By Jason Bryant
Peninsula Wrestling Association
The college draws have been announced for the 2014 Virginia Duals for the National College and American College Divisions. The 34th annual event will kick off on January 10 from the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va.
Virginia will enter as the top seed in the National College Division. The Cavaliers were second last year to Virginia Tech. Coach Steve Garland’s team comes in ranked 13th by the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll. This will be Virginia’s 20th appearance at the Virginia Duals.
Edinboro draws the No. 2 seed. The Fighting Scots will be in their 18th Virginia Duals. Coach Tim Flynn’s squad have won the event three times, most recently in 2007. With only 14 teams in the National College field this year, both Virginia and Edinboro will have first-round byes.
Defending champion Virginia Tech will be the No. 3 seed and open up with Nebraska-Kearney in the first round. While Virginia Tech defeated Edinboro earlier in the season, the Hokies lost the services of All-American Devin Carter. It will be the 12th appearance in the event for the Hokies. Nebraska-Kearney is the three-time defending NCAA Division II champions and will be making their first appearance at the event.
Bloomsburg will be the fourth seed and open up with Bucknell. Both teams are Division I programs in Pennsylvania and were not schedule to compete against one another in a dual this season.
Kent State will be seeded fifth and makes its eighth straight appearance in Hampton and 12th overall. The Golden Flashes have placed in the top six each of the last seven years. They will open up with The Citadel of the Southern Conference.
Rider will come in seeded sixth. This will be Rider’s 18th appearance and they will open up with fellow EWL foe George Mason. The Patriots will make their fourth appearance. Typically the Virginia Duals keeps teams from the same conference away from one another in early round competition, but since Rider and George Mason were not scheduled to meet this season in conference, the pairing was made accordingly.
Old Dominion will make its tournament-record 27th appearance at the Virginia Duals. The Monarchs will be seeded seventh and open up with Lock Haven.
Chattanooga will be seeded eighth and will be making its fifth appearance at the event. The Mocs will open up with Arizona State in the first round.
Due to the large number of teams from specific conferences, the top seeds are determined by a combination of factors, including their national ranking by the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll, coaches seeding forms and head-to-head matchups. In some cases, seeds are swapped to prevent conference duals that have already happened (or will happen). An example would be Rider coming in seeded No. 6 despite already beating Kent State. Rider will face Bloomsburg later in the season in conference, so to prevent a duplicate matchup, Rider and Kent State were flipped. Teams outside of the top eight are slotted to avoid rematches.
UNC Pembroke will return to the Virginia Duals for the first time since 2000. The Braves will be the top seed in the 8-team American College Divisions and will open up with Central Florida, a club team in the NCWA. UNC Pembroke is an NCAA Division II program.
Returning champion Stevens Tech of Hoboken, N.J., will be the No. 2 seed and open with Anderson. Stevens Tech is nationally ranked in Division III. Anderson is a Division II school making its ninth appearance.
Limestone, a Division II school in South Carolina, will make its first appearance in the Virginia Duals and will be the No. 3 seed. The Saints will open up with the Newport News Apprentice School. The Builders, an NCWA program in nearby Newport News, Va., will be making a 23rd straight appearance in the event.
Liberty, another club program, will be the fourth seed and open up with Ferrum College. The Ferrum program is in its first year and will make its Virginia Duals debut in 2014.
Both college divisions will kick off at 9 a.m. on Friday with top bracket bouts, with the bottom bracket taking to the mats at 11 a.m. Semifinals for each round are at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
For complete information on the event, check out VirginiaDuals.org and live results will be available at trackwrestling.com.