Oregon State’s wrestlers at this year’s NCAA Championships all have ample experience on their sport’s biggest stage.
Seniors Joey Palmer (133 pounds) and Joey Delgado (149); redshirt juniors Jack Hathaway (141) and Cody Crawford (heavyweight); and redshirt sophomore Corey Griego (197) have combined for seven previous NCAA appearances, experience that should bode well for them in this weekend’s competition.
The tournament begins Thursday morning at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and runs through Saturday night.
Coach Jim Zalesky said the beavers have "had really good training” since taking fourth at the Pac-12 championships on Feb. 26.
“I feel good about where these guys are, they’re looking the best they have all year," Zalesky said. “(NCAAs) are about taking one match at a time. We know who we have in the first round and we have to concentrate on winning that first match. You cannot look past the first guy.
“It doesn’t matter where you get placed, you’re in the tournament. You’re there to win it.”
The brackets were released on March 7.
Griego is seeded 14th and will face Stanford’s Josh Marchok in the opening round. Griego (24-8) defeated Marchok 5-3 in the finals at Pac-12s and 9-5 on Jan. 30 in a regular-season dual. He could face third-seeded Kollin Moore of Ohio State in the second round.
Griego was 1-2 at the 2016 NCAAs in his first championships appearance. He is ranked 16th by the coaches and 24th in NCAA RPI.
Palmer (26-5) meets 15th-seeded Jamal Morris of North Carolina State in the opening round. His second-round foe could be No. 2-seeded Seth Gross of South Dakota State.
He was 2-2 at the 2016 championships and 0-2 in 2014. He is ranked 24th by the coaches, and is unranked by the NCAA RPI.
Hathaway (17-11) will face seventh-seeded Joseph Ward of North Carolina in the first round. He could potentially face Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith, the 2016 NCAA runner-up, in the second round.
Hathaway was 0-2 at the 2015 NCAA championships and is ranked 25th by the NCAA RPI and 26th by the coaches.
Delgado (18-10) faces 11th-seeded Davion Jeffries of Oklahoma in the opening round. Jeffries defeated Delgado 5-3 in a Feb. 17 dual at Norman.
He was 1-2 at the 2016 championships and went 0-2 as a 141-pounder in 2014. He is ranked 25th by the coaches and 28th by the NCAA RPI.
Crawford (22-7) takes on ninth-seeded Denzel Dejournette of Appalachian State. He was not yet at heavyweight when the teams met on Nov. 22 in their season-opener. He could potentially face top-seeded Kyle Snyder of Ohio State in the quarterfinals.
Crawford was 2-2 as a 197-pounder at the 2015 championships and is ranked 18th by the NCAA RPI and 21st by the coaches.
“I think Crawford, Palmer and Griego have all looked good," Zalesky said. "Delgado and Hathaway have battled back from their Midlands knee injuries to look good, they look 100 percent. They all have chances to win matches.
“These guys have all been there before. The training is done. Now it’s time for the mental preparation. ... There are not going to be any surprises for them.”
Palmer and Griego were Pac-12 champions while Hathaway and Griego took second and Delgado third.