INDIANAPOLIS (March 7, 2018) – Six Cowboy grapplers learned their seed and first round opponent for next week’s NCAA Championships in Cleveland, as the NCAA released the brackets on Wednesday evening. Top-ranked Bryce Meredith earned the No. 1 seed at 141 pounds, while Montorie Bridges (133 pounds), Sam Turner (149), Archie Colgan (157), Branson Ashworth (165) and Chaz Polson (184) are also in the field.
It will be the third championships for Meredith, second for Ashworth and Colgan, and first for Bridges, Polson and Turner. It’s also the 25th time that Wyoming will send at least five wrestlers to the National Tournament. UW finished tied for 21st at last year’s NCAA Championships.
With a 29-1 overall record and after claiming the Big 12 title this last weekend, Meredith enters as the favorite at 141 pounds. He’ll face Colton Schilling (Cal Poly) in the opening round on Thursday morning. Schilling, who has a 14-5 record, captured the Pac-12 title at 141 pounds a couple weeks ago. Meredith, the Cheyenne native, is the first Cowboy to enter Nationals as a top seed since Joe LeBlanc (184 pounds) in 2012.
At 133 pounds, Bridges, a redshirt freshman, earned a No. 8 seed and will kick things off against Ben Thornton from Purdue. Thornton was one of five at-large bids at 133 pounds. He took eighth at the Big Ten Championships and has a 26-11 record. Bridges placed third at Big 12s and holds a 32-4 record. Seth Gross, the Big 12 Champion is the top seed at 133 pounds.
Colgan, the Big 12 champ at 157 pounds, is the No. 9 seed for the National Tournament in Cleveland. He owns an overall mark of 32-7 and will face Hunter Willits (Oregon State) on Thursday morning. Willits holds an 18-14 record and placed second at the Pac-12 Wrestling Championships. Colgan earned a 3-1 decision over Willits on Jan. 14 earlier this season. Colgan is tied with three-time All-American Reese Andy with 110 career wins, which is 13th all-time at Wyoming.
Ashworth, a junior from Spanish Fork, Utah and No. 14 seed, will wrestle Connor Flynn (Mizzou) in the opening round on Thursday. Ashworth placed third at 165 pounds in the Big 12 Championship and leads the team with 34 wins on the season. Flynn will enter his first NCAA Tournament with a 24-7 record after capturing the MAC title this past weekend.
Two Cowboys, Turner (149), a redshirt freshman and Polson (184), a senior were unseeded in the Tournament. Both will be competing in their first NCAA Championships. Turner will take on No. 16 Alfred Bannister (Maryland), who took fifth-place at the Big Ten Championships and has a 23-8 mark on the year. Turner, a native of Colorado Springs, has a 26-15 record after claiming fifth place last weekend in his first conference tournament. Polson will see No. 7 Taylor Venz (Nebraska) in the first round. Polson, from Highlands Ranch, Colo., is coming off an impressive run for fifth place at Big 12s last weekend. Venz finished in fifth at the Big Ten Championships and has a 23-7 record on the year.
The three-day wrestling extravaganza will begin next Thursday, March 15. ESPN will broadcast every match on every mat again this year on WatchESPN. Additionally, all sessions will also have live scoring, provided by TrackWrestling.
Wyoming Opening Round
133: No. 8 Montorie Bridges v. Ben Thornton (Purdue)
141: No. 1 Bryce Meredith v. Colton Schilling (Cal Poly)
149: Sam Turner v. No. 16 Alfred Bannister (Maryland)
157: No. 9 Archie Colgan v. Hunter Willits (Oregon State)
165: No. 14 Branson Ashworth v. Connor Flynn (Mizzou)
184: Chaz Polson v. No. 7 Taylor Venz (Nebraska)
TV Broadcast Information
Thursday, March 15
First Round – 10 a.m. MT – ESPNU
Second Round – 5 p.m. MT – ESPN
Friday, March 16
Quarterfinals – 9 a.m. MT – ESPNU
Semifinals – 6 p.m. MT – ESPN
Saturday, March 17
Medal Round – 9 a.m. MT – ESPNU
Finals – 6 p.m. MT – ESPN2