March 14, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; A general view of the eight wrestling mats on the arena floor during a practice day prior to the 2012 Division I wrestling championships at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Carpenean-US PRESSWIRE
With the first day of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in the books, there is a lot to look forward to in today's (March 16, 2012) sessions.
As MMAMania.com continues to bring you coverage of the tournament -- see Session 1, Day 1 results here and see Session 2, Day 1 results here -- we take a quick look at what to watch for from the team and individual perspectives when Session 1, Day 2 gets underway at 11 a.m. ET.
The race is on between last year's champion, Penn State University (PSU), and perennial contender University of Minnesota. PSU holds a 5.5 point lead, which is easily catchable, especially since the Golden Gophers have eight wrestlers going into the quarterfinals to Penn's seven.
Here are the top five teams and the number of wrestlers they have in the quarterfinals:
1st. Penn State - 38.5 points, 7 quarterfinal qualifiers.
2nd. Minnesota - 33.0 points, 8 quarterfinal qualifiers.
3rd. Oklahoma State - 28.5 points, 4 quarterfinal qualifiers.
4th. Cornell - 27.5 points, 4 quarterfinal qualifiers.
5th. Iowa - 26.0 points, 6 quarterfinal qualifiers.
Also within catching distance of the Nittany Lions is Iowa, as they have a couple of high seeds among their six qualifiers. Should PeSU or Minnesota falter, the Hawkeyes could easily swoop into the lead.
Here are five key match ups with team championship implications that could go a long way in determining the winner of the tournament. Note that Minnesota is involved in four of these matches, which should serve as motivation, knowing that victories are doubly important for the overall title.
Of course, if could prove to be their undoing, if they were to lose a few of their contenders in these matches.
125 lbs: Zachary Sanders (Minnesota) vs Nicholas Megaludis (Penn State)
149 lbs: Dylan Ness (Minnesota) vs Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State)
157 lbs: Dylan Alton (Penn State) vs Derek St. John (Iowa)
174 lbs: Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) vs Logan Storley (Minnesota)
184 lbs: Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) vs Steve Bosak (Cornell)
Guys to Google:
With 60 matches going down today it will be hard to keep track of everyone, so here are 15 guys you'll want to keep track of. Some of these guys made the list because they are working on undefeated seasons, some of them are there because of the dominance they displayed in the opening rounds, but I can guarantee that these guys are going to be involved in the big stories of the day, either for big wins or because should any of them lose, it'll be a big story.
Ryan Flores (American) -- Perfect Season, 100% pin ratio in the tournament
Frank Molinaro (Penn State) -- Perfect Season
David Taylor (Penn State) -- Perfect Season, 100% pin ratio in the tournament
Edward Ruth (Penn State) -- Perfect Season, 100% pin ratio in the tournament
Matt McDonough (Iowa) -- 100% pin ratio in the tournament
Kyle Dake (Cornell) -- Perfect Season, 100% pin ratio in the tournament
Cam Simaz (Cornell) -- Most points scored in first two rounds (36 points)
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) -- Perfect Season, 100% pin ratio in the tournament
Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State) -- Perfect Season
Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) -- Perfect Season
Logan Stieber (Ohio State) -- 100% pin ratio in the tournament
Bernard Futrell (Illinois) -- 100% pin ratio in the tournament
Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) -- Perfect Season
Anthony Nelson (Minnesota) -- 0 points scored against thus far
Here are the championship brackets as they currently sit:
Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs Ryan Mango (Stanford)
Jesse Delgado (Illinois) vs Nicholas Bedelyon (Kent State)
Frank Perrelli (Cornell) vs Anthony Zanetta (Pittsburgh)
Zachary Sanders (Minnesota) vs Nicholas Megaludis (Penn State)
Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) vs Zachery Stevens (Michigan)
Joe Colon (Northern Iowa) vs Bernard Futrell (Illinois)
Tony Ramos (Iowa) vs Steven Keith (Harvard)
Chris Dardanes (Minnesota) vs Logan Stieber (Ohio State)
Kellen Russell (Michigan) vs Nick Dardanes (Minnesota)
Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) vs Michael Mangrum (Oregon State)
Montell Marion (Iowa) vs Borislav Novachkov (Cal Poly)
Zach Neibert (Virginia Tech) vs Kendric Maple (Oklahoma)
Frank Molinaro (Penn State) vs Eric Grajales (Michigan)
Justin Accordino (Hofstra) vs Nick Lester (Oklahoma)
Cole VonOhlen (Air Force) vs Tyler Nauman
Dylan Ness (Minnesota) vs Jamal Parks (Oklahoma State)
Kyle Dake (Cornell) vs Frank Hickman (Bloomsburg)
Ganbayar Sanjaa (American) vs Daniel Kolodzik (Princeton)
Jason Welch (Northwestern) vs James Green (Nebraska)
Dylan Alton (Penn State) vs Derek St. John (Iowa)
David Taylor (Penn State) vs Robert Kokesh (Nebraska)
Paul Gillespie (Hofstra) vs Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (Clarion)
Andrew Sorenson (Iowa State) vs Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh)
Josh Asper (Maryland) vs Shane Onufer (Wyoming)
Edward Ruth (Penn State) vs Nick Heflin (Ohio State)
Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) vs Logan Storley (Minnesota)
Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) vs Ryan DesRoches (Cal Poly)
Jordan Blanton (Illinois) vs Chris Perry (Oklahoma State)
Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming) vs Austin Trotman (Appalachian State)
Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) vs Steve Bosak (Cornell)
Ben Bennett (Central Michigan) vs Quentin Wright (Penn State)
Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) vs Robert Hamlin (Lehigh)
Cam Simaz (Cornell) vs Alfonso Hernandez (Wyoming)
Cayle Byers (Oklahoma State) vs James Nakashima (Nebraska)
Matthew Wilps (Pittsburgh) vs Brent Haynes (Missouri)
Sonny Yohn (Minnesota) vs Christopher Honeycutt (Edinboro)
Ryan Flores (American) vs Andrew Delaney (Citadel)
Bobby Telford (Iowa) vs Zachery Rey (Lehigh)
Clayton Jack (Oregon State) vs Cameron Wade (Penn State)
Michael McMullan (Northwestern) vs Anthony Nelson (Minnesota)
Now you should be ready for the action. Anything that you think I've missed?
Join me back here for a results recap after the first session.