For Jordan Oliver, bigger is better.
The 2011 NCAA mat champ for Oklahoma State at 133 pounds -- and runner-up in 2012 at the same weight -- as found success moving up two weight classes to 149, with a perfect season record, and being selected as the top seed in his new bracket at the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
Coming off his loss last year in the 133 finals to Ohio State's Logan Stieber, Oliver hopes to close out his career as a Cowboy with arm raised in victory at the end of competition at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines March 21-23. A number of other wrestlers stand in the way, including second-seeded Jason Chamberlain of Boise State, Binghamton's No. 3 seed Donnie Vinson, and fourth-seeded Cole VonOhlen of the Air Force Academy.
Before any of the other wrestlers at 149 take to the mat, Vinson and VonOhlen will wrestle a pigtail bout. The winner remains in the title hunt... the loser has his dream of an NCAA title dashed.
Looking back at the 2012 NCAAs: In the 149-pound finals, top-seeded Frank Molinaro of Penn State defeated fourth-seeded Minnesota matman Dylan Ness, 4-1, to conclude his college career on a high note. Luckily for this year's crop of '49ers, Molinaro has graduated and is now an assistant coach at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Meet the seeds: Of the dozen seeded wrestlers in the 33-man bracket at 149, it seems most are sophomores or seniors. Four are 2012 NCAA All-Americans: Oliver (second place at 133), Ness (runner-up at 149), Vinson (third place), and Oregon State's Scott Sakaguchi (seventh).
- Jordan Oliver, Oklahoma State: The senior from Easton, Pa. brings a flawless 33-0 season record, and the 2013 Big 12 title.
- Jason Chamberlain, Boise State: A native of Springvale, Utah, this redshirt senior not only won the Pac 12 championship, but also has 26 wins, one loss.
- Donnie Vinson, Binghamton: A junior originally from Marathon, N.Y., this Bearcat has a 29-1 mark for 2012-13.
- Cole VonOhlen, Air Force: This product of Jackson, Minn., a senior, has the 2013 Western Wrestling Conference championship, as well as a 25-2 record.
- Steve Santos, Columbia: A senior who hails from Brick, N.J., has a 26-1 record, and the 2013 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) title.
- Dylan Ness, Minnesota: A redshirt sophomore from Bloomington, Minn., Ness pinned down the 2013 Big Ten title… and a 14-4 season.
- Scott Sakaguchi, Oregon State: This Beaver junior – a native of Clovis, Calif. -- is coming off a 24-6 season. He was also runner-up at the 2013 Pac 12s.
- Nick Brascetta, Virginia Tech: This sophomore, a graduate of the Ohio-based prep powerhouse St. Paris Graham High, is 27-4 this year, snaring the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference crown.
- Jake Sueflohn, Nebraska: This Husker, originally from Watertown, Wis., is 22-5 in his sophomore year, and was runner-up at the 2013 Big Tens.
- Ivan Lopouchanski, Purdue: Hailing from Hollywood, Fla., this redshirt senior is 27-2 for the season.
- Andrew Alton, Penn State: Yet another sophomore, this Nittany Lion from Mill Hall, Pa. is 26-4.
- Eric Grajales, Michigan: The fifth seeded wrestler from the Big Ten is a redshirt junior from Brandon, Fla., with a 22-6 record.
First matches for the top four seeds: Here are the first-round match-ups for the top four seeds in the 149-pound bracket at the 2013 NCAAs:
- No. 1 seed Oliver vs. unseeded David Habat, Edinboro (27-7)
- No. 2 seed Chamberlain vs. Caleb Erwin, Illinois (22-12)
- No. 3 seed Vinson will wrestle No. 4 VonOhlen in a pigtail bout before the opening-round matches
Want to know more? For complete brackets for the 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, click here. And check out all College Wrestling Examiner articles on the 2013 NCAAs.
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