Delaney, Frisch and Khishignyam Prepare for 2013 NCAA Championship
Charleston, S.C. – Odie Delaney, Matt Frisch and sixth-seeded Ugi Khishignyam are primed to take on the nation's top competition at the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championship at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
Matches are slated to begin on Thursday at noon and the entire competition will be televised with the following schedule:
Session 1 – ESPN3 at noon on Mar. 21 (First Round)
Session 2 – ESPN3 at 7:30 p.m. on Mar. 21 (First Round)
Session 3 – ESPN3 at 11 a.m. on Mar. 22 (Quarterfinals and Consolations)
Session 4 – ESPNU at 7 p.m. on Mar. 22 (Semifinals)
Session 5 – ESPNU at 11 a.m. on Mar. 23 (Medal Round)
Session 6 – ESPN at 8 p.m. on Mar. 23 (Finals)
All three Bulldog grapplers will take the mats on Thursday morning in pursuit of the podium and the coveted All-America status. The top eight placers from each division earn the honorable title.
The Citadel has just one All-American in its storied history as Dan Thompson took seventh place in the 165-pound division at the 2006 NCAA Championship to accomplish the feat.
"We are confident and our guys are confident, which is good for a coach to see," said head coach Rob Hjerling. "We have been training hard and smart and preparing for our opponents. We have to take it one match at a time and hope the guys are able to get on the podium on Saturday."
Bulldogs in the Championship
Ugi Khishignyam (38-4) – SIXTH SEED – 141-pounds
The 141-pound Mongolia native completed his first collegiate season with a 38-4 record, including a 7-0 conference mark.
Ugi earned a sixth seed in the tournament after cruising past his competition in the Southern Conference tournament in addition to earning titles at the Reno Tournament of Champions and Navy Classic. Ugi also took second at the Southern Scuffle and Hokie Open and third at the Nittany Lion Open.
The redshirt freshman will take on Lehigh's Anthony Salupo (13-9) in the first round of perhaps one of the most competitive divisions of this year's meet. A win would guarantee the Bulldog grappler a rematch from earlier this season as Cornell's Mike Nevinger (36-10) and Virginia Tech's Zach Neibert (16-9) will go head-to-head in their opening bout.
Ugi topped then ninth-ranked Neibert at the Hokie Open in November on a last second takedown and fall at the 6:59 mark. Nevinger, who was also ranked ninth at the time of their bout, edged out Ugi 3-2 in the championship match of the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 2.
"It's a big competition and big tournament and I'm excited," said Ugi. "I have never wrestled in front of thousands of people, but when I have wrestled in front of big crowds I've gotten pumped."
Odie Delaney (37-7) – Heavyweight
A seasoned veteran of the NCAA Championship, Delaney enters his fourth national competition and third in the heavyweight bracket. The redshirt senior, who is currently riding a 17-match winning streak, has placed his mark in The Citadel record book, eclipsing Travis Piccard ('06) for second most wins in school history with 120 and overtaking the number two spot in career pins with 58.
The Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., product is slated to take on North Dakota State's Evan Knutson (16-13) in the first round. A win would create a probable rematch against second-seeded Anthony Nelson (28-1) of Minnesota.
The two met earlier this season at the Southern Scuffle where Nelson topped Delaney by a 4-2 margin.
Matt Frisch (30-13) – 157-pounds
Frisch transferred to The Citadel after redshirting one season at Northern Illinois and made an immediate impact in the heart of the Bulldog lineup. The redshirt freshman coasted through the Southern Conference with a 7-0 mark en route to earning the 157-pound title at the conference championship.
The Oxford, Mich., native will take on Iowa's second-seeded Derek St. John (26-2) in the first round. St. John took second place at last year's national competition.
"I have to look at it as another tournament," said Frisch. "I know once I get out there and see the arena I'll feel a bit different, but I'm just taking it one step at a time right now."