The NCAA released its brackets for the 2011 Wrestling Championships, which will be held March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and six grapplers will be representing the Red and Blue.
Junior Mark Rappo (125 pounds) is the lone of the six — a group including him, brothers Micah and Gabe Burak, Scott Giffin, Rollie Peterkin, and Zack Kemmerer — to be making his first appearance at the NCAAs, but he and Kemmerer (who went 0-2 in his NCAA run a year ago) have emerged as two of the steadiest wrestlers on the team and could make some noise. Kemmerer (141) led the team with 31 wins and is currently ranked 13th in the nation in his weightclass.
Micah (197), a sophomore, and his senior brother Gabe (165) will each be making their second trip to NCAAs and will hope to put together extended runs in the tourney (they both had quick exits a year ago, going 1-2 and 0-2, respectively). Micah was already prepared to compete at the collegiate level as a freshman last year, and he has only gotten better this year. He currently sits ranked 9th in the nation at 197 and went 26-6 during the season (23-10 in 2009-10). Gabe meanwhile went 20-6 on the year.
For seniors Gabe, Giffin (174) and Peterkin (133), this will be the last shot at a national title. Some may have questioned whether Peterkin would be able to round back into form after taking a year off last year and moving up a weightclass, but Rollie has been a stud for the Quakers, boasting a 26-5 record. Giffin, meanwhile, looked poised to have a great year coming off his All-American honors a year ago, but injuries bogged him down to the point that he actually considered quitting. Still, he managed to secure an at-large bid thanks to his 19-10 record and perhaps the respect/reputation he has gained — he was a three-time qualifier heading into this year.