March 9, 2011

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2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships -- Official Brackets

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's five qualifiers for the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia learned their first-round opponents and roads they will travel in their respective weight classes as the NCAA released tournament brackets Wednesday evening.

The Championships get underway on Thursday, March 17, inside Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center, with the title matches set to be contested on the evening of Saturday, March 19.

Three NU competitors were ranked highly enough to earn one of the 12 available seeded positions in each weight class, beginning with third-seeded Brandon Precin at 125 pounds. Precin, who has placed seventh and third at the NCAA Championships in his last two trips to the event, is 30-2 on the year and will meet Liberty's Robert Jillard in the first round. Precin posted a major decision of Jillard (12-0) in the Keystone Classic back on Nov. 21.

NU's next seeded wrestler came in at 149 pounds in the form of 11th-seeded Andrew Nadhir. A two-time NCAA qualifier, Nadhir will open his tournament against Lehigh's Joseph Napoli in the first-ever meeting between the two. A first-round win by Nadhir would set up a second-round bout against either Pitt's Dane Johnson or Boise State's Jason Chamberlain, the bracket's No. 6 seed.

Sophomore Jason Welch, fresh off his third-place performance at the Big Ten Championships, received the No. 8 seed at 157 pounds and drew Oklahoma's Chase Nelson in the opening match. Welch will aim to advance to the second round where he would meet either Sean McMurray of Michigan State or ninth-seeded James Fleming of Clarion.

Sophomore Levi Mele (133) and true freshman Kaleb Friedley (141), both making their inaugural appearance at the national meet, were drawn into the tournament as unseeded wrestlers. Mele will face another unseeded competitor in his first match, Joseph Spisak of Virginia, with a potential second-round match looming against No. 1-ranked Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State.

Friedley will make his debut against 11th-seeded Matt Mariacher of American and fight for the right to meet either Anwar Goeres of Binghamton or fifth-seeded Andrew Alton of Penn State, another true freshman against whom Friedley lost a narrow 6-4 decision in the fifth-place match of last week's Big Ten Championships.

The 2011 NCAA Championships will be covered in its entirety and in high definition by the ESPN family of networks, with the complete broadcast schedule as follows:

Session I (Thursday, March 17, 10 a.m. CT): ESPN3.com
Session II (Thursday, March 17, 5:30 p.m. CT): ESPN3.com
Session III (Friday, March 18, 9:30 a.m. CT): ESPNU and ESPN3.com
Session IV (Friday, March 18, 6 p.m. CT): ESPNU and ESPN3.com
Session V (Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m. CT): ESPNU and ESPN3.com
Session VI -- Championship Finals (Saturday, March 19, 6:30 p.m. CT): ESPN

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