MAC Wrestlers Awarded 41 Qualifying Spots In 2014 NCAA Championships

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Thursday night was a busy night for college wrestling as the NCAA announced wrestler allocations for the 2014 NCAA Championships, along with the RPI and final coach rankings.

The Mid-American Conference was given 41 qualifying spots to be earned at the MAC Championships, which is the third most of any conference. Seven Bobcats were listed in the rankings.

Five qualifying spots will go to 133, 141, 157, 174 and 184 at the upcoming MAC tournament. Four spots go to 125 and 149. Three go to 165 and 285 and just two to 197.

Jeremy Johnson, 285, Phil Wellington, 197, and Tywan Claxton, 149, head the rankings for Ohio. Johnson, who will be vying to make his fourth trip to the national tournament, was listed at No. 7 in the RPI rankings and No. 10 in the coach rankings.

Wellington, who was new to the tournament in 2013, will also be trying for a return trip. He is the highest rated Bobcat in both categories. He comes in at No. 6 in RPI and was voted No. 8 by Div. I coaches.

Claxton is shooting for his first trip to the Div. I tournament after being a Div. II All-American last year. He was slotted 15th in RPI and 17th in the coaches rankings.

Two other Bobcats who made it to the 2013 NCAA Championships find themselves in the rankings as well in Sparty Chino, 157, and Cody Walters, 174. Chino comes in at 30th in both rankings.

Walters is only listed in the coach rankings at No. 12. Injuries likely affected his RPI ranking, but a showing in the coach rankings shows that though he has competed in limited time, he is still considered a formidable threat by his peers.

Rounding out the rankings for Ohio are Harrison Hightower, 165, and Noah Forrider, 141. Hightower is ranked 24th in RPI and 26th in the coach rankings. He is still trying to make his first trip to the national tournament after just barely missing out the last two years.

Forrider caps off an impressive true freshman campaign with a No. 26 ranking in RPI and a No. 33 ranking by the coaches.

330 wrestlers – 33 at each weight – will compete in the 2014 NCAA Championships. 290 will be decided by conference tournaments. The other 40 spots will be awarded as at-large bids.

The 2014 MAC Championships will be a two-day event. They will be held in Kent, Ohio, on March 8-9.