NCAA Championships Begin Thursday on ESPN
NCAA Brackets Set, Deutsch Seeded 11th
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK—The brackets for the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships have been announced.
All six sessions of the NCAA Tournament will be covered by the ESPN family of networks.
ESPN will televise the semifinals and finals Saturday evening.
ESPNU will televise the first and second sessions Thursday, the quarterfinals and the medal round Friday and Saturday.
ESPN3 will carry individual mat feeds throughout the entire tournament and debut a special—Inside the Mat—during the finals. All six sessions are available on WatchESPN.com
Rider sophomore Robert Deutsch (Cherry Hill, NJ/Eastern Regional) is the 11th seed at 125 and will take on Cory Stainbrook of West Virginia in the first round. Deutsch (30-4) was the Eastern Wrestling League Champion this season. Stainbrook finished third at the Big 12 Championships and is 24-14.
“Robert earning the 11th seed is a tribute to the season he put together,” said associate head coach John Hangey. “He has definitely positioned himself as one of the best 125 pounders in the country and now has to go and out wrestle his seed to accomplish his goal of being an All American this year."
Junior 133 Chuck Zeisloft (Woodbury Heights, N.J./Gateway) will face the 11th seed, Ryan Mango of Stanford in the first round. Zeisloft (23-14) finished third at the EWL Championships. The Pac-12 Champion, Mango is a fifth-year senior who has 108 career wins, including 27 this year
Rider senior Ramon Santiago (Sayreville, N.J./Sayreville) will begin the tournament in the pigtail round, facing Mitchell Wightman of Boston University. An EWL Champion, Santiago (20-12) has defeated Wightman all three times they have faced each other, including an 8-2 decision this season. Wightman placed fifth at the EIWA Championships and has a record of 22-13.
“Ramon facing Wightman from BU is a familiar match,” Hangey said. “Facing the same opponent several times allows both athletes to know each very well. Ramon being a fifth year senior knows this is his last opportunity to be an All-American and will have to wrestle the way he is capable to accomplish his long standing goal.”
The winner of the Santiago-Wightman bout will face the eighth seed, Michael Moreno of Iowa State.
Sophomore Conor Brennan (Brick, NJ/Brick Twp.), the EWL Champion at 174, will face the 14th seed, Mark Martin of Ohio State. Martin is a two-time NCAA Qualifier and placed seventh at the Big 10 Championships this year. Martin has 27 wins this season. Brennan (26-7) began the season at 157 pounds but was forced to move up two weight classes due to injuries on the Rider squad.
Junior Clint Morrison (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cedar Cliff) will face the fourth seed, Max Thomusseit of Pittsburgh. Morrison (18-4) finished third at the EWL Championships. Thomusseit is a three-time NCAA Qualifier and has a record of 16-1, finishing runner-up at the ACC Championship.
Deutsch and Santiago are making their second trip to Nationals.
Deutsch qualified for Nationals last year as the Colonial Athletic Association runner-up while competing for Old Dominion.
Santiago was a National qualifier last year as a CAA Champion.
Brennan, Morrison and Zeisloft are making their first trip to Nationals.
Morrison missed much of this season with an injury but since returning to the lineup is 14-2. Morrison will attempt to become an All-American like his father, Tim, was for Rider in 1983. The ’83 Nationals were also in Oklahoma City.
Zeisloft led the 2011-12 Rider team in victories with 23 but red-shirted last season with an ankle injury.
The NCAA Championships, held at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, begin Thursday, March 20, and conclude March 22.
Rider sent four wrestlers to Nationals last year, two in 2012, three in 2011 and six in 2010. Rider sent four wrestlers to Nationals in 2009 and came home with its 13th All-American. In 1996 Rider sent a program-best nine wrestlers to Nationals and in 1997 came home with three All-Americans.