How to Seed a 16 Man Wrestling Bracket


Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world, and it takes place at levels ranging from schools across the country all the way up to the Olympic Games. If you are organizing a wrestling event with 16 wrestlers you need to set up your own match bracket. It is your job as the organizer to make sure the two best wrestlers are seeded to give them the opportunity to make into the final match.

Look over the records of the 16 wrestlers entered in your bracket.

Rate the wrestlers from 1 to 16 in terms of their records. The No. 1 wrestler is the one with the best overall record going into the tournament while the No. 16 wrestler has the worst record.

Organize the bracket so the highest-seeded wrestler faces the lowest available wrestler. For example, the No. 1 wrestler starts off against No. 16; No. 2 faces No. 15; No. 3 faces No. 14 and so on. If all goes according to form, this will lead up to a strong finish.

Set up the second round of matches so the higher-seeded wrestlers will face the lower-seeded wrestlers. This means the winner of the 1 vs. 16 match (typically the No. 1 seed) faces the winner of the 8 vs. 9 match and the winner of the 2 vs. 15 match faces the winner of the 7 vs. 10 match. If the highest-seeded wrestlers win all of the first-round matches (this is not always the case), the second round should look like this: 1 vs. 8 seed, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6 and 4 vs 5. Arranging the bracket this way preserves the chance of lower-seeded wrestlers to pull upsets in the tournament (it is designed just like the NCAA college basketball tournament in that no teams are reseeded after the tournament starts). However, if you want to make sure the top seed always faces the lowest possible seed, you need to re-seed after every round, so the highest seed faces the lowest seed, then the next highest and the next lowest, and so on. Although this method rewards the higher-seeded wrestler, it does reduce the chance of a lower-seeded individual advancing farther in the tournament.

Organize the third round of matches so the highest-rated wrestlers face the lowest-seeded wrestlers remaining. If the highest-seeded wrestlers continue to win, this would mean the winner of the 1 vs. 8 match faces the winner of the 4 vs. 5 match, while the winner of the 2 vs. 7 match faces the winner of the 3 vs. 6 match. Finally, the winners of these two matches meet for the title. Again, you can re-seed after the second round if you wish to match the highest remaining seed against the lowest one, and the other two against each other.