The brackets came out for the 2005 Wrestling Championships and Iowa has six out of seven wrestlers seeded. Twelve wrestlers at each weight class are seeded; the remaining are at the mercy of the draw. Alex Tsirtsis is the lone Hawkeye without a seed.
Mario Galanakis takes the 12 seed into his first round match against a wrestler from Air Force. Mario has a potential second round match-up with Tom Clum from Wisconsin. Clum and Galanakis have split close matches this year. If Galanakis gets past Clum he could face Mark Jayne from Illinois in the quarterfinals.
Alex Tsirtsis didn't fair too badly considering he wasn't selected as one of the 12 best at 141. If Alex can pull a couple upsets over the eighth and ninth seeded guys he could be facing number one seed and undefeated Nate Gallick from Iowa State in the quarterfinals. Alex has wrestled Gallick twice this year, losing both matches in overtime.
Ty Eustice got the number six seed at 149. Ty faces a Northern Illinois wrestler in the first round. Craig Henning awaits Ty in the second round. Henning is the true freshman from Wisconsin that upset Ty in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships. Henning took that match with an overtime takedown.
Joe Johnston got the eighth seed at 157 for the Hawks. Joe faces Kevin Ward from Oklahoma State. Joe has beaten Ward soundly in their two matches this year. Joe beat Ward 21-7 early in the season and then pinned him in the dual meet. Kevin Ward came on strong in the Big 12 Championships and took first place over three ranked wrestlers, including Trent Paulson from Iowa State. Joe could face number one seed Alex Tirapelle from Illinois in the quarterfinals.
Mark Perry got the best seed of all Iowa wrestlers at number four. The redshirt freshman from Oklahoma has a potential match with defending national champ Troy Letters from Lehigh in the semifinals. Perry's first two matches are against unseeded wrestlers. The highest potential seed Perry could face before the semifinals would be the five seed, Tyron Woodley from Missouri.
Paul Bradley, who made it to the semifinals last year, drew the number eight seed and has a tough road if he expects to win a championship this year. He faces Alex Dolly from Northern Iowa in the first round. These two met in a dual meet earlier in the year with Bradley winning 16-6. In the second round Bradley could meet the number nine seed from Oregon or a tough Missouri grappler. If Bradley wins his first two matches he could be looking at a quarterfinal match with defending national champion Greg Jones from West Virginia. Jones beat Bradley by a point at the all star meet early in the year.
Matt Fields will attempt to win a championship as the number nine seed. Matt has an unseeded wrestler from Boston in his first match before a second round match with Kirk Nail from Ohio State or a ninth seeded wrestler from Navy. It gets awful tough in the quarterfinals as Fields would more than likely face Steve Mocco. Outlook:
Iowa's highest seed is number four Mark Perry at 165 pounds. This would probably make Perry Iowa's best shot at a title, right? The problem is that the number one wrestler in the country, at any weight, could be Troy Letters, who Perry would face in the semifinals. There are four wrestlers at 165 that seem to be quite a bit better than the rest. I would be surprised if Perry finished any lower than fourth.
Alex Tsirtsis has a pretty good draw the way I see it. If he can beat a couple kids seeded eighth and ninth he has a shot at Gallick in the quarterfinals. Confidence seems to be an issue with Alex but after taking Gallick to overtime twice he has to like his chances of pulling off an upset.
Eustice probably has as much talent as any wrestler on the team. I wouldn't be surprised if he made it to the finals but I wouldn't be surprised if he got beat in the second round. When you wrestle so many close matches you are susceptible to upsets. The exact same thing could probably be said about Bradley. He could be a national champ or he could go home without placing. Hopefully the national champs shows up Thursday.
Galanakis doesn't have a bad draw. At the very least he is looking at a couple kids that he has wrestled close. Jayne has beaten him twice but they were one and two point matches. I thought Mario was the aggressor against Jayne in the Big Ten semis but just couldn't quite pull off the upset.
I think Johnston needs to be careful with Kevin Ward from Oklahoma State. Johnston has beaten Ward pretty easily in their two matches this year but Ward seems to be on a roll right now. Joe should win his first two matches and face Alex Tirapelle in the quarterfinals. Tirapelle has beaten Johnston three out of four times but Johnston has kept them close.
Matt Fields probably could have gotten a better draw but it's not undeserved. He would be better off as a ten or twelve seed and not have to face Mocco in the quarterfinals. This is what happens when you finish the season ranked around number ten, you get tough first round match-ups. Fields seems to match- up better with some wrestlers. He has been beaten twice by the 12 seed from Northwestern but has beaten the number three seed from Arizona State.
Overall I think Iowa has favorable draws. The seeds aren't great but when you look at whom the potential matches are against, I think the Iowa wrestlers avoided bad match-ups. There is some luck involved in nationals; hopefully Iowa has it on their side. There is no doubt Iowa can come away with 7 All- Americans. If we can do that, we will end up in the top three, which for this team, would be a great finish.