NCAA Brackets Released: Big 12 Champion Sykora Seeded Eleventh

+Update 9:34 AM Thursday:  Harvard has withdrawn from the tournament due to COVID-19.  As a result, Bison 285 Brandon Metz moves from the 20 seed to 19 seed.  Metz now wrestles #14 Jere Heino of Campbell in the first round.  Heino is 24-5 this season.

The NCAA has release the brackets for the upcoming Division I wrestling championships to be held inside US Bank Stadium starting Thursday, March 19, in Minneapolis, MN.  North Dakota State 133 Cam Sykora, who won the school’s first individual Big 12 championship on Sunday, is seeded eleventh.  Sykora will open competition Thursday morning against #22 Reece Witcraft of Oklahoma State.  While Witcraft is also in the Big Twelve, the two have not met this season.  Oklahoma State wasn’t on NDSU’s in-conference dual schedule this year, and while Sykora went on to win the Big 12 tournament from the three seed, Witcraft was beaten in the first round and went on to finish seventh.

Big 12 runner-up Andrew Fogarty enters his fourth and final NCAA tournament seeded fourteenth.  Fogarty will wrestle 21-4 Troy Keller of Buffalo in the first round, with the winner advancing to a potential match up with undefeated Shane Griffith of Stanford.  Forgarty has not wrestled Keller, but was defeated by Griffith 5-0 at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex February 15.

At 157, RS Freshman Jared Franek is seeded sixteenth.  Franek will see a familiar opponent in round one with Justin Thomas of Oklahoma.  Franek holds two victories over Thomas; one via 3-1 decision and the other 4-2 in the third place match at the Big 12 tournament.  A win over Thomas would mean a round of sixteen bout with #1 Ryan Deakin of Northwestern.  Deakin defeated Franek 12-1 on November 24.

285 Brandon Metz will also wrestle a Big 12 opponent in the first round.  Twentieth seed Metz will do battle with Brian Andrews of Wyoming.  Andrews was the Big 12 champion in the weight class and has two wins over Metz on the season.  At the Cliff Keen Invitation Andrews scored a 12-4 major decision.  In the Wyoming/NDSU dual January Tenth, Andrews scored a :54 second fall.

Bison Dylan Droegemueller (141) and Cordell Eaton (197) both qualified for the tournament without having earned automatic qualifiers during the season, and it showed in their NCAA seeds.  Droegemueller will wrestle in the 32/33 pigtail against Parker Filius of Purdue.  The winner will wrestle overall #1 seed Luke Pletcher of Ohio State.  Eaton was seeded 31st and will wrestle #2 Noah Adams of West Virginia in the first round. Adams is undefeated on the year, but Eaton held him to a 2-1 decision in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.

+Full breakdowns if individual Bison Draws will release next week.

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