Cheek Draws Two-Time Defending Champ in Opening Bout

Cheek Draws Two-Time Defending Champ in Opening Bout

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Junior Evan Cheek of the Cleveland State University wrestling team will face the two-time defending national champion in his opening bout as the brackets for next week's NCAA Championships were revealed in Wednesday evening's selection show.

Cheek will open his first national tournament by facing Dean Heil of Oklahoma State in the Round of 32 at 141 pounds. The opening session begins Thursday, March 15, at Noon at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. It will be broadcast on ESPNU with video of all mats available on ESPN3.

NCAA Championships 141-Pound Bracket

Heil went undefeated en route to the national title at 141 pounds last season, his second straight. The three-time All-American also won the 2016 national title and posted a 32-1 record on the campaign.

The matchup between Cheek and Heil, who is seeded sixth in this year's event, will also see two athletes that hail from within an hour of Cleveland, the site of this year's national tournament.

The winner of the Cheek vs. Heil bout will face the winner of No. 11 seed Michael Carr of Illinois and Henry Pohlmeyer of South Dakota State Thursday evening in the event's second session. The losers of those two bouts will also face off in their first consolation bout Thursday night.

Thursday's evening session will be broadcast on ESPN.

Cheek earned his first national tournament berth by virtue of his title at this past weekend's Eastern Wrestling League Championships. He posted two pins and a sudden-victory decision to win the title and was subsequently named Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships. Cheek pinned an undefeated, consensus top-10 opponent to win the title.

Cheek's selection to the NCAA Championships is the 133rd all-time by a Viking since Cleveland State's inaugural selection to NCAA's in 1965.