The NCAA Wrestling Committee has officially announced tonight’s championship finals will conclude with Oklahoma State’s Tyler Caldwell taking on Penn State’s David Taylor at 165 pounds.
That means things will get underway with Bedlam at 174 pounds where the Cowboys’ Chris Perry will meet Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe.
The finals will begin at 7 p.m. inside Chesapeake Energy Arena with the team race still very much up for grabs.
Minnesota came storming through the consolations this morning to move into first with 104 points. Penn State is second with 101.5 points. Both teams will have two wrestlers competing tonight.
Oklahoma State is now a long shot as the Cowboys sit in third with 87.5 points, but they aren’t dead just yet with a tournament-high four wrestlers in the championship finals.
Here’s a list of the finals order and a breakdown of each match:
174 — No. 1 Chris Perry, Oklahoma State vs. No. 2 Andrew Howe, Oklahoma: Wow. Perry vs. Howe Part III, in the national finals, in OKC. The Bedlam rivals are two of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers in the country. They’ve split the previous two matches, handing each other their only loss of the season.
184 — No. 1 Jimmy Sheptock, Maryland vs. No. 2 Ed Ruth, Penn State: Ruth will be favored as he’s looking to go out as one of the most decorated wrestlers in program history with a third national title. But don’t overlook Sheptock, who is 32-0 in what’s been a dominant senior season for the Terrapin.
197 — No. 1 Nick Heflin, Ohio State vs. No. 2 J’Den Cox, Missouri: Cox has been rock solid in his true freshman season, going 37-2 and facing much of the top competition along the way. But he’s yet to see the weight’s top competitor in Heflin, who has won 18 straight in what has been a stellar senior season for the Buckeye.
285 — No. 1 Tony Nelson, Minnesota vs. No. 2 Nick Gwiazdowski, North Carolina State: Nelson, a two-time national champion, is back on top of his game. His four losses this season were more than he’d had in the two previous seasons. He scored a 1-0 decision over Gwiazdowski in their only match this season, and another close one should be expected.
125 — No. 1 Jesse Delgado, Illinois vs. No 2. Nahshon Garrett, Cornell: Delgado is the defending champion and handed Garrett his only loss of the season in early December, but Garrett comes in on fire having won 29 straight.
133 — No. 5 Tyler Graff, Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Tony Ramos, Iowa: Ramos defeated Graff 2-1 in the Big Ten finals, but Graff already avenged two of his four losses by defeating No. 1 Joe Colon in the semifinals. Can he get revenge for another?
141 — No. 4 Devin Carter, Virginia Tech vs. No. 2 Logan Stieber, Ohio State: Stieber is a two-time champion still on track to become a four-timer, but don’t count Carter out. Carter tore his hamstring in December, but returned for the ACC Tournament and run his record to 18-0.
149 — No. 5 Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern vs. No. 11 Josh Kindig, Oklahoma State: A couple of underdog stories as the freshman Tsirtsis came out of a brutal top half of the bracket and Kindig’s run from the No. 11 seed has the Cowboys in the thick of the team race.
157 —No. 9 Dylan Ness, Minnesota vs. No. 3 Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State: Exciting matchup of two contrasting styles. Ness brings a funky style capable of putting points on the board from any position, while Dieringer features strong fundamentals.
165 — No. 1 David Taylor, Penn State vs. No. 2 Tyler Caldwell, Oklahoma State: A huge match for the team race. Most coaches and wrestlers have called Taylor the top pound-for-pound wrestler in the country, but Caldwell has proven he is capable of hanging around just enough to possibly pull off the upset.