4 in the regular season and 5-2 in the Big Ten, while Tabor posted records of 19-5 overall and 5-3 in the league.

Redshirt sophomore Drew Roberts (17-6 overall, 4-4 B1G) and senior Andrew Sparks (8-5, 3-3) will take the nine-seeds at 149 and 174 pounds, respectively, while redshirt sophomore Vance VomBaur (14-6, 4-4) tied for the No. 9 seed at 141 pounds. VomBaur’s place will be finalized at the official seeding meeting on Friday. Sparks will be competing for the third time at Big Tens, though his previous two trips came at 165. Roberts and VomBaur will be making their Big Ten Championship debuts.

Redshirt sophomore Blaine Brenner rounds out the squad as the No. 10 seed at 165 pounds. He is one of five Gophers making their championship debuts after a regular season saw him go 17-9 overall and 4-4 in the conference.

Minnesota starts its postseason journey this weekend at the 2024 Big Ten Championships in College Park, Md. The two-day, four-session event will take place at XFINITY Center starting Saturday, March 9. Linear and streaming coverage will be provided by Big Ten Network and B1G+, respectively.

125 pounds
1 – Matt Ramos (PUR)
2 – Drake Ayala (IOWA)
3 – Eric Barnett (WIS)
4 – Patrick McKee (MINN)
5 – Caleb Smith (NEB)
6 – Braeden Davis (PSU)
7 – Michael DeAugustino (MICH)
8 – Brendan McCrone (OSU)
9 – Dean Peterson (RUT)
10 – Tristan Lujan (MSU)
11 – Justin Cardani (ILL)
12 – Massey Odiotti (NU)
13 – Tommy Capul (MD)
14 – Blaine Frazier (IND)

133 pounds
1 – Dylan Ragusin (MICH)
2 – Dylan Shawver (RUT)
3 – Nic Bouzakis (OSU)
4 – Jacob Van Dee (NEB)
5 – Aaron Nagao (PSU)
6 – Tony Madrigal (ILL)
7 – Braxton Brown (MD)
8 – Tyler Wells (MINN)
9 – Nicolar Rivera (WIS)
10 – Cayden Rooks (IND)
11 – Dustin Norris (PUR)
12 – Andrew Hampton (MSU)
13 – Patrick Adams (NU)
14 – Brody Teske (IOWA)

141 pounds
1 – Beau Bartlett (PSU)
2 – Jesse Mendez (OSU)
3 – Real Woods (IOWA)
4 – Brock Hardy (NEB)
5 – Sergio Lemley (MICH)
6 – Danny Pucino (ILL)
7 – Mitch Moore (RUT)
8 – Jordan Hamdan (MSU)
T9 – Dan Fongaro (IND)
T9 – Vance VomBaur (MINN)
11 – Kal Miller (MD)
12 – Greyson Clark (PUR)
13 – Kolby McClain (NU)
14 – Felix Lettini (WIS)

149 pounds
1 – Ridge Lovett (NEB)
2 – Austin Gomez (MICH)
3 – Caleb Rathjen (IOWA)
4 – Tyler Kasak (PSU)
5 – Dylan D’Emilio (OSU)
6 – Ethen Miller (MD)
7 – Joseph Zargo (WIS)
8 – Graham Rooks (IND)
9 – Drew Roberts (MINN)
10 – Michael Cetta (RUT)
11 – Marcos Polanco (PUR)
12 – Braden Stauffenberg (MSU)
13 – Aiden Vandenbush (NU)
14 – Jake Harrier (ILL)

157 pounds
1 – Levi Haines (PSU)
2 – Michael Blockhus (MINN)
3 – Brayton Lee (IND)
4 – Jared Franek (IOWA)
5 – Peyton Robb (NEB)
6 – Chase Saldate (MSU)
7 – Will Lewan (MICH)
8 – Joey Blaze (PUR)
9 – Trevor Chumbley (NU)
10 – Isaac Wilcox (OSU)
11 – Al DeSantis (RUT)
12 – Michael North (MD)
13 – Luke Mechler (WIS)
14 – Logan Swaw (ILL)

165 pounds
1 – Dean Hamiti (WIS)
2 – Mitchell Mesenbrink (PSU)
3 – Michael Caliendo (IOWA)
4 – Caleb Fish (MSU)
5 – Antrell Taylor (NEB)
6 – Cameron Amine (MICH)
7 – Stoney Buell (PUR)
8 – Bryce Hepner (OSU)
9 – Tyler Lillard (IND)
10 – Blaine Brenner (MINN)
11 – Chris Moore (ILL)
12 – Maxx Mayfield (NU)
13 – Anthony White (RUT)
14 – AJ Rodrigues (MD)

174 pounds
1 – Carter Starocci (PSU)
2 – Shane Griffith (MICH)
3 – Patrick Kennedy (IOWA)
4 – Edmond Ruth (ILL)
5 – Rocco Welsh (OSU)
6 – Jackson Turley (RUT)
7 – Max Maylor (WIS)
8 – DJ Washington (IND)
9 – Andrew Sparks (MINN)
10 – Brody Baumann (PUR)
11 – Dominic Solis (MD)
12 – Bubba Wilson (NEB)
13 – DJ Shannon (MSU)
14 – David Ferrante (NU)

184 pounds
1 – Isaiah Salazar (MINN)
2 – Lenny Pinto (NEB)
3 – Bernie Truax (PSU)
4 – Ryder Rogotzke (OSU)
5 – Jaden Bullock (MICH)
6 – Layne Malczewski (MSU)
7 – Shane Liegel (WIS)
8 – Brian Soldano (RUT)
9 – Troy Fisher (NU)
10 – Roman Rogotzke (IND)
11 – Dylan Connell (ILL)
12 – James Rowley (PUR)
13 – Aiden Riggins (IOWA)
14 – Chase Mielnik (MD)

197 pounds
1 – Aaron Brooks (PSU)
2 – Jaxon Smith (MD)
3 – Zach Glazier (IOWA)
4 – Silas Allred (NEB)
5 – Garrett Joles (MINN)
6 – Luke Geog (OSU)
7 – John Poznanski (RUT)
8 – Evan Bates (NU)
9 – Ben Vanadia (PUR)
10 – Gabe Sollars (IND)
11 – Kael Wisler (MSU)
12 – Isiah Pettigrew (ILL)
13 – Bobby Striggow (MICH)
14 – Josh Otto (WIS)

285 pounds
1 – Greg Kerkvliet (PSU)
2 – Nick Feldman (OSU)
3 – Lucas Davison (MICH)
4 – Yaraslau Slavikouski (RUT)
5 – Seth Nevills (MD)
6 – Nick Willham (IND)
7 – Bradley Hill (IOWA)
8 – Bennett Tabor (MINN)
9 – Josh Terrill (MSU)
10 – Nash Hutmacher (NEB)
11 – Jack Jessen (NU)
12 – Gannon Rosenfeld (WIS)
13 – Peter Marinopoulus (ILL)
14 – Hayden Filipovich (PUR)

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