Iowa State can send eight wrestlers to NCAA Championships

Kyle Larson, redshirt junior, faces an opponent from the University of Wyoming at Hilton Coliseum on Dec. 12.

Brian Mozey

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — There was six seconds left in the final period of the final match of the day. Redshirt junior Joe Scanlan made his move. 

Scanlan got a last second takedown to win his consolation quarterfinals match and move on to semifinals. He is one step closer to his dream. 

A bid to the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. 

“He and all the wrestlers have a tough ride ahead of them to get a bid,” said coach Kevin Jackson. “I’m proud of their work so far and hopefully they can all get a bid.”

Iowa State has three wrestlers battling for a Big 12 individual championship for their respective weight classes, but there are five other wrestlers trying to win third place in their consolation brackets. 

Redshirt junior Kyle Larson lost his first match and has advanced through three consolation matches to be in the semifinals starting on March 6. Now that he’s in the top six for his weight class, he will automatically win a bid for the NCAA Championships. 

The NCAA Championships allocates a certain amount of wrestlers for each conference and each weight class. For example, the 125-pound class for the Big 12 Conference has six wrestlers allocated for the NCAA Championships, so since Larson will finish in the top six, he automatically receives a bid.

“At first I didn’t believe it, but now I’m at a loss of words,” Larson said. “I’m truly honored to go [to the NCAA Championships] for the first time in my college career.”

Redshirt freshman Logan Breitenbach also has an opportunity to receive bid after advancing to the semifinals of the 157-pound consolation bracket. He will have to win the consolation bracket and earn third place for him to receive a bid for the NCAA Championships.

Scanlan is in the same boat as Breitenbach because the NCAA Championships only allocates three wrestlers from the Big 12 Conference. Scanlan will have to win the consolation bracket and third place to get his dream bid. Both Scanlan and Breitenbach are two wins away from winning third place. 

Redshirt sophomore Dane Pestano and sophomore Pat Downey lost their last match of the day in the semifinals of the championship bracket. Both are in the consolation semifinals, but each of them have a different projection for a bid to the NCAA Championships. 

The NCAA Championships has allocated four wrestlers from the 197-pound weight class for the Big 12 Conference to receive a bid. This means that Downey will need to win his consolation semifinals to earn a spot in Madison Square Garden next week. 

As for Pestano, he has been winning at a constant rate this regular season that there’s a small percentage that he won’t be at the NCAA Championships. To earn an automatic bid, Pestano will have to win two matches and earn third place in the 184-pound bracket. If he doesn’t win third place, Pestano will more than likely receive a bid when the NCAA does its’ at large selection for their championship. 

Even though the focus will be on Earl Hall, Tanner Weatherman and Lelund Weatherspoon for day two of the Big 12 Wrestling Tournament, pay attention to the consolation bracket as well. There might be more than just three Cyclones making their way to New York City in a couple weeks for the NCAA Championships. 

“We just have to stay focused tomorrow [March 6], so that Iowa State can represent their school at the NCAA Tournament,” Larson said. “I would be so excited to see a few other guys with the four of us [Hall, Weatherman, Weatherspoon and Larson].”