The Big Ten is going to have a major impact on the NCAA wrestling championships, as usual.
The NCAA announced Thursday that the conference has qualified 77 wrestlers for the Division I wrestling championships, which will take place March 16-18 in St. Louis. The Big Ten has nearly double the number of qualifiers of any other conference. The Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) is second with 43 qualifiers, and the Big 12 has 38.
The individuals have yet to be announced, but RPI rankings can be found here.
The Big Ten will have at least five wrestlers competing in every weight group, including nine each at 133, 141, 157, 174 and 184 pounds.
This is especially good news for Penn State and Iowa, which have wrestlers near the top of each weight class.
The Nittany Lions, who beat Oklahoma State on Sunday to win the dual championship, have wrestlers in the top five of the RPI rankings in eight weight classes. Nick Suriano (125 pounds), Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Bo Nickal (184) and Nick Nevills (285) are all ranked in the top three of their respective weight classes.
Iowa, meanwhile, has four wrestlers ranked in the top four of different weight classes — including top-ranked Thomas Gilman (125) and Michael Kemerer (157).