PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania wrestling team will send five wrestlers to the 2015 NCAA Championships after at-large selections and brackets were announced.
The Red and Blue entered the day knowing three grapplers would make the trip to the national tournament after securing automatic bids at the EIWA Championships last weekend. Throughout the course of the field reveal, two more Quakers were notified of their at-large selections.
Returning All-American Lorenzo Thomas earned an automatic bid to defend – and hopefully improve – his podium finish at 184 pounds after finishing third at EIWAs last weekend. Thomas ended his regular season with a 26-5 overall record which included four falls, 11 major decisions and two technical falls. Last year, Thomas went 5-3 in his first trip to NCAAs, finishing sixth at 184 pounds to become Penn’s first-ever All-American at 184 pounds. Thomas is seeded No. 10 at 184 pounds, and will wrestle Missouri’s Willie Miklus in the first round.
Canaan Bethea sealed his second trip to NCAAs with a runner-up finish at the EIWA Championships last weekend. Bethea is 16-7 entering the postseason after missing the first semester of competition. At EIWAs, Bethea went 4-1, including a win over the top seed – and national No. 14 – Abram Ayala of Princeton. Of his seven losses this season, six came to wrestlers inside the Division I Top-20 and the seventh was to the eventual Junior College national champion. Bethea is making second trip to the NCAA Championships, the first coming at 184 pounds in 2013 where he was 0-2. Bethea, unseeded, will wrestle No. 10 seed Conner Hartmann of Duke in the first round.
Brooks Martino will be the lone first-time NCAA qualifier in Penn’s contingent to Saint Louis this weekend after earning an automatic bid with his sixth place finish at EIWAs last weekend. Martino has battled through a challenging schedule this season to a 14-12 record and a 2-7 record against wrestlers who also earned a bid to the 2015 NCAA Championships. Unseeded at the tournament, Martino will wrestle No. 10 seed Justin DeAngelis of Oklahoma in the first round.
Caleb Richardson earned an at-large selection to his second NCAA Championships and his first at 133 pounds. Richardson finished the regular season with a 25-9 overall record, but needed an at-large selection following an eighth place finish at EIWAs after he suffered an injury in the quarterfinals. Richardson will enter the NCAA Championships with a bank of experience against the field, having one 3-6 this season against qualifiers for this year’s national tournament. He is 3-7 all-time against this year’s qualifiers. Richardson was an at-large selection at 125 pounds last year, and went 0-2 in his first trip to the NCAA Championships. Unseeded, Richardson has drawn No. 9 seed A.J. Schopp of Edinboro in the first round.
Penn’s second at-large selection was C.J. Cobb at 149 pounds. Cobb finished the regular season with a 20-5 record after finishing fifth at the EIWA Championships. Cobb will enter the NCAA Championships with wins in 15 of his last 17 matches. This will be Cobb’s second trip to the NCAA Championships after a bid in 2013 at 141 pounds. Cobb was seeded No. 10 in 2013, and went 2-2 in his first trip to the national tournament. Against competitors in this year’s field at 149 pounds, Cobb is 3-2 this season and 4-3 all-time. Cobb will be the No. 13 seed at the NCAA Championships and has drawn Kent State’s Michael DePalma in the first round.
The first session of the 2015 NCAA Championships begins on Thursday, March 19 at 12 p.m. EST. All matches of all sessions will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App.