BOISE, Idaho - The Boise State wrestling team enjoyed a record setting announcement, Wednesday (March 9) afternoon, as the Broncos learned that 10 wrestlers have qualified to compete at the 2011 NCAA National Championships in Philadelphia, Pa., March 17-19.
Since joining the Pac-10 Conference in 1988, the most wrestlers Boise State had qualified to compete at the national tournament was nine. The Broncos did so on three occasions (2003, 2008 and 2009). With seven automatic berths and three at-large selections the Broncos broke that record on Wednesday, however.
Boise State entered Wednesday with seven tickets already punched to the NCAA Championships. Alan Bartelli (125 pounds), Andrew Hochstrasser (133), Levi Jones (141), Jason Chamberlain (149), Adam Hall (157), Kurt Swartz (165) and J.T. Felix (HWT) earned automatic bids following their performance at the Pac-10 tournament. That left three Boise State wrestlers still awaiting word on their invitations.
Jake Swartz (174), Kirk Smith (184) and Matt Casperson (197) all received good news on Wednesday as they were awarded at-large selections to the national tournament. Smith joins three other Broncos who received top 12 seeds for their respective weight class heading into the tournament, including Hall and Hochstrasser who were each seeded in the top two.
Hall will begin the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 overall seed at 157 pounds after finishing the regular season with a 25-0 overall record. Hall's top seed comes on the heels of capturing his second consecutive Pac-10 title. He will begin his run at a NCAA National Championship against DJ Meagher of Cornell.
Hochstrasser received the No. 2 overall seed at 133 pounds after wrestling to a 23-1 overall record in 2010-11. Hochstrasser's only loss of the regular season came against No. 1 seed Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State, 5-2, back on Feb. 11. Hochstrasser, who also won the second Pac-10 title of his career this season, will open NCAA tournament action against Nathan McCormick of Missouri.
Chamberlain will start his journey at nationals with the third highest seed of any Boise State wrestler as he was selected No. 6 overall at 149 pounds. Chamberlain will meet Dane Johnson of Pittsburgh in his opening round match at NCAAs. Chamberlain also recently wrestled to the second Pac-10 title of his career.
Rounding out the group of Broncos heading to nationals with a seeding is Smith, who was selected No. 11 at 184 pounds. Following his first match at the Pac-10 Championships, Smith was forced to medical forfeit out of the tournament due to injury. Smith, the defending NCAA National Runner-Up at 184 pounds, is slated to meet Diego Bencomo of Duke in the first round at nationals.
Of the other six Boise State wrestlers headed to the NCAA tournament, four will open their week at nationals against seeded opponents. Bartelli will meet No. 8 Jarrod Patterson (Oklahoma) at 125 pounds. K. Swartz, meanwhile, will open up against No. 4 Josh Asper (Maryland) at 165 pounds. Casperson is set to face No. 7 Zac Thomusseit (Pittsburgh) in the opening round of the 197-pound bracket. Felix will then meet No. 5 Dominque Bradley (Missouri) at heavyweight.
Jones will wrestle the only pigtail match for Boise State as he is set to square off against Hicks Manson (Cornell) to move into first round action at 141 pounds.
J. Swartz will open his first NCAA tournament against Matt Fullowan (Franklin & Marshall) at 174 pounds.
Attached are the complete brackets for the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships.