Cal Poly Wrestling to Compete in NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly is among 24 teams -- six in each of four regionals -- that will vie for the NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals championship Saturday and Sunday.
Coach Brendan Buckley's Mustangs travel to New Brunswick, N.J., to compete against Missouri, Kent State, Minnesota, Michigan and host Rutgers on Saturday.
The other three regionals will be held Sunday.
Cornell is the defending NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals champion and will host a regional that also will include Purdue, Central Michigan, Illinois, Oklahoma and American.
Iowa State will host Virginia Tech, Iowa, Northern Iowa, Oregon State and Wisconsin while Oklahoma State will host the final regional, competing against Wyoming, Chattanooga, Nebraska, Ohio State and Boise State.
Each region is seeded one through six and teams will wrestle according to seed. Each site is set to compete in three rounds on two mats. In the final round, the teams who lost in the first round will wrestle a second match alongside the championship final.
At the conclusion of the Mat Mayhem Regional weekend, the Mat Mayhem Finals location will be announced.
Cal Poly is seeded sixth in its regional and will face No. 3 Missouri on Saturday at 11 a.m. PST. No. 4 Kent State takes on No. 5 Rutgers in the other first-round match. Top-seeded Minnesota will face the Kent State vs. Rutgers winner at 1 p.m. PST while No. 2 Michigan meets the Cal Poly vs. Missouri winner. The final round begins at 3 p.m. PST.
Cal Poly will send a trio of nationally ranked wrestlers and four seniors who have combined for 319 victories in their Mustang careers into the NWCA National Duals presented by Hibiclens and The Marines.
Mustang 141-pounder Boris Novachkov (pictured above), who won titles at the Cowboy Open and Reno Tournament of Champions while finishing fifth at the Las Vegas Invitational earlier this season, is ranked No. 2 in all four major polls this week, trailing only Kellen Russell of Michigan. He is No. 4 in the NCAA Division I Coaches Rankings released Jan. 19.
Now 25-2 this season and 112-21 in his Mustang career, the senior is a two-time NCAA All-American (second in 2011, seventh in 2010), two-time Pac-12 champion and three-time NCAA qualifier. He placed third in the Pac-12 finals as a freshman in 2008.
Cal Poly 174-pounder Ryan DesRoches (23-1) is ranked No. 4 in all four major polls this week. He suffered his first loss of the year against top-ranked Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford in an 8-0 major decision Jan. 15, but has rebounded with four straight decisions in dual meets over the last three weeks.
DesRoches has earned first-place finishes in the Cowboy Open, Las Vegas Invitational and Reno Tournament of Champions this season. The Riverside High School (Deer Park, Wash.) graduate is 106-32 in his Mustang career, is a two-time NCAA qualifier, twice has placed third in the Pac-12 finals and is listed No. 4 in the NCAA Division I Coaches Rankings.
Mustang 197-pounder Ryan Smith, who dropped out of the national rankings in late December, has bounced back with victories in seven of his last eight bouts, losing only to Joe LeBlanc of Wyoming, the nation's top-ranked 184-pounder who wrestled up a weight class in the Jan. 20 dual.
Smith placed second in the Roadrunner Open, fourth in the Reno Tournament of Champions and posted a 3-2 mark in the Midlands. He is 19-9 on the year, 66-44 in his Mustang career, qualified for the NCAA finals a year ago and has placed second and fifth in the Pac-12 finals.
Smith is ranked from No. 16 to No. 19 in the major polls this week and No. 18 in the NCAA Division I Coaches Rankings.
Novachkov is the lone Mustang ranked No. 1 in the Pac-12 Conference. DesRoches and Smith both are ranked No. 2 in their respective weight classes.
Cal Poly's other senior, 285-pounder Kelan Bragg, has earned 35 wins in his Cal Poly career and sports an 8-10 record with a trio of falls. He wrestled in his 100th match as a Mustang during last weekend's California Collegiate Open and did not place with a 1-2 mark.
Cal Poly will take two 285-pounders to the NWCA National Duals. Junior Atticus Disney, a transfer from Minnesota, is listed No. 30 in the NCAA Division I Coaches Rankings with a 14-9 record and placed first in the California Collegiate Open with a 4-0 mark, including three falls. He also was fifth in the Las Vegas Invitational and is 44-24 in his collegiate career.
The Mustangs (5-6, 3-2 Pac-12) competed in five tournaments in the first two months of the season before heading into the dual meet portion of its 2011-12 schedule. Cal Poly has defeated CSU Bakersfield 28-10, Menlo College 40-6, Boise State 22-20, San Francisco State 25-13 and Arizona State 26-11.
The Mustangs have competed in the Cowboy Open (non-scoring), Roadrunner Open (non-scoring), Las Vegas Invitational (11th), Reno Tournament of Champions (sixth), Midlands Championships (33rd) and California Collegiate Open (non-scoring) this season.
Cal Poly dropped a 19-17 non-conference dual meet against Utah Valley last week at Stanford.
This season the Mustangs have not faced any of the teams in this weekend's regional. Cal Poly is 2-3 all-time against Missouri, 1-3 against Minnesota, 0-0-1 against Michigan and is meeting Rutgers and Kent State for the first time.
Buckley has guided his team to national tournament power rankings of No. 12 by WIN Magazine, No. 16 by InterMat and No. 18 by WrestlingReport.com. The Mustangs are unranked in the NWCA Coaches Poll.
Missouri, coached by Brian Smith (14th season, Michigan State '91), will send seven nationally ranked wrestlers and seven matmen who were NCAA qualifiers in 2011 into its dual meet against Cal Poly. The Tigers are 12-3 in dual meets this season and ranked No. 14 by InterMat after defeating No. 10 Oklahoma 25-12 last weekend.
The Tigers are led by three-time Big 12 Wrestler of the Week Alan Waters, who is 22-1 at 125 pounds this season, 13-0 in duals and finished 39-7 as a freshman a year ago, qualifying for the NCAAs after a third-place Big 12 finish. Waters is ranked No. 3 by InterMat this week.
Tiger 197-pounder Brent Haynes (18-4) is ranked No. 7 while 133-pounder Nathan McCormick (13-2) is ranked No. 8. Both were NCAA qualifiers a year ago as well.
Other nationally ranked Tigers include No. 17 Kyle Bradley (19-8) at 149, No. 18 Drake Houdashelt (22-5) at 157, No. 18 Dorian Henderson (18-7) at 174 and No. 18 Mike Larson (18-4) at 184. In addition, 165-pounder Zach Toal (20-5) is not ranked by InterMat but owns a No. 20 ranking in the NCAA Division I Coaches Rankings.
Cal Poly's lineup for this weekend's duals will be sophomore Britain Longmire (12-8) at 125, junior Jake Tanenbaum (7-10) at 133, senior Boris Novachkov (25-2) at 141, freshman Adam Aslam (1-8) at 149, freshman Gianpier Yanez (4-10) at 157, redshirt freshman Dominic Kastl (7-3) at 165, senior Ryan DesRoches (23-1) at 174, redshirt freshman Derrick Hawkins (5-6) at 184, senior Ryan Smith (19-9) at 197 and either senior Kelan Bragg (8-10) or junior Atticus Disney (14-9) at 285.
NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals Notes
From the NCAA Coaches Poll rankings that were released on Jan. 19, there are 158 athletes from the 24 competing teams ranked in the Top 33. The next coaches poll will be released later this week. A breakdown of the Coaches Rankings:
• Six No. 1 ranked wrestlers (125, 133, 141, 157, 184, and 285)
• 33 Top 5 ranked wrestlers
• 65 Top 10 ranked wrestlers
• 157 pounds at the Cornell Regional has each athlete ranked
• 157 pounds at the Oklahoma State Regional has each athlete ranked
• 141 and 197 pounds at the Rutgers Regional has each athlete ranked
The individual NCAA Coaches Poll rankings show that these twenty-four teams comprise almost half of what could be the 330 NCAA Qualifier Spots, for the Division I Championships in March.
The NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll, which will also serve as a means to seed the regional and championship tournament, highlights the following:
• 15 of the Top 25 Teams competing
• Eight of the Top 10 Teams competing
• Two undefeated teams in No. 1 Oklahoma State (11-0) and No. 3 Cornell (8-0)
• 17 of these teams were ranked Top 25 in the Pre-Season Poll
• Each Region plays host to one Top 5 team (Oklahoma State, Cornell, Minnesota and Iowa)
The National Duals was established in 1989 and during the first 12 years, it was primarily a Division I event. Occasionally, the national championship team in Division II, III, and NAIA rounded out the field of 16 teams. Here is a breakdown of the D-I tournament history:
• Oklahoma State has the most championship appearances with eleven, eight of those appearances ended in a championship.
• The University of Iowa has eight finals appearances, six of them resulting in a championship.
• Nebraska is the only other team with three finals appearances.
• There have been 13 teams who have made it to the finals of the National Duals since its inception. Eleven of those teams will be competing this year: Cornell, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech.