Brace yourselves, wrestling fans. We’re about to embark on the most exciting part of the NCAA Division I wrestling season: the road to the national championship!

The action will kick off with conference qualifying tournaments at select schools around the country. The first of these tourneys will take place from March 1-3 at Rutgers, with the other tournaments being played out from March 9-10 at Maryland, Illinois, Oklahoma State, Boston University, Buffalo, Arizona State, VMI, and Edinboro.

The purpose of the qualifying tournaments is to help determine the field for the national championship, which will consist of 330 wrestlers distributed across 10 weight classes. The first 290 berths in the championship can be earned by placing high enough at one of the regional qualifying tournaments, while the remaining 40 spots will be filled by at-large bids determined by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee.

Among the top wrestlers seeking an individual title this year are two-time defending champ Logan Stieber of Ohio State (133 lbs.); defending champ Derek St. John of Iowa (157 lbs.); 2012 champ David Taylor of Penn State (165 lbs.); Chris Mecate of Old Dominion (141 lbs.); and Dylan Ness of Minnesota (157 lbs.).

On the team side of things, the Golden Gophers are looking to cap off a glorious season in which they’ve been ranked No. 1 for most of the year. Winning the 2014 national championship would be the program’s fourth overall title, and first since 2007.

But three-time defending champ (and current No. 2) Penn State can’t be counted out, nor can other top contenders like Iowa, Cornell, Northern Iowa, and Pitt. And don’t forget about Oklahoma State. Although the Cowboys will enter the tournament as a major underdog, they still have a legitimate shot of stunning Minnesota and the rest of the field for what would be the school’s NCAA-leading 35th team title.

The NCAA Division I wrestling championship is scheduled for March 20-22 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK, with online and television coverage provided by ESPN. Tickets are still available at the venue, so be sure to check out the event if you’re in the area!