OMAHA, NE – Sophomores John-Martin Cannon, 18th nationally-ranked Desi Green and 17th nationally-ranked Kevin Smith and junior Jimmy Hamel will compete at the 2010 NCAA National Wrestling Championships in Omaha, Nebraska on March 18-20. With four wrestlers competing at the national championships, the Bulls tie the program mark for the third time for most NCAA National Qualifiers under head coach Jim Beichner set in 1998 and 2009.
Reaching the national championships for the second straight year and first as a seeded competitor, 11th-seed Green will face redshirt sophomore Shawn Harris of Virginia at 149. The 18th nationally-ranked wrestler's spot as the 11th seed marks the first time the Bulls had a seeded wrestler since second-seed Kyle Cerminara in 2006. Harris will make his first NCAA national championship appearance after placing second at the ACC Championships. In the championship bout, Harris dropped an 8-4 decision to Brian Stephens of Virginia Tech. This season, Harris has compiled a 19-12 overall record for the Cavaliers.
In his first appearance at the NCAA national championships, 17th nationally-ranked Smith will face third nationally-ranked and second-seeded Daniel Dennis of Iowa at 133 pounds. A senior, Dennis finished in second place at the 2010 Big Ten Championships, falling to first nationally-ranked Jayson Ness of Minnesota, 9-3. At the 2009 NCAA National Championships, Dennis recorded a seventh-place finish to earn All-American honors. For the Hawkeyes this season, Dennis has compiled a 18-3 overall record.
Also making his first trip to the NCAA national championships, Cannon will take on fifth nationally-ranked and number five seed Colt Sponseller of Ohio State in the opening round of the 165-pound weight class. A junior, Sponseller finished second at the 2010 Big Ten Chamiponships, falling to first nationally-ranked Andrew Howe of Wisconsin, 4-2. This season, Sponseller has posted a 27-5 overall record for the Buckeyes.
Making his second appearance at the NCAA national championships, Hamel is slated to face 20th nationally-ranked Micah Burak of Penn. A freshman, Burak captured second place at the 2010 EIWA Championships as he dropped a 3-1 decision in the championship bout to fourth nationally-ranked Cam Simaz of Cornell, contending with Simaz for the duration of the match. In his first year of competition, Burak has recorded a 22-8 overall record.
"The coaching staff is very excited about sending four wrestlers to the NCAA national championships for the second year in a row. All four wrestlers have been ranked in the top-20 throughout the year. The great part about our NCAA qualifiers is that they are all back again for next year. This group of young wrestlers will assure us future sustained success," said Beichner.
The opening session of the 2010 NCAA National Championships will begin on Thursday, March 18 at 12:00 pm. There will be two sessions per a day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the sixth and final session scheduled for Saturday, March 20 at 7:30 pm.