Posted: Mar 05, 2019
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Tom Lane, a national qualifier a year ago, will be joined by eight other Cal Poly wrestlers in the Pac-12 Championship on Saturday.
Competition inside Wells Fargo Arena on the campus of Arizona State will be held in two sessions. First and second rounds are slated for 11 a.m., with the consolation semifinals and championship round set for the 5 p.m. evening session.
Because Lane (pictured at right) is ranked in the top 25 in both the coaches rankings and RPI at 197 pounds, the Pac-12 was awarded an additional qualifying spot in the weight class. The top two finishers at 197 pounds in Saturday's meet will advance to the 2019 NCAA Division I National Championship, scheduled for March 21-23 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Penn.
For the Pac-12, one qualifying spot is available at 141, 165, 174 and 184 pounds. The 125-pound weight class has three spots and the remaining five weight classes have two.
In addition, the NCAA will select 44 at-large qualifiers — from four to six in each weight class — to fill the field of 33 wrestlers in each of the 10 weight classes. The at-large selections will be announced March 12. Brackets and seedings will be revealed March 13.
A native of Garden City, New York, Lane is ranked No. 24 in the final coaches rankings and No. 25 on the latest RPI list. He is 18-10 on the year with one fall, two technical falls and eight major decisions and posted a 7-2 mark in dual meets.
Lane placed fourth in the Pac-12 finals a year ago, but there were four spots available for the nationals. He finished 16-11 for the year after winning one of three matches at the NCAA finals in Cleveland and carries a 63-40 career record into this weekend's matches.
Lane has won 10 of his last 13 matches after an 8-7 start, placing sixth in the Midlands in late December. The junior also won three of five matches at the Reno Tournament of Champions and 2-2 at the Las Vegas Invitational.
Lane was 3-1 against Pac-12 wrestlers during the dual meet season, losing only to Nathan Traxler of Stanford in a 5-4 decision. Traxler currently is ranked No. 10 by the coaches.
Former Mustang Colton Schilling placed first at 141 pounds in the Pac-12 Championship a year ago, Cal Poly's first Pac-12 individual title since 2013. The Mustangs, who joined the Pac-12 in wrestling back in 1986, have never captured a Pac-12 team championship.
The other eight Mustangs slated to compete this weekend include Benny Martinez (9-17) at 125 pounds, Yoshito Funakoshi (7-11) at 133, Wyatt Cornelison (6-17) at 141, Brawley Lamer (12-13) at 157, Joe La Rosa (2-9) at 165, Nathan Tausch (6-14) at 174, Willem DeBoer (11-15) at 184 and Samuel Aguilar (9-14) at 285.
Funakoshi is a senior, Lane a junior and the remaining seven Mustangs are true or redshirt freshmen. Ty Schilling, also a junior with a 10-9 record at 149 pounds, will miss the Pac-12 finals due to injury.
Defending their Pac-12 titles this weekend are Ronnie Bresser of Oregon State at 125, Josh Shields of Arizona State at 157 (wrestling at 165 this weekend), Zahid Valencia of Arizona State at 174 and Amar Dhesi of Oregon State at 285. Valencia also is defending NCAA national champion at 174 while Dhesi and Shields earned All-America accolades.
Arizona State seeks its third straight Pac-12 team championship.
First- and second-round matches along with the consolation semifinals will be streamed live on Pac-12.com, with the finals to be televised live on Pac-12 Networks at 6 p.m. PST.
Ticket prices range from $5 for students to a $30 all-session pass for adults.