Just kind of put together my thoughts of the NCAA Tournament and how it played out in a sense.
Suriano had no real problems here winning his second title. Maybe a little closer than he would have liked in the finals against Pat Glory but at this point its about winning and nothing else matters.
The only real notable “upset” in this weight came when Pat Glory defeated Vito Arujau in the semifinals. Upset is a pretty loose term here even though Vito won 19-6 in the EIWA finals for the sole fact that these guys put up crazy point whenever they wrestle and they have gone back and forth consistently.
Vito did battle back to take third place as expected here taking out Patrick McKee and Michael DeAugustino to finish as an All American for the second time.
RBY does it again. Closer margins maybe but at the end of the day to take out Desanto and Fix to win a second national title is almost as impressive as it gets. Fix did end up falling in his 3rd consecutive NCAA finals which is pretty rough to see but he has two more years so let’s see if he can make it happen.
Austin Desanto finished off his career strong with a 7-4 decision win over ASU’s Michael McGee in the third place match which was good to see being that he had been stuck behind RBY and Fix for a majority of his time as he pretty much has dominated everyone else these past two years.
Nick Lee does it again no surprise. Nick Lee went from being a typical All American to one of the most dominant guys in college wrestling. He would definitely be in the talk for the Hodge Trophy should Gable Steveson not exist.
Kizhan Clarke was the man who defied the odds here. After an 0-2 showing at the ACC Championships all but few counted him out against returning national finalist Jaydin Eierman. Clarke pulled it off in stunning fashion working from almost giving up a takedown on his back to taking out the Hawkeye.
He went on to have a solid win in the quarterfinals and just barely squeak by Cole Matthews of Pitt to make the NCAA finals. Once he got on the big stage with Lee he came out firing and scored the first takedown along with a big throw attempt. After this Lee weathered the storm and got to work with a 10-3 win.
Rivera fell short to Cole Matthews in the quarter 7-5 but was able to still become an All American with all of the injuries he had sustained. The story didn’t end to great for guys like Jaydin Airman who failed to get on the podium and medical defaulted out of the consi rounds. Micic made it to the bloods and he had done great this tournament despite the size disadvantage but fell short to CJ Composto of Penn.
Yianni Diakomihalis and domination. That was the story of this weight class as expected. Some people thought Ridge Lovett may get him back in the finals and some people thought maybe he wasn’t as good as people gas him up to be. Yianni shut that down really quick as he put on a takedown clinic in the finals claiming his 3rd NCAA title and looking for a 4 peat next year.
Austin Gomez was also able to get on the podium as well after all he has been though and that was very cool to see.
Deakin has finally done it. 2020 he was undoubtedly the guy nobody questioned it. It was obvious that the 2020 tournament getting canceled hurt a lot of people but he had to have been a big one being in a weight class with Zain Retherford and Jason Nolf in the past and finally entering the tournament as a 1 seed.
2021 we all know what happened he got pinned in the semis and a lot of people started to doubt if he was really the guy. He shut those down this year and finally dominated his way to a national title in his final collegiate bout.
David Carr going down in the round of 16 was huge but unlike the other guys Carr was able to wrestle back for third in a solid performance. Next year should be very interesting in this weight class and hopefully we see Carr vs Monday next year.
The biggest question for me coming into this year was could Keegan O’Toole do it just yet. We all knew he was good and that he would be a threat but the biggest doubt about this was that he was really young and if he was at that level just yet. He answered those questions and should not really have too much trouble moving forward.
There were two bright spots with freshman Carson Kharchla and Dean Hamiti who were able to get onto the podium this season.
Evan Wick and Alex Marinelli both ended off their careers this tournament. Not a necessarily bad tournament for either of the two but you can bet that they definitely wish they ended off their seasons a different way.
Carter Starocci shuts down the doubts about who is the best at 174. I feel the match was a little too competitive for his liking but a win is a win at the end of the day once you get to that point. It will be a great match to see Starocci and Mekhi run it back next season should they see themselves in a rematch.
Michael Kemerer and Hayden Hidlay both came to the end of their collegiate careers and they faced off against each other in their final match for third which Hidlay won by major decision 12-4.
Aaron Brooks gets revenge as most expected here. After the big ten finals it seemed really apparent that the changes that needed to be made were pretty simple and that he should be able to fix it. Cael Sanderson said the same in the press conference.
Myles Amine ends his career off as a 5x All American. You know that is not something that he should be embarrassed about but at the end of the day we all know what he wanted and he came short of that in his final shot. He will have a very successful international career as he already does but it will be interesting to see these two go at it again on the freestyle scene.
Parker Keckeisen takes third at 184 just like last season as he defeated Bernie Truax 6-4 in their match.
Max Dean has finally done it and claimed his long awaited national title. Of course there is going to be controversy about his match in the second round but oh well at the end of the day that stuff happens. He took out Jacob Warner in the national finals for the second time this season and finally became a national champion.
Stephen Buchanan was impressive although he came up ultimately short in his goal. He took third with a 1-0 win over Rocky Elam of Mizzou. There was also a bright spot for Yonger Bastida of Iowa State who many has doubts about coming into this tournament as his folkstyle knowledge is still not all too great but he took 5th in a solid performance and we can only assume this goes up a lot for next year.
Gable wins his second title as expected but this time over Cohlton Schultz as he knocked off Mason Parris in the quarterfinals and Jordan Wood in the semis in that insane match that was going around everywhere.
Jordan Wood got back on the podium this year and took third with a forfeit over Greg Kerkvliet.
Lucas Davison of Northwestern was very impressive as he pushed to a 6th place finish falling to Mason Parris in his final match.
Tony Cassioppi had a rough tournament due to injury falling to Jordan Wood and Mason Parris but he was able to take 7th with a 2-0 win over Christian Lance.
Lance has one of the better stories coming up from the D2 ranks and finally achieving his dream at becoming a D1 All American.
Gable Steveson winning the national title was incredible and he ended up leaving his shoes in the middle of the match signifying his retirement from amateur wrestling.