2023 NCAA champion at 197-pounds, Nino Bonaccorsi, just hopped on the Heavyweight Nation Podcast and spoke about his dominant season.
Here’s what he had to say:
The 197-pound weight class this season was stacked with talent, and top-10 wrestlers were getting knocked off all year long.
Going into the NCAA Championships in Tulsa, there wasn’t anyone who was a clear favorite to win the title, or even to be an All-American.
Despite being the #1 ranked seed going into the tournament, Pitt’s Nino Bonaccorsi wasn’t invested on how his bracket would shape up, and that’s something he’s been able to do throughout the entirety of the 2023 season.
“It was such a loaded weight, but I think that’s something that’s helped me all year long. There’s so many chaotic upsets in matches, and guys are getting beat. It’s so unpredictable, so this year I feel like I especially tried to tune out on what was going on,” said Bonaccorsi.
En route to his first NCAA title, Bonaccorsi defeated UNC’s Max Shaw, NDSU’s Owen Pentz, Nebraska’s 2023 Big Ten champ Silas Allred, Rider’s #4 seed Ethan Laird, and eventually SDSU’s #7 seed Tanner Sloan for the gold.
Sloan was the lowest seed in the entire tournament to wrestle in the finals, and that proved how unpredictable the 197-pound bracket was. However, Bonaccorsi was confident and wasn’t phased on who was going to be in front of him.
“I always said that if I wrestled my style, and wrestle how I know I can wrestle, I can beat anyone,” said Bonaccorsi.
Going back, Bonaccorsi finished his career in a Panthers singlet being a 2x All-American, placing both first in 2023, and second in 2021.
Bonaccorsi has only shown exponential growth throughout his career, as he was never a state champion but finished his collegiate career being a 5x NCAA qualifier.
Looking into the future, Bonaccorsi hasn’t made a decision yet on what the rest of his career will look like.
“I’m torn on whether I want to coach, wrestle internationally, or a little bit of both. Still trying to kind of work out the details on that a little bit, but that’s the plan anyway. I can’t really see myself doing anything different,” said Bonaccorsi.