Kyle Snyder and Kollin Moore Earn Top Seeds For the NCAA Division I Wrestling Tournament

By Andy Vance on March 7, 2018 at 7:43 pm
Kyle Snyder: The No. 1 Seed

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All four of Ohio State's Big Ten champions earned top-four seeds to the NCAA Tournament next weekend in Cleveland, with heavyweight Kyle Snyder and 197-pounder Kollin Moore earning the top overall seeds in their respective weight classes. In all, 10 Buckeyes earned seeds in their brackets, and seven of 10 were seeded in the Top 5.

Snyder, the two-time defending NCAA champion, earned the top seed after his dramatic 4OT victory over Michigan behemoth Adam Coon, the only collegian to defeat Snyder over the past three seasons. Coon will come at Snyder from the No. 2 seed with revenge on his mind and his first NCAA title in his sights.

Moore wasn't nearly as clear-cut a choice at the one-seed, after he dropped two of his last three regular-season matches. His performance en route to his first Big Ten title was enough to impress the committee and put him the drivers' seat for his first NCAA title. Cornell standout Ben Darmstadt (30-1) has the No. 2 seed.

In Moore's half of the bracket, he'll likely face a rematch with Penn State's Skahur Rasheed in the semifinals, a match that could have significant implications for the team points race.

Nathan Tomasello, the 15th man in history to earn four Big Ten championships, will wrestle in Cleveland from the No. 2 seed. He followed defending undefeated champion Darian Cruz of Lehigh (26-0). Cruz cruised to the top-seed after a flawless season and another EIWA championship.

En route to his second NCAA championship, Tomasello will almost certainly face another rematch with Iowa freshman phenom Spencer Lee, the No. 3 seed.

Nick Suriano of Rutgers fell to the fourth seed after opting not to wrestle past the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. Rutgers fans who accused Tomasello of "ducking" the former Penn State standout will have to wait until the finals to see a match between the two stars, and that's presuming Suriano can handle his business against Cruz in the top half of the bracket.

Ohio State's fourth Big Ten champion, Joey McKenna, faces the toughest route of the four Buckeye conference champions to an NCAA final. At 141 pounds, McKenna will almost certainly face a rematch with N.C. State's Kevin Jack in the quarterfinals, and then either No. 1 seed Bryce Meredith of Wyoming or a rematch with Penn State's Nick Lee; Meredith could do the Buckeyes a favor in the team race and drop Lee to the wrestlebacks.

In addition to Tomasello, Myles Martin is the Buckeyes second No. 2 seed of the tournament. As with the Big Ten Tournament seeding, Martin will chase No. 1 seed Bo Nickal, his longtime nemesis. En route to that rematch, he'll avoid a rematch with Michigan's Domenic Abounader, who ended up in Nickal's half of the bracket as a five-seed.

After falling short of his first Big Ten title, Luke Pletcher will make a run at the 133-pound crown from the three-seed. South Dakota State Jackrabbit Seth Gross (24-1) earned the top seed in the tournament, and Stevan Micic of Michigan earned the No. 2 spot after handing Pletcher his second loss of the season at last weekend's conference tournament final. Pletcher could exact his revenge on Micic in the semifinals.

Micah Jordan dropped to the No. 7 seed at 157 pounds after finishing as the Big Ten runner-up. Hayden Hidlay of N.C. State, who defeated Jordan in Raleigh during the final dual meet of the season, earned the top seed, and Missouri grappler Joseph Lavallee took the No. 2 seed.

Jordan will run into Lavallee in the quarterfinals, and then face either Jason Nolf of Penn State or Michael Kemerer of Iowa in the semis. The bottom half of the 157-pound bracket is loaded for bear, and Jordan will have his work cut out for him to earn a spot in Saturday night's final round.

His elder brother Bo, after finishing in third-place at his final Big Ten tournament, will wrestle from the sixth seed at 174 pounds. The bad news for him is that his inevitable rematch with Penn State's two-seeded Mark Hall will occur in the semifinal match, rather than as a rematch of the 2017 national final.

Zahid Valencia of Arizona State is the top seed in the class, and should Jordan dispatch Hall, he'll most likely have his long-awaited rematch with Valencia in the finals. Michigan's Myles Amine, the man who knocked Jordan out of Big Ten title contention in East Lansing, is Valencia's most likely semifinal opponent in the top-half of the bracket.

Ke-Shawn Hayes, like Bo Jordan, finished the Big Ten tournament in third-place after falling - again - to Penn State's two-time NCAA champion Zain Retherford. Retherford, naturally, is the top seed again this year, while Hayes finds himself in the No. 5 seed, and expects to face Retherford again in the NCAA semifinals.

Iowa's Brandon Sorensen, ever the bridesmaid, will wrestle from the No. 2 see on his quest to once again place second to Zain Retherford.

The last man to punch his ticket to Cleveland on the Buckeye roster was Te'Shan Campbell. The former Pitt Panther and ACC champion at 165 pounds had to wrestle through a miniature tournament for 9th place at last weekend's Big Ten championship after dropping his opening championship round match to Nebraska's Isaiah White, and his first consolation round match to Iowa's Alex "The Bull" Marinelli.

Campbell won his final two matches of the weekend to finish nominally in 9th place, and to earn the automatic qualification to the NCAA tournament. He'll start the weekend in Cleveland as the No. 13 seed, and faces a pretty daunting task if he has any hope of wrestling on Saturday: No. 4 Chad Walsh of Rider (24-1) in the Round of 16, No. 5 Marinelli (16-3) in the Quarterfinals, and No. 1 seed Isaiah Martinez of Illinois (14-0), the two-time NCAA champion.

Penn State's Vincenzo Joseph is in the bottom-half of the bracket, and appears to face a much more favorable path to a rematch with Martinez. His biggest test won't come until the quarterfinals, where he'll face Rutgers' Richie Lewis, and then in the semis he'll have either David McFadden of Virginia Tech (31-0) or a rematch with Logan Massa of Michigan.

The team race will be every bit as competitive as expected. Penn State only qualified nine wrestlers for the NCAA tournament to Ohio State's 10, and likewise only field two No. 1 seeds despite returning five defending national champions. Penn State's 133-pound entry is unseeded, and has strong wrestlers from Pitt and Lehigh ahead of him in the opening rounds.

On the other hand, Penn State's middleweights are seeded no worse than No. 3, Nick Lee at 141 is an 8 seed, and as noted previously, Rasheed will likely face Kollin Moore again at 197 pounds.

The opportunity for Ohio State to grab its second NCAA title of the Cael Sanderson-dominated era of wrestling is there, but Penn State will likely be viewed as the clear favorite heading into the final weekend of the season.

Printable brackets can be downloaded here.

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