By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Qualifiers by Weight | Qualifiers by School) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the qualifiers for the 2014 NAIA Wrestling National Championships, the national office announced Thursday. The 57th annual event will take place March 7 – 8 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kan. The first of four sessions is set to get underway at 10 a.m. CST on March 7.
Six defending national champions – Gustavo Martinez (141) of Grand View (Iowa), Chad Lowman (165) of Grand View, Jimmie Schuessler (174) of Grand View, Brock Gutches (174) of Southern Oregon, Jameel Bryant (184) of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and Eric Thompson (285) of Grand View – highlight the field of 210 qualifiers. Additionally, there are 43 returning All-Americans from the 2013 championships.
Two-time defending national champion Grand View enters the championships vying for its third-straight banner. The Vikings, who won their fourth-straight Central Qualifying Group Tournament on Feb. 22, bring the largest team to Topeka with 12 individuals, including three grapplers that are ranked atop their respective weight class in the final regular season edition of the NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Poll – Ryak Finch (125), Brandon Wright (141) and Thompson.
Four other programs had double-digit individuals qualify – Campbellsville (Ky.) (10), Great Falls (Mont.) (10), Missouri Valley (10) and Southern Oregon (10).
Each weight class will have at least one returning All-American in action, with the 141-pound and 184-pound event showcasing seven All-Americans.
NeuLion, the NAIA’s official video streaming company of 17 select NAIA National Championship events, will be broadcasting the title bouts (Session IV) of the 2014 NAIA Wrestling National Championships on March 8. Packages can be purchased for $9.95. For more information and to pre-register, click here.
For additional information on the 2014 NAIA Wrestling National Championships, click here.