BOISE, Idaho - Brackets for this year's NCAA National Wrestling Championships were released today (March 10) with Boise State University wrestlers Kirk Smith and Adam Hall seeded No. 1 and 2 in their respective weight classes.
A junior from Boise, Idaho, Smith gained the No. 1 seed at 184 pounds with an undefeated record of 24-0. He will face Jerome Ward of Iowa State in his first round match on March 18 (Thursday) in Omaha, Nebraska. Smith is making his third straight trip to nationals and recently won his second Pac-10 Conference Championship. As a freshman in 2008 he earned All-American honors with an eighth place finish at the NCAA tournament.
Hall, a junior from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, earned his No. 2 seed at 157 pounds with a record of 27-2. This will also be Hall's third consecutive appearance at nationals after capturing his first Pac-10 Championship two weeks ago. Hall will face Jonny Bonilla-Bowman of Hofstra in his first round match.
Six Bronco wrestlers automatically qualified for nationals with their results at the Pac-10 Championships, and two more earned at-large berths today when the brackets were announced.
Joining Smith and Hall as automatic qualifiers were Jason Chamberlain, Nate Lee, Matt Casperson and Sam Zylstra. Allen Bartelli and Levi Jones earned at-large berths.
Chamberlain is the No. 8 seed at 149 pounds and will face David Cheza of Michigan State in a pig-tail match. The winner of that match will move into the first round and face Brian Stephen of Virginia Tech. Chamberlain has a record of 23-8 and placed third at conference.
Lee will face the No. 1 seed of the 174 pound weight class in his first round match, Mack Lewnes of Cornell. Lee is 15-6 this season and finished runner-up at the Pac-10 tournament this season.
Casperson must also face the No. 1 seed in his first round match when he wrestles Jake Varner of Iowa State at 197 pounds. Casperson brings a record of 18-14 into the three-day tournament and place third at this year's league championships.
Zylstra will face No. 6 seed Nathan Everhart of Indiana in his first round match at heavyweight. Zylstra is 10-8 this season and placed fifth at the Pac-10 tournament.
Bartelli gained an at-large berth at 125 pounds with a record of 25-17 and will face No. 2 seed Troy Nickerson of Cornell in the first round.
Despite having to earn his national berth in the at-large category, Jones is seeded No. 9 at 141 pounds with a 17-8 record and will face Jordan Lipp of American University in the first round.
As a team, Boise State enters next week's national championship ranked No. 11 in the NWCA/USA Today rankings, and No. 12 by Intermat.
Last year Boise State qualified nine wrestlers for nationals and came away with a 12th place finish.
This year's national tournament will be held at the Qwest Center in Omaha, March 18-20 (Thursday-Saturday).