INDIANAPOLIS – The brackets for the 2017 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, being held March 16-18 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, have been released.
American University senior Jason Grimes, junior Jeric Kasunic and redshirt sophomore Josh Terao will represent the Eagles at the national tournament.
"The brackets are the brackets," said head coach Teague Moore. "Everyone at the NCAA Tournament is tough. Every match starts, 0-0. At the national tournament, seeding doesn't matter nor do prior results.
"All three can do exciting things in St. Louis. We need to show up and wrestle our best and leave the results on the mat."
Terao (125) was the only Eagle to receive a ranking for the tournament as the 11th-seed. Terao will meet Jose Rodriguez from Ohio State.
Rodriguez is 15-10 on the season and finished seventh at the Big Ten Championship. Since winning 11 of his first 13 matches, Rodriguez has dropped eight of his last 12.
For Terao, he finished second at the EIWA Championships last weekend falling to Darian Cruz from Lehigh. He is one win away from his 50th career win and is 28-5 this year. Terao placed third at the Midlands Championship. Terao is 7-3 against the other 125-pound qualifiers that made the NCAA Tournament. He has two wins over Shakur Laney from Ohio and wins against Ibrahim Bunduka of George Mason, Drew Templeman from Wyoming, Christian Moody from Oklahoma, Nathan Kraisser of Campbell and Jake Gromacki from Clarion. His losses are against Thomas Gilman of Iowa and Cruz from Lehigh.
"It's been a pretty exciting time," said Terao. Going to nationals is one of the goals I've had since the season started. I am going to use the next few days to train and keep a focused mindset."
"I'm not going to change much over the next few days. I am planning on keeping my normal schedule with training and weight management. My brother David and coach Moore said I am in the best position to compete at my best."
Grimes (184) is set to meet 15th-seed Steven Schneider from Binghamton. Grimes and Schneider met nearly a month ago at Bender Arena, where Schneider came away with a 4-1 decision over Grimes. The Atlanta, Georgia, native is 19-18 on the year coming off a fifth-place performance at the EIWA Championships last weekend.
Grimes has met eight other competitors from inside his bracket and is 4-9 with wins over Michale Fagg-Davis from Rider, Ville Heino from Campbell, Alexander DeCiantis from Drexel and Garrett Hoffman from Bucknell.
"I'm excited to be part of the NCAA Tournament," said Grimes. "I will be looking over film on Schneider in the next few days and watching a few of his other matches."
"I have been to the tournament in the past as a fan when I was a senior in high school and to support other teammates."
Kasunic (197) will have a tough task at hand when he faces the top-seed J'den Cox from Missouri. Cox enters the NCAA Tournament with a perfect record of 23-0. Cox was named the MAC Most Outstanding Wrestler for the third time in his illustrious career.
Kasunic is 2-8 against the rest of the 197-pound bracket. His victories are against Steban Cervanties of Navy and Daniel Chiad from North Carolina.
"It's still not here yet, nothing has changed. I need to take this one match at a time," said Kasunic. "Cox is a two-time NCAA Champion and claimed a bronze medal (86-kg freestyle) at the Rio Olympics, he is one of the best in the world and I get an opportunity to wrestle him."
"My family is excited about this opportunity. We've watched the NCAA Tournament on TV and as spectators. They are excited for me to be there."
The championship qualifiers are comprised of the 277 student-athletes who qualified automatically through their conference tournament finishes over the past two weekends and 53 at-large selections. The at-large selections were made by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee using the following selection criteria: head-to-head competition, quality wins, results against common opponents, winning percentage, rating percentage index, coaches ranking and qualifying event placement.
The NCAA Tournament will begin on Thursday, March 16 at 12 p.m. EST from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
TV Broadcast Information
Thursday, March 16
Session I – 12 p.m. ET – ESPNU
Session II – 7 p.m. ET – ESPN
Friday, March 17
Session III – 11 a.m. ET – ESPNU
Session IV – 8 p.m. ET – ESPN
Saturday, March 18
Session V – 11 a.m. ET – ESPNU
Session VI – 8 p.m. ET – ESPN
In addition, individual coverage of every match will be available on ESPN3/WatchESPN as in year's past.
Tickets for the 2017 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Scottrade Center in St. Louis March 16-18 are still available at NCAA.com/tickets. Buy and sell official tickets with other wrestling fans through the NCAA Ticket Exchange™ before it closes on March 13. This gives ticket holders who are unable to attend a session a place to safely sell their tickets. Buyers can also get their tickets knowing the tickets are authentic and guaranteed.