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PHILADELPHIA - After a busy weekend of wrestling at the EIWA Championships last weekend, Penn qualified five wrestlers for the 2012 NCAA Championships in St. Louis on March 15-17. Those five wrestlers will find out their first-round matches on Wednesday as part of a day-long initiative from the NCAA which includes announcements of the field and the first-round draws.
Starting at 1 p.m., the NCAA will announce the 33 wrestlers which have been selecetd to compete at each weight class starting with 125 pounds and continuing on through heavyweight. Fans can stay up to date via the NCAA Wrestling page on Facebook as well as NCAA.com.
29 wrestlers have automatically qualified at each weight, with four at-large berths remaining to be awarded. The Quakers have their five automatic entrants -- EIWA champion Bryan Ortenzio (133), returning All-American Zack Kemmerer (141), three-time NCAA qualifier and Round of 12 advancer Micah Burak (197) and a pair of first-time qualifiers Steve Robertson (149) and Erich Smith (184) -- set for the trip to Saint Louis, with Ivy League Rookie of the Year Lorenzo Thomas awaiting word on one of the at-large bids at 165 pounds. Thomas is 23-10 this season, but struggled at the EIWA Championships to a seventh-place finish while battling a severe flu. Thomas has a strong case for an at-large bid based on his regular season where he posted three wins over NCAA qualifiers and suffered all eight of his losses to wrestlers nationally-ranked by the NCAA Coaches Panel.
Once the 33 wrestlers have been announced, the first-round draws will be revealed starting at 6 p.m.at NCAA.com. 13 wrestlers at each weight class will be seeded, with Ortenzio, Kemmerer and Burak all in the hunt for one of those critical seeds.