We have seen some crazy things happen in college wrestling this season such as national champs going down and a junior world champ getting pinned by an unranked guy. It seems that anything can happen this season, so who are the biggest wrestlers to watch out for? (no particular order)
#5 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
He should not even have to be on this list but people continue to overlook him based on one match at nationals last year. Deakin has been one of the most consistently good wrestlers in college with wins over Hayden Hidlay, Jacori Teemer, and David Carr. He is a 2x WTT Finalist falling to only James Green twice and this time he seemed to have closed the gap just a little bit more losing both matches on criteria. Deakin is definitely a contender for a national title this season and it will be very interesting to see what he can do.
#4 Chris Foca (Cornell)
Foca wrestled two national champions down to the wire at the collegiate duals. He ended up losing to Mekhi Lewis and Carter Starocci by the slimmest of margins essentially because of him bottom wrestling ability. Those are 2 of the top 3 guys (Kemerer) that Foca will ever have to face and by the way he wrestled and Cornell as a whole this team is going to do big things. Foca has a more unorthodox style out of neutral which seems to give even the highest level of guys a good amount of trouble. Foca will 100% be someone to watch.
#3 Yonger Bastida (Iowa St)
He has been in the United States for only a year.. He has been phenomenal this season picking up his biggest win this season over Jacob Warner of Iowa. He does have a loss to Nebraska at the Daktronics Open which honestly can be written off with the way he has wrestled recently. His downfall if any will be his mat wrestling being that he grew up wrestling freestyle and not folk. It should be interesting to see how he performs going through this season but we can only assume he can get on to the podium this season.
#2 Vito Arujau (Cornell)
Say what you will about 125, Vito is a legit contender for this and it has shown. We have not seen Nick Suriano wrestle this season so not much can be said about where anyone stands but with what Vito has been able to do in the offseason making the finals of the Olympic Trials and having a 100% bonus rate this season he falls in at our number 2 at 125. This is going to be huge for Cornell in general with the amount of bonus points he is able to rack up and the competition that is coming to 125 this may play a huge factor. Penn State having Drew Hildebrandt now is going to be a factor for team points as well.
#1 Ridge Lovett (Nebraska)
Everyone just stopped talking about Ridge Lovett and to be honest he can get this done at 149. He took out Real Woods, and Zach Sherman already this season with his only loss coming to Diakomihalis at CKLV in overtime 6-4. Lovett has came miles from where he was last season so if he can keep improving and play his cards right he may just be seeing himself on the top of a podium in March.