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TOO EARLY TOP 10’s! Part 2

TOO EARLY TOP 10’s! Part 2


Alright guys, we’re back with part two of our “Too Early Top 10’s” for the 2019-2020 NCAA wrestling season.  As promised, part two will display the information on the latter half of the 10 sanctioned weight classes, 165-285.  So hold on tight, get ready for more wild picks, and hopefully this gets you guys as excited for the upcoming season as I am.


  1. Vincenzo Joseph- PSU      
  2. Evan Wick- Wisconsin      
  3. Mekhi Lewis- Virginia Tech      
  4.  Alex Marinelli- Iowa     
  5. Josh Shields- Arizona St.      
  6. Logan Massa- Michigan      
  7. Isaiah White- Nebraska       
  8. Bryce Steiert- NIU     
  9.  Joe Smith- OK ST      
  10.  Shane Griffith- Stanford

The Details:

165 is an INSANELY stacked weight class going into next season.  With six returning All-Americans from the year before, last year’s reigning champ in Mekhi Lewis, doesn’t even hold the number one spot.  I get the feeling that 165 will be back and forth with no clear dominant front runner until tournament time, and then throughout the tournament, matches between these gentlemen will be very intense and more than likely down to the wire.  

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Guys to look out for: 

The two biggest guys I think should be on everyone’s radar fall pretty low in this early top ten ranking, likely because neither of them reached All-American status last season.  Michigan’s Logan Massa and Oklahoma State’s Joe Smith are the ones I expect the most out of this season. Smith is a legacy persona on the team and I think this year he’ll really settle in and find his own stride to make a break for a potential top five finish.  Massa has shown that he has championship caliber ability in the past, despite his massive shortcoming last year. I look for him to once again be one of the top guys in the pile at 165 being that this is his final year.  

My Top 5 at 165 are: 

  1. Massa    
  2. Lewis    
  3. Cenzo    
  4. Marinelli   
  5. Smith


  1. Mark Hall- PSU     
  2. Myles Amine- Michigan    
  3. Michael Kemerer- Iowa    
  4.  David McFadden- Virginia Tech    
  5. Jordan Kutler- Lehigh   
  6.  Taylor Lujan- NIU    
  7.  Devin Skatzka- Minnesota    
  8.  Michael Labriola- Nebraska     
  9.  Neal Richards- VMI    10. 
  10. Anthony Valencia- ASU 

The Details:

174, along with 165 and previously 125, is probably one of the most stacked weights in the country.  Although it has no champion from the previous year returning, it does return six All-Americans, and a few other well known, high calibrated individuals that will more than likely give this weight class, and everyone in it absolute hell.  This one, just like the last, will be extremely hard to predict given the pure talent involved, but I’ll do my best.  

Guys to look out for: 

Outside of the top rankings, there is a huge name coming in dead last of the 174 top ten, Anthony Valencia representing the Sun Devil wrestling team.  Coming off his second redshirt since joining the team, Valencia has qualified twice for the NCAA championships, but has yet to break the placement barrier.  Not to be confused with brother, Zahid, who was an NCAA champion last season. Mark Hall last year’s runner up, seems more than likely the front runner to cap this year’s 174lb title, and being a die-hard Michigan fan I would love to see Myles Amine work his way to an NCAA title, but for now we’ll have to settle with guesses and hypotheticals.  Know one thing for sure, this weight class will live up to the hype and give us fans a spectacle to watch.  

My top 5 at 174 are: 

  1. Hall    
  2. Amine    
  3. Kemerer  
  4. McFadden    
  5. Valencia


  1. Zahid Valencia- ASU    
  2. Max Dean- Cornell    
  3. Shakur Rasheed- PSU     
  4. Dakota Greer- OK ST    
  5. Louie DePrez- Binghamton     
  6. Trent Hidlay- North Carolina ST   
  7. Nino Bonacoorsi- Pitt     
  8. Taylor Venz- Nebraska    
  9. Samuel Colbray- Iowa ST     
  10. Andrew McNally- Kent State

The Details:

184 isn’t as deep as some of the other weight classes right off the bat, but it definitely has the caliber to produce some exciting matchups.  Although there is no reigning champ at 184 from last year returning, last year’s champ at 174 Zahid Valencia bumped up and will make his debut in the new class this year.  The two other placers in the mix are last year’s runner up in Max Dean, and last year’s seventh place finisher in Dakota Greer. Even though the list of returning placers is indeed short, I assure you the potential is not.  

Guys to look out for:

There are two guys outside the top five that I really have my sights set on, Trent Hidlay and all the way at the bottom of the top 10, Andrew McNally.  Hidlay is coming off of a phenomenal redshirt season. What impressed me most last year was his Southern Scuffle performance, only losing to a pair of former All-Americans by a grand total of three points.  Not bad for a new guy, huh? He managed to beat three nationally ranked opponents, and capped off a 24-2 redshirt year, and I am excited to see him in the starting lineup this season. McNally may strike folks as a bit of a wild card.  While Kent state isn’t necessarily known for their wrestling they have produced many a stud, particularly in the past decade, and most recently in Kyle Conel. McNally capped a 33-9 record highlighted by a runner-up finish in the MAC conference, and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, although he didn’t place.  I expect to see him build on that, and in a field of comprised of majority young guys, break the All-American barrier.

My top 5 at 184 are:

  1. Max Dean     
  2. Zahid Valencia    
  3. Shakur Rasheed    
  4. Trent Hidlay   
  5. Dakota Greer


  1. Kollin Moore- OH ST    
  2. Patrick Brucki- Princeton    
  3. Ben Darmstadt- Cornell    
  4. Nick Reenan- North Carolina ST    
  5. Tanner Sloan- South Dakota ST     
  6. Jacob Warner- Iowa    
  7. Josh Hokit- Fresno ST    
  8. Nathan Traxler- Stanford    
  9. Jay Aiello- Virginia     
  10. Christian Brunner- Purdue

The Details: 

197 brings us four All-Americans from the previous season but no champion.  At first glance, it looks as though Kollin Moore from the wrestling Buckeyes is the front-runner for this year’s 197lb title.  However, nothing in college wrestling is ever that cut and dry. 197 may not look as stacked as some of the other weights that I’ve presented, but there are definitely some hidden gems in this class that have big bracket buster potential for March of 2020.  

Guys to look out for: 

For 197 I have one obvious guy, and two not so obvious guys that have potential to make a lot of noise this upcoming season.  My obvious guy for this year is NC State’s Nick Reenan. Reenan is a 2x NCAA qualifier, has yet to break the All-American barrier, but to make things interesting, after a 10-0 start, he suffered an ACL injury and finished the season 16-6 still qualifying for the tournament.  Given that he did all that with an extremely detrimental injury, I expect Reenan to be a huge bracket buster this year and surprise a lot of people. My two not-so-obvious guys are Jay Aiello of Virginia, and Purdue’s Christian Brunner. Aiello is a qualifier from last year that lost in the blood round after a slow start to his collegiate wrestling career.  Given the right draw, and a little hard work and luck, I expect to see him on the podium. Brunner is a 3x qualifier with last year being his best outing yet, losing in the blood round. Brunner has big move power and explosive takedown ability and has beaten some of the names ranked above him. I definitely see him clinching AA status this year.

My top 5 for 197 are: 

  1. Kollin Moore     
  2. Nick Reenan   
  3. Patrick Brucki    
  4. Josh Hokit    
  5. Christian Brunner


  1. Anthony Cassar- PSU      
  2. Gable Steveson- Minnesota    
  3. Matt Stencel- CMU   
  4. Jordan Wood- Lehigh   
  5. Demetrious Thomas- Pitt    
  6. Mason Parris- Michigan     
  7. Anthony Cassioppi- Iowa   
  8.  Chase Singletary- Ohio ST     
  9.  Tanner Hall- ASU     
  10. Brian Andrews- Wyoming

The Details:

Heavyweight brings us four All-Americans from the previous year, including last year’s champ, Anthony Cassar.  Cassar had to go through a petition process to get his fifth year at PSU approved, and if you didn’t know, now you know, the reigning champ will return as a fifth year senior.  Former freshman phenom, Gable Steveson is hoping to get another crack at the returning champ after Cassar dealt him his only two losses on his freshman campaign, once in the B1G finals, and once in the semifinals at the NCAA tournament.  Outside of the obvious top 2, however there doesn’t seem much margin for error in the heavyweight bracket.  

Guys to look out for:

The first is Iowa’s Anthony Cassioppi.  He hasn’t done much to prove himself just yet, but being practice partners with Sam Stoll had to have its benefits.  Next is Mason Parris. He started out last season on fire, but then managed to find his way into a major rut that resulted in him not even placing at last year’s tournament despite being heavily favored to do so.  I expect Parris to really break the mold, and find the stride he had at the beginning of last year, and carry it all the way to the podium in 2020. The final one is Tanner Hall of Arizona State. Hall is another wrestler that has had a tremendous fall from grace that is seeking redemption this coming season.  Hall is a 3x NCAA qualifier who got as high as 3rd in the 2016-2017 season as a sophomore, but has struggled to place since.  He redshirted last year, but wrestled at the Midlands winning the heavyweight bracket.  With this season being his last I expect a big show.  

My top 5 for 285 are: 

  1. Tanner Hall    
  2. Anthony Cassar    
  3. Gable Steveson    
  4. Mason Parris    
  5. Matt Stencel

Alright guys, that wraps it up for part two of the “TOO EARLY TOP 10’s,”  hopefully everyone enjoyed reading. I know some of my picks may have seemed a little off the wall, but only time will tell right?  Hope you guys are counting down to the start of the 2019-2020 season.  

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