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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Stephen K. Lee

Wrestling Hopes For More NCAA Qualifiers On Wednesday's Selection Show

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 03/06/2012
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NEW YORK - With three wrestlers already auto-qualified from this past weekend's EIWA Championships, the Columbia wrestling program hopes to get a few more at-large bids to the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship when the NCAA announces the 40 at-large qualifiers during Wednesday night's selection show.

The NCAA Division I Wrestling selection show will be aired live on NCAA.com Wednesday at 6 p.m. (ET). To view it, go to the NCAA wrestling homepage at www.ncaa.com/sports/wrestling/d1.

On Sunday, juniors Steve Santos (23-9) and Jake O'Hara (28-14) and senior captain Kevin Lester (31-11) punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships on Sunday by earning NCAA auto-bids at the EIWA Championships in Jadwin Gymnasium.

Two Columbia standouts, 174-pound junior Stephen West (33-13) and 133-pound senior captain Kyle Gilchrist (27-15), have a strong shot at earning at-large bids on Wednesday.

West has enjoyed a breakout season, surpassing his win total from his first two seasons with Columbia combined. His 33 wins lead the team and he was ranked 32nd at 174 in the final NCAA Division I Coaches' Panel rankings. West went 4-1 in Ivy League dual bouts and earned unanimous first team All-Ivy League honors. At the EIWA Championships, West went 4-2 and took fifth place at 174, just narrowly missing out on the conference's four auto-bids. West has been consistent this entire season, as reflected in his high win total. He has four pins, six major decisions and three technical falls on the year.

West has placed at four other tournaments this season. He took third at the New York State Collegiate Wrestling Championships, third at the Mat Town Invitational, fifth at the Body Bar Systems Invitational and sixth at the Nittany Lion Open.

Gilchrist's 27 wins rank fourth on the team and he has enjoyed his finest season as a senior. He was ranked No. 30 at 133 in the final NCAA Division I Coaches' Panel rankings. Gilchrist went 3-2 in conference duals this season and was named an All-Ivy League Honorable Mention. At the EIWA Championships, Gilchrist went 3-3 at took sixth place at 133 pounds, coming up just short of one of the conference's five auto-bids. As one of two senior captains, Gilchrist has been a key leader for Columbia this season. In addition to his career-high 27 victories, he has amassed two pins and six major decisions.

In this season's tournaments, Gilchrist has posted numerous strong finishes, including second place at the New York State Collegiate Wrestling Championships, third place at the Nittany Lion Open, fifth place at the Michigan State Open and sixth place at the Body Bar Systems Invitational.

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