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St. Louis to host first sold-out NCAA Wrestling Championships this weekend

(Alex King/St. Louis Public Radio)
University of Missouri coach Brian Smith's team will have ten wrestlers competing in the NCAA Wrestling Championships this weekend.

This weekend's NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis sold out for the first time in the event's 82-year history. The event is expected to break its all-time attendance record with over 110,000 fans in attendance.

This is the sixth year St. Louis has hosted the tournament. NCAA associate director of championships Jeff Jarnecke says St. Louis is a great place to host the event.

"Having a compact presentation in terms of the environment that our fans are in," Jarnecke said. "And to be able to enhance their overall experience, such that when they leave here they want to come back to St. Louis again as well as a future NCAA championship, St. Louis has definitely differentiated themselves in comparison to some of the other cities that have hosted the event in the past."

The University of Missouri team is coming into the championships as the only squad in the field to qualify all 10 of its wrestlers. The Tigers also won their first Big 12 championship this season. Mizzou coach Brian Smith says the team is focused on wrestling and isn't worrying about what is being said.

"The great thing of coaching young kids is they will start to believe in things and anything can happen," Smith said. "And we weren't supposed to win a Big 12 title and our team did. The great thing is they don't listen and they just go and wrestle and that's what it would take."

The first session of the tournament begins on Thursday, with the championship matches taking place Saturday night. The complete schedule of events can be found on on the NCAA's website.

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