Friday, August 10, 2018

The Top 5 NCAA DIVISION I HWT Wrestlers in the 21st Century to not All American







This is a topic that has been talked to death.  Yet, it's usually discussed from an overall standpoint. I don't know if it's ever been discussed weight by weight.  So as a result, I'm going to do that.  I took a look at all 10 weight classes in Division I and I put together who I thought the top five best wrestlers at each weight class were that never made All American status during their career.

I realize that most likely I'm going to get a lot of feedback about the guys I overlooked or the guys I forgot. Trust me, I most likely already know.  It was very difficult narrowing it down to five guys per weight. 

I write this because I feel that we as a whole, we as a wrestling community tend to put too much emphasis on the NCAA tournament alone.  There have been wrestlers in our past and their will be wrestlers in our future who achieve an assortment of credentials, but fall short of All American status.  I personally feel that these wrestlers should still be celebrated.  Still be remembered.  And this is my way of doing it.

Here are who I consider to be the top Five at HWT.

#5
Chris Birchler
East Stroudsburg/Edinboro
You would have thought considering that he wrestled for both East Stroudsburg and Edinboro that I could have found at least one picture of him from his collegiate wrestling days. Nope! Had to settle for an MMA photo instead.  Chris Birchler is the best wrestler I ever saw come out of East Stroudsburg during their Division I days. A third place finish at the EIWA tournament as a junior and a third place finish at the EWL tournament as a senior,  Birchler darn near became the Warriors first All American since Jack Cuvo won an NCAA title in 1989. 
#4
Nate Everhart
Indiana 
An attitude adjustment, more time in the weight room and a few other changes, WWE superstar Nate Everhart had himself one Hell of a senior campaign.   He won both the CKLV and the Southern Scuffle tournaments as well as taking second place at the BIG 10's.  Earning the #6 seed at the NCAA's he came within one match short of reaching All American honors.
#3
Tucker Lane
Nebraska 


One of the great HWT's to never make the award stand is Tucker Lane of Nebraska. Three consecutive third place finishes at the BIG 12's, followed by a seventh place finish at the BIG 10's as a senior.  Placed throughout many in season tournaments and had a multitude of high profile victories during his career.

#2
Nathan Fernandez
Oklahoma 
Nathan Fernandez didn't start to turn it on until his junior and senior seasons, but once he did, he proved how good of a wrestler he was.  Third and first place finishes at CKLV in his last two seasons, he also finished second at the BIG 10's as a senior.  Earning the #10 seed at the NCAA's he finished one match shy of All American status.  Mitch Monteiro of Bakersfield, Jared Rosholt of Oklahoma State and Ryan Flores of Columbia are three notable names he defeated during his career.
#1
Cameron Wade
Penn State 
Regardless of the goal, it's not often a wrestler wearing a Penn State singlet, under the guidance of Cael Sanderson doesn't achieve his goals. Yet that is the case with former Nittany Lion, Cameron Wade.  Wade a BIG 10 third place finisher, received the #6 seed at the NCAA tournament his senior year.  Yet as he did the year before as a junior, Wade once again finished once match shy of placing.  Three time NCAA finalist Tony Nelson of Minnesota,  All American Clayton Jack of Oregon State, and All American Ricky Alcala of Indiana are three of the notable wrestlers Wade defeated during his career.


J.T. Felix  of Boise State is a name I thought about adding.

Who else?








The Top 5 NCAA DIVISION I 197 lbs Wrestlers in the 21st Century to not All American










This is a topic that has been talked to death.  Yet, it's usually discussed from an overall standpoint. I don't know if it's ever been discussed weight by weight.  So as a result, I'm going to do that.  I took a look at all 10 weight classes in Division I and I put together who I thought the top five best wrestlers at each weight class were that never made All American status during their career.

I realize that most likely I'm going to get a lot of feedback about the guys I overlooked or the guys I forgot. Trust me, I most likely already know.  It was very difficult narrowing it down to five guys per weight. 

I write this because I feel that we as a whole, we as a wrestling community tend to put too much emphasis on the NCAA tournament alone.  There have been wrestlers in our past and their will be wrestlers in our future who achieve an assortment of credentials, but fall short of All American status.  I personally feel that these wrestlers should still be celebrated.  Still be remembered.  And this is my way of doing it.

Here are who I consider to be the top Five at 165 lbs.


#5
Jake Smith
West Virginia
Jake Smith only graduated this past season, but I still feel that he deserves to be on this list.  A career plagued by injuries,  Smith still managed to finish as a three time BIG 12 runner up, a multiple time CKLV and Midland's place winner.
#4
Daren Burns
UNC-Greensboro 
Arguably the best wrestler in UNC-Greensboro history.  Daren Burns won four Southern Conference titles and he had 107 wins during his career.  Twice the round of 12,  Burns also added a bronze medal at the Pan-American championships to his resume post his collegiate career.
#3
Mario Gonzales
Illinois 
Another wrestler who had it not been for injuries, most likely wouldn't be on this list.  The former Illini won a BIG 10 title as a sophomore and took third as a junior.  Both years he finished one match shy of All American status.  Even though he missed a large portion of the season, he only finished eighth at the BIG 10's and he had no use whatsoever of his left leg, he again managed to finish one match shy of All American status as a senior.

#2
Anthony Reynolds
Sacred Heart
It's an extremely rare occasion where we get to talk about a great wrestler from Sacred Heart University. It's ever rarer when that wrestler is a native of Connecticut.  The only reason Anthony Reynolds wasn't SHU's first CAA champion is simply because teammate Mike Messina wrestled in a weight class below him and got to wrestle in his championship final match first.  Reynolds was good enough throughout the season to earn the #12 seed as a junior and the #8 seed as a senior at the NCAA tournament.  He was also a Midland's place winner during his career.


#1
Brent Haynes
Missouri 
It's hard to believe that as good as Brent Haynes was that he never made All American status.  Fourth, third and second at the BIG 12, he would take second at the MAC when Missouri switched conferences his senior season.  A Southern Scuffle champ as a junior, he would take third at the tournament as a senior.  Joe Kennedy of Lehigh, Sonny Yohn of Minnesota, Matt Powless of Indiana, Cam Simaz of Cornell, Jared Rosholt of Oklahoma State and Nathan Burak of Iowa are among the who's who of notable opponents Haynes defeated during his career.


197 lbs was a tough weight to narrow down

David Dashiell of North Carolina
Ryan Goodman of North Carolina State
Tyrone Byrd of Illinois
CC Phelps of Boise State
Matt Delguyd of Northwestern
Logan Brown of Purdue

The names just kept coming as I thought.  Who did I miss?

The Top 5 NCAA DIVISION I 184 lbs Wrestlers in the 21st Century to not All American




This is a topic that has been talked to death.  Yet, it's usually discussed from an overall standpoint. I don't know if it's ever been discussed weight by weight.  So as a result, I'm going to do that.  I took a look at all 10 weight classes in Division I and I put together who I thought the top five best wrestlers at each weight class were that never made All American status during their career.

I realize that most likely I'm going to get a lot of feedback about the guys I overlooked or the guys I forgot. Trust me, I most likely already know.  It was very difficult narrowing it down to five guys per weight. 

I write this because I feel that we as a whole, we as a wrestling community tend to put too much emphasis on the NCAA tournament alone.  There have been wrestlers in our past and their will be wrestlers in our future who achieve an assortment of credentials, but fall short of All American status.  I personally feel that these wrestlers should still be celebrated.  Still be remembered.  And this is my way of doing it.

Here are who I consider to be the top Five at 184 lbs.


#5
David Craig
Lehigh
After taking Michigan's Tyrell Todd into overtime in the NCAA blood round as a freshman, it was almost a shoe-in that Lehigh's David Craig would be an All American at least once in his career if not multiple times.  Yet another round of twelve finish as a junior is as good as it ever got for the former Mountain Hawk.  Multiple wins over various All Americans, Craig won an EIWA title during his career and deserves to be remembered as one of the best at 184 lbs to never AA.
#4
Pat Popolizio
Oklahoma State 
Today we know Pat Popolizio as one of the best coaches in NCAA Division I wrestling. He is living, breathing, walking proof that you don't need to be an NCAA champion or All American to be one Hell of a coach. One would think that along with Stanford's Jason Borelli (who also made this list at 133 lbs) fans would be more accepting of taking risk on others, but "what did he do during his career?" is still often the first and most concerning question that is asked when looking at potential candidates for a coaching position.  That's not to say that Popolizio wasn't good, because he was.  A second place finish at the BIG 12 championship as a true freshman, Popolizio would again finish in second place at the BIG 12's as a senior, earning the #9 seed at the NCAA's and finishing one match shy of All American honors.

#3
Ralph DeNisco
Wisconsin
You'd really have to have had watched Ralph DeNisco's career in its entirety to understand why I place the former Wisconsin Badger so high on the list. His inconsistency and the fact that he never wrestled well at the BIG 10 tournament contradict the feeling.  Yet his regular season performances, along with two blood round finishes at the NCAA's, make me quite comfortable in placing him where I do.  Jessman Smith of Iowa, Ben Heizer of Northern Illinois, Ryan Lange of Purdue, Ty Baier of Cornell, James Yonushonis of Penn State and Pete Freidle of Illinois are among the many All Americans DeNisco defeated during his career.
#2
Scott Justus
Virginia Tech
He earned the #1 seed at the NCAA tournament his junior year in 2003.  That alone should be enough of a statement, but I'll add a few more facts for clarification.  Justus was a two time EWL champion, and he made the round of 12 both his sophomore and senior seasons. Also notable is that he defeated two time NCAA champion Damion Hahn of Minnesota every time he stepped on the mat with him.



#1
Nate Patrick
Illinois
Injuries. Injuries are why former Illini Nate Patrick makes this list. It seems that every time we thought Patrick was 100% healthy and ready to go, he'd get injured again. Taking second at the BIG 10's as a junior and winning a title as a senior, he earned the #5 seed and the #2 seed at the NCAA's respectively.   He was also a Midland's finalist. 

Brady Reinke of Wisconsin
Gerald Harris of Cleveland State

Those are two names I thought about adding.  Who else?

Nick Ciarcia of Brown?

You tell me!




The Top 5 NCAA DIVISION I 174 lbs Wrestlers in the 21st Century to not All American




This is a topic that has been talked to death.  Yet, it's usually discussed from an overall standpoint. I don't know if it's ever been discussed weight by weight.  So as a result, I'm going to do that.  I took a look at all 10 weight classes in Division I and I put together who I thought the top five best wrestlers at each weight class were that never made All American status during their career.

I realize that most likely I'm going to get a lot of feedback about the guys I overlooked or the guys I forgot. Trust me, I most likely already know.  It was very difficult narrowing it down to five guys per weight. 

I write this because I feel that we as a whole, we as a wrestling community tend to put too much emphasis on the NCAA tournament alone.  There have been wrestlers in our past and their will be wrestlers in our future who achieve an assortment of credentials, but fall short of All American status.  I personally feel that these wrestlers should still be celebrated.  Still be remembered.  And this is my way of doing it.

Here are who I consider to be the top Five at 174 lbs.

#5
Rashad Evans
Michigan State
After winning an NJCAA title, Evans only wrestled two seasons for the Spartans but never the less he made quite the impact during his time at Michigan State.  Earning a third place finish at the BIG 10 tournament, Evans would be the last loss three time NCAA champion Greg Jones of West Virginia would ever face.  Evans finished one match shy of All American status in the same tournament.

#4
Ken Cook
UC Davis
Ken Cook makes the second wrestler from the now defunct UC Davis wrestling program to make the list of best wrestlers to never AA.   A two time PAC-12 champion, Cook received seeds of #7 and #6 in his final two NCAA appearances.
#3
Luke Manuel
Purdue
I don't care who is making the list. If you talk about the best 174 lbs wrestlers of all time to never make All American staus, you have to include Purdue's Luke Manuel.  How can you not?  Round of 12 finish as a freshman and as a senior.  Had he faced anyone other than Ed Ruth in his final match, he probably would have won. With that said, he gave Ruth one of the best matches of his career in a 7-6 loss.  Three time CKLV place-winner , Manuel had victories over NCAA Champ Jarrod King of Edinboro, three time NCAA All American Mack Lewnes of Cornell and Hofstra's Ryan Patrovich.




                                                 
Image result for no picture available
#2
Andy Roy
Rutgers 
I really hate it when I can't find a picture to use of someone, but I couldn't find a picture to use of Rutger's Andy Roy, my #2 pick for the best 174 lbs wrestler to never make All American Status.  I put Roy in this spot for a few different reasons.  First, he was good enough to earn two seeds at the NCAA tournament his junior and senior seasons of #8 and #7 respectively.   He also finished one match shy of All American status both years as well.  His Midland's performances, including making the finals against Midland's God Joe Williams himself also give reason as well.

#1
Noel Thompson
Hofstra 
A Dr.Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personality, Noel Thompson is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet off the mat and one of the meanest people you'll ever see on it.  130 career wins, Thompson earned the #8 seed at the 2003 NCAA tournament as a junior and the #10 seed at the 2004 tournament as a senior.  He finished one match shy of All American status three times during his career. Most fans will always remember him as being the guy that almost (in the minds of some the guy that should've) knocked Joe Heskett of Iowa State into the consolation bracket at the 2001 NCAA's.


So who would you have on here that I don't? 

Dan Yates of Michigan?
Gabe Dretsch of Minnesota?
Scott Glasser of Minnesota?
Justin Zeerip of Michigan?

Lots of greats at 174 lbs over the years that never made the award stand.  Tell me what you think!

The Top 5 NCAA DIVISION I 165 lbs Wrestlers in the 21st Century to not All American



This is a topic that has been talked to death.  Yet, it's usually discussed from an overall standpoint. I don't know if it's ever been discussed weight by weight.  So as a result, I'm going to do that.  I took a look at all 10 weight classes in Division I and I put together who I thought the top five best wrestlers at each weight class were that never made All American status during their career.

I realize that most likely I'm going to get a lot of feedback about the guys I overlooked or the guys I forgot. Trust me, I most likely already know.  It was very difficult narrowing it down to five guys per weight. 

I write this because I feel that we as a whole, we as a wrestling community tend to put too much emphasis on the NCAA tournament alone.  There have been wrestlers in our past and their will be wrestlers in our future who achieve an assortment of credentials, but fall short of All American status.  I personally feel that these wrestlers should still be celebrated.  Still be remembered.  And this is my way of doing it.

Here are who I consider to be the top Five at 165 lbs.


#5
Nick Baima
Northern Iowa
124 career wins, a Midland's title and the Western Wrestling Conference wrestler of the tournament as well as wrestler of the year it seemed the only thing left for Baima to do was to go into the NCAA tournament and come home with a medal.  Unfortunately, Baima would lose out to Central Michigan's Matt Miller in the blood round.

#4
Levi Prevost
Wyoming
A two time Western Regional Champion, Levi Prevost of Wyoming earned the #10 seed as a junior and the #9 seed as a senior at the NCAA tournament.  Both years he would finish one match shy of All American status, including losing in the final seconds 7-6 to Ohio State's John Clark in his final collegiate match.  Prevost had many notable wins during his career and most certainly deserves to be mentioned when fans speak of the best to never AA.

#3
Ralph Everett
Hofstra
Three time NCAA champion Greg Jones of West Virginia only lost three times during his illustrious career and one of those losses was to Ralph Everett of Hofstra.  Along with being one of only three to hand Jones a loss, Everett was a two time CAA conference champion. As a senior he finished in second place at the Midland's championships and he received the #6 seed at the NCAA tournament.   He finished one match shy of All American status as a both a junior and a senior.

#2
Nick Passolano
Iowa State 
Wrestling isn't a sport for the selfless. It's not kind to kind.  It's not a sport to be a nice guy in and that may very well be the case with Nick Passolano.  After second and third place finishes at the BIG 12 tournament, which gave him #7 and #8 seeds at the NCAA's,  Passolano looked poised and ready to win his first conference title and his first All American honor as a senior.  For the betterment of the team, Passolano put his fellow Cyclones first and moved up to 174 lbs.  In my opinion I think had Passolano stayed at 165 lbs, he probably wouldn't be on this list.  Finishes of seventh and third at the Midland's as well as victories of Oklahoma State four time All American Tyrone Lewis and two time All American Tyron Woodley of Missouri help me to justify my feelings.
#1
Pat Pitsch
Arizona State 
He certainly came close.  That's for sure.  Arizona State's Pat Pitsch won three PAC-12 titles, earned the #10 seed as a sophomore and the #11 seed as a junior, finishing one match shy of All American status all three years.  He was also a four time CKLV place-winner going 8th, 4th, 5th, 5th at the tournament.


Who did I miss?

Nick Frost of Arizona State?
JJ Holmes of Eastern Michigan?

Let me know!










The Top 5 NCAA DIVISION I 157 lbs Wrestlers in the 21st Century to not All American




This is a topic that has been talked to death.  Yet, it's usually discussed from an overall standpoint. I don't know if it's ever been discussed weight by weight.  So as a result, I'm going to do that.  I took a look at all 10 weight classes in Division I and I put together who I thought the top five best wrestlers at each weight class were that never made All American status during their career.

I realize that most likely I'm going to get a lot of feedback about the guys I overlooked or the guys I forgot. Trust me, I most likely already know.  It was very difficult narrowing it down to five guys per weight. 

I write this because I feel that we as a whole, we as a wrestling community tend to put too much emphasis on the NCAA tournament alone.  There have been wrestlers in our past and their will be wrestlers in our future who achieve an assortment of credentials, but fall short of All American status.  I personally feel that these wrestlers should still be celebrated.  Still be remembered.  And this is my way of doing it.

Here are who I consider to be the top Five at 157 lbs.

#5
Jeremiah Jarvis
UC Davis

He was the first Aggie to win a PAC-12 title, and he also had finishes of second and third during his career as well.  A Reno champion, Jarvis also had victories over NCAA champion Matt Gentry of Stan
#4
Tony Hook
Oregon State
I wasn't able to find much on statistics or credentials of Tony Hook of Oregon State, so I had to put Tony Hook in the #4 spot based on memory. I remember a guy that seemed to upset a lot of wrestlers and a guy that I know made the PAC-12 finals at least once in his career.  I didn't start keeping my own records of NCAA Division I wrestling until the 2008-2009 season which was after Hook had already graduated.  His senior year he went into the NCAA tournament and had his way with three time All American Dustin Manotti of Cornell in a 13-5 annihilation.  He'd then lose a tiebreaker to eventual NCAA finalist Brian Stith of Arizona State. In the consolations Hook would knock off #2 seed C.P. Schlatter of Minnesota before losing out in the bloodround to eventual NCAA Champion Trent Paulson of Iowa State in a wild 10-6 match.
#3
Jonny Bonilla Bowman
Hofstra 
It's heartbreaking and rather depressing to think of how Jonny Bonilla Bowman's career came to an end. After winning an ACC title as a freshman for Virginia Tech, Bonilla Bowman would win two CAA titles for Hofstra in his sophomore and junior years.  As a senior he was upset by Drexel's Joe Booth in the semi-finals and came back to finish in third place. He was unable to compete in the NCAA tournament and that might have been a good thing for Boise State's Adam Hall who otherwise would have faced him in the first round. Bonilla-Bowman was known for knocking guys out of the championship bracket and into the consolations.  As a sophomore Bonilla-Bowman knocked #4 seed Brandon Becker of Indiana into the consolations with a 5-3 loss (Becker would come back  to finish fourth.)  As a junior Bonilla-Bowman knocked eventual three time All American Jason Welch of Northwestern out of the tournament with a 12-3 major decision.  Twice in the blood round, Bonilla Bowman would lose out on All American status both times by a riding time point.

#2
Rocky Smart
Arizona State 
It's often said that you need to have a little bit of luck and a good draw at the NCAA tournament.  Neither of which former Sun Devil Rocky Smart had during his career.  A two time third place finisher at the PAC-12 championships, Smart also had a runner-up Reno finish and a fourth place finish at the CKLV invitational in his resume.  In both his junior and senior seasons, he would lose first round at the NCAA tournament and work his way back through the consolation only to lose in the match to place. Among notable wins in Smart's career, he defeated NCAA champion Matt Gentry on more than one occasion.
Image result for Cole Sanderson Iowa State
#1
Cole Sanderson
Iowa State 
His younger brother Cael at 159-0 and four NCAA titles is who many consider to be the greatest NCAA Division I wrestler of all time.  His older brother Cody, a two time NCAA runner-up, some argue is one of the best lightweights to never win a title. His baby brother Cyler, a BIG 10 champion and a two time All American in his own right.  Where does that leave Cole? The best 157 lbs wrestler to never make All American status.  Taking third at the BIG 12 tournament his first three seasons, Sanderson would finally make the finals as a senior.  Twice making the round of twelve, Sanderson earned seeds in his final three NCAA tournaments coming in at #10 as a sophomore and #7 as a junior and senior.


Who would you have added that I didn't?

Jim Medeiros of Fresno State?
Kurt Kinser of Indiana?

Let me know!









The Top 5 NCAA DIVISION I 149 lbs Wrestlers in the 21st Century to not All American



This is a topic that has been talked to death.  Yet, it's usually discussed from an overall standpoint. I don't know if it's ever been discussed weight by weight.  So as a result, I'm going to do that.  I took a look at all 10 weight classes in Division I and I put together who I thought the top five best wrestlers at each weight class were that never made All American status during their career.

I realize that most likely I'm going to get a lot of feedback about the guys I overlooked or the guys I forgot. Trust me, I most likely already know.  It was very difficult narrowing it down to five guys per weight. 

I write this because I feel that we as a whole, we as a wrestling community tend to put too much emphasis on the NCAA tournament alone.  There have been wrestlers in our past and their will be wrestlers in our future who achieve an assortment of credentials, but fall short of All American status.  I personally feel that these wrestlers should still be celebrated.  Still be remembered.  And this is my way of doing it.

Here are who I consider to be the top Five at 149 lbs.

#5
Karl Nadolsky
Michigan State
With wins over Travis Shufelt of Nebraska, Ty Eustice of Iowa. Mike Zadick of Iowa, and Adam Tirapelle of Illinois, Michigan State's Karl Nadolsky comes in at fifth.  Nadolsky finished one match shy of All American status in 2003 as a senior.

#4
Mitch Mueller
Iowa State
Coming in at #4 on my list is Iowa State's Mitch Mueller.  Along with being a three time BIG 12 runner up, Mueller was also a three time Midland's place winner.  Receiving the #7 seed at the 2010 NCAA's as a senior, he finished one match shy of All American status his final two years as a Cyclone.  Notable victories include Nathan Morgan of Oklahoma State, Don Fisch of Rider, Kyle Borschoff of American, and Jason Chamberlain of Boise State.

#3
Marc Hoffer
American
When fans think of American Wrestling and who was the first wrestler to bring attention to the program, a name that gets overlooked far more than it should is Marc Hoffer.  Even though Hoffer never made All American status he was a first of many for the Eagle program.  A two time CAA conference champion, Hoffer was the first American University wrestler to ever be ranked.  He was the first American University wrestler to ever get an invitation to the NWCA All Star classic.  125 career wins, Hoffer finished one match shy of an NCAA medal at both the 1999 and the 2002 NCAA tournaments.

#2
Cole Von Ohlen
Air Force
Not only did you expect Cole Von Ohlen to be an All American during his career, he made you think from the get go that being a four time All American was a very realistic possibility.  Records of 31-9 as a freshman, 44-9 as a sophomore, 32-4 as a junior and 27-4 as a senior gave testimony to the belief.  A four time conference finalist, winning two titles, Von Ohlen made the finals of CKLV (twice), Reno and the Southern Scuffle.  The #9 seed as a sophomore, the #3 seed as a junior and the #4 seed as a senior,  Von Ohlen finished one win away from All American status his final two years as a Falcon.


#1
Jake Sueflohn
Nebraska
Not only does Jake Sueflohn come in at #1 at 149 lbs, he could easily make a case as the best wrestler period, to never achieve All American Status.  A Reno champion, 3rd-3rd-2nd at CKLV and a 3rd place finish at the Midland's championships.  Two BIG 10 runner-up finishes.  He received a seed at the NCAA's every year coming in at #10, #9, #6 and #7.  After sitting out in 2015 due to a torn ACL, Sueflohn came back in 2016 looking as tough as ever.  Even though his BIG 10 performance of 5th wasn't where he wanted it to be, he came into the NCAA's on fire majoring Kent State's Mike DePalma 10-1.  Somehow or another while DePalma worked his way back to an All American finish, Sueflohn would lose two close heartbreaker's in a row to finish one match shy of a medal for himself.   Alex Kocer of South Dakota State, Eric Grajales of Michigan, Andrew Alton of Penn State, and B.J. Clagon of Rider are a few of the many names that Sueflohn defeated during his time as a Cornhusker.