Six Spartans Qualify for NCAA Wrestling Championships

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Anthony Jones Jr. placed fourth (157 pounds) and Ian Hinton (184) and Steve Andrus (HWT) each took sixth as the Big Ten Championships concluded Sunday afternoon at Mackey Arena on the campus of Purdue University. Six Spartans (Dan Osterman, Jones, David Cheza, Curran Jacobs, Hinton and Andrus) automatically qualified for the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships March 15-17 in St. Louis.

Jones, who placed fourth and earned his third career trip to the NCAA Championships, opened his day with a thrilling pin over James Green of Nebraska at 4:44 in the consolation semifinals. Jones was able to avenge a close 3-2 loss to Green in the regular season and advance to the third-place match against No. 2 seed Dylan Alton of Penn State.

Jones lost a tough 2-1 decision in the tiebreaker round against Alton and finished in fourth at 157 pounds. Neither wrestler was able to score a takedown and went into overtime tied, 1-1. Alton managed an escape in the tiebreaker round and Jones was unable to score an escape of his own as time expired.

At 149 pounds, Osterman placed ninth and qualified for the NCAAs with a 3-1 decision over Mike Kelly of Iowa. Osterman had a tough day one, going 0-2, but was able to rebound and qualified for his second straight NCAA Championships with the win over Kelly. It marked the first ninth-place matches in Big Ten Championships history, as two weight classes (149, 174) were awarded nine automatic bids to the NCAA Championships; at heavyweight, 10 bids were awarded.

   

Senior David Chezaplaced eighth at 165 pounds and lost to Pierce Harger of Northwestern, 5-3 in sudden victory, in the consolation bracket. Cheza also forfeited against Dan Yates of Michigan due to injury in the seventh-place match.

Cheza qualified for his second career NCAA Championships with an upset win over No. 4 seed Ben Jordan of Wisconsin in session two on Saturday night. Cheza, who qualified at 149 pounds in 2010, was the only unseeded wrestler at the Big Ten Championships to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Senior Curran Jacobs placed eighth at 174 pounds but had already qualified for the NCAA Championships with two wins on Saturday. Jacobs lost to Justin Zeerip of Michigan, 9-2, in the seventh-place match.

Senior Ian Hinton placed sixth at 184 pounds and qualified for his third trip to the NCAAs and his first at 184 pounds after a win over Ohio State's C.J. Magrum in the consolation bracket in session two. In session three on Sunday, Hinton lost to No. 2 seed Quentin Wright of Penn State, a 9-0 major decision, in the consolation semifinals. In the fifth-place match, Hinton lost a 7-2 decision to Gran Gamball of Iowa.

Heavyweight Steve Andrus will make his first career trip to the NCAA Championships after placing sixth at heavyweight. Andrus started his day with a tough loss to Mike McMullan of Northwestern in the consolation semifinals, a 3-1 sudden victory decision. Andrus couldn't finish a takedown of his own and gave one up to McMullan with only 13 seconds remaining in the extra period.

In the fifth-place match, Andrus lost a 14-5 major decision to Adam Chalfant of Indiana.

As a team, Michigan State finished in a tie for 10th place with 41 points. Penn State won its second straight Big Ten Championship with 149 points and Minnesota finished in second with 134 points.

The NCAA Championships are March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

NOTES ON NCAA QUALIFIERS: The NCAA announced the qualifier allocations for the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Feb. 22. Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking.

This year, the following allocation numbers per weight class for the Big Ten are: 125 (6), 133 (7), 141 (5), 149 (9), 157 (6), 165 (8), 174 (9), 184 (7), 197 (7), and heavyweight (10).

After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 7. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers (total of 330).