The MMI wrestlers will travel to Dalton, Georgia this weekend to compete in the 2014 NCWA Collegiate Cup. This is the sixth season for the NCWA to sponsor a national duals tournament, and the fourth consecutive year in which Dalton's Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center has hosted the two-day event.
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 into the scoring totals at 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.
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 of the 24-team 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 advancing to the round of 16 later that day. The finals are at 5 p.m. Saturday.
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. Since then, Marion Military Institute (2010), California Baptist (2011), Liberty (2012) and Lindenwood-St. Charles (2013) have won titles.
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 NCWA championship events. Prior to the start of the Collegiate Cup, NCWA wrestlers, coaches and staff will volunteer time at the City of Refuge's homeless shelter and other venues, and the NCWA will donate 50 percent of its tournament gate receipts to the ministry. More information on the 6:12 Project can be found at http://www.612project.org.
Here is the full 24-team field at the 2014 Collegiate Cup: Apprentice, Auburn, Central Florida, Connecticut, East Tennessee State, Florida Gulf Coast, Grand Canyon, Grand Valley State, Liberty, Marion Military Institute, Mercier, Miami (Fla.), Middle Tennessee State, MIT, Mott Community College, North Florida, Shorter, South Carolina, South Florida, Southern Virginia, Stony Brook, Tennessee Temple, Texas and Toledo.