Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sports Commission, Mizzou to Co-Host NCAA Wrestling Championships

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sports Commission, Mizzou to Co-Host NCAA Wrestling Championships

Article excerpt

The 2014 NCAA wrestling championships wrapped up Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, with Penn State winning its fourth consecutive team title.

Local highlights included back-to-back titles at 125 pounds for Illinois' junior Jesse Delgado and Mizzou's J'Den Cox winning at 197 to become just the 14th true freshman champion in the 84-year history of the event.

The Tigers' Drake Houdashelt, a junior and Fort Zumwalt West alum, also earned All-American honors with a fifth-place finish at 149.

Illinois placed 13th and Missouri 14th in the team standings.

Next year's championships, set for March 19-21, return to Scottrade Center and will be co-hosted by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the University of Missouri. They also will host the event in 2017.

Since 2000, St. Louis has been the site of the tournament six times and set a three-day attendance mark of 109,450 in 2012. In fact, St. Louis owns four of the top five attendance marks in the history of the event.

The wrestling championships have sold out every year since 2010.

"Oklahoma City did an outstanding job and now the pressure's on us to deliver again," said Chris Roseman, the Sports Commission's vice president of events. "When I came on board in 2000, I didn't know a thing about wrestling but I've really come to appreciate the event and the passion it generates.

"When I go to an event like this, I'm always looking for things we can do to be better. I tend to spend a lot of time on the concourse listening to the fans, and one of the things I hear over and over is how they'd love to see the tournament in St. Louis permanently."

Finding a set location for the event, similar to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., has been discussed. But it is not likely to happen given the popularity and profitability of the event.

"This tournament, there's really nothing else like it," said Illinois coach Jim Heffernan. "The competition, the intensity, the passion it's really something you have to experience to truly get a feel for. …

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