Pack sets out to claim NCAA Division II National Dual Championship, challenges powerhouse St. Cloud State out of the gate.
PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Jan. 7, 2014) - CSU-Pueblo's wrestling team will get to battle for a national dual championship for the first time since 2001 this weekend when it travels to Des Moines, Iowa to take part in the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals.
This year's trip to the National Duals marks the Pack's first invite back since the ThunderWolves' wrestling program was resurrected in 2008 and its first trip overall since 2001. From 1994-2001, CSU-Pueblo qualified for the National Duals each year, placing five times and finishing as the national runner-up twice.
CSU-Pueblo's berth in this season's National Duals came on the heels of the Pack's 13th place finish last year in the NCAA Division II National Championships, the program's highest national finish since 2001.
As a result, 16 of the nation's top teams, including CSU-Pueblo, were invited to this year's National Duals event. CSU-Pueblo is the only Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference squad represented at the National Duals.
"Our involvement in the National Duals is an opportunity for CSU-Pueblo to wrestle with the elite schools in Division II," CSU-Pueblo head coach Dax Charles said. "Where these programs are is where we want to be. In order to get better, you have to wrestle the best competition."
And there may be no better competition out there than St. Cloud State, which CSU-Pueblo drew as its first opponent in the duals. The Huskies, a perennial top-five finisher and a national powerhouse in NCAA Division II wrestling, carries a 52-dual winning streak into the National Duals, which is the longest dual winning streak in Division II history.
"They are a premier program in Division II," Charles said of St. Cloud State. "They have had a lot of success and it's a great opportunity to take on a top-tier program."
Over the two-day event, CSU-Pueblo is guaranteed at least three dual matches.
The format of the tournament begins with two eight-team brackets. Each bracket wrestles down to the final four in a double-elimination format. The top four teams in each bracket then move on to an eight-team finals bracket, also in a double elimination format. In both eight-team brackets, a true fourth-place is determined, similar to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships.
In its last appearance in the National Duals, CSU-Pueblo did not advance to the quarterfinals. Its last appearance in the quarterfinals came in 2000, when it placed eighth in the tournament. Its highest ever finish was 2nd (in 1994).
CSU-Pueblo All-Time Results - NCAA Division II National Duals
|2001 (Brookings, S.D.)||Final Place: DNP|
|#20 Minnesota State-Moorhead||W||28-18|
|#2 Central Oklahoma||L||9-35|
|#13 Chadron State||L||13-29|
|#18 St. Cloud State||L||15-31|
|2000||Final Place: 8th|
|#5 Central Oklahoma||L||18-21|
|San Francisco State||L||7-28|
|1999 (Edmond, Okla.)||Final Place: 5th|
|1998 (Edmond, Okla.)||Final Place: 4th|
|1997 (Edmond, Okla.)||Final Place: 8th|
Final Place: DNP
Final Place: DNP
Final Place: 2nd