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Rutgers wrestling prepares for NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships

Sophomore 125-pounder Dean Peterson will be a 13th seed in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. – Photo by @RUWrestling / Twitter

After competing in the Big Ten Wrestling Championships on March 4 and 5 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, seven Rutgers wrestlers punched their ticket to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships this season.

Here is a rundown of how the NCAA tournament selection process works. Each conference gets a certain number of allocated slots in each weight class based on that weight class' talent in each conference. If a conference has more higher-ranked wrestlers in one weight class, the conference will receive more auto-bid slots in that weight class.

As for securing those auto-bids, each wrestler must prove during the conference tournament that they can place in one of those bid slots. If the conference has 10 auto-bid allocations in a certain weight, a wrestler in that class must place within the top 10 in their conference. Once they place within the conference's auto-bid allocations, they will be selected for the national tournament. 

Once selected for the national tournament, each wrestler is placed into individual seeds within their weight class. The Scarlet Knights (10-7, 2-6), who are sending seven players to nationals, have sent at least five wrestlers to the NCAA tournament for the past nine straight seasons.

Junior 285-pounder Boone McDermott will wrestle as the 24th seed in the national tournament. Graduate student 133-pounder Joe Heilmann will wrestle as a 17th seed while sophomore 125-pounder Dean Peterson is a 13th seed. Freshman 184-pounder Brian Soldano is an 18th seed, sophomore 149-pounder Tony White is a 32nd seed, junior 174-pounder Jackson Turley is a 30th seed and sophomore 125-pounder Andrew Clark is a 21st seed.

Sophomore 141-pounder Joseph Oliveri has been selected as an alternate for his weight class. He will travel with the team to Tulsa and will be called up if any of the 33 competitors are unable to compete in the tournament.

The Big Ten will be sending the most wrestlers to the tournament as it has received the most auto-bid slots out of any conference. The Big Ten also has 5 out of the 10 number-one seeds in the whole tournament. The conference's dominance in the tournament was expected, as 3 of the top 5 teams in the country are Big Ten schools including Penn State, Iowa and Nebraska.

The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be played in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 16 through 18. Each day will have a noon start time. Coverage will be provided by ESPN as well as 88.7 WRSU-FM.

For more updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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