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Six Cyclones headed to wrestling nationals

INDIANAPOLIS – The field for the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships was announced today. Six Cyclones will be competing at the national tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla. March 20-22: Earl Hall (125), Gabe Moreno (141), Michael Moreno (165), Tanner Weatherman (174), Lelund Weatherspoon (184) and Kyven Gadson (197).

The Moreno brothers, Weatherman, Weatherspoon and Gadson all gained automatic-qualifier spots with their performances at the 2014 Big 12 Wrestling Championship in Norman, Okla. last weekend. Hall needed an at-large bid to the tournament, and the Homestead, Fla., native got it.

Hall, who finished fourth at the Big 12 Championship, finished the year 18-12 overall. His top win of the season came when he beat No. 4 seed Josh Martinez of Air Force 5-3 at the Cliff Keen Invitational. The loss was only one of three for Martinez, who finished the season with 32 victories.

It will be Hall’s first time competing at the NCAA Championships. The sophomore received one of four at-large bids up for grabs at 125 pounds. Hall was one of five Big 12 wrestlers to receive at-large bids to the NCAA Championships.

Hall faces No. 13 seed Evan Silver (23-4) of Stanford in the opening round. Hall and Silver have no previous meetings.

All-American Kyven Gadson, ranked No. 1 by InterMat,, ASICS Flowrestling, and W.I.N. Magazine, is the No. 5 seed at 197 pounds. Gadson, who won his second straight Big 12 title March 8 in Norman, brings a 25-2 overall record into the national tournament. The Waterloo, Iowa, native leads Iowa State in pins this season with seven.

Gadson faces Abram Ayala (26-10) of Princeton in the opening round. Gadson and Ayala have no previous meetings.

All-American Michael Moreno is back at the NCAA Championships for the second straight season with his runner-up finish at the Big 12 Championship. The 165-pounder finished the season 26-7 overall, posting 12 bonus point wins. The Urbandale, Iowa, native has the No. 8 seed in the 165-pound bracket.

Moreno faces the winner of a pigtail match between Mitchell Wightman (23-13) of Boston and Ramon Santiago (20-12) of Rider in the opening round. Moreno has no previous meetings with Wightman or Santiago.

Like Moreno, sophomore Tanner Weatherman punched a ticket to his second straight NCAA Championships with a third-place finish at the Big 12 Championship. The 174-pounder reached the quarterfinals in Des Moines last year before being knocked out in the round of 12, a match shy of earning All-America honors.

The Huxley, Iowa, native finished the season 22-14 overall. Two of his losses came wrestling up a weight class at 184 pounds to nationally ranked wrestlers in Kenny Courts of Ohio State and Nick Vetterlein of Virginia Tech. Weatherman has the No. 12 seed in the 174-pound bracket.

Weatherman faces Levi Clemons (25-12) of Chattanooga in the opening round. Weatherman and Clemons have no previous meetings.

Freshman Lelund Weatherspoon is in the field at 184 pounds. To punch is ticket to Oklahoma City, the Jackson, Mich., native became the first freshman Big 12 champion since David Zabriskie in 2007.

Weatherspoon, who wrestled at 174 and 184 pounds for the Cyclones, finished the year 24-9. His 24 wins are third on the team behind Gadson and Moreno. He posted a 7-4 record wrestling at 184 pounds this season.

Weatherspoon faces No. 3 seed Gabe Dean (35-2) of Cornell in the opening round. Weatherspoon and Dean have no previous meetings.

Freshman Gabe Moreno is the final Cyclone in the 330-man NCAA Championship field. Moreno, who finished the season 16-19 overall, clinched an automatic berth with a runner-up finish at the Big 12 Championship.

The Urbandale, Iowa, native will face unseeded Nick Lester (17-11) of Oklahoma in a pigtail match. Moreno is 0-2 against Lester this season. The winner of the match faces No. 1 seed Mitchell Port (26-0) of Edinboro in the first round.

The Moreno brothers, Weatherman and Gadson will be four of 15 Iowa natives in the tournament field.

Session one of the national tournament begins Thursday at 11 a.m. in Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

All sessions of the NCAA Championships will be aired live on ESPN3 and ESPNU for the first time ever. The finals will be broadcast live on ESPN at 7 p.m. Saturday night.

For the complete brackets of the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, click here.

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