KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Qualifiers by Weight Class | Qualifiers by School) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has officially released the qualifiers for the 2016 NAIA Wrestling National Championships, presented by USA Wrestling-Kansas, the national office announced Monday. The 59th annual event will take place March 4 – 5 at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kan. The first of four sessions is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. CST on March 4.
The top three finishers in each of the National Qualifiers’ 10 weight classes received automatic berths to the national championships. The remainder of the expanded 240-wrestler field was filled with at-large individuals. Each of the six qualifying groups received five wildcards, which were chosen by the group’s coaches at a post-qualifier meeting. The other 30 individuals were determined by a national selection committee, which consisted of two representatives from each geographic area. Up to 15 nominations from each group were considered and voted upon by the group.
Four-time defending national team champion Grand View (Iowa) leads all teams with 12 grapplers in the field. Indiana Tech and Oklahoma City are next with 11 wrestlers, while Campbellsville (Ky.), Concordia (Neb.), Missouri Valley, Montana State-Northern and Williams Baptist (Ark.) boast 10 individuals each.
There are three defending national champions in the field – Davion Caston of Campbellsville (133 pounds), Ricky McCarty of Oklahoma City (165 pounds) and Gabi Musallam of Missouri Valley (285 pounds). All three individuals received automatic berths after winning their respective qualifying group championship.
Each weight class features at least 20 wrestlers with an event-high 28 grapplers competing for the 125-pound title.
Preliminary brackets will be announced later this week.
For additional information on the 2016 NAIA Wrestling National Championships, click here.