IRVING – Taylor Lujan and Bryce Steiert received No. 1 seeds and four other Panthers were ranked in the top four of their brackets in the Pre-Big 12 Championship seeds released Wednesday by the league. The Panthers’ two top seeds were second among league teams. Three Oklahoma State wrestlers are seeded first and Iowa State, Oklahoma, Utah Valley, West Virginia and Wyoming had one each.
The pre-seeds were voted into their positions by the league’s 12 head coaches and are subject to change. Final seeds will be confirmed at Friday’s pre-championship coaches meeting.
Lujan enters the weekend ranked No. 1 in the national coaches’ poll and is on a 15-bout win streak. He is the top wrestler at 184 and opens the weekend with a bout against Utah Valley’s Ashton Seely.
Steiert sits atop the bracket at 174. He is ranked fifth in the Coaches Rank after the regular-season and enters the weekend with a 23-3 record. He lost just one Big 12 dual all season. He opens the tournament against Northern Colorado’s Billy Higgins.
Jay Schwarm received the No. 2 spot at 125. He is 18-8 so far this season and won 15 of his 18 by falls. He leads the NCAA with 14 falls against Division I opponents. He went undefeated in February, winning all four of his bouts with pins. His first bout will be against Cody Phippen from Air Force.
Michael Blockhus and Max Thomsen enter the weekend ranked third in their respective brackets. Blockhus is 19-8 overall at 141 and his only losses in Big 12 duals this season are a sudden victory loss to Dom Demas from Oklahoma and a hard-fought road loss to Iowa State’s Ian Parker. He opens the weekend against Trevor Jeffries from Wyoming.
Thomsen enters the weekend having won five of his last six bouts at 149. He sits just behind Oklahoma State’s Boo Lewallen and SDSU’s Henry Pohlmeyer. He opens the weekend with a bye and will face the winner of Greg Gaxiola from Fresno State and Air Force’s Dylan Martinez in the quarterfinals.
Carter Isley is ranked fourth in one of the deepest fields of the tournament at 285. The heavyweights will send seven to the NCAA Championship. He faces the winner of Wyoming’s Brian Andres and Oklahoma State’s Austin Harris in the quarterfinals.
Jack Skudlarczyk is seeded seventh at the toughest weight class in the Big 12. The 133 group will send eight wrestlers to Minneapolis. He received a bye to the second round where he will wrestle the winner of second-seeded Taylor LaMont of Utah Valley and Lawrence Saenz of Fresno State.
The Big 12 ranked Austin Yant eighth at 165. He faces unseeded Koy Wilkinson from Utah Valley for the opportunity to wrestle Oklahoma State’s No. 1 seeded Travis Wittlake in the quarterfinals. Yant topped Wilkinson 2-0 in the dual in the West Gym.
After starting three different wrestlers at 157 throughout the season, Paden Moore gets the nod for the Big 12 Championship. He is unseeded with an 8-5 record after facing just two wrestlers in the field. He opens against fifth-ranked Jacob Wright from Fresno State.
Isaiah Patton also enters the weekend with just a handful of bouts to his name. He meets North Dakota State’ Eaton Cordell in the opening round for a chance to wrestle West Virginia’s Noah Adams in the quarterfinals.
The championship begins Saturday at 11 a.m. at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The preliminary rounds will be available on the ESPN+ via Big 12 Now, the league’s digital platform.