While researching the article on the top Big 12 wrestlers of the last 20 years, I stumbled upon some interesting facts regarding freshmen at the NCAA Championships. It reaffirmed what most of us have thought about the current landscape of college wrestling. It’s never been more common from freshman to jump right in and have success at the DI level. More national championships are being won by freshmen, but more of them are getting onto the medal stand. There are plenty of reasons for this, which is another article for another time.
With an influx of young wrestlers succeeding in college, they are also doing so at a variety of schools. While the traditional powers like Penn State and Iowa have had their share of great freshmen, we’ve also seen schools like Princeton and Virginia Tech recruit and product top-flight wrestlers. The rise of these schools is just one of a few topics we’ll hit below.
What we’ve done is look back at the last ten completed NCAA Tournaments (2010-19) to find some fun facts about freshman All-Americans from those years and compare them to the previous decade.
2019 - 12 All-Americans
Vito Arujau (Cornell) 4th; Patrick Glory (Princeton) 6th; Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) 2nd; Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) 8th; Dom Demas (Oklahoma) 4th; Austin O’Connor (North Carolina) 3rd; Brock Mauller (Missouri) 6th; Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech) 1st; Mike Labriola (Nebraska) 6th; Jacob Warner (Iowa) 7th; Gable Steveson (Minnesota) 3rd; Trent Hillger (Wisconsin) 8th
2018 - 13 All-Americans
Spencer Lee (Iowa) 1st; Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) 6th; Tariq Wilson (NC State) 3rd: Montorie Bridges (Wyoming) 8th; Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) 1st; Nick Lee (Penn State) 5th; Chad Red (Nebraska) 7th; Hayden Hidlay (NC State) 2nd; Evan Wick (Wisconsin) 3rd; Alex Marinelli (Iowa) 6th; Taylor Venz (Nebraska) 4th; Max Dean (Cornell) 8th; Ben Darmstadt (Cornell) 6th
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