Three wrestlers earn at-large bids, brackets revealed for NCAA Tournament


 Davison junior Justin Oliver wrestles Old Dominion’s Kenan Carter on Mar. 4 in McGuirk Arena. 

Three Central Michigan wrestlers will compete in the 2018 NCAA Tournament thanks to at-large bids announced March 6.

Senior Jordan Ellingwood (184 pounds) and juniors Justin Oliver (149) and Jordan Atienza (197) earned automatic bids to compete in Cleveland.

The 2018 NCAA Championships will take place March 15-17 in Cleveland Ohio at Quicken Loans Arena. 

Oliver was the last Chippewa eliminated in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, losing to Virginia Tech’s Solomon Chishko for the right to compete for seventh place and All-American Honors.

The trio joins seniors Colin Heffernan (157) and CJ Brucki (174), sophomore Mason Smith (141) and redshirt freshman Matt Stencel (285) in Cleveland. 

Brackets Revealed

The NCAA revealed the brackets for all 10 weight classes Wednesday night. 

Two Chippewas earns top-10 seeds in their respective weight classes.

Oliver draws the No. 6 seed and will start his tournament with a match against Sam Krivus from Virginia. 

Smith earns the No. 10 seed. He will face Minnesota’s Thomas Thorn in his first match.

Three Chippewas earned No. 16 seeds in their respective weight classes. 

Brucki earned the No. 16 seed and will face Seldon Wright from Old Dominion. A win by Brucki will potentially see a matchup with top seeded Zahid Valencia from Arizona State. 

Ellingwood earned the No. 16 seed and will see Kayne MacCallum from Eastern Michigan in his opening bout. If Ellingwood wins his opening bout he will most likely see defending national champion and top seeded Bo Nickal from Penn State.

Stencel draws the No. 16 seed. He will face Jere Heino from Campbell. A win over Heino would most likely set up a clash with two-time reigning national champion and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder from Ohio State. Stencel claimed the MAC title.

Two wrestlers failed to earn top 16-seeds in their weight classes.

Heffernan will face the tournament’s three seed Jason Nolf from Penn State in the first round. Nolf earned the 2017 National Championship at 157 pounds.

Atienza will face No. 15-seed Matt Williams from California State Bakersfield. It is unknown if Atienza will be healthy after a right shoulder injury during the Mid-American Conference Tournament. 

CMU finished in second place to Missouri at the MAC Tournament March 3-4.

 Oregon, Ohio freshmen Matt Stencel wins the finals to become the MAC champion on Mar. 4 in McGuirk Arena.