The West Virginia University wrestling team’s six NCAA qualifiers have been seeded for the 2023 Division I Wrestling National Championships, as announced by the NCAA.
WVU sends six wrestlers to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2012, as well as four or more in every season of coach Tim Flynn’s tenure since taking over the program in 2019.
Fifth-year senior Killian Cardinale (125), redshirt juniors Anthony Carman (184) and Michael Wolfgram (HWT), junior Peyton Hall (165), redshirt sophomore Austin Cooley (197) and redshirt freshman Jordan Titus (141) will represent the Mountaineers in their return to Tulsa. Hall, Wolfgram and Titus earned automatic bids, while Cardinale, Carman, and Cooley were awarded three of 47 at-large berths granted to the Big 12 by the NCAA committee on Tuesday.
At 165 pounds, Hall leads the way as the No. 14 seed in his third NCAA tournament appearance after a sixth-place finish at last weekend’s Big 12 Championship and a 23-4 overall record. The 2022 All-American is scheduled to duel No. 19 Dan Braunagel of Illinois in a rematch from the quarterfinals of the Midlands Championships to end the 2022 portion of the season, where Braunagel escaped with a 7-6 decision.
No. 25 Wolfgram also returns to the national stage for the second time in back-to-back seasons, where the 20-match winner for the second straight year will square off against a familiar Big 12 adversary in No. 8 Sam Schuyler of Iowa State.
He and Schuyler have met twice in the past two seasons, and the latter escaped with a two-point victory in both scenarios, including a 6-4 decision in sudden victory last season. The York, Pennsylvania, native enters the tournament after finishing eighth at the conference tournament, while the Cyclone took runner-up in the heavyweight division at the Big 12 Championships to earn a second berth into the national tournament in his first two seasons for ISU. Schuyler spent four seasons wrestling at Buffalo, prior to transferring to Ames, Iowa.
Joining Hall and Wolfgram in making another trip to the annual postseason event is Cardinale (10-1), who received the No. 28 seed among the 125-pound field. The 2021 All-American matches up against No. 5 seed Caleb Smith of Appalachian State in the opening round. Smith heads into the bout with a 60-14 career record after winning the Southern Conference (SoCon) 125-pound championship.
Additionally, the trio of Titus, Carman, and Cooley, make their debuts at the national tournament.
Titus, coming in as the No. 29 seed at 141 pounds, takes on No. 4 seed Brock Hardy of Nebraska. Hardy took second at the Big Ten Championship and recorded a 27-5 overall record as a redshirt sophomore.
At 197 pounds, Cooley battles No. 2 seed Bernie Truax of Cal Poly, who is a two-time All-American and Pac-12 Champion at two different weight classes. Truax started his college career at 165 pounds and since then has gone up a weight class progressively each year.
Rounding out the group is Carman at No. 33 of the 184-pound bracket. The Glen Dale, West Virginia, native faces No. 32 Jha’Quan Anderson of Gardner Webb in a pigtail matchup, with the winner advancing to clash with No. 1 seed and reigning Big 12 Champion Parker Keckejsen of Northern Iowa in the first round. Of note, Carman is the first WVU grappler to punch a ticket to the NCAA Championships at 184 pounds in seven years.
Former Mountaineer standout Bubba Scheffel was the last one at 184 to make the tournament, becoming a two-time qualifier in 2015 and 2016.
The opening round of the three-day extravaganza kicks off at 12 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 16. Fans can catch the first session on ESPNU, before switching over to ESPN for the second session at 7 p.m.
For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVUWrestling on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.