NCWA returns to Georgia for its Collegiate Cup duals championship, Jan. 24-25

By Scott Farrell | Jan. 21, 2014, 2:24 p.m. (ET)
DALLAS – The National Collegiate Wrestling Association’s Collegiate Cup, the first leg of the NCWA Championship Series, begins Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in Dalton, Ga., as more than 400 wrestlers and coaches return to Georgia’s northwest corner to compete for the favorite’s role toward the national title.

This is the sixth season for the NCWA to contest an official national duals tournament, and the fourth consecutive year in which Dalton’s Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center has hosted the two-day event.

Nine of the NCWA’s top 10 teams in the latest coaches’ poll will compete, including the top 5 of No. 1 Grand Canyon, No. 2 Shorter, No. 3 Liberty, No. 4 Apprentice School, and No. 5 Central Florida. In all, 17 teams in the Collegiate Cup field are either ranked in the latest coaches’ poll or are among the top 25 NCWA team-point leaders. The field is broken into eight pools of three teams for Friday’s early round-robin action, with the top two teams in each pool advance to the round of 16 later that day. The finals are at 5 p.m. Saturday.

This year’s Collegiate Cup, formerly known as the NCWA National Duals, is the springboard for national title contention. The Collegiate Cup champion will earn 24 team points, with second place earning 23, third place 22, and so on down to one point for 24th place, which will transfer to the start of the NCWA Championships in March. The new scoring system, voted in place by the coaches last summer, unites the NCWA’s championship events and is unique among all other major-college championship sports. The scoring change has also been adopted by both the national coaches association and the NCAA Wrestling Committee, and will be implemented in the future. The NCWA is the first to utilize it.

Liberty, the 2012 champion and last year’s runner-up, is the tournament’s top seed. Grand Canyon, top-ranked in the latest coaches’ poll and seeded second, is competing in its first Collegiate Cup as it works its way toward NCAA Division I membership. Apprentice, the No. 3 seed, is fresh off a second-place finish out of 14 teams at its Builder Invitational. Central Florida, the fourth-seed, returns 15 national qualifiers and was the coaches’ top-ranked team in the preseason. No. 5-seed Shorter is moving into NCAA Division II membership next year. Middle Tennessee (sixth), Mercer (seventh) and Mott Community College (Mich., eighth) are the other low-seeded teams.

The Collegiate Cup will have a new champion again as defending champion Lindenwood-St. Charles is now an NCAA member and will not compete. No team has repeated as champion in the tournament’s five-year history. Grand Valley State swept National Duals titles in 2007-08, and the Lakers won again in 2009 when the tournament became an official NCWA-sponsored championship event.

During their stay in Dalton, NCWA teams will partner with the City of Refuge as part of the NCWA’s 6:12 Project, a service outreach program in which the wrestlers perform service functions at the sites of the NCWA championship events. Prior to the start of the Collegiate Cup, the NCWA will volunteer time at the City of Refuge’s homeless shelter, and the NCWA will donate 50 percent of all its gate receipts at the tournament to the ministry. More information on the 6:12 Project can be found at

Here is the full 24-team field at the 2014 Collegiate Cup: The Apprentice School (Va.), Auburn, Central Florida, Connecticut, East Tennessee State, Florida Gulf Coast, Grand Canyon, Grand Valley State (Mich.), Liberty, Marion Military Institute (Ala.), Mass. Institute of Technology, Mercer, Miami (Fla.), Middle Tennessee State, Mott Comm. Coll. (Mich.), North Florida, Shorter, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Virginia, Stony Brook, Tennessee Temple, Texas, Toledo

Here is the full competition schedule for the 2014 Collegiate Cup:

Thu., Jan. 23
4:30 p.m. Open College Workouts, visitors welcome
6:30 p.m. Free Youth Wrestling Clinic (ends at 7:30 p.m.)

Fri., Jan. 24
12:00 p.m. Matches Begin, Round 1
2:00 p.m. Round 2
4:00 p.m. Round 3
6:00 p.m. Round 4

Sat., Jan. 25
9 a.m. Round 5
11 a.m. Round 6
1 p.m. Quarter-Finals
3 p.m. Semi-Finals
5 p.m. Finals/placing matches
6:45 p.m. Championship Awards Presentation

NCWA Coaches Poll (Jan. 14)
1. Grand Canyon (3)
2. Shorter
3. Liberty (4)
4. Apprentice
5. Central Florida
6. U.S. Military Academy Prep
7. Mercer
8. Middle Tennessee
9. Grand Valley State
10. Mott Community College (Mich.)
11. U.S. Naval Academy Prep
12. Marion Military Institute
13. Penn State-Mont Alto
14. Stony Brook
15. U.S. Air Force Academy Prep
16. Penn State-DuBois
17. Douglas College (B.C.)
18. Mass. Inst. of Technology
19. Penn College
20. New Hampshire
21. Florida Gulf Coast
22. North Florida
23. Southern Virginia
24. Md.-Baltimore County
25. South Florida

NCWA Team Points Leaders
1. Apprentice
2. Grand Canyon
3. Liberty
4. Penn State-Mont Alto
5. Central Florida
6. Shorter
7. Mott Community College (Mich.)
8. Mercer
9. Middle Tennessee State
10. Md.-Baltimore County
11. Grand Valley State
12. Florida Gulf Coast
13. New Hampshire
14. North Florida
15. South Florida
16. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst.
17. U.S. Naval Academy Prep
18. Mass. Inst. of Technology
19. Wayne State
20. U.S. Military Academy Prep
21. Connecticut
22. Southern Virginia
23. Saginaw Valley State
24. Stony Brook
25. West Chester