photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
Everyone loves a good Cinderella story. At the 2018 NCAA Championships, there were plenty of them with a total of seven unseeded wrestlers getting onto the podium and earning All-American honors. Since the NCAA started seeding down to 16 places instead of 12, the number of unseeded All-American’s has went generally gone down. In 2016 only five unseeded wrestlers found the podium and three in 2017. This season two wrestlers were able to place third after coming into nationals without a seed.
Here’s a look at the seven unseeded All-American’s in 2017-18 and the reasons he may not have been seeded and their paths to the All-American stand.
133 - Tariq Wilson (NC State) Third Place
Why he was unseeded: Tariq’s two losses in November both came at the hands of his teammate Jamel Morris, at the Journeyman Classic and the Wolfpack Open. He then dropped a match to eventual All-American Montorie Bridges (Wyoming) at the Reno Tournament of Champions in mid-December. Tariq only competed in three duals in January, though one was a 16-1 tech fall beating by Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State). During the ACC dual season, he was defeated by Dennis Gustafson (Virginia Tech) and Dom Forys (Pittsburgh), both very tough seniors. His regular season ended with another loss to Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) 7-3. At the ACC Championships, Tariq lost a close two-point match to Gustafson before getting majored by Forys for third place.
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