FARGO, N.D. — The 2015 NCAA West Regional title will be on the line Saturday in Fargo, North Dakota, when all six school from the Western Wrestling Conference hit the mat at North Dakota State’s Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse for the one-day qualifying tournament where competitors will compete to earn automatic bids to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. CT and the finals for both the championship and consolation brackets are slated to start at 4 p.m. on the campus of North Dakota State University.
Tournament information as well as live video and live results links can be found by visiting the tournament central page on WesternWrestlingConference.com.
Tickets for the day-long tournament at the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse will be $12 for adults and $5 for youth. Tickets can by purchased at the the NDSU Ticket Office or by visiting GoBison.com.
In its ninth year, the WWC is comprised of six schools including the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming. Since all league schools compete at the tournament, the WWC tournament championship will also be determined at the event.
The host Bison will look to successfully defend their NCAA West Regional title as they won their first championship at the event last year. The Bison edged out the four-time defending champion Wyoming Cowboys by eight points (74-66). Air Force finished in third place with 50 points, while Utah Valley followed in fourth (49.5), South Dakota State fifth (34.5) and Northern Colorado sixth (12.5).
Out of the 19 competitors that qualified for last year’s NCAA Championships, 11 of them are back this year including seven conference champions from a year ago. The seven returning individual champions from last season are Wyoming’s Tyler Cox (125 pounds), Benjamin Stroh (184) and Shane Woods (197), SDSU’s Alex Kocer (149) and Cody Pack (157), and NDSU’s Hayden Zillmer and Evan Knutson. The four other returning 2014 NCAA qualifiers are AFA’s Josh Martinez (125), UVU’s Jade Rauser (133), Wyoming’s Dakota Friesth (165) and NDSU’s Kurtis Julson (184).
Wyoming’s Woods, who went 29-3 this season and is ranked 14th in his weight class on the final NCAA Coaches’ Panel Ranking, will be looking for his third consecutive conference title after taking home titles at 197 in 2014 and at 184 in 2013. Cox, Stroh, Kocer, Pack, Zillmer, Knutson and UNC’s Mitchell Polkowske, who won a title for the Bears at 149 pounds in 2009, will all be striving to win their second conference championships on Saturday.
The No. 20 NDSU Bison also earned the 2014-15 WWC regular-season dual title this season after going a perfect 5-0 during conference play. The 16th-ranked Cowboys finished second with a 4-1 record while the Jackrabbits finished third (3-2), the Bears fourth (2-3), the Wolverines fifth (1-4) and the Falcons sixth (0-5).
The West Regional will send 19 automatic qualifiers to the NCAA Championships this year, based on the final NCAA Coaches’ Panel Ranking, Rating Percentage Index (RPI) and Division I winning percentage. The breakdown of the 19 auto bids per weight class are as follows: 125 (5), 133 (1), 141 (1), 149 (1), 157 (1), 165 (2), 174 (2), 184 (2), 197 (2) and 285 (2).
After all qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 70 at-large qualifiers, who will be announced on March 11. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. Last year, the WWC saw four additional wrestlers receive at-large selections.
Qualifiers from this weekend’s tournament will compete at the 2015 NCAA Championships, which will be held March 19-21 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
2015 NCAA West Regional Schedule of Events (all times listed in CT)
10:00 a.m. – Start of Competition (First Rounds, 10 – 11:30 a.m.)
11:45 a.m. – Second Rounds/Semifinals (11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)
1:45 p.m. – Third Round/Consolation Semifinals (1:45 – 3:15 p.m.)
4:00 p.m. – Finals/Third-Place Matches (followed by true second-place bouts as needed)
6:30 p.m. – Award Ceremonies
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View the pre-seeds for the tournament here.
Tournament Central (WWC) | Tournament Central (NDSU)