In a time without any new or recent results, we are continually forced to look back in time. That’s not a bad thing, as I love to review old results and make hypothetical “Best of” teams that have been prevalent throughout the sporting world over the last month and a half. For the next couple of weeks, we’ll be looking at the best teams of the 2000s (2000-2020) conference-by-conference.
The ground rules for this exercise are as follows: Wrestlers must have competed for at least one year between 2000-20 to be eligible. Wrestlers are judged by which conference their school was affiliated with at the time they were competing. For instance, in the ACC, wrestlers from Pitt that never wrestled in the ACC will be considered for the EWL. Maryland left the conference before the 2014-15 season, so many of their wrestlers that competed before then will be considered for the ACC. Generally, wrestlers that had a longer resume trumped those with only one big year; however, there are a couple of exceptions, especially when NCAA finals are involved. Also, wrestlers that competed at multiple weight classes were only eligible once.
Today we are focusing on the MAC. Just last season, the conference went through an incredible facelift, adding all of the teams from the former EWL. That should strengthen the league going forward. Another addition that has paid dividends for the MAC was including Missouri before the 2012-13 season, after the school went from the Big 12 to the SEC in all other sports. The Tigers have become a dominant player in the conference and won the MAC title in all eight seasons since the move. Their excellence is reflected in all three MAC teams. The disclaimer in the previous paragraph is important to consider with Missouri’s move and Northern Iowa, who was in the conference from 2013-17. Before the arrival of the Tigers, Central Michigan reigned supreme, although Kent State, Northern Illinois, and Ohio had their moments. CMU looks to be back on the upswing and could make things difficult for Mizzou going forward. That’s another topic for another day. Instead of focusing on the future, let’s look at the best MAC wrestlers from the last 20 years.
Here are the MAC’s 2000’s (2000-2020) first, second, and third teams:
125 - Alan Waters (Missouri)
Alan Waters was part of the group that started his career competing in the Big 12 but finished his final two seasons in the MAC Conference. During his junior and senior seasons, Waters claimed MAC titles (along with one from the Big 12 in 2012). He was seeded in the top ten at nationals all four years of his career, highlighted by a one seed as both a junior and senior. In both years, Waters entered the national tournament with an undefeated record. Alan would go on to earn All-American honors in both of those years, finishing fourth and third, respectively. In regular-season action, Waters won titles at both the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle. At both events, he downed eventual four-time AA and national champion, Nahshon Garrett, in the championship bout. Alan finished his career with 136 career victories, a mark that has since been tied by J’Den Cox, which put him behind only Ben Askren on the school’s all-time wins list. His .907 winning percentage is also good enough for third in Mizzou history.
Second Team - Dylan Peters (Northern Iowa) 2x All-American (6th, 6th), 2014 MAC Champion
Third Team - Nic Bedelyon (Kent State) 2x All-American (8th, 6th), 2x MAC Champion
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