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 Southern Conference or the SoCon. For most of this century, the conference has produced the least amount of NCAA qualifiers and All-Americans. Those numbers could be changing as Campbell has reached new, unseen heights for the program, and a handful of others have new life in the coaching staff, which has, in turn, revitalized their respective teams.
Here are the SoCon' s All 2000's (2000-2020) first, second, and third teams:
125 - Nathan Kraisser (Campbell)
After spending the first two years of his career at North Carolina, Nathan Kraisser followed Cary Kolat to Buies Creek. At UNC, Krassier qualified for nationals twice and captured an ACC title, as a sophomore, in 2014. The year before, he was seeded seventh in the nation and made the NCAA Round of 12. In his first year with Campbell, Nathan went 34-9 and picked up his second career conference title, this time at 133 lbs. He would end up bowing out of the 2016 NCAA Championships after picking up a win. Kraisser would etch his name into the Campbell record books, as a senior, when he downed Freddie Rodriguez 4-1 to become the school's first All-American. Two weeks earlier, at the SoCon Championships, Rodriguez had defeated Nathan. That year, Kraisser also became the first Camel wrestler to be selected for the NWCA All-Star Match. Nathan finished the year with a 30-10 record and a 122-36 career mark.
Second Team - Sean Boyle (Chattanooga) 3x NCAA Qualifier (1x for Chattanooga), 2015 SoCon Champ, #5 seed at NCAA's in 2015.
Third Team - Javier Maldonado (Chattanooga) 3x NCAA Qualifier (2007 R12), 3x SoCon Champion
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