NCAA Top 25 Part II: 165-285
Alright Fanatics, hope all of you guys have been keeping up with the rankings because here comes the second piece. If you haven’t hurry up and go check them out! As the name implies, we’ll be covering the bigger guys across the college wrestling spectrum from all across the nation. There are likely to be some givens, surprises, and even some guys that until this year may have flown relatively under your radar, but I’m sure that won’t be the case for long. Just to give you readers a bit of a heads up, after I square away the NCAA rankings, I’ll also be giving rankings by individual conference for a better look at this year’s playing field. With no further ado, let’s jump right in to it!
Vincenzo Joseph, Senior, Penn State- Joseph has definitely filled a huge part of the PSU line up as a member of the Infamous “Murderer’s Row” from 165-285 for coach Cael Sanderson. During his career at Penn State, Cenzo has piled up a very impressive 84-8 overall record that has led him to two NCAA titles and a runner-up finish from last year. Vincenzo took a loss to Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis in the finals, but Lewis is taking a redshirt for the upcoming season. With Lewis out of the picture will anyone be able to challenge Cenzo from joining Penn State’s coveted 3x Champion club, or will we see him fulfill that destiny? As of now, he seems the clear favorite to win it all.
Evan Wick, Junior, Wisconsin- A 2x All American, last year’s 4th place finisher, and a stud in his own right, Evan Wick undoubtedly is deserving of the number 2 spot. The badger junior has worked his way to a 87-17 record in his tenure, and looks to not only eclipse the 100 win club but punch his first ticket to the NCAA finals. With our number 1 and 2 wrestlers coming out of the same conference, I’m sure we’ll get to see some exciting match ups this season.
Alex Marinelli, Junior, Iowa- “The Bull” as he has been named, is last year’s 7th place finisher, is a 2x All American, and has racked up a 59-10 record in his career as a hawkeye. Marinelli started last season on absolute fire seeming almost untouchable. However, when it came to crunch time, he seemed to cool off right as the matches were getting important. Being ranked as high as the top 3, Marinelli flopped a bit to a 7th place finish. If the junior could look to peak around the right time, we could easily see him in the finals.
Josh Shields, Senior, Arizona State- Shields is a 3x national qualifier, a 2x All American including last season’s 6th place finish, and holds a 112-23 overall career record as a Sun Devil. Shields is another competitor with the chance to place a lot higher, and with last year’s reigning champ out of the equation his stock just got a little higher. Will ASU have another National champ? AA? Flop??
Logan Massa, Senior, Michigan- Massa is a definite force on the wolverine lineup. Although I’m pretty sure he’ll be getting an Olympic Redshirt this year, as of now he is still on the rankings. Massa is a 3x National qualifier who finished as high as 3rd in 2017, but hasn’t quite made it back to his former glory. Last season he lost to Alex Marinelli in the round of 12 5-3. If Massa decides to compete this year, I highly expect another top 3 finish, especially given his ability to rebound from tough losses. Chances are, he’ll be a completely different wrestler.
David McFadden, Redshirt Senior, Virginia Tech- During his career as a hokie, McFadden has earned 3 All American finishes, including 5th place last year, and a 101-20 overall record including last season’s 24-4 performance. The hokies have been able to become even more solid over the past few years thanks to stand out guys like McFadden, and it will be interesting to see not only how he finishes his senior season, but also the mark he’ll leave on the program, helping more future studs find their home in Blacksburg.
Isaiah White, Senior, Nebraska- In his career as a Husker, White has earned 2 All American finishes including a 5th place in 2019, and an overall career record of 54-18, including last year’s 25-9 record. White has definitely had some consistency issues in the past, but given that this is his last shot to capitalize, I expect to see more tenacity from him. It’s hard to put him in the top 4, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get there. It’ll just take a lot more hard work and convincing on his part.
Bryce Steiert, Redshirt Senior, Northern Iowa- Steiert was last year’s 8th place finisher, has qualified for the national tournament 2 other times, and has an overall career record of 82-28 including last year’s 26-10 finish. Given that he is an All American from the year previous, Steiert definitely gets a bone here. NIU has been known to produce many stud performers in the past and it is possible that we are seeing another in the making. Only time will tell however how this senior manages to capitalize on his final year of eligibility.
Shane Griffith, Redshirt Freshman, Stanford- Griffith is the first guy in the rankings that we do not have much background with. He had an impressive redshirt season with a 24-2 record, and in a match with Vincenzo Joseph managed to only lose by a score of 6-4. Other than that, this young gun will need to make a believer out of folks when the redshirt comes off.
Demetrius Romero, Senior, Utah Valley- Relatively unknown until the last two seasons, Romero is a 2x national qualifier, and almost broke through to being an All American before losing to Lock Haven’s Chance Marstellar 14-5 in the round of 12. He has amassed a 79-36 record including last year’s performance of 28-5. Although not ranked the highest, Romero has a legit shot to place and upset some much bigger names so keep your eye on him.
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Mark Hall, Senior, Penn State- Hall, another member of Penn State’s “Murderer’s Row” is a 3x All American, and claimed a national title in 2017. Since then he has managed to lose to Zahid Valencia twice in the finals, stopping him from claiming another. Hall has also earned a 93-5 career record including last year’s 30-1 performance. With Zahid going up to 184, Hall is everything bet a sure bet to win this year’s crown come March.
Myles Amine, Senior, Michigan- Amine is a 3x All American for the wolverines, and was last season’s 3rd place finisher. He has also racked up a 93-20 career record including last year’s 22-4 performance. Amine has proven that he has championship caliber wrestling but has a big hump by the name of Mark Hall stopping him from getting to a title. Given that these two are from the same conference, they’ll have plenty of time to feel each other out.
Michael Kemerer, Junior, Iowa- Kemerer is a 2x All American for Iowa who has a 3rd and a 4th place finish and a career record of 84-8. Last season however he got hit with some very bad luck getting injured. Assuming he stays healthy, Kemerer has a legit shot to make his own title run, but as you can see, just from our top 3, 174 has some serious talent.
Jordan Kutler, Senior, Lehigh- Kutler is a 2x All American and last season’s 7th place finisher at 174. During his tenure at Lehigh, he has also culminated an overall record of 77-15, including last year’s 25-6 performance. Kutler joins as one of the guys that make this weight class as stacked as it is. Although we all have our favorites, the amount of talent here makes this one extremely hard to call.
Joe Smith, Senior, Oklahoma State- Smith is a 3x national qualifier and a 2x All American at the 157lb weight class. He came up a round short of placing last year by losing to Demetrius Romero. His storied legacy hasn’t done much for his actual performance. Undoubtedly looking to end his career on top of the pile, Smith will have his work cut out for him in this stacked class. Placing seems inevitable, but to win he’ll really need to push the pace.
Devin Skatzka, Senior, Minnesota- Skatzka comes to Minnesota after spending most of his career at Indiana University. He is a 3x National qualifier and last year’s 8th place finisher. Over his career with the NCAA he has amassed a whopping 104-45 record including last year at 30-11. Skatzka, like most of the others here at 174 have tremendous potential and is sure to do nothing but brighten the fire come Big 10 and NCAA tournament time.
Michael Labriola, Sophomore, Nebraska- Labriola had a very impressive season as a sophomore for the huskers, finishing 6th in his first season and NCAA appearance. He has a 48-11 overall record, including a redshirt, and finished last year at 30-9. Given Labriola’s tenacity, and skill I could easily see a top 5 finish especially since he only has more time to grow. He is the one young gun that all the vets should have their eyes on.
Neal Richards, Senior, VMI- Richards is a guy that has quietly crept his way to a pretty decent career. He is a 2x national qualifier with a 86-34 overall record, including a 28-6 record last season. Given that he is not well known and neither is his conference or competition makes it hard to say where he may end up. Being the first season that the SoCon will be a recognized conference, it’d be awesome for them to get an All American here.
Anthony Valencia, Junior, Arizona State- Valencia is a 2x national qualifier who only wrestled to a 3-1 record last year before sustaining a season ending injury. He does however have a 65-18 record overall as a Sun Devil. Being that the weight class is so stacked, and that last year he was out with injury, it is extremely tough to see where Valencia will get in on all this.
Brandon Womack, Senior, Cornell- Womack is a 3x National qualifier and was a 7th place finisher in 2017. Last year he came up a round short of placing after losing to Minnesota’s Devin Skatzka in the round of 16. Womack is another that given the depth of the class is hard to place. He has proved he can qualify but has yet to break the barrier, and this weight class has done nothing but get deeper.
Zahid Valencia, Senior, Arizona State- Valencia is a 3x All American and a 2x champ for the Sun Devils. In his career he has tallied up a 109-5 record including a 31-2 mark from last season. Valencia’s 2 titles were at the 174lb weight class where he beat Penn State’s Mark Hall both years in the finals. Given that Valencia has bumped up and still maintains the number one spot speaks volumes to his skill. Though I doubt he’ll go unchallenged, he is the clear favorite heading into the season.
Shakur Rasheed, Senior, PSU- Rasheed is a 2x national qualifier for the Nittany Lions who finished 7th in 2018. In last year’s tournament he came up just short losing to Dakota Greer 4-2 in the round of 16. With Greer at 197, that increases Rasheed’s chances drastically, as the depth at 184 this season just seemingly is not there.
Taylor Lujan, Senior, NIU- Lujan is a 3x National qualifier who came up just short of placing last year, losing to Virginia Tech’s David McFadden in the round of 12. Going up to 184 seemed to help Lujan’s chances, but the class still has some studs in their own right. All American, definitely. How far, remains to be seen.
Ben Darmstadt, Sophomore, Cornell- Darmstadt placed 6th in 2018 as a freshman before getting hurt leading into last season and taking a redshirt. In his 2 years competing however he does have a 52-8 record representing the Big Red. Darmstadt is one of the few imposing forces that really stand out in the class, but it remains to be seen how much he was able to prep while on the injured list. He has the potential to make a legit finals run if everything went well.
Louie DePrez, Sophomore, Binghampton- DePrez was a qualifier last year as a freshman, and almost made All American status before losing to Lehigh’s Ryan Preisch in the round of 12 3-0. He has tallied up a 60-11 record, including the 32-7 mark last year. DePrez is the lone rep coming from a smaller D1 school in the class and has proved he has amazing championship caliber wrestling, and loads of potential. I’d expect a top 4 finish this season.
Trent Hidlay, Redshirt Freshman, North Carolina State- Hidlay comes to us with just his redshirt season as a competing background. He did however accomplish a 24-2 record with wins over Duke’s Matt Finesilver and Cornell’s Brandon Womack. It’ll be interesting to see if Hidlay can maintain that caliber of performance once the redshirt comes off and join his brother on the national podium.
Nino Bonaccorsi, Sophomore, Pittsburgh- Nino was a National qualifier last year as a freshman and came up just short of placing, losing to Oklahoma State’s Dakota Greer in the round of 12 6-0. In his tenure at Pitt, he has amassed a 44-13 record, including a 21-8 mark from last season. Nino definitely has the potential to break into All American stature, and since the man that beat him last season is out of the picture his stock definitely goes up.
Taylor Venz, Junior, Nebraska- Venz is a 2x national qualifier for the huskers and placed 4th in 2018. He struggled to make it back last season however, losing in the round of 12 to Zack Zavatsky from Virginia Tech 5-4. In his tenure as a husker, Venz has earned an 88-22 career mark, including last season’s record of 24-9. Venz is one of the few I am on the fence about. He has shown some promise but not enough to make me think he is a sure bet for an All American standing.
Samuel Colbray, Senior, Iowa State- Colbray was a national qualifier in 2018 at the 174lb weight class. He failed to make it back last season but has had some nice career marks, 33-13 overall, and 12-1 last season. After not making it back last year, I don’t put much stock in Colbray being an All American, but I do expect him to qualify again.
Hunter Bolen, Sophomore, Virginia Tech- Bolen had a pretty impressive freshman season qualifying for nationals, going on a run for All American, but coming up short losing to Illinois’ Emery Parker 5-2 in the round of 12. Bolen had a 28-8 record last season pushing him to a 54-27 overall career mark. Even though he rounds out the bottom of our top ten, Bolen is the one I could see garnering All American honors. Best of luck to this hokie young gun this season.
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Kollin Moore, Senior, Ohio State- Moore is a 3x All American and was last season’s runner up to Penn State’s Bo Nickal. So far for the Buckeyes, he has a 104-15 career record, including a 23-3 mark from last season. With Bo out of the picture the title seems like it is definitely his for the taking as no one except for Nickal managed to come close last year. Kollin is definitely the fan favorite here.
Patrick Brucki, Junior, Princeton- Brucki is a 2x National qualifier and last year’s 4th place finisher. He has an overall career record of 61-13 including last year’s mark of 33-3. Brucki seems likely to be the one to challenge Moore in this year’s finals. Although we all know that anything can happen, I strongly believe you’ll see these two go head to head under the lights in March.
Dakota Greer, Junior, Oklahoma State- Greer is a 2x national qualifier who claimed 7th last season at the 184lb weight class. He has a 77-21 overall career record including a 30-7 mark last year for the cowboys. After the move up, maybe not cutting so much weight will do Greer some good. I could definitely see a top 5 finish this year as long as he remains consistent.
Nick Reenan, Junior, North Carolina State- Reenan is a 2x national qualifier who has tallied up a 59-23 overall career record, including last year at 16-6. Given the fact his match total was cut short that could be a reason behind Reenan not being able to go farther. Either way, the woolpack big man has a lot of potential that I expect to see this year. He’ll hold pretty true to his ranking.
Tanner Sloan, Redshirt Freshman, South Dakota State- Sloan is one that we haven’t seen much from and he didn’t wrestle too extremely high caliber opponents during his redshirt season. It has to be noted however that he did compile a 24-2 record with 69% of his wins ending in bonus points. Only time will tell what he can do when the redshirt comes off.
Jacob Warner, Sophomore, Iowa- Warner capped off a pretty solid season as a freshman for the Brands brothers with a 22-6 record that ended with him placing 7th at the NCAAs and adding to his career total that is now 37-10. Given his hard-nosed style of wrestling, relentless pace, and just the overall culture of Iowa wrestling, Warner is a real dark horse here. Coming in at number six, but with the right peaking could easily end up placing top 3. He is definitely someone to keep your eye on.
Nathan Traxler, Junior, Stanford- Traxler is a 2x NCAA qualifier with a 49-19 overall career record including last season’s mark of 30-7. He came up a round short of All American after losing to Iowa State’s Willie Miklus by way of fall in the round of 12. Given the depth of the class, I’m on the fence here. I could easily see Traxler in the bottom five, but I could also see him losing where it counts again. I say 6th at best.
Lucas Davison, Freshman, Northwestern- Davison saw pretty limited action as a redshirt, only reaching a season mark of 9-4. In those 13 matches however, he did wrestle a nail biter with Tanner Sloan in which he just barely lost, 4-3. The Indiana native hasn’t seen much competition but upon his arrival onto the college scene was recruited pretty high. This year we’ll see if he can back it up.
Jay Aiello, Junior, Virginia- Aiello comes to us as a qualifier from the year previous with an overall record of 56-36, including his mark last year at 24-8. As sad as it may seem I don’t see the Virginia native in the All American picture this year, I’ll say he comes up shor in the round of 12.
Christian Brunner, Senior, Purdue- Brunner comes to us as a 3x NCAA qualifier with a 73-39 career record, including last year’s at 25-11. Upon his 3 qualifier bids, he has yet to place. Last year he lost in the round of 12 to Josh Hokit of Fresno State 13-4. Brunner is another 50/50 kind of guy, easy to see him place, easy to see him fall short, but I’ll get a little out there and say he’ll finish somewhere in the bottom 5.
Anthony Cassar, Junior, Penn State- Cassar was last year’s champ after having a career riddled with injuries and seemingly watching everyone pass him up. He has a 60-11 career mark including last year’s 30-1 showing. He was the the only one to beat freshman phenom Gable Steveson and did it twice en route to a Big 10 and NCAA title. He’ll look to do it again this year as the clear favorite of the class.
Gable Steveson, Sophomore, Minnesota- Gable hit the college scene in full force, not losing a single match until the Big 10 finals and then again in the NCAA semifinals to Cassar. He finished third last year, and ended the season with a 36-2 record, and a 40-2 overall career record. Gable is no doubt dominant, though it seems Cassar may have figured out the puzzle. I see it as very likely we see those two in the finals next year.
Matt Stencel, Junior, Central Michigan- Stencel is a 2x NCAA qualifier who claimed 7th last season ending with a record of 31-6, and a career total of 72-24. Though his ranking is high, I’m not sure that I see him following through, but only time will tell. I say bottom 5, and a 2x All American.
Jordan Wood, Junior, Lehigh- Wood is a 2x qualifier and last year’s 4th place finisher behind Gable. Last season he posted a 25-5 mark pushing his career total to 62-14 overall. Wood is one that I see finishing through, though I only see him going as high as 3rd with Gable and Cassar heading up the food chain.
Demetrius Thomas, Senior, Pittsburgh- Thomas was a qualifier in 2019 before a loss to Stencel cut his run short. He has a 39-8 career record including last year’s mark of 27-6. Thomas could be a bracket buster for some, he is extremely tough and equally hard to predict and place. He’ll definitely All American this year, but where is hard to say.
Mason Parris, Sophomore, Michigan- Parris put together an impressive season as a freshman going 33-9, and almost making an All American run before losing to Stencel in the round of 12 via fall. Parris I easily see raking a top 5 finish this year. He is normally extremely hard to cope with due to his unparalleled athleticism for the weight class.
Anthony Cassioppi, Freshman, Iowa- Cassioppi posted a pretty impressive 20-2 redshirt season for the hawkeyes wrestling under Sam Stoll. I look for him to get right in the mix of things, and easily see a top 5 finish, although our top 5 here is going to be extremely tough.
Chase Singletary, Sophomore, Oklahoma State- Singletary was a round of 16 finisher last year before taking a loss to Ian Butterbrodt of Brown, not too shabby for the freshman. He posted a season record of 21-9 bumping his overall career record to 42-12. It is hard to place Singletary because the heavyweight class does have a lot of solid talent, but we’ll say he AA’s this year somewhere 6-8.
Tanner Hall, Senior, Arizona State- Hall is a 2x NCAA qualifier who even placed as high as 3rd in 2017. He has a career mark of 90-27, but last year as a redshirt only posted a 7-1 record due to another injury. Hall has the potential to finish top 3 or maybe even upset someone into the finals if he stays healthy, but that is a big if. He is however still worth keeping a close eye on.
Brian Andrews, Junior, Wyoming- Andrews was a national qualifier last year with a season mark of 35-12, pushing his career record to 49-13. Andrews shows a lot of promise, but I’m just not sure I’ve seen enough to say that he places this year with the depth of the class. I am going to say he takes a close loss in the round of 12.
Well guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed the list I’ve compiled for you and I hope it has you ready for wrestling season. Hopefully these descriptions and statistics gave you a little bit of insight as to what this year’s playing field will look like. Remember to keep an eye out for rankings for each individual conference as well. Although some may be lesser known there are some good talents out there waiting to fly under the radar straight to a top 8 finish. Till next time Fanatics!
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