Senior 125-pound Utah Valley University wrestler Chasen Tolbert received an at-large selection to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Tuesday afternoon and will now head to nationals for the second-straight season. Tolbert is one of two Wolverines that will wrestle at the NCAA Championships this season, as fellow senior Jade Rauser (133 pounds) previously qualified for his fourth-consecutive trip to nationals at the Big 12 Championship last week.
After just missing out to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships after taking sixth at the Big 12's last weekend, Tolbert makes the cut after going 17-7 on the season and finishing the regular season ranked 18th on the NCAA Coaches' Panel Ranking and 16th on the RPI. The 125-pound senior went 0-2 at his inaugural trip a year ago.
Rauser automatically qualified for nationals last weekend after placing third in his weight class at his first trip to the Big 12 Championships. The 133-pound Utah Valley senior went an impressive 3-1 last weekend with a first-period fall over Gary Wayne Harding of Oklahoma State in the third-place bout to secure his trip to the NCAA Championships. Rauser, who enters the national tournament with a team-high 20-6 record, went 1-2 a year ago at nationals and will become UVU's first-ever four-time NCAA qualifier when he competes at the tournament next week.
With the two qualifiers in 2016, UVU has now sent at least one grappler to the NCAA Wrestling Championships in each of the past seven seasons.
The NCAA released a total of 49 at-large selections for the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Tuesday, as a total of 330 wrestlers will compete at the national tournament (33 at each weight class).
The at-large selections were made by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee using the following selection criteria: head-to-head competition, quality wins, results against common opponents, winning percentage, rating percentage index, coaches ranking, qualifying event placement and number of matches contested at that weight class.
Brackets for the NCAA Wrestling Championships will be released on Wednesday afternoon.
The 2016 NCAA Championships will be held March 17-19, at "The World's Most Famous Arena" Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Tickets for the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Madison Square Garden are still available on the NCAA Ticket Exchange. Buy and sell official tickets with other wrestling fans through the NCAA Ticket Exchange before it closes on March 14. This gives ticket holders who are unable to attend a session a place to safely sell their tickets. Buyers can also get their tickets knowing the tickets are authentic and guaranteed.
For more information on the 2016 NCAA Championships, visit the NCAA website.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.