Wrestlers Head to St. Louis for NCAA Championships
BOISE, Idaho - Boise State will have four wrestlers compete in the 2012 Division I Wrestling Championships this week at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. Brian Owen (133), George Ivanov (157), Jake Swartz (184) and Brent Chriswell (197) will each take to the mats for the event which runs March 15-17.
Live Coverage - ESPN will provide live coverage of the event on its family of networks, along with ESPN3.com, the company's online stations. Results will also be updated at ncaa.com.
*** All coverage is live. All times are Central. ***
Thursday, March 15
Session I: 11 a.m. on ESPN3.com
Session II: 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3.com
Friday, March 16
Session III: 10 a.m. on ESPNU HD/ESPN3.com
Session IV: 6 p.m. on ESPNU HD/ESPN3.com
Saturday, March 17
Session V: 10 a.m. on ESPNU HD/ESPN3.com
Session VI: 6:30 p.m. on ESPN HD/ESPN3.com
Thursday, March 15
11 a.m. - Session I (Eight Mats - Pigtails and First-Round)
6:30 p.m. - Session II (Eight Mats - Preliminaries: Wrestleback Preliminaries, Wrestleback First Round; Championship Round: Second Round, Consolation Round)
Friday, March 16
10 a.m. - Session III (Eight Mats - Quarterfinals and Wrestlebacks)
6 p.m. - Session IV (Six Mats - Semifinals and Wrestlebacks)
Saturday, March 17
10 a.m. - Session V (Three Mats - Wrestleback Semifinals and 3rd-8th Medal Rounds)
6:30 p.m. - Session VI (One Mat - Finals and Awards Ceremony)
Road to St. Louis - Brian Owen (133 pounds) - Owen enters the NCAA Tournament with an 8-1 record after winning the Pac-12 Championship at 133 pounds...he was sidelined most of the season due to injury but came into the Bronco lineup during the month of February...won the California Collegiate Open in his season debut...Owen's only loss came against the two seed, Logan Stieber of Ohio State when the two met in the National Duals Regional in Stillwater, Okla.
George Ivanov (157 pounds) - Enters the NCAA Tournament with a 22-6 record after finishing second at the Pac-12 Championships, falling in the finals to Oregon State's Roger Pena (Dec. 5-2)...his 22 wins are the most by any Bronco this season...broke onto the Division I scene by winning the Reno Tournament of Champions earlier this fall as an unseeded participant...took down the Nos. 1-3 seeds in the process.
Jake Swartz (184 pounds) - Swartz qualified to the NCAA tournament after winning the Pac-12 Tournament at 184 pounds...will enter the first round with an 18-4 record...was ranked 10th in the latest Intermat poll...has won 10 of his last 11 matches...missed part of the season due to a leg injury...only losses in which Swartz took to the mat came against No. 1 Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming), No. 5 Steve Bosak (Cornell) and No. 9 Cody Magrum (Ohio State) each by one point...finished second at the Cowboy Open, fourth at the Cliff Keen Invitational.
Brent Chriswell (197 pounds) - Returned to the Bronco lineup after serving a two-year mission in Las Vegas...Chriswell enters the NCAA tournament with a 14-2 record after winning the Pac-12 Championship at 197 pounds to mark his third conference championship...was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler and was the lowest seed to be crowned champion...has the best winning percentage of any Boise State wrestler this season (.875)...enters the national tournament on an eight-bout winning streak...losses came against No. 19 Taylor Meeks (Oregon State) and No. 20 Ryan Smith (Cal Poly)...he avenged both of those losses during the conference tournament.
Scouting the Competition
Sophomore Jake Swartz (18-4) was the lone Bronco to earn one of the 12 seeds per weight class, coming in at No. 10 for the 184-pound bracket. Swartz will face West Virginia's Matt Ryan, a redshirt senior who enters the tournament with a 19-4 record. Unlike the rest of the field which will need five wins to be crowned champion, Swartz was drawn into an extra match and has a six-win path.
Brian Owen (8-1, 133 pounds) will have a task in the form of No. 3 seed Tony Ramos in the first round. Ramos, a sophomore, hails from Iowa and brings a 28-3 record to the tournament.
George Ivanov (22-6) will see Air Force's Joshua Kreimier in the first round of the 157-pound bracket. Ivanov has defeated Kreimier once already this season, earning an 11-5 decision at the Reno Tournament of Champions. If Ivanov repeats with a first round victory, he will likely face No. 1 seed Kyle Drake in the second round.
Brent Chriswell (14-2) rounds out the Bronco lineup at 197 pounds. He will take on No. 5 seed Cayle Byers of Oklahoma State. Byers is a redshirt senior who owns a 23-3 record this season. Neither Chriswell nor Byers wrestled in the dual match between the two schools earlier this season.
What Happened Last Time - The Boise State wrestling team took second place at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships, notching 129 points, nine behind champion Oregon State. Brian Owen, Jake Swartz and Brent Chriswell each worked their way through the bracket to finish atop the podium as individual champions. Chriswell was the lowest seed to win a title (No. 3) and earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award. George Ivanov earned an automatic qualifier bid with his second place finish.
One More Year - Each of the four Bronco competitors have a junior standing with George Ivanov being the only true junior.
A Tradition of Excellence - Boise State has won six Pac-10 titles in the program's history and three of the last five (2011, 2009, 2008). Oregon State won the team title in 2012, 2010 and 2007. Arizona State is the last school to take home the trophy, doing so in 2006.
Reaching A Milestone - Head Coach Greg Randall notched his 100th win as Boise State head coach with team's win against North Dakota State at the 2012 Beauty and the Beast Event, Jan. 20. Randall holds a 101-40-1 record and is in his 10th season as head coach. Under Randall, the Broncos have notched four Pac-10 titles and six top-25 finishes at the NCAA tournament, including a ninth-place finish last year.
The "Biggest Little" Upset - George Ivanov, a junior-transfer from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, recently fell out of the Intermat rankings, but redeemed himself by taking down three wrestlers with top-20 rankings at the 157-pound weight class at the Reno Tournament of Champions, Dec. 18. After winning in the first two rounds, Ivanov knocked off No. 12 Albert White in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal matchup, he faced Oregon State's R.J. Pena who entered the match ranked 16th in the nation. Ivanov pinned the Pac-12 foe in 4:42. The magical run concluded with a matchup against the No. 1 seed and fifth-ranked Justin Lister of Binghamton. Ivanov pulled off the upset in a 5-3 decision, completing the five-bout win streak to stand atop the podium.
2011-12 Squad - This season's team is loaded with new talent as 12 true freshman make up Boise State's 29 roster spots. The Broncos also welcome sophomore Cody Dixon and junior-transfer George Ivanov, who make a total of 14 newcomers to the program. The Orange and Blue also return four redshirt freshman this year, which gives a total of 18 student-athletes the opportunity to wrestle in their first official match as a member of the Bronco squad this season. While new faces make up most of the Bronco roster, returners Jake Swartz, J.T. Felix and Brent Chriswell look to guide the team to a successful 2011-12 season.
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