photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
One of the after-effects of the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Championships was that there were no All-Americans crowned on the mat. Therefore, there were no wrestlers that left Minneapolis as four-time AA’s, as we had anticipated. Since then, the NWCA has recognized All-Americans and most schools are treating this honor the same way as if they competed in the NCAA Semis or had the won in the Round of 12 and secured a spot in the top-eight. Even so, that raised the question. When was the last time there were no four-time All-Americans?
You have to go back to the 2010-11 season to find a year without at least one. Interestingly, it was the seniors from 2011 that were unable to produce at least one four-timer, since it’s a very star-studded bunch. TOM has identified 13 seniors from 2011 that were either on-track to becoming four-timers or narrowly missed the honor for one reason or another. After finding these 13 wrestlers, we looked at the years they were prevented from AA’ing and dove into those brackets or the circumstances surrounding them. Once you see how close these 13 were, it makes you respect the accomplishment of becoming a four-time All-American even more.
Anthony Robles (Arizona State)
The 2011 NCAA finals started off with a bang as Anthony Robles had his way with the defending champion Matt McDonough (Iowa) and finished his career as a national champion. Robles also earned All-American honors on three occasions and came dangerously close to doing it a fourth time, as a freshman. A runner-up finish in 2008 to Tanner Gardner in the Pac-10 finals left the freshman Robles without a seed at his first national tournament. That led to him meeting the #1 seed, Angel Escobedo (Indiana), in the opening round. Anthony fought hard but ended up on the wrong side of a 4-2 decision. Robles moved through the consi’s with wins over Joey Fio (Oklahoma) and Mike Rodriguez (Cornell) sandwiched around an injury default over #11 Dave Tomasette (Hofstra). In the Round of 12, Robles had a familiar face in Gardner. The two battled to sudden victory before Gardner got the win.
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