Final brackets were announced today for the 2009 Big Ten Wrestling Championships in University Park, Pa. The final brackets reflected no changes for Minnesota from the pre-seeds that were announced earlier in the week. Five Minnesota wrestlers received byes in the opening round, while five other Gophers will wrestle in the pigtail rounds.
“None of the coaches really had an argument on any of [the pre-seeds]. Some of the coaches are upset that there’s not an exact criteria for how you seed, but if you look at the seedings, most of them have worked out pretty well,” Minnesota head coach J Robinson said.
Zach Sanders (5th seed, 125 pounds) meets Wisconsin’s Drew Hammen in the pigtail round tomorrow morning. The winner of the match will face top-seeded Brandon Precin of Northwestern in the quarterfinals. Sanders was 2-0 against Hammen this season including a win by fall at the National Duals on Jan. 10 and a 10-4 decision victory in a dual meet on Feb. 13.
Jayson Ness (4th seed, 133 pounds) drew a bye in the loaded 133-pound bracket. In a bracket that features each of the nation’s top five wrestlers, Ness awaits the winner of a match between 5th-seeded Reece Humphrey of Ohio State and Northwestern’s Eric Metzler. Ness split a pair of matches with Humphrey this season, and defeated Metzler by major decision in the Gophers’ 18-16 win over the Wildcats on Feb. 8.
Mike Thorn (4th seed, 141 pounds) also draws a bye in the opening round and will make his postseason debut in the quarterfinals. Thorn will meet either 2008 national champion J Jaggers of Ohio State, against whom Thorn posted a 2-1 record this season, or Michigan State’s Collin Dozier. Thorn pinned Dozier in their only meeting of the season on Jan. 25.
Joe Grygelko (Unseeded, 149 pounds) is one of seven Gophers making their March debuts this weekend and will face fourth-seeded Kyle Ruschell in the pigtail round. Ruschell has won both meetings between the two during the 2008-09 campaign.
Tyler Safratowich (4th seed, 157 pounds) is one of four Gophers seeded fourth who also draw an opening round bye. Safratowich will face the winner of a match featuring Ohio State’s Jason Johnstone and Purdue’s Colton Salazar. Safratowich, who competes in his third Big Ten meet this weekend, defeated Johnstone in their only match of the season and has not faced Salazar this season.
Scott Glasser (Unseeded, 165 pounds) owns arguably the toughest draw for a Minnesota wrestler as he opposes top-seed Andrew Howe in the pigtail round. Howe, who is ranked second nationally, defeated Glasser via decision in both of the meetings between the two this season.
Junior Matt Everson (Unseeded, 174 pounds) is slated to meet Michigan State’s eighth-seeded Ian Hinton in the pigtail round. The winner of Everson’s bout with Hinton will face top-seeded Steve Luke of Michigan in the quarterfinals. Everson defeated Hinton with a narrow 4-3 decision in the Big Ten dual opener on Jan. 25.
Sonny Yohn (Unseeded, 184 pounds) will face fifth-seeded A.J. Kissel of Purdue in the pigtail round Saturday morning. Yohn, who is working for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in two weeks, hopes to advance to the quarterfinal round where Illinois’ fourth-seeded Jordan Blanton awaits.
Gordon Bierschenk (4th seed, 197 pounds) rounds out the group of Minnesota’s fourth seeds who are drawing byes into the quarterfinal round this weekend. Bierschenk will meet Illinois’ fifth-seeded Patrick Bond in the quarters. The two have not met this year.
Ben Berhow (2nd seed, Hwt) owns the Gophers’ highest seed and will not wrestle until the quarterfinal round, when he meets the winner of a pigtail round bout featuring seventh-ranked Eddie Philllips of Michigan and Northwestern’s Paul Rands. Berhow defeated both Phillips and Rands as a part of a career-long nine-match winning streak earlier this season.
The first session of the Championships, which includes the pigtail and quarterfinal rounds, gets underway from the Bryce Jordan Center at 10:00 a.m. (CT) tomorrow. Session II begins at 5:00 p.m. (CT). Follow updates from both rounds at gophersports.com.