CLEVELAND (GoThunderWolves.com – Mar. 7, 2014) — The Colorado State University-Pueblo wrestling team will take three members to the NCAA Division II National Championships, which begin next Friday in the Cleveland Public Auditorium.
Sixth-year Pack head coach Dax Charles' squad will be represented by returning all-American Ray Hall (Sr., Oak Park, Mo.) at 157 pounds, junior Matt Addington (Florence, Colo.) at 165 pounds and now 3-time national qualifier Trevor Grant (Sr., Winnemucca, Nev.) at 174 pounds, who all qualified thanks to top-3 finishes in their respective weight classes at the Feb. 28 and Mar. 1 NCAA West Regional/Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships in Grand Junction, Colo.
Addington and Grant each took second while Hall won a pair of consolation bracket matches to finish third.
The 2-day national tournament will begin at 11 a.m. (EDT) on Friday with first-round matches between the 16 wrestlers in each weight class. The match-ups for those first rounds have already been decided by virtue of placing at each of the four regionals.
All 160 wrestlers in the national tournament will then wrestle again in either championship quarterfinal or consolation matches during the Friday evening session that begins at 6 p.m. (EDT). That session narrows the field to the eight wrestlers in each weight class who clinch all-America status.
On Saturday, Mar. 15, action resumes with a 10 a.m. (EDT) marathon session that includes championship semifinals and all of the consolation matches that determine the third through eighth place positions.
The championship finals will then take place at 7 p.m. (EDT) that night.
Hall, who a 9-4 record this season, will square off with Mercyhurst's (Pa.) Francis Mizia, a redshirt freshman, who is the runner-up from the Super I Region Tournament, in his first match. Hall finished eighth in last year's NCAA Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., while wrestling at 174 pounds but has dropped two weight classes this season.
Addington, who is 10-12 this season, has drawn Ty Loethen from Central Missouri while Grant also has a tough match-up in Zeb Whale from Maryville (Mo.). Loethen, 21-7 on the season, stands seventh in the latest NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches Association rankings.
Grant went 0-2 at last year's national tournament while wrestling at 165 pound and won a match while at 174 pounds as a sophomore in 2012, when the Pack hosted the tournament. He has moved back into the national rankings at the No. 7 spot in his weight class and leads the Pack with a 20-13 overall record, including his 2-1 mark at the regional.