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How Do Those Who Surprise at NCAAs Perform the Following Season?

Bryce Meredith, Willie Miklus

Photo of Bryce Meredith by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com

With official practices starting and competition less than a month away, college wrestling season is nearly upon us. In this time before the matches begin, hope springs eternal. Everyone begins the year 0-0 with a chance to shock the world or confirm what we already believe. With that comes rampant speculation about who will do what this season. One of the more interesting scenarios when it comes to prognostication is when a wrestler comes into the NCAA tournament and far outperforms their regular season. On the one hand, there is usually a reason they were seeded where they were. On the other, peaking at the right time and wrestling your best when it matters most is important too. Sometimes we see wrestlers make a big jump at the end of the year, moving well up the rankings the next season. Other times they never quite recapture that form.

Naturally, we wondered what happens more often and what other lessons we could learn from looking at these wrestlers as a group. We decided to look at any wrestler since 2014 when the NCAA started seeding Division I through 16 that outperformed their seed by at least five spots. That means if a six seed finished first, a seven seed made the finals, or anyone, including unseeded grapplers, seeded 13th or lower made the podium. Here is what we found.

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