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Stat Corner Powered by WrestleStat: How do the Finalists at Major Regular Season Tournaments do at NCAAs?

Stat Corner

Now that we’ve had a full week to digest the last major individual tournaments of the NCAA Division I wrestling season, we turn our attention to dual season as the road to Cleveland rolls along.  However, even though the biggest regular season tournaments are out of the way, their history can tell us what we might see the rest of the way.  In this week’s Stat Corner powered by WrestleStat, we take a look at the NCAA results for finalists from the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Reno Tournament of Champions, Midlands Championships, and Southern Scuffle over the past five completed seasons to see which of those events tend to produce the most champions.  This, of course, is just a starting point as the fields of each competition vary from year-to-year.  Still, running the numbers gives us some noticeable trends from which we can extrapolate. Let’s start by looking at just the champions from each event.

Cliff Keen Las Vegas Reno Tournament of Champions
Season Champs Finalists All-Americans R12 Champs Finalists All-Americans R12
2012-13 2 4 9 10 0 1 6 7
2013-14 1 3 7 8 0 0 4 4
2014-15 3 3 10 10 0 0 2 6
2015-16 3 4 8 9 1 2 5 6
2016-17 0 3 8 10 0 0 0 2
Total 9 17 42 47 1 3 17 25

 

Midlands Championships Southern Scuffle
Season Champs Finalists All-Americans R12 Champs Finalists All-Americans R12
2012-13 0 4 7 9 5 6 10 10
2013-14 0 1 4 9 3 5 9 9
2014-15 1 4 8 9 2 2 8 9
2015-16 0 3 6 7 6 9 10 10
2016-17 0 1 10 10 3 5 8 8
Total 1 13 35 44 19 27 45 46

The Southern Scuffle, thanks in large part to regular visits from Penn State, Oklahoma State, and Cornell, has seen more of its champions go on to stand atop the podium at the NCAA tournament than the other three tournaments combined and it has produced nearly as many finalists in this time frame.  The Midlands is notably behind the CKLV which may surprise some.  However, it should be noted that the CKLV has a bit of an advantage over the other three events in that they don’t allow unattached competitors.  Each of the other competitions has seen finalists who were redshirting or, in the case of the Midlands, were post-graduates.  Those wrestlers did not go on to compete in the NCAA tournament so they had no chance to help the numbers.  With that factored in, the Midlands and CKLV are fairly even outside of the incredibly odd champions number for the tournament hosted by Northwestern.  The only wrestler over the past five seasons to win a Midlands title and be crowned NCAA champion in the same season was Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) in 2014-15. Given that they’ve seen 12 of their champions finish second in that time, that seems like an aberration. Can 2017-18 title winners such as Nick Suriano (Rutgers), Seth Gross (South Dakota State), and Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) help turn that around? Time will tell.

Cliff Keen Las Vegas Reno Tournament of Champions
Season Champs Finalists All-Americans R12 Champs Finalists All-Americans R12
2012-13 2 4 14 19 0 1 8 10
2013-14 1 3 11 14 0 0 4 5
2014-15 4 5 16 19 0 0 2 8
2015-16 3 4 11 14 1 2 8 10
2016-17 0 3 14 16 0 0 1 2
Total 10 19 66 82 1 3 23 35

 

Midlands Championships Southern Scuffle
Season Champs Finalists All-Americans R12 Champs Finalists All-Americans R12
2012-13 0 6 12 15 6 8 16 18
2013-14 1 2 7 12 5 8 16 16
2014-15 1 5 13 18 4 5 14 18
2015-16 0 4 7 12 6 9 15 15
2016-17 0 1 14 17 3 7 17 17
Total 2 18 53 74 24 37 78 84

Adding in the finalists from each of the tournaments does not reveal much that looking at just the champs had not already shown.  The Scuffle is still tops in every category with nearly half of the NCAA champions over the past five years having reached the finals there the same season.  Reno is clearly a step behind these other three events, though I suspect their data may take an uptick this season as their 2017-18 field was the best they’ve had in a while.  The CKLV was well stocked once again which should keep them near the top.  The Scuffle suffered from Cornell, Missouri, and Minnesota defecting to the South Beach Duals in addition to Oklahoma State scheduling a dual in Italy, leaving their starters unavailable for the battle in Chattanooga.  Still, with Penn State’s five defending NCAA champions all winning titles as well as defending 125-pound champion Darian Cruz (Lehigh) taking top honors, we can expect the Scuffle to continue dominating in 2017-18.

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