Photo: Tony Rotundo

2023 NCAA Wrestling Picks


Since I did this on Instagram already I guess I will write something about this also. With a good amount of the champs from last season leaving we will be seeing a lot of new faces on top of the podiums next season.


Vito Arujau* (if Lee doesn’t return)

If Lee comes back I do not see myself picking against him but I wanna say he does have a redshirt of some sort as I have been hearing. So to say he would use that after undergoing surgery for 2 torn acls seems logical.

Vito might have not had the best performance at this national tournament but I feel that he is going to get his head straight and make adjustments coming into next season. This being his first season back to folk since 2019 definitely showed and who knows where he falls.

He will be competing on the freestyle scene in this offseason and the last time he did so he was an Olympic Trials finalist falling to only World Champion Thomas Gilman. You will be seeing a lot of Vito Arujau in these coming years.


Daton Fix

Yeah, he is not known for his performance at the national tournament losing in the finals three times in a a row. With him down to his final two years of eligibility it just seems like it has to be his time. RBY and Desanto are gone and Fix seems to be the guy.


Real Woods

This weight is up in the air for me with Nick Lee, Sebastian Rivera, and Jaydin Eierman gone. We did not get to see a lot of matches that we wanted to this season but next season becomes somewhat more interesting.

With Real Woods in the transfer portal listed as do not contact this becomes a toss up on where he goes. The talk is leaning heavily towards Penn State but I can’t really say anything for sure here.

Two other guys that I have to talk about here that could very well win this weight are Cole Matthews of Pitt and CJ Composto of Penn. I like what those guys were able to put together this season and I think they can very well win this thing going forward.


Yianni Diakomihalis

Maybe there was some doubt heading into the national finals since Ridge Lovett took him to overtime the first time they wrestled at CKLV. Yianni shut that down in the finals where he powered to a 11-5 decision. Yianni will be looking for his 4th national title and to put himself in a list of greats such as Cael Sanderson and Kyle Dake. He only has one career loss up until this point and if he goes undefeated he is in theory only behind Cael.


David Carr

I am between Carr and Monday on this one but I think what I saw on the backside of the bracket from David Carr showed me that Carr can still be that guy even though it did not go his way this year. I think Carr and Monday will most likely see each other in the finals unless we see a big upset but I do not really see that happening.


Keegan O’Toole

I had a little bit of doubt on whether Keegan could get through Griffith or Wick but he got it done in the finals. Close match but he got it done and was not completely healthy in doing so. I think if he can build on what he has done already at such a young age he can very well be one of the next 4x National Champions.


Carter Starocci

I do not think Starocci will lose another match as long as he is in college. I said it, Starocci may have had a big upset in the 2021 finals where he avenged a big loss in the finals of the Big Ten tournament but since then he can’t be stopped. The pressure he puts on you, the pace that never seems to die out, and the grit that he shows is something that I do not see anyone at 174 stopping in the next 3 years.


Aaron Brooks

He won it the past two years and he had probably his biggest test this season in Myles Amine who he beat twice. He probably won’t face anyone as good as Amine as long as he is in college so I don’t see anyone really beating him. His ability to stay poised, ride on top, and consistently get to attacks has propelled him to the level that he is now.


AJ Ferrari

Love him or hate him he won it as a true freshman and he is hungry to come back and collect his crown. With the whole car crash thing who really knows where his health is as it seems like everything was downplayed a bit. 197 is a tough weight class but I feel that AJ will show up and take back his crown.


Greg Kerkvliet

I have been saying this for a while and if Kerk is healthy he is not losing. Sucks that he was on the same side as Gable Steveson the past two national tournaments when in my eyes this was a finals match. Either way I think this is his year should he heal up from the injuries in the offseason.

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Akil Murugan
Akil Murugan
Senior Editor for Heavyweight Nation

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