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PARK RIDGE, Ill. Conference officials announced the preliminary seeds for the 2008 Big Ten Wrestling Championships today.  The pre-seeds are determined by a vote amongst the conference’s head wrestling coaches after consideration of regular-season results.  This year’s Big Ten Wrestling Championships will take place on the campus of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. at Williams Arena on March 8-9.  The official Big Ten Championships bracket will be set on Friday, March 7. 

Six different schools are represented as No. 1 seeds in the 10 weight classes.  Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State all lead the way with the most top seeds at two each. 

Illinois’ James Kennedy (25-4 at 133) and Mike Poeta (26-2 at 157) represent the Illini as top pre-seeds for this year’s event.  Kennedy is currently ranked No. 3 nationally at 133, and Poeta is No. 2 at 157, which is best in the conference in both classes.

Brent Metcalf (30-1 at 149) and Mark Perry (18-2 at 165) earned top-billing for Iowa.  The Hawkeyes were Big Ten regular season dual champions and are currently the No. 1 nationally-ranked team.  Metcalf is the top-ranked wrestler in the land at 149.  Perry is the defending Big Ten champion at 165 after defeating this year’s No. 2 seed Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan in the 2007 finale. Perry is also ranked No. 1 in the nation at 165.

Michigan’s top seeds consist of Kellen Russell (26-5 at 141) and Steve Luke (27-3 at 174).  Russell is ranked fourth in the country and finished with a 9-1 record in Big Ten matches.  Luke will defend his 174 lbs. title this year after winning the Big Ten crown with a 5-2 decision over Penn State’s James Yonushonis in last year’s championship bout.

Mike Pucillo (25-1 at 184) and J.D. Bergman (27-1 at Hwt.) represent Ohio State as No. 1 pre-seeds.  The Buckeyes finished second in the Big Ten regular season dual standings this year.  Pucillo’s only loss this season came to Michigan’s Tyrel Todd.  Todd was voted as the No. 2 pre-seed for this year’s event.  Bergman’s lone loss also came to the No. 2 seed at Hwt. in Northwestern’s Dustin Fox. 

Rounding out the top seeds are Minnesota’s Jayson Ness (33-0 at 125) and Northwestern’s Mike Tamillow (27-2 at 197).  Ness hopes to lead the Golden Gophers to their third consecutive Big Ten Championship and repeat as individual champion at 125.  Tamillow is in search of his second consecutive 197 lbs. title after winning at last year’s competition.

Last year Minnesota won the conference championship with a score of 156 points and had four wrestlers win individual titles.  Wisconsin (100.5) placed second and Iowa (91), Penn State (90.5) and Indiana (85) rounded out the top five. 

2008 BIG TEN WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS PRELIMINARY SEEDS

125 lbs.
1.     Jayson Ness, Minnesota
2.     Charlie Falck, Iowa
3.     Angel Escobedo, Indiana
4.     Brandon Precin, Northwestern
5.     Gabriel Flores, Illinois
6.     Mark McKnight, Penn State
7.     Nikko Triggas, Ohio State
8.     Collin Cudd, Wisconsin

133 lbs.
1.     James Kennedy, Illinois
2.     Joe Slaton, Iowa
3.     Franklin Gomez, Michigan State
4.     Zach Tanelli, Wisconsin
5.     Mack Reiter, Minnesota
6.     Andrae Hernandez, Indiana
7.     Reece Humphrey, Ohio State
8.     Tim Haas, Penn State

141 lbs.
1.     Kellen Russell, Michigan
2.     Kyle Ruschell, Wisconsin
3.     J Jaggers, Ohio State
4.     Dan LeClere, Iowa
5.     Garrett Scott, Penn State
6.     Manuel Rivera, Minnesota
7.     Keith Sulzer, Northwestern
8.     Ryan Prater, Illinois

149 lbs.
1.     Brent Metcalf, Iowa
2.     Joshua Churella, Michigan
3.     Dustin Schlatter, Minnesota
4.     Bubba Jenkins, Penn State
5.     Lance Palmer, Ohio State
6.     Jake Patacsil, Purdue
7.     Ryan Lang, Northwestern
8.     Grant Paswell, Illinois

157 lbs.
1.     Michael Poeta, Illinois
2.     Dan Vallimont, Penn State
3.     Brandon Becker, Indiana
4.     C.P. Schlatter, Minnesota
5.     Craig Henning, Wisconsin
6.     Jeff Marsh, Michigan
7.     Ryan Morningstar, Iowa
8.     John Fulger, Michigan State

165 lbs.
1.     Mark Perry, Iowa
2.     Eric Tannenbaum, Michigan
3.     Tyler Safratowich, Minnesota
4.     Colt Sponseller, Ohio State
5.     Roger Smith-Bergsrud, Illinois
6.     Matt Coughlin, Indiana
7.     Dave Rella, Penn State
8.     Rex Kendle, Michigan State

174 lbs.
1.     Steve Luke, Michigan
2.     Jay Borschel, Iowa
3.     Gabriel Dretsch, Minnesota
4.     Nick Hayes, Northwestern
5.     John Dergo, Illinois
6.     David Erwin, Penn State
7.     Nick Corpe, Purdue
8.     Dan Clum, Wisconsin

184 lbs.
1.     Mike Pucillo, Ohio State
2.     Tyrel Todd, Michigan
3.     Phil Keddy, Iowa
4.     Roger Kish, Minnesota
5.     Phil Bomberger, Penn State
6.     Marc Bennett, Indiana
7.     Ben Friedl, Illinois
8.     A.J. Kissel, Purdue

197 lbs.
1.     Mike Tamillow, Northwestern
2.     Phil Davis, Penn State
3.     Patrick Bond, Illinois
4.     Dallas Herbst, Wisconsin
5.     Joe Williams, Michigan State
6.     Justin Bronson, Minnesota
T7.    Chad Beatty, Iowa
T7.    Anthony Biondo, Michigan

HWT
1.     J.D. Bergman, Ohio State
2.     Dustin Fox, Northwestern
3.     Kyle Massey, Wisconsin
4.     Matt Fields, Iowa
5.     John Wise, Illinois
6.     Chris Kasten, Purdue
7.     John Laboranti, Penn State
8.     Ben Berhow, Minnesota