NCAA Preseason Top 10
Alright people, that time of year has finally arrived! With the weather outside getting a bit cooler, the leaves changing colors, and the cauliflower ear becoming more visible and prevalent that can only mean one thing, WRESTLING SEASON IS BACK! As I’m sure some of you have noticed, we here at Fanatic Wrestling have tried our absolute best to keep you informed throughout the offseason with rankings, redshirt information and the occasional transfer. This will be the last batch of rankings for the entire NCAA before the season gets underway. Now, with no further ado, let’s break into to the juicy stuff shall we?
Spencer Lee, Junior, Iowa- Lee is coming off his second national title this past March where he showed he is the unchallenged king of the 125lb weight class. Over two years for the Hawkeyes, Lee has culminated a 45-5 record with 74% of his wins coming with bonus points. After a depressing couple of loses to Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera, Lee ultimately beat everyone in
his path, avenging loses for a second title run. Lee is quoted in his post finals interview saying “you can’t be a 4-timer without being a 2-timer.” I think it is very clear to see where his eyes are set as the season kicks off.
Nick Piccininni, Senior, Oklahoma State- Coming in at number two is a multiple time All-American for the Cowboys. Nick has an overall record of 103-19 with an impressive 75% of his wins coming with bonus points. Picc’s two loses in his own quest for glory were to Vitali Arujau, and of course, the reigning national champ, Lee. It’ll be interesting to see how he treats his final year as a cowboy.
Sebastian Rivera, Redshirt Junior, Northwestern- Coming in at number three is a 2 time All American for the Wildcats. Seabass has culminated an impressive 75-14 record since dawning the purple and white, and was the first one to prove that Spencer Lee was indeed human, beating him twice. Along his championship run, Rivera lost to Virginia’s Jack Mueller who went on to face Lee in the finals. Rivera has proven that he can be one of the hardest individuals in the bracket to topple, so it will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments he has mad in the offseason so that he can punch his own ticket to the Finals in March 2020.
Jack Mueller, Senior, Virginia- Mueller has culminated an impressive mark himself at 72-13 while representing the Cavaliers. Mueller capped a phenomenal season in 2019 as last year’s NCAA runner up after losing to Spencer Lee 5-0 in the finals. Just from the first four members of our top ten, you can tell the little guys are definitely going to bring the heat this coming season. With all the depth will Mueller get a second chance to challenge Lee? Will he fall short? Could we see two new wrestlers in the finals? Only time will tell.
Patrick Glory, Sophomore, Princeton- Breaking pay dirt in his first year, Glory found exactly that in his first NCAA appearance with a 6th place finish and a 30-7 record. In case you are bad at math that is a 79% win percentage as a freshman, and an NCAA plaque. With wins over Ronnie Bresser and Sean Russell, Glory is already establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with. He is still very young with at least 3 more years of collegiate eligibility and I’m sure he’ll be a pleasure to watch.
Rayvon Foley, Junior, Michigan State- Foley really put the whole team on his back in 2019, after coming up short the year before. He managed to break the NCAA podium with a 7th place finish, and has racked up a 64-17 record over the last 2 seasons. Even though no one wants 7th place, it is a good spot to build on and I expect that Foley will do just that. He may be the lone soldier for the Spartans, but I do expect a return to the championships and possibly another podium plaque. 125 is so stacked it’ll be a dog fight everywhere you look.
Michael McGee, Junior, Old Dominion- The number seven spot goes to a 2x NCAA qualifier, who came up just short of All American honors in 2019, losing in the round of 12. Mueller and Glory were the ones ultimately responsible for the loses McGee took at championship time. Despite his less than stellar performance, he has racked up a 60-16 career record at ODU. Coming up so close last year, will we see McGee crush the blood round and earn AA status, or will next season end in heartbreak as well?
Joey Melendez, Redshirt Freshman, North Carolina- Redshirting last year, Melendez didn’t represent at last year’s championships, but has shown a lot of promise. In the last year, he racked up a 20-4 record for the Tar Heels and looks to be an awesome addition to the starting lineup. Time will tell just how awesome he will be.
Jakob Camacho, Redshirt Freshman, North Carolina State- Camacho also did not represent last year with his redshirt status, but earned an outstanding 26-2 record with 42% of his wins coming with bonus points. He did however have quite a few close matches with some big names on this list. It’ll be a pleasure to watch Camacho without redshirt restriction on his quest for championship glory in 2020.
Korbin Myers, Senior, Virginia Tech- To round out our top 10, the Hokies present us with a 3x NCAA qualifier. Myers has amassed a 95-44 record with the Hokies, and had an untimely finish in the round of 16 last season. It’ll be interesting to see if he can break through to the medal rounds for his final year.
Stevan Micic, Redshirt Senior, Michigan- This number one comes with a bit of a disclaimer. Reported late this year, Micic along with 3 other Wolverines will be taking Olympic Redshirts for the 2019-2020 season. The 3x placer, who claimed 3rd in 2019, has amassed a 91-14 record collegiately with 60% of his wins coming with bonus points.
Seth Gross,Redshirt Senior, Wisconsin- This will be the third different team we will see Gross represent in his NCAA career. He is a 2x placer, and was the NCAA champ at 133 in 2018 before spending all of last season hurt. With Micic out of the picture, I’d say the future has gotten even brighter for Gross, although he did beat Micic 13-8 in 2018. He’ll look to cap his final year with a second NCAA title.
Austin DeSanto, Junior, Iowa- DeSanto is a 2x NCAA qualifier, who claimed 5th at last year’s championships. Although he has been quite successful collegiately, amassing a 53-13 record between Iowa and Drexel, his attitude remains a concern. He has been known to let his temper and ego get the best of him, however it does not seem to be an issue that Tom and Terry Brands, along with Ryan Mourningstar cannot handle.
Luke Pletcher, Senior, Ohio State- Pletcher has had a hell of a career in a Buckeye singlet. He is a 3x NCAA qualifier who has finished in 4th for the last two seasons, and has a career record of 85-20. Can Pletcher break into the finals with Micic’s absence this year, or is he destined for something else? It’ll be interesting to see how 133 shakes up with its number one ranked wrestler out of the equation.
Austin Gomez, Sophomore, Iowa State- Gomez opened up with quite the impressive season as a freshman for the Cyclones. In his opening campaign, he totaled a 32-7 record that resulted in an ugly 16-5 loss to DeSanto in the round of 12 at last year’s NCAA championships. I however would not discount him for that. He seemed to catch on pretty quick overall, so it’ll be interesting to see what additions he has made to his game to cope with DeSanto and other top notch guys.
Roman Bravo-Young, Sophomore, Penn State- RBY also gave us a very exciting first year as a Nittany Lion. He finished 8th at last year’s championships with an overall record of 25-7. This is another young guy with loads of potential, and he’ll return to Penn State as a crucial piece of a line up stacked with talent among its lightweights. He’ll surely give us another year of fireworks to behold on his quest to the finals.
Micky Phillippi, Junior, Pitt- Micky broke everyone’s record last year going from virtually unknown to the NCAA blood round. However, he was stopped short by RBY in the round of 12 4-3 in sudden victory. He has amassed a 66-15 record at Pitt and looks to pick up where he left off, avenge a few losses, and earn his All American status.
Montorie Bridges, Junior, Wyoming- Bridges was an 8th place finisher in 2018 but came up short in 2019 after losing to Iowa State’s Austin Gomez in the round of 16 4-2 in sudden victory. He has earned a very solid 87-20 record at Wyoming and has high hopes to claim his second All American plaque come this March.
Chaz Tucker, Senior Cornell- Tucker has had a good career for the Big Red, already being a 2x NCAA qualifier. He has a few losses to some top 8 guys that seem to keep him out of the promised land of All American valley, but he’ll look to do away with that bug this year as a senior. He has earned a 51-18 record in his collegiate career.
DJ Fehlman, Senior, Lock Haven- Fehlman is a 2x qualifier, losing in the round of 16 last year to Mason Pengilly from Stanford. He does however have a win over Chaz Tucker who came in ranked just above him. He has a 94-41 career record at Lock Haven, and will be working toward claiming his first All American Award this coming March.
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Nick Lee, Junior, Penn State- Lee is a 2x All American for Penn State, claiming 5th last year at the NCAA tournament. He has amassed a 67-12 career record as a Nittany Lion and has been a mainstay in the starting line up. Look for more attention to be drawn to Lee as most of PSU’s upper weights are gone.
Dom Demas, Sophomore, Oklahoma- Demas claimed 4th for the Sooners last year as freshman. He has a 42-14 career record, and all of his current loses have been to wrestlers that have either redshirted or already graduated. It’ll be interesting to see if he can punch a ticket to the finals in 2020.
Mitch Moore, Sophomore, Virginia Tech- Moore had an up and down season last year resulting in an 18-9 record, but he managed to salvage it. He was an NCAA qualifier, however was stopped short of advancing by Dom Demas and Wyoming’s Sam Turner. His ability to rebound is probably what put him so high on the rankings, but it’ll be nice to see if he can offer more consistency.
Tariq Wilson,Junior, North Carolina State- Wilson is a 2x NCAA qualifier for the wolfpack who claimed 3rd in 2018. He has also racked up an impressive 65-22 career record. At the 2019 championships, Wilson came up short of All American status by losing to John Erneste of Mizzou 9-7 in sudden victory. He’ll look to put that behind him on his quest to make the finals this coming March.
Tristan Moran, Senior Wisconsin- Moran had his NCAA debut last year for the Badgers finally after culminating a 88-28 career record. Moran was riding a big wave of momentum into the round of 12 before it ultimately crashed, leaving him just shy of All American honors after losing to Minnesota’s Mitch McKee in a nail biter 7-6. We’ll see if he’s done the necessary work in the offseason to break the podium.
Kyle Shoop, Senior, Lock Haven- Shoop is a 3x NCAA qualifier who claimed 7th at last year’s championships. Over the course of his collegiate career he has wrestled a jaw dropping 179 matches, with a career record of 124-55. As a senior, he’ll look to cash in on his final chance to break into the finals.
Mitch McKee, Senior, Minnesota- McKee is a 3x NCAA qualifier for the golden gophers, making it to the round of 12 twice, and finally earning All American honors in 2019 with a 6th place finish. He has also racked up a 67-36 career record during his tenure. With all the studs in our list, McKee will look to solidify his spot among them this year.
Real Woods, Redshirt Freshman, Stanford- Woods had a very impressive redshirt season going 22-1. Although we haven’t heard his name much he did beat Purdue’s Nate Limmex and his only loss of the year came by the hands of Penn State’s Nick Lee 6-3. It’ll be interesting to see where Woods can cement himself in the 141lb class after removing the redshirt.
Grant Leeth, Junior, Mizzou- Leeth is a former All American for the tigers, claiming 6th in 2018, but did not make it back this past season. He has a 46-10 record at Mizzou which could be a lot better (or worse) if he was not so seemingly injury prone. If he can stay healthy I’d put my stock in him claiming another plaque in 2020.
Kaden Gfeller, Sophomore, Oklahoma State- This young gun was a Big 12 Champ and a national qualifier for the cowboys in 2019. In his career, including redshirt, he has a 50-10 record. Gfeller has shown potential to be something great under head coach John Smith, but only time will tell if he has the desire to reach it.
Austin O’Connor, Sophomore, North Carolina- O’Connor really came in firing on all cylinders for the Tar Heels after his redshirt removal. In his tenure, he has a 54-9 career record part of which comes from a 3rd place finish at last year’s NCAA tournament. His only loss in the tournament came from a now graduated Micah Jordan of Ohio State leaving him the clear favorite in the field.
Sammy Sasso, Freshman, Ohio State- After going 19-2 in his redshirt year, Sasso looks to compete with the best of the best right away. His only two loses were a closeout to teammate Micah Jordan 9-7, and to Arizona State stud, Jacori Teemer 8-6. Sasso has shown a lot of potential and should be able to shake things up quite a bit this season.
Brock Mauller, Sophomore, Mizzou- As a freshman Mauller proved that his last name is more than just simple fate. He amassed a 33-5 record in his first year with the tigers and claimed 6th at the NCAA championships. The scary part is, he is just going to get better. He has made it clear that he has a very “Finals or bust” type of attitude.
Patrick Lugo, Senior, Iowa- Lugo has built up a 93-30 record representing the Hawkeyes. In that time he has been a 3x NCAA qualifier, finishing 8th in 2019. Although from past performances the finals may seem like a long shot, the Iowa program has a knack for churning out champions and I see Lugo as no different. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Jarrett Degan, Junior, Iowa State- Degan has worked his way to a 74-29 record with the Cyclones that encompass 2 trips to nationals and a 7th place finish last year. Degan is a middle of the pack kind of guy for me. He has the potential to do very well, but as I’m sure we all know by know just how unpredictable the sport can be and there’s nothing that makes him really stand out to me. Hopefully that changes as the year goes on.
Jared Prince, Senior Navy- Prince has already had a pretty good career at the Naval Academy. He is a 3x NCAA qualifier with a 87-31 record over its span. Last season he came just short of an All American plaque losing in the blood round to Duke’s Mitch Finesilver 9-4. though not exactly built on wrestling, the Navy has turned out some quality competitors over the years and Prince is just as good as any. I fully expect to see him on the podium, as far as where, well, only time will tell.
Matthew Findlay, Junior, Utah Valley- Findlay has had a relatively short competition career amassing a 36-16 record. Last year as a sophomore he made his mark by qualifying for the NCAA tournament before suffering a major decision loss to Oklahoma’s Dom Demas 17-7. although he is pretty low in our top 10, Findlay has as good a shot as any to end up in the bottom five. To break that barrier however, there is still work to be done.
Max Thomsen, Senior, NIU- Thomsen has culminated a whopping 101-30 record for the panthers that includes 3 national appearances, and a 5th place finish in 2017. in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons however, Max has failed to make it back to the placement promised land, losing in the round of 12 both seasons, the latest one to Grant Leeth. Given his caliber and style of wrestling, Thomsen is the dark horse at 149. barely inside the top 10, but could easily be a bracket buster to a top 4 finish.
Brayton Lee, Redshirt Freshman, Minnesota- Lee capped off an impressive redshirt season going 26-7 with 39% of his wins ending with bonus points. He has also had some terrifyingly close matches with some top competitors like Sammy Sasso 6-4, and Alec Pantaleo 3-2, both of whom finished astounding seasons of their own. I expect the Indiana native to remove the redshirt with full force and come in for the golden gophers ready to make an immediate impact.
Kanen Storr, Junior, Michigan- Storr is a national qualifier from last season where he lost to Nebraska’s Chad Redd 8-1. the biggest question was if Storr would break the barrier to achieve All American honors, but put a star by this one. Storr announced after rankings were released that he, along with three other teammates are taking Olympic redshirts for the upcoming season. It looks like we’ll have to wait for our answer.
Kaleb Young, Junior, Iowa- Young finished 5th at last year’s national tournament and has a 54-20 record as a hawkeye. His loses last year came by the hands of Michigan’s Alec Pantaleo and Nebraska’s Tyler Berger, both of whom will not be around this year. I’d say Young’s chances for a top 3 finish are pretty high given that fact alone. We’ll see if he cashes in on the opportunity.
Jaden Mattox, Redshirt Freshman, Ohio State- Mattox Finished his redshirt season with a 13-3 record, with 56% of his wins coming with bonus points. We don’t have a whole lot to go off of but based off his redshirt season and the caliber of teammates and coaches that he is surrounded by, Mattox seems like a promising investment for the Buckeyes.
Anthony Artalona, Sophomore, Pennsylvania- Artalona capped off a great freshman campaign as a national qualifier with a 29-7 record. However, it undoubtedly ended sooner than he would have like, losing in the round of 12 to Iowa State’s Jarrett Degan 6-5. I not only expect him to make it back, but I would not be surprised if he manages to finish in the top 5.
Josh Humphreys, Sophomore, Lehigh- Next on the list is another freshman stud from the year before. Humphreys had a 22-8 record in his first year that ended with a trip to the national tournament, but a very sour loss in the round of 12 to Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin 9-2. This will be another young gun in the field that I fully expect to gain All American status.
Jesse Dellavecchia, Senior, Rider- Jesse has earner a 61-20 record in his tenure at Rider, earning a qualifier spot to last year’s national tournament before losing to Michigan’s Logan Massa 11-3 in the round of 16. this will also be the first time where he has been at the same weight class for more than a season having wrestled 141-157, and 165 but not in that order. He is a difficult one to try and place, so just keep your eye on this guy as the season moves forward.
Jacori Teemer, Redshirt Freshman, Arizona State- Teemer finished his redshirt season with a 10-2 record for the Sun Devils. Again, not much to go off of but he has shown tremendous potential, a killer room, and coachin staff to back him, and some solid matches against some even more solid guys. He won’t be under the radar for long.
Justin McCoy, Redshirt Freshman, Virginia- McCoy finished a stellar redshirt campaign with a record of 25-3. Again, not much to go off of, and Virginia doesn’t have a storied program like ASU or some of the others, so only time will tell if McCoy lives up to the hype once the redshirt is off.
Brady Berge, Sophomore, Penn State- Berge was a national qualifier in 2019 losing one round short of placing to Minnesota’s Tommy Thorn 4-2 in sudden victory. Not a bad finish for the young guy but I know it definitely is not what he wanted. With Thorn gone, one would like to say that Berge’s chances of placing are pretty good, but only time will tell.
Hayden Hidlay, Junior, North Carolina State- Hidlay has made All American honors for the last 2 seasons finishing 2nd and 4th respectively. In that time he has worked his way to a 72-8 career record for the wolfpack. Thanks to a few graduations, his undeniable work ethic and his past success, he comes in this season as the clear favorite.
Ryan Deakin, Junior, Northwestern- Deakin is a 2x NCAA qualifier who finished 6th last season, and has racked up a 83-18 record in a wildcat singlet. His big loss was to Hidlay in the quarters before dropping his 5th place match. He has wrestled a lot of freestyle this offseason so I expect it to pay heavily in terms of his finish this year.
Well guys, I hope you enjoyed part one of our NCAA top ten rankings, keep your eyes peeled for part two! Part two will naturally contain the rankings for 165-285 as well as a bit of a breakdown on each athlete. Till next time Fanatics! Keep reading!
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