Despite some recent struggles and some losses, Iowa senior Matt McDonough and junior Derek St. John will both be top seeds at the annual Big Ten Championships.
McDonough has lost twice this season and is coming off a dual loss to a wrestler from Missouri will be the No. 1 seed at 125, while St. John suffered his first defeat to another Missouri grappler at the national duals. He will be the top seeded wrestler at 157 pounds.
It is the third straight season that McDonough is seeded first for the Big Ten Championships. He won the conference title in 2011 and 2012 and placed second as the No. 2 seed in 2010.
The former Iowa City West star St. John is the defending champion at 157 but will enter the Big Ten Tournament as the top seed for the first time in his career. He won the championship last year as the No. 6 seed and placed second in 2011 as a No. 2 seed.
Both junior Tony Ramos and sophomore Mike Evans are two seeds at their respective weights, Ramos at 133 and Evans at 174.
Ramos is undefeated and ranked No. 2 nationally this season. He is 23-0 on the year and 8-0 in Big Ten duals, while Evans is ranked third nationally, 17-3 overall. Both wrestlers finished second last year as the No. 2 seeds.
Top-ranked Logan Stieber or Ohio State and Logan Storley of Minnesota are seeded No. 1 at 133 and 174, respectively.
The other pre-seeds for the Big Ten Championships include senior Mark Ballweg (No. 3 at 141), sophomore Josh Dziewa (No. 9 at 149), sophomore Nick Moore (No. 4 at 165), junior Ethen Lofthouse (No. 5 at 184), freshman Nathan Burak (No. 6 at 197) and sophomore Bobby Telford (No. 4 at 285).
Telford earned a runner-up finish as the No. 6 seed last year, while Lofthouse is the No. 5 seed for the second time in his career but this is the first time he has wrestled at 184. Lofthouse took third at 174 last season.
Ballweg is pre-seeded for the first time in his career. He was unseeded at 149 in 2011. Dziewa, Moore and Burak are making their first career appearances at the conference tournament.
The pre-seeds rank the top eight wrestlers in five weight classes, including 125, 133, 141, 157 and 184. The top 12 seeds at each of the other weights were ranked due to the Big Ten receiving nine or more NCAA Championships qualifier allocations at those weight classes.
Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State will bring a seeded wrestler in each of the 10 weight classes.
Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State enter the conference tournament with a pair of top seeds, while defending champion Penn State enters the field with a league-high three No. 1 seeds. Michigan also has a top-seeded wrestler.
Five of the top seeds are defending conference champions. In addition to McDonough and St. John, Stieber (133), David Taylor (165) and Tony Nelson (285) return at the top of their respective bracket. Ed Ruth, seeded No. 1 at 184, won the conference tournament at 174 pounds last season. Defending champions Kevin Steinhaus (184) and Mario Gonzalez (197) are also in the tournament field.