10 titles on the line, check out a weight-by-weight breakdown of the matches
DES MOINES, Iowa - Twenty wrestlers will try and win national titles tonight beginning at 7 p.m. (CST). Some have been there before. Others will experience wrestling's big stage for the first time. And collegiate wrestling's version of the Super Bowl is ready for primetime.
Penn State's Nico Megaludis (28-3) lost in the 2012 finals as a freshman. With the new format, the little guys will not be first up. Illinois' Jesse Delgado (25-3) was seventh last March as a rookie and beat Megaludis in the semifinals at the Big Ten Championships. Megaludis is from Murrysville, Pa. Delgado calls Gilroy, Calif., home.
A much-anticipated rematch between Ohio State's Logan Stieber (25-0) and Iowa's Tony Ramos (31-1) is on tap. Stieber won the 2012 title as a freshman and beat Ramos in the Big Ten finals in overtime. Ramos was third as a sophomore. Wells Fargo Arena will be at a fever pitch for this one. Stieber is from Norwalk, Ohio. Ramos is from Carol Stream, Ill.
Oklahoma's slick Kendric Maple (29-0) faces Edinboro's Mitchell Port (34-3). Maple finished fourth in 2012. Port, just a sophomore, is another in a long line of talented Fighting Scots. Maple is from Wichita, Kan., while Port calls Bellefonte, Pa., home.
Jordan Oliver (37-0), a senior for Oklahoma State, goes for his second title. He lost in the finals at 133 pounds in 2012 before moving up two weights. His opponent, Boise State's Jason Chamberlain (30-1), an All-American two seasons ago, has quietly gone about a good season out west. Oliver is another Pennsylvanian, from Easton, with Chamberlain hailing from Springville, Utah.
Iowa's Derek St. John (30-2) and Northwestern's Jason Welch (34-1) are familiar Big Ten foes, meeting five times. The Hawkeye junior, a runner-up in 2012 to Kyle Dake of Cornell, is 5-0 against the Northwestern senior, who is from Walnut Creek, Calif. St. John is from Williamsburg, Iowa.
See every message board, chat room, wrestling website, or anything having to do with wrestling for this one. It is, frankly, one of the most-anticipated matches in NCAA history.
This one starts the evening's festivities, pitting Oklahoma State's Chris Perry (34-2) and Penn State's Matt Brown (29-4). PSU leads the OSU by three points, so this one certainly counts. Perry, from Stillwater, Okla., was third as a sophomore. His older brother Mark won a pair of titles for Iowa. Brown, from Lewisburg, Pa., is a first-year starter for the powerful Nittany Lions.
Penn State's Ed Ruth (32-0) has been unstoppable. He won the 2012 title at 174 pounds and has not lost since the 2011 NCAA quarterfinals. The Harrisburg, Pa., product faces Lehigh's Robert Hamlin (26-3), who has seen Penn State foes the last three years at the NCAAs. In 2010, Hamlin lost to Quentin Wright in the 184-pound finals; last season the senior from Jonesville, Vt., lost to Wright in the semifinals.
The top two seeds, Kent State's Dustin Kilgore (43-0) and Penn State's Quentin Wright (31-0) square off. Kilgore was champion in 2011 and took an Olympic redshirt year in 2011-12. Wright was champion as sophomore and runner-up as a junior. He is a four-time All-American. Kilgore is from Berea, Ohio. Wright calls Wingate, Pa., home.
Minnesota's Tony Nelson (32-1) goes for a second straight title; the Isanti, Minn., native is just a junior. He faces Northwestern's Mike McMullan (33-7), a sophomore who finished third as a freshman. Nelson beat McMullan, a product of Easton, Pa., in the Big Ten finals.