SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — After a one-year absence, the Cal Poly wrestling program will send a pair of qualifiers to the 2017 NCAA Division I National Championship this weekend.
Competition at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis begins Thursday with two rounds in the championship bracket and one round in the wrestlebacks.
Mustang senior Colt Shorts, second-place finisher at 157 pounds at the Pacific-12 Conference Championship two weeks ago at Stanford, and junior Colton Schilling, who placed third at 141 pounds, will represent Cal Poly at the nationals.
A graduate of Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Penn., Shorts has compiled a 20-12 overall record with four falls and five major decisions. Earlier this year, Shorts placed second in the Reno Tournament of Champions, fourth at the Roadrunner Open and seventh at the Las Vegas Invitational.
Compiling an 8-6 mark in dual meets this year, Shorts will carry a 68-55 career record to the nationals. His opening bout Thursday morning will be the pigtail match against Bryant Clagon (22-5) of Rider, with the winner to face eighth-seeded Jake Short (23-12) of Minnesota in the first round.
Shorts placed eighth in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Association Championships and led Canon-McMillan to a state team title. He was 129-30 in four varsity seasons, including a school-record 50 wins as a junior en route to a third-place PIAA finish.
Schilling, who graduated from Sweet Home High School in 2013, is 13-9 with a team-leading nine falls and a pair of technical falls so far this season under first-year Mustang head coach Jon Sioredas.
Compiling a 6-4 mark in dual meets as a junior, Schilling sports a 59-37 career record at Cal Poly. He posted a 4-2 mark in the Reno Tournament of Champions and was 2-2 at the Las Vegas Invitational.
Schilling will face Jared Prince (25-7) of Navy in the first round Thursday. The two were to meet in the Southern Scuffle a year ago, but Schilling had to forfeit due to an injury. The winner likely will run into top-seeded Dean Heil of Oklahoma State in the second round.
At Sweet Home High School, Schilling captured three Oregon state 4A championships and placed second as a junior, compiling a 184-4 career win-loss record with 145 falls.
Shorts is ranked No. 26 in the final NCAA Division I Coaches Poll while Schilling is unranked.
Friday's schedule includes the quarterfinals and semifinals along with four rounds of wrestlebacks. The consolation semifinals and final round take place Saturday morning, with the championship finals slated for 5 p.m. Saturday.
ESPNU will provide coverage of Thursday's first round (9 a.m.), Friday's quarterfinals (8 a.m.) and Saturday's matches for third, fifth and seventh places (8 a.m.).
Coverage of Thursday's second round (4 p.m.), Friday's semifinals (5 p.m.) and Saturday's championship finals (5 p.m.) will be on ESPN.
ESPN3 will stream every match throughout the entire three days of competition.
Cal Poly's last wrestling All-Americans were Boris Novachkov, third at 141 pounds, and Ryan DesRoches, eighth at 174 pounds, both in the 2012 nationals.