BOISE, Idaho - The Boise State wrestling team has its sights set on history this week as the Broncos prepare for a trip to Philadelphia, Pa. to compete in the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Thursday-Saturday (March 17-19), at The Wells Fargo Center.
After qualifying all 10 starters to the NCAA Championships, Boise State is projected to finish sixth at the national tournament by intermatwrestle.com. The previous best finish by the Broncos in the team standings was 10th in 1999.
The three-day NCAA tournament is scheduled to kick-off on Thursday (March 17) at 11 a.m. (EST). Thursday will also feature a second session starting at 6:30 p.m. All of Thursday's action can be viewed on ESPN3.com.
On Friday the wrestling action will resume at 10:30 a.m. with session III. Friday will conclude with session IV at 6:30 p.m. Session III will be broadcast on ESPNU HD and ESPN3.com. Session IV, meanwhile, can be seen on ESPNU HD.
Session V is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, with all its action broadcast on ESPNU HD. The tournament will conclude Saturday night with the championship round, Session VI, broadcast simultaneously on ESPN HD and ESPN3.com.
Looking at the Broncos...
Boise State made history last week as the Broncos qualified all 10 starters for the NCAA tournament for the first time since joining the Pac-10 Conference in 1988. Since joining the Pac-10, Boise State had qualified nine wrestlers to nationals on three occasions (2003, 2008 and 2009).
Of the 10 Bronco qualifiers to this year's tournament, seven were automatic bids and three were at-large selections. Alan Bartelli (125 pounds), Andrew Hochstrasser (133), Levi Jones (141), Jason Chamberlain (149), Adam Hall (157), Kurt Swartz (165) and J.T. Felix (HWT) each earned automatic berths thanks to their performances at the Pac-10 Championships. Jake Swartz (174), Kirk Smith (184) and Matt Casperson (197) all received at-large selections last week.
Boise State will have four wrestlers enter the NCAA Championships with a top 12 seed for their respective weight class, including three that are in the top six. Hall garnered the No. 1 overall seed at 157 pounds, while Hochstrasser is No. 2 at 133, Chamberlain is No. 6 at 149 and Smith is No. 11 at 184.
The Broncos captured the sixth Pac-10 team title in program history at the conference tournament hosted in Corvallis, Ore., Feb. 27, thanks in part to four wrestlers that earned individual championships. Boise State scored 147 total points to hold off second-place Oregon State by just 9.5 points (137.5). The championship is the fourth under head coach Greg Randall, including his third in the last four years.
Hochstrasser, Chamberlain and Hall all won the second individual Pac-10 title of their careers, while K. Swartz secured his first conference championship.
The Broncos earned their best finish at the NCAA tournament under coach Randall in 2010, as Boise State placed 11th at the national championships with 43.5 points. Smith and Hall both earned All-American honors after wrestling to top three finishes for their respective weight class. Smith was the 184-pound National Runner-Up, while Hall placed third at 157 pounds.
Boise State's top finish at the NCAA Wrestling Championships came back in 1999 under former head coach Mike Young. The Broncos placed 10th as a team thanks in part to Kirk White (165 pounds) capturing the first individual championship in program history.
Boise State has won two individual wrestling national championships; White and Ben Cherrington (157 pounds; 2006). The Bronco wrestlers have garnered two of the eight total individual NCAA national championships in Boise State history. The most recent Bronco national champion was Eleni Kafourou, who won the 2009 NCAA Women's Indoor Long Jump National Championship.
Boise State will have a pair of individuals looking to join an exclusive club this weekend as part of a select group of Bronco wrestlers to earn multiple NCAA All-American honors. Hochstrasser and Hall both enter this weekend with one All-America honor to their resume, and could join just five other Boise State wrestlers that have achieved the feat twice or more.
Smith, a senior, is one of the five wrestlers in the history of the program that has multiple All-America honors as he did so in 2008 and 2010. White is the only Bronco wrestler to become an All-American three times (1999, 2000 and 2001).
Hochstrasser earned his All-American honor in 2009 after placing fourth at 133 pounds. Hall, meanwhile, wrestled to an All-America finish in 2010 thanks to his third-place finish at nationals.
In total, the Boise State wrestling program has captured 25 NCAA All-American honors, coming from 19 different individuals. Coach Randall has helped guide Bronco wrestlers to All-America honors 10 times.
Three Boise State wrestlers will look to continue their journey up the program's career wins list this weekend as Hall, Smith and Hochstrasser all currently rank in the top six for most wins in school history. Hall moved into second-place in career wins following the Pac-10 Championships as he is now 117-21 in four seasons at Boise State. He trails only Tyler Sherfey (124-39).
Hall passed White (115-18) on the career wins list to gain sole possession of second place. Smith is currently tied with Rusty Cook (102-24) for fourth all-time with a career record of 102-12.
Hochstrasser will look to become just the sixth Bronco wrestler ever to reach 100 wins as he is currently 95-13 overall for his career, for a sixth-place ranking in school history.