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March 9, 2011

Cal Poly to Send Quartet to NCAA Wrestling Championships

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly 165-pounder Ryan DesRoches and 197-pounder Ryan Smith have been selected as at-large entries for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, to be held March 17-19 in Philadelphia.

DesRoches and Smith will join automatic qualifiers Boris Novachkov (141) and Barrett Abel (157) at the national finals. The NCAA announced the 50 at-large selections Wednesday.

DesRoches (pictured above), making his second trip to the nationals, compiled a 33-6 record this season and finished third in the Pacific-10 Conference Championships two weeks ago at Oregon State. The junior from Deer Park, Wash., pinned 14 opponents this season, raising his career total to 36, and will carry an 83-29 career record into the nationals.

Smith is 22-9 on the year and finished fifth in the Pac-10 Championships. He was a second-place finisher in the conference finals a year ago but did not advance to the NCAA Championships. A junior from Temecula, Calif., Smith sports a 47-33 career mark.

Both Mustang at-large selections face tough challenges in the opening round March 17. DesRoches faces second-seeded Andrew Howe of Wisconsin while Smith goes against top-seeded Cam Simaz of Cornell.

Novachkov, a junior and 83-18 in career matches at Cal Poly, is a three-time national qualifier and seeded No. 3 at 141 with a 27-1 record, losing only to top-seeded Kellen Russell of Michigan in a 3-2 decision at the Las Vegas Invitational in December.

Novachkov, Cal Poly's lone Pac-10 champion this year and an NCAA All-American a year ago with a seventh-place finish at 133 pounds, faces Andrew Schutt of Buffalo in the opening round March 17. Novachkov is a graduate of Fremont High School in Sunnyvale.

Abel, the Pac-10 champion at 149 pounds a year ago while wrestling for UC Davis, compiled a 30-9 mark in his senior season at Cal Poly, finishing third in the Pac-10 Championships. A two-time NCAA qualifier, Abel sports an 89-39 career collegiate record.

A graduate of Union Mine High School in Placerville, Calif., Abel takes on Johnny Greisheimer of Edinboro in the opening round of the nationals March 17.

The at-large wrestlers join the 280 student-athletes that qualified automatically through the conference and regional qualifying tournaments over the past two weekends. There are 33 wrestlers in each of the 10 weight classes at the national championship.

The at-large selections were made by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee using the following selection criteria without priority order: head-to-head competition, qualifying event placement, quality wins, results against common opponents, winning percentage, rating percentage index, coaches ranking and number of matches contested at that weight class.