COLUMBUS, Ohio The sixth-ranked Ohio State wrestling team will send nine qualifiers to the 2009 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee announced Tuesday.
After the Big Ten championships last weekend, the Buckeyes qualified six wrestlers in the following weight classes 133, 141, 149, 165, 174 and 184. At the conclusion of all the conference championships and qualifying events, the wrestling committee selected 52 at-large qualifiers. The Scarlet and Gray received at-large bids in the 125, 157 weight classes and heavyweight. In all, each weight class will have 33 participants.
At the Big Ten championships, Reece Humphrey (133), J Jaggers (141), Lance Palmer (149), Colt Sponseller (165), Dave Rella (174) and Mike Pucillo (184) solidified their spots in the NCAA championships.
Humphrey, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., was the 133-pound runner up, a career-best performance at the league championships. The junior enters nationals with a 26-3 record.
For the second-consecutive season, senior Jaggers placed in the Top 3 amongst his conference counterparts with a third-place finish. With a 23-7 overall record, the defending national champion at 141 pounds, will again look to run the table at the NCAA championships after finishing third at the Big Ten championships in 2008.
Palmer (27-3) recorded a career-best third-place finish at the Big Ten championships. After losing his first-round match, Palmer, a junior from Columbia Station, Ohio, won four-consecutive matches. Palmer will be seeking his third All-America honor in 2009.
Sponseller, a sophomore from Glenmont, Ohio, was fourth at the conference championships. After missing out on nationals as a freshman, Sponseller will make his debut in two weeks with a 30-6 record.
At 174 pounds, Rella will return to nationals, this time for the Buckeyes as he transferred from Penn State in 2008. The junior from Akron, Ohio, was a fifth-place finisher at the conference championships and enters the NCAA championships with a 20-13 ledger.
With a third-place finish at 184 pounds, Pucillo will look to defend his NCAA title in St. Louis. The Strongsville, Ohio, native owned a 43-match win streak entering the Big Ten championships, but it was snapped in the semifinals. He will begin his national title run with a 19-1 record.
Receiving at-large bids are Nikko Triggas (125), Jason Johnstone (157) and Corey Morrison (HWT).
Triggas is 20-15 after suffering early losses in the Big Ten championships. Johnstone too bowed out of competition at the conference championships early, but will contend for a national title after amassing a 20-12 mark. Morrison will make his debut on the national stage with 19 wins and 13 losses.
The at-large selections were made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.