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Jeff Kolpack, Published March 06 2010

Maughan unhappy with national wrestling selection process

Wrestling Math 101 just doesn’t add up for North Dakota State head coach Bucky Maughan.

It seems like it never does in the Western Wrestling League, he says.

The seven teams will be in Brookings, S.D., today for the NCAA West Regional, which also doubles as the conference tournament. This year, the regional will qualify only 14 to the Division I Wrestling Championships in Omaha, Neb.

That means champions from each of the 10 weight classes and four others will not see their season end.

That’s not very many in the grand scheme of 284 national qualifiers.

“When you look at it, wrestling is broke right now,” Maughan said. “The way they qualify for nationals is not working.”

Of the 11 qualifying tournaments, only the East Regional and Southern Conference have fewer qualifiers with each having 10. The Atlantic Coast Conference, on the other hand, has 24 despite not having a reputation as one of the stronger wrestling leagues around.

The Bison beat ACC member North Carolina State

23-16 this year, although the Wolfpack were one of the weaker ACC teams with just four dual wins.

The biggest puzzler, Maughan said, is Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling getting 41 qualifiers while the Big 12 Conference, on the other hand, gets 37.

“There’s not a team in the East that can touch the Big 12 powers,” Maughan said.

He also questions the Colonial Athletic Association getting 18 allocations.

“It’s not near as tough as our conference,” Maughan said.

NDSU’s best bet to get through is Ryan Adams at 141 pounds, who is currently ranked 25th in the class. Even if Adams doesn’t win, he still has a good chance of being selected based on his national ranking. That’s one of the big factors used in at-large selections.

The new system is in its second year. Two years ago, the West Regional qualified 22 wrestlers and had 12 move on last year.

The NCAA increased its national qualifiers by 30 last year and the theory, Maughan said, is qualifiers like the West Regional might get more allocations.

The West, as it turns out, has gotten significantly less.

“Maybe I’m sour grapes because we’re one of the leagues with so few allocations,” Maughan said.

Other than Adams, the only other way for NDSU to get a national qualifier is for them to win their weight class. It appears 125 and 174 pounds may also get more than one qualifier, which would be promising for NDSU’s Justin Solberg and Mac Stoll.

Solberg finished third last year as a freshman.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546