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2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships: Facts and Figures

LaFragola, CJ

Photo courtesy of Cam Kramer

With less than a week to go before the 2019 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships get underway in Pittsburgh, wrestling fans around the country are pouring over the brackets. This always leads to discussion and questions about when the last time certain things occurred. We at TOM are no different and we’ve compiled a list of interesting facts that we’ve had to look up in our tournament preparation. Enjoy!

 

Sebastian Rivera is the first number-one seed for Northwestern since Jason Welch (157 lbs) in 2013.

Anthony Ashnault is the first Rutgers wrestler ever to earn a top seed at the NCAA Championships.

Myles Martin’s number one seed gives Ohio State at least one top-seeded wrestler every year since 2013, which is the longest streak in the country.

Speaking of Martin, he is attempting to avoid joining former teammate Nathan Tomasello, Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern/Arizona State), and Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota) in the group of wrestlers that won NCAA titles as freshmen, yet never one a second.

With the graduation of Isaiah Martinez, Illinois has had their run of five years with a number one seed snapped. Martinez had the one seed every year from 2015-18 and Jesse Delgado (125) had it in 2014.

Derek White (Oklahoma State) has earned the number one seed at 285 lbs, yet has not earned All-American honors, as of yet. The last non-freshman to earn the one seed without having been an All-American in the past was Joe Colon (Northern Iowa) in 2014 at 133 lbs.

Mitch Finesilver (Duke) is the third seed at 149 lbs. That is the highest seed for a Blue Devil wrestler in program history. The previous high was from both Jacob Kasper (2017, 2018) and Konrad Dudziak (2010) who had earned fourth seeds.

Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) is the first freshman to earn a top-eight seed for the Mountain Hawks since 2003 when Cory Cooperman (6th – 133), Derek Zinck (7th – 157), and Troy Letters (2nd – 165).

Rayvon Foley (Michigan State) has the ninth seed at 125 lbs. The last Michigan State wrestler to earn a top-ten seed with 285 lber Mike McClure in 2014 (7th), also their most recent All-American.

In each of the last two years, only five number one seeds have gone on to capture NCAA titles 2018 (Seth Gross – South Dakota State, Zain Retherford – Penn State, Zahid Valencia – Arizona State, Bo Nickal – Penn State, Kyle Snyder – Ohio State). 2017 (Dean Heil – Oklahoma State, Zain Retherford – Penn State, Jason Nolf – Penn State, J’Den Cox – Missouri, Kyle Snyder – Ohio State).

Since 2014, at least one freshman has won an NCAA title per year. During that run, 2016 is the only year without two. 2018 (Spencer Lee – Iowa, Yianni Diakomihalis – Cornell), 2017 (Mark Hall – Penn State, Vincenzo Joseph – Penn State), 2016 (Myles Martin – Ohio State), 2015 (Nathan Tomasello – Ohio State, Isaiah Martinez – Illinois), and 2014 (Jason Tsirtsis – Northwestern and J’Den Cox – Missouri).

From 2014 to 2018 nine freshmen have won NCAA titles. From 1994 to 2012 nine freshman won NCAA titles.

The only weight classes with multiple undefeated wrestlers are 125 (#2 Nick Piccininni – Oklahoma State and #5 Jack Mueller – Virginia), 184 (#1 Myles Martin – Ohio State and #2 Shakur Rasheed -Penn State), and 197 (#1 Bo Nickal – Penn State and #4 Preston Weigel – Oklahoma State).

Josh Roetman (Navy) is the first NCAA qualifier to hail from Alaska (Kotzebue) since Nathan Hoffer (Arizona State – Anchorage) and Cayle Byers (Oklahoma State – Chugiak) back in 2012.

Before this season the last time that Rhode Island had an NCAA qualifier was Corey Peltier (Maryland – Exeter) in 2011. This year two Rhode Island natives qualified Christian LaBrie (Brown – Exeter) and Ebed Jarrell (Drexel – East Greenwich).

Georgia, a state that has been on the rise in recent years, was able to produce 12 NCAA qualifiers, which is up from nine a year ago and eight in 2017.

Instead of Land of Lincoln, Illinois should be called the Land of the 197 lbers. Illinois has five natives that are in the 197 bracket and all five are seeded within the top 14. (#4 Patrick Brucki – Princeton, #5 Jacob Warner – Iowa, #8 Nathan Traxler, #11 Christian Brunner – Purdue, #14 Eric Schultz – Nebraska). None of them wrestle for Illinois schools, either.

On the same subject, Pennsylvania has eight wrestlers at 197 lbs, but it is their seven 133 lbers that are most impressive. (#4 Micky Phillipi – Pittsburgh, #5 Luke Pletcher – Ohio State, #6 Ethan Lizak – Minnesota, #7 Austin DeSanto – Iowa, #14 Korbin Myers – Virginia Tech, #24 DJ Fehlman – Lock Haven, #33 Zack Trampe – Binghamton).

While Indiana only has ten qualifiers, four of them are 174 lbs (Dylan Lydy – Purdue, Ben Harvey – Army West Point, Drew Hughes – Michigan State, Jacob Covaciu – Indiana).

Massachusetts has four NCAA qualifiers for the first time since at least the year 2000 (when my records start to get fuzzy).

Jarrett Degen (Iowa State) of Belgrade, Montana earned the eighth seed at 149 lbs. The last Montana native to earn a top-eight seed at nationals was Tyrel Todd (Michigan) who was the fourth seed at 197 pounds in 2009.

Oregon has had a slight resurgence with six NCAA qualifiers. The last time they have produced that many was in 2011.

Virginia had only four NCAA qualifiers, which is the state’s lowest output since 2011.

Wyoming (the state) had two NCAA qualifiers Cole Verner (Wyoming – Green River) and Hayden Hastings (Wyoming – Sheridan). The last time the state had multiple qualifiers was in 2015. Since the year 2008, all Wyoming natives that have qualified for the NCAA Championships, wrestled at the University of Wyoming. The last wrestler from the state to attend a different school was Shawn Vincent (Northern Colorado – Evanston) in 2007.

Army West Point has qualified six wrestlers for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2008 when Fernando Martinez – 125, Matt Kyler – 141, Christian Snook – 157, Scott Ferguson – 184, and Nathan Thobaben – 285 earned trips to St. Louis.

Brown has qualified four wrestlers for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2002 when Clint Frease -141, Jason Mercado – 149, Nick Ciarcia – 197, and Bronson Lingamfelter – 285 did so.

Ian Butterbrodt became the first EIWA finalist for Brown since Dave Foxen won the conference at 174 lbs in 2012.

Zach Hartman was the first Bucknell freshman to make the EIWA finals when he was second at 157 lbs.

Bryan Lantry (141) became the first four-time NCAA qualifier in Buffalo’s history. The Bulls have six NCAA qualifiers which are their highest total since 2011. They also were able to win two individual MAC titles (Troy Keller – 165 and Brett Perry – 197) which last happened in 2011, as well.

The last time NCAA’s were in Pennsylvania (2011) Penn State won their first team title since 1953. At that time the Nittany Lions had never crowned a three-time national champion. This year they could have three (Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, and Bo Nickal).

Willy Girard became the first EWL Champion and NCAA qualifier for Bloomsburg since 2014. That 2014 team had six NCAA qualifiers, including national team member Richard Perry.

Campbell’s six NCAA qualifiers surpassed a program record of five set during the 2017 season. All six qualifiers will be returning in 2019-20 for head coach Cary Kolat.

Five former Eastern Michigan (damn you!) wrestlers qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2019, Noah Gonser (Campbell – 133), Sa’Derian Perry (Old Dominion – 141), Tanner Smith (Chattanooga – 149), Zac Carson (Ohio – 157), and Andrew McNally (Kent State – 184).

In only the second year since the relaunch of their program Fresno State increased their NCAA qualifier output from two to five.

With a merge with the MAC on the horizon, Tejon Anthony became George Mason’s first (and last) EWL Champion, when he won the 149 lbs weight class.

In their second year under head coach Kevin Dresser, Iowa State increased their NCAA qualifiers from one in 2018 to nine this year. The last time the Cyclones had that many was in 2010 when all ten starters qualified and ISU was third in the nation.

The only school that had four freshmen qualify for nationals was Missouri who had Dack Punke – 125, Brock Mauller – 149, Jarrett Jacques – 157, and Zach Elam – 285. All of them except Punke are true freshman.

North Carolina has two NCAA qualifiers that hail from Fulton, just in different states. 157 lber Josh McClure is from Fulton, Missouri while 285 lber Corey Daniel is from Fulton, Maryland.

Ohio State is the only school that was able to qualify all ten of their starters.

Out of schools with six or more qualifiers, only Lock Haven and Rutgers managed to have all of their qualifiers come from in-state.

Three wrestlers signed with Oklahoma State out of high school in 2014, yet ended up qualifying for other schools. Chance Marsteller (Lock Haven), Ryan Blees (Virginia Tech), and Gary Wayne Harding (North Carolina). Blees has a first-round match with current Cowboy, Kaden Gfeller at 149.

Anthony Artalona became the first Penn Quaker freshman to win an EIWA crown since Matt Dragon did so back in 2006.

The only first-round match between former All-Americans is at 125 with Ryan Millhof (Arizona State) and Zeke Moisey. However, if Joseph Smith (Oklahoma State) wins his pig-tail at 165, he’ll meet Alex Marinelli (Iowa).

The team that benefited the most from the at-large selections was Wyoming who had three wrestlers (Cole Verner – 125, Hayden Hastings – 174, and Tate Samuelson – 184) added after the Big 12 Championships.

Demetrius Romero won the first Big 12 Championship for Utah Valley when he defeated Andrew Fogarty (North Dakota State) at 165 lbs. The Wolverines have six NCAA qualifiers which are a program high.

VMI’s Neal Richards captured the first SoCon Championship for the Keydets since Josh Wine did so at 285 lbs in 2011.

This tournament features four sets of twins that have qualified for the competition. Josh and Matt Finsilver (Duke), Mitch and Zach Finesilver (Duke), Grant and Hunter Willits (Oregon State), Daniel and Thomas Bullard (NC State).

The following wrestlers will start their NCAA Tournament competing against the last opponent that they faced at their conference tournament. 133 (John Erneste – Missouri vs. Derek Spann – Buffalo) 149 (Christian Monserrat – West Virginia vs. Davion Jeffries – Oklahoma)

11th seeded 285 lber Thomas Haines (Lock Haven) has a familiar face in the first round Billy Miller (Virginia Tech). Miller spent the previous three years of his career in the EWL competing against Haines while wrestling at Edinboro. The two have split their four-lifetime meetings; however, it was Miller who came out on top of Haines in the last two EWL finals.

The only true freshman (HS Class of 2018) that qualified for the 2019 NCAA Championships are 125 (Malik Heinselman – Ohio State, Patrick Glory – Princeton, Carmen Ferrante – Penn), 133 (Roman Bravo-Young – Penn State), 141 (Mitch Moore – Virginia Tech), 149 (Anthony Artalona – Penn, Brock Mauller – Missouri), 157 (Josh Humphreys – Lehigh, Zach Hartman – Bucknell, Quincy Monday – Princeton, Jarrett Jacques – Missouri, Justin Ruffin – SIU Edwardsville), 184 (Tate Samuelson – Wyoming), 197 (Brandon Whitman – North Carolina), and 285 (Gable Steveson – Minnesota, Mason Parris – Michigan, Zach Elam – Missouri).

The 285 lb weight class features eight freshmen. Again going back to the year 2000 (where my records start to die out) there has not been a season with that many. 2005 and 2014 both had seven.

 

These schools have had an NCAA qualifier at these respective weight classes every season since 1999 when the current weight classes went into effect:

Cornell 197: Ben Honis 2019, 2017; Ben Darmstadt 2018; Owen Scott 2016; Jace Bennett 2013-15; Cam Simaz 2009-12; Justin Kerber 2008; Jerry Rinaldi 2005-07; Matt Greenberg 2002-04; Corey Anderson 2000-01; Bob Greenleaf 1999.

Iowa 184: Cash Wilcke 2019; Mitch Bowman 2018; Sam Brooks 2015-17; Ethen Lofthouse 2013-14; Grant Gambrall 2011-12; Phil Keddy 2007-10; Paul Bradley 2004-06; Jessman Smith 2000-03; Paul Jenn 1999.

Oklahoma State 133: Daton Fix 2019; Kaid Brock 2017-18; Gary Wayne Harding 2015-16; Jon Morrison 2013-14; Jordan Oliver 2010-12; Chris Notte 2009; Coleman Scott 2007-08; Nathan Morgan 2005-06; Johnny Thompson 2001-04; Charles Walker 2000; Eric Guerrero 1999

Oklahoma State 165: Joseph Smith 2019; Chandler Rogers 2017-18; Alex Dieringer 2015-16; Tyler Caldwell 2013-14; Dallas Bailey 2011-12; Alex Meade 2010; Brandon Mason 2009; Jake Diffenbach 2008; Johny Hendricks 2005-07; Tyrone Lewis 2002-04; Chris Pendleton 2001; Ty Wilcox 1999-2000

Oklahoma State 174: Jacobe Smith 2018-19; Kyle Crutchmer 2015, 2017; Chandler Rogers 2016; Chris Perry 2012-14; Mike Benefiel 2010-11; Newly McSpadden 2009; Brandon Mason 2006-08, Chris Pendleton 2003-05; Ty Wilcox 2002; Tyrone Lewis 2001; Tony Gansen 2000; Mark Smith 1999.

Oklahoma State 285: Derek White 2018-19; Austin Schafer 2017; Austin Marsden 2012, 2014-16; Alan Gelogaev 2013; Blake Rosholt 2011; Jared Rosholt 2007-10; Steve Mocco 2005-06; Willie Gruenwald 2003-04; James Huml 2001-02; Dave Anderton 1999-2000

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