TULSA, OKLA. — After competing at the Big 12 Championship, six members of the West Virginia University wrestling team head back to Tulsa, Oklahoma, hoping to outlast 33 other wrestlers in their respective weight classes at the 2023 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at the BOK Center on March 16-18.
The three-day event kicks off at Noon EDT on Thursday, March 16. Fans can catch every match from start to finish at ESPN.com or live on ESPNU during the morning sessions, before switching over to ESPN for the evening sessions. Live stats will also be available on Trackwrestling for the duration of the tournament.
Below are the dates, times and broadcast networks for each championship round:
|Thursday morning||March 16||Session I – First Round||Noon||ESPNU|
|Thursday evening||March 16||Session II – Consolations||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|Friday morning||March 17||Session III – Quarterfinals||Noon||ESPNU|
|Friday evening||March 17||Session IV – Semifinals||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Saturday morning||March 18||Session V – Medal||11 a.m.||ESPNU|
|Saturday evening||March 18||Session VI – Finals||7 p.m.||ESPN|
“The work is done,” fifth-year WVU coach Tim Flynn said. “These guys put a lot of time and effort in this past year, and I really want them to just go out and compete to the best of their abilities.”
WVU is sending six wrestlers to compete on the national stage for the first time since 2012, and it is the fourth year in which four or more wrestlers have qualified for the NCAA Championships since the Flynn era began in 2019.
Redshirt freshman Jordan Titus (141), junior Peyton Hall (165) and redshirt junior Michael Wolfgram (HWT) earned automatic bids based on their performances at the Big 12 Championship, while fifth-year senior Killian Cardinale (125), redshirt junior Anthony Carman (184) and redshirt sophomore Austin Cooley were awarded at-large berths into their respective fields. This will also mark the first appearance at the national tournament for Carman, Cooley and Titus.
Hall enters his third straight NCAA tournament at 165 pounds after becoming the 34th All-American in program history at last year’s event. He now has a chance to become the first Mountaineer to earn All-America status in back-to-back seasons since Brandon Radar finished sixth in 2006 and 2007 at 141 pounds, as well as the first two-time All-American since Zeke Moisey registered All-America performances in 2015 and 2018 at 125 pounds.
As the No. 14 seed, Hall squares off against No. 19 Dan Braunagel of Illinois in a rematch from the quarterfinals of the Midlands Championships to end the 2022 portion of the season, where Braunagel escaped with a 7-6 decision.
No. 25 Wolfgram also returns to the national stage in back-to-back seasons. The 20-match winner for the second straight year will battle a familiar Big 12 adversary in No. 8 Sam Schuyler of Iowa State.
Joining Hall and Wolfgram in making another trip to the annual postseason event is Cardinale, who received the No. 28 seed among the 125-pound field. The 2021 All-American matches up against No. 5 seed Caleb Smith of Appalachian State in the opening round.
Cardinale and Hall could be the first WVU duo to reach podium in the same year since Greg Jones (184) and Matt Lebe (157) in 2005. Both would also join Mark Banks, Whitey Chlebove, Mike Mason, Brandon Rader and Moisey as the sixth and seventh Mountaineers to claim the honor twice in program history, with the sibling duo of Greg and Vertus Jones leading the way by each earning All-America status three times.
At 197 pounds, Cooley battles No. 2 seed Bernie Truax of Cal Poly, who is a two-time All-American and Pac-12 Champion at two different weight classes, while Titus, at 141 pounds, comes in as the No. 29 seed and takes on reigning Big Ten Champion and No. 4 seed Brock Hardy of Nebraska.
Rounding out the group is Carman at No. 33 of the 184-pound bracket. The Glen Dale, West Virginia, native faces No. 32 Jha’Quan Anderson of Gardner Webb in a pigtail matchup, with the winner advancing to clash with No. 1 seed and reigning Big 12 Champion Parker Keckejsen of Northern Iowa in the first round. Of note, Carman is the first WVU grappler to punch a ticket to the NCAA Championships at 184 pounds in seven years.
With the addition of six qualifiers in this year’s tournament, West Virginia has accumulated 199 qualifiers since 1979, when the NCAA implemented the current qualification system. The Mountaineers have tallied 34 All-America honors and 16 top-25 finishes at the event since 1929. Furthermore, the program has five individual national champions: Scott Collins in 1991, Dean Morrison in 1994 and three-time champion Greg Jones in 2002, 2004, and 2005.
What’s more, Tulsa plays host to the national tournament for the first time in NCAA history, which marks the 12th time the tournament will be held in the state of Oklahoma and the first time since 2014.