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2015 NCAA Div. I Championships: 197 pounds

This page is a preview of the 197-pound weight class at the 2015 NCAA Division I Championships, which will be held March 19-21 in the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.Print

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2015 NCAA Preview: 197 pounds

Missouri’s J’den Cox made history when he became just the fifth all-time Tiger to claim an NCAA championship … and the native of Columbia, Mo., still has three national tournaments to wrestle. For Cox was just a true freshman when he stunned top-seed Nick Heflin of Ohio State for his first national title.

J'den Cox

J’den Cox

This season, the undefeated Cox has continued his winning ways, including five matches at heavyweight in dual competition. Most recently, Cox defeated Iowa’s Nathan Burak to clinch the National Duals championship for his team, then added a second MAC title.

Potentially the biggest challenge for Cox could be someone he has yet to face in college: Iowa State’s two-time All-American Kyven Gadson. The senior from Waterloo, Iowa, has only lost once this winter — that coming against Nebraska’s Spencer Johnson at the Southern Scuffle — but the Cyclone captured both the Las Vegas Invitational and his third Big 12 championship.

Four wrestlers from the Big Ten should also challenge for the crown:

  • Penn State junior Morgan McIntosh (Santa Ana, Calif.) most recently won his first Big Ten championship and will be looking to improve on last year’s seventh-place finish;
  • Ohio State freshman Kyle Snyder (Woodbine, Md.) finished second to McIntosh at the Big Tens (and to Gadson in Las Vegas) but certainly has lived up to the hype that began two years ago when he gave up his senior year in Maryland to train at the Olympic Training Center in 2013-14;
  • Minnesota’s Scott Schiller (West Fargo, N.D.) settled for third place at the Big Tens, but has a pair of All-American honors on his resume: sixth in 2013 and fourth in 2014.
  • Iowa’s Nathan Burak (Colorado Springs, Colo.) also spent a year at the OTC and is the younger brother of former national qualifiers from Penn (Micah and Gabe) and used the Midlands championship to solidify a Top-10 ranking earlier this winter.

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