Zane Richards (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
MANHEIM, Pa. -- A pair of returning All-Americans from Big Ten programs have agreed to meet in Cleveland to reacquaint themselves with one another.
Illinois' Zane Richards and Nebraska's Eric Montoya is the latest bout released by the NWCA as the pair will face off with one another at 133 pounds at 51st annual NWCA All-Star Classic on November 5 at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center.
The event, presented by The Brewer-Garrett Company and hosted by the Wrestlers in Business Network, has served as the major kick-off event for the wrestling season since becoming and early-season event. In 2012, the event moved to the first weekend of the major college wrestling calendar and has been a fixture ever since.
Richards entered the 2016 NCAA championships as the third seed. He finished fourth, ending his season with a 27-3 mark and his first All-American honor. Montoya went 29-10 and placed fifth after entering the tournament as the No. 7 seed.
"These two have a good familiarity with one another," said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. "Sometimes that can lead to tighter matches, but since neither has anything to lose here, I would expect them to get after it and put on a show."
Richards, a three-time NCAA qualifier, hails from Carbondale, Illinois where he was a two-time Illinois state champion. In Fargo at the age-group levels, Richards placed eight times during his high school career and won four USA Wrestling national titles, three in Greco-Roman and the 2011 Junior freestyle crown. Collegiately, Richards comes into the bout with an 82-20 career record.
Montoya started his career at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., where he was an NCAA qualifier in 2013 at 125 pounds. Montoya transferred to Nebraska and redshirted and has qualified for the NCAA championships each of the last two seasons. Montoya, a four-time high school state champion from Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, N.M., enters the bout with an 83-42 career record.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two wrestlers. Richards holds a 3-1 mark in the series including winning the most recent meeting, a 5-1 decision at the 2016 Big Ten semifinals last March. Montoya earned a 10-1 major decision at the 2015 NCAA championships, while Richards won a pair of bouts earlier in 2015, 3-2 in the dual meet and 10-3 at the 2015 Big Ten Championships.
Richards will be making Illinois' 20th all-time appearance in the event. Illini wrestlers hold a 10-8 record in the dual with one no contest. The last time Illini wrestlers were represented came in 2013 when Jesse Delgado (125), B.J. Futrell (141) and Jordan Blanton (174) all competed in November of 2012 at American University in Washington, D.C.
Montoya will be the 24th appearance for the University of Nebraska. Husker wrestlers hold a 13-10 all-time record in the dual with the most recent wins coming from James Green at 157 pounds and Robert Kokesh at 174 pounds in November of 2014 at the Palestra in Philadelphia.
2016 NWCA All-Star Classic Presented by The Brewer-Garrett Company
Hosted by the Wrestlers in Business Network
November 5, 2016 - Wolstein Center, Cleveland State University
Time: Showcase Matches 6 p.m.; Main Event 7 p.m.
Tickets: $15 GA, $100 Preferred Seating/Social. Group options available.
Tickets available at www.goallstarclassic.com or Wolstein Center Box Office ( 844-407-2279) or Northeast Ohio Discount Drug Marts.
Officially Announced Matchups
133: Zane Richards, Sr. (Illinois) vs. Eric Montoya, Sr. (Nebraska)
165: Isaac Jordan, Sr. (Wisconsin) vs. Daniel Lewis, So. (Missouri)
184: Gabe Dean, Sr. (Cornell) vs. Myles Martin, So. (Ohio State)
197: Brett Pfarr, Sr. (Minnesota) vs. Brett Harner, Sr. (Princeton)
285: Ty Walz, Sr. (Virginia Tech) vs. Connor Medbery, Sr. (Wisconsin)
About the National Wrestling Coaches Association
The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a non-profit organization for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with a primary emphasis on developing coaches who work in academic environments. The membership embraces all people interested in amateur wrestling. The three core competencies of the NWCA are: coaching development, student-athlete welfare, and the promotion of wrestling.
About Wrestlers in Business Network (WIBN)
Wrestlers in Business Network is a registered 501 C-3 that strives to unite the thousands of wrestlers that have graduated from the sport and are now in their respective careers. Our mission is to build a community that serves as a platform to connect our members and facilitate business and job opportunities across the nation by leveraging a talent rich pipeline of wrestling alumni, with the ultimate byproduct of increasing reinvestment back to the sport. WrestlersInBusiness.org