Northern Iowa Earns 5 Top-15 Seeds for NCAAs

By Michelle Van Dorn, UNI Sports Information

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Five Panthers from UNI wrestling earned a top-15 seed at the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships set for next weekend.

Josh Alber leads the way for UNI with a No. 4 seed at 141 pounds and will face Corey Shie of Army in the first round. The two have not met previously. Shie is a freshman at West Point. Alber will be making his fourth trip to the NCAA championships.

Two-time Big 12 champion and All-American Drew Foster earned the No. 6 seed and faces an unfamiliar foe in Christian LaFragola of Brown at 184 pounds. LaFragola is a junior making his third trip to nationals. He took seventh at the 2017 tournament.

At 174 pounds, Taylor Lujan earned the No. 8 seed and will face No. 25 Hayden Hastings of Wyoming. The two have missed each other in Big 12 competition so far but will face each other in the first round of the national tournament. Hastings is a redshirt freshman who earned an at-large bid after he placed sixth at the Big 12 Championships. He has a trio of top-12 wins, including one over Kimball Sebastian of Utah Valley. Lujan has earned automatic bids to all three of his previous appearances at nationals.

Bryce Steiert earned his third trip to the NCAA championships coming off a redshirt year. The junior earned the 11th seed and faces two-time NCAA qualifier No. 22 Bryce Martin of Indiana at 165 pounds.

No. 15 Max Thomsen is looking for his second All-America honor at 149 pounds against No. 18 Jared Prince of Navy. Thomsen won a matchup with Prince earlier this year by 12-6 decision to take seventh at the Cliff Keen Invite. It was Thomsen's opening competition of the season. Thomsen joined Foster on the podium with a fifth-place finish at nationals in 2017.

No. 22 Jay Schwarm rounds out the Panther qualifiers at 125 pounds. He will face No. 11 Travis Piotrowski for the third time in his career. The Illinois wrestler leads the series 2-0. Piotrowski bumped Schwarm to the consolations of this year's Midlands with a 5-1 decision. He also won in the 2017 season by 5-0.

2019 NCAA DIVISION I CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships takes place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh March 21-23.

Wrestling fans can buy and sell official tickets through the NCAA Ticket Exchange. This gives ticket holders who are unable to attend a session a place to safely sell their tickets.

Buyers also can get their tickets knowing the tickets are authentic and guaranteed at http://www.ncaa.com/tickets/wrestling/d1