KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Qualifiers by Weight Class | Qualifiers by School) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially announced the qualifiers for the 2017 NAIA Wrestling National Championships, presented by USA Wrestling-Kansas, the national office announced Tuesday. The 60th annual event takes place March 3 – 4 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kan. The first of four sessions is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. CST on March 3.
The top three finishers in each of the National Qualifiers' 10 weight classes received automatic berths to the national championships. The remainder of the 240-wrestler field was filled with wildcard individuals. Each of the six qualifying groups received five wildcards, which were chosen by the group's coaches at a post-qualifier meeting. The other 30 individuals were determined by a national selection committee, which consisted of two representatives from each geographic area. Up to 15 nominations from each group were considered and voted upon by the group.
Brandon Aragon (SO/Pueblo, Colo.) received one of the 30 national wildcard spots and will be joining Joey Murillo (SR/El Paso, Texas), Dillon Kifer (SR/Little Falls, Minn.), and Mike Zupan (JR/Moorhead, Minn.) at the national championships.
Five-time defending national champion Grand View (Iowa), along with Indiana Tech and Oklahoma City, bring a full roster of 12 individuals to Topeka. Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) is next with 11 wrestlers competing, followed by Bacone (Okla.), Concordia (Neb.) and Williams Baptist (Ark.), which all bring nine grapplers.
There are six defending national champions in the field – Mitch Pawlak of Indiana Tech (133 pounds) (125-pound champion in 2016), Jacob Colon of Grand View (133 pounds), Victor Hughes of Baker (Kan.) (149 pounds), Blake Cooper of Warner Pacific (Ore.) (165 pounds), Michael Pixley of Grand View (184 pounds) and Dean Broghammer of Grand View (285 pounds). All six individuals received automatic berths.
Each weight class features at least 20 wrestlers with an event-high 27 grapplers competing for the 125-pound, 149-pound and 165-pound titles.
Preliminary brackets will be announced Friday.
For additional information on the 2017 NAIA Wrestling National Championships, click here.
By Alan Grosbach, Manager of NAIA Athletics Communications and Media