Friday, March 11, 2022

2022's Best Backups in DI

 Now that the NCAA DI brackets are out & we've had time to fill them out & share who we think will be national champions  and All Americans we sit in anticipation for the NCAA DI wrestling tournament to start. In the meantime some of us will be enjoying the DII & DIII tournaments, and as we do, I thought it might be fun to look over the best backups of the 2021-2022 season. 

It's hard to win a national title. It's hard to be an All American. It's hard to qualify for the national tournament, AND above anything else it's hard just to make a lineup!  It's one thing to hear someone say that, but it's a whole other thing to see it illustrated out in front of you.  

What this list is NOT, is a list of wrestlers who are currently redshirting. There is a ton of tremendous talent that redshirted this season. I'm well aware of who they are, but this list will not be focusing on them. 

This is list will also NOT include talent that is listed as officially hurt. I wrote an article earlier entitled, "Injuries Suck!" that focused on wrestlers who were injured. 

What this list is, is a list of some very good wrestlers who fought for a varsity position & lost it out to someone else.  

Take a look, you may be surprised how good some of these backups are. There are some very good wrestlers on this list. 

Michael Beard of Penn State
197 lbs
Status = Max Dean's Backup 

Last season Michael Beard finished off the year with a 7th place finish at the NCAA tournament.  This season, he's Max Dean's backup. Nevertheless he's still had some highlights in the 21'-22' season which include a 14-6 major decision over Army's J.T. Brown & a 6-2 decision over Michigan State's Cam Caffey. 

Cullen Schriever of Iowa
133 lbs
Status = Austin DeSanto's backup 

Iowa's Cullen Schriever will be an excellent replacement for Austin DeSanto next season. He already owns victories over MAC champion Richie Koehler of Rider as well as Derek Spann of Buffalo & Kyle Biscoglia of Northern Iowa. He was 4th at the Southern Scuffle 

Vince Turk of Iowa
149 lbs 
Status = Max Murin's backup 

Vince Turk ends his career as a Hawkeye the backup to Max Murin this season & in all truth that Murin himself as well as the Hawkeye coaching staff would admit, a lot of the reason why Murin has had such a successful season. When you have someone as good as Turk pushing you in the room, you can't help but improve and get better.  A guy that had a successful career (IMO) despite not finishing it off as the varsity starter, keep in mind that one of Austin Gomez's (BIG 10 champion)  toughest matches this year was when he squeaked by Turk 3-2. 

Brennan Swafford of Iowa
174 lbs
Status = One of Mike Kemerer's backups 

174 at Iowa is very deep & it'll be just as much of a fight for that varsity position in 2022-2023 as it was this year. Swafford is a very good back up who took an impressive 6th at the Southern Scuffle earlier this season. 

Myles Wilson of Iowa
184 lbs 
Status = Abe Assad's backup 

We really haven't gotten a chance to see how good Wilson is yet, but I'm hoping that we'll have more a chance to next season. I have a feeling he's good enough to place at a tournament like the Midlands or the Mat Men Open, & hopefully we get to see him have the opportunity in 22'-23'. 

Aaron Costello of Iowa
Status = Tony Cassioppi's backup 

With so much focus and attention on Tony Cassioppi, I don't know if fans are aware of just how good his backup Aaron Costello is. This season alone he has wins over Tyrell Gordon of Northern Iowa, Michael Wolfgram of West Virginia & Tyrie Houghton of North Carolina State. Not to mention he placed 4th at the Southern Scuffle. 

Jack Medley of Michigan
125 lbs 
Status = Nick Suriano's backup 

Even before it was made official that Nick Suriano was going to be a Wolverine this year, Michigan already had a very respectable starter in Jack Medley.  A NCAA qualifier in 2020, Medley was 4th at CKLV earlier this season & had two victories over Columbia's Joe Manchio. 

Drew Mattin of Michigan
133 lbs 
Status = Dylan Ragusin's Backup 

To give you a clear idea of just how deep the Michigan lineup is, Drew Mattin is a three time NCAA qualifier.  Among a great career's worth of work, this season alone he has wins over Wisconsin's Kyle Burwick, Iowa State's Ramazan Attasauov, Penn's Michael Colaiocco & Rutger's Joey Olivieri. 

Jelani Embree of Michigan
184 lbs
Status = Myles Amine's backup 

Michigan will feel the loss of Myles Amine after this season, but Jelani Embree will be there to soften the blow. An NCAA qualifier in 2020, he'll be among the All American contenders in the 22'-23' season. 

Jarrett Trombley of North Carolina State
133 lbs
Status = Kai Orine's backup 

A two time NCAA qualifier, this season Trombley lost out to Kai Orine for the starting spot on the Wolfpack lineup. Having beat Orine in the past, I have no doubt that the battle for varsity will be as fierce next season as it was this season. Trombley defeated Campbell's Dominic Zaccone 9-4 earlier this year. 

A.J. Kovacs of North Carolina State
165 lbs 
Status = Ed Scott's backup 

As good as Ed Scott is and as well as he's done this season, it may come as a shock to you that he had to fight tooth and nail for his varsity position on the Wolfpack team. He didn't win every wrestle-off against teammate A.J. Kovacs either & Kovacs owns a very impressive 10-3 decision over SOCON champion Dazjon Casto of the Citadel too. 

Nick Reenan of North Carolina State
184 lbs
Status = Trent Hidlay's backup 

Talent wise I'm at a position to say that I think Nick Reenan could have fought among the best of the best in the nation this season for a top 8 All American finish. It's simply that in his own wrestling room, he has NCAA title contender Trent Hidlay ahead of him. None the less, Reenan's career will close out a three time NCAA qualifier, who in his final season owned a 10-3 decision over SOCON champion Caleb Hopkins of Campbell. 

Owen Trephan & Deonte Wilson of North Carolina State
Status = Backups to Tyrie Houghton 

You really want to talk depth in a room?  Let's talk about North Carolina State at HWT.  Here we have Deonte Wilson a two time NCAA qualifier, with a 3-1 victory over West Virginia's Michael Wolfgram & Owen Trephan, and neither of them are varsity! This year alone Trephan has defeated The Citadel's Michael McAleavey, Binghamton's Joe Doyle & has a major decision over South Dakota State's A.J. Nevills. 

Julian Chelbove of Arizona State 
133 lbs
Status = Michael McGee's backup 

Probably looking at being McGee's backup again next season, Chelbove is an excellent backup for the Sun Devils at 133 lbs. Earlier this season he majored Sid Flores of Air Force 16-3. 

Brendan Ferman of Cornell
Status = Lewis Fernandes' backup 

Ferman has defeated Ferandes in the past so there's a chance he could win back the varsity spot in 22'-23' but this year the 2020 NCAA qualifier was a backup. 

Rocky Jordan of Ohio State
184 lbs
Status = Backup to Kaleb Romero 

Last season the two time NCAA qualifier was one match shy of being an NCAA All American. This season, he was behind Kaleb Romero in the lineup. Nevertheless still defeated John Poznanski of Rutgers & Clay Lautt of North Carolina when he did start for the Buckeyes in duals this season. 

Reece Witcraft of Oklahoma State 
125 lbs
Status = Backup to Trevor Mastrogiovanni 

Behind Trevor Mastrogiovanni this season, Witcraft was an NCAA qualifier in 2020. 

Dusty Hone of Oklahoma State
141 lbs
Status = Backup to Carter Young 

Another talented backup in the Cowboy lineup is Dusty Hone who was also an NCAA qualifier in 2020. 

Austin Harris of Oklahoma State
Status = Backup to Luke Surber 

Last season Harris finished one match shy of being an NCAA All American. In his final season as a Cowboy he lost his spot to Luke Surber. Yet, I'd still say he ended on somewhat of a high note as his final match in the Orange & Black was defeated 2022 SOCON Runner-up Michael McAleavey of The Citadel 8-1 for 7th place at the Southern Scuffle. 

Dack Punke of Missouri
125 lbs 
Status = Backup to Noah Surtin of Missouri 

One of Noah Surtin's backups at Missouri is Dack Punke, an NCAA qualifier in 2019. 

Aaron Nagao of Minnesota
133 lbs
Status = Backup to Jake Gliva 

A very tough backup on the Minnesota Golden-Gopher squad, Nagao defeated SOCON champion Codi Russell of Appalachian State earlier this season & he also made the Southern Scuffle finals. 

Marcos Polanco of Minnesota
141 lbs
Status = Backup to Jake Bergeland 

A backup to Jake Bergeland this season, Marcos Polanco was an NCAA qualifier last season & earlier this year he defeated Cael Happel of Northern Iowa 5-2. 

Andrew Sparks of Minnesota
165 lbs 
Status = Backup to Cael Carlson 

Sparks battled with Cael Carlson for the starting spot at 165 lbs all season & eventually succumbed to his talented teammate. He'll battle hard for the spot against next season. Sparks was an NCAA qualifier last year. 

Garrett Joles of Minnesota
197 lbs 
Status = Backup to Michial Foy 

Another tough backup for the Golden Gophers is Garrett Joes who defeated Owen Pentz of North Dakota State twice this season. Once 12-5 & again by fall in 4:52. 

Sammy Alvarez of Rutgers
141 lbs
Status = Backup to Sebastian Rivera

A two time NCAA qualifier don't be surprised to see Alvarez compete for All American honors in 2023. He defeated Chattanooga's Brayden Palmer earlier this season 12-5. 

Corey Cabanban of Iowa State
125 lbs 
Status = Backup to Kysen Terukina 

Iowa State's Corey Cabanban narrowly missed being a varsity starter this season as his matches with starter Kysen Terukina have all be very close. During the season he defeated BIG 12 runner-up Brody Teske of Northern Iowa. 

Zach Redding of Iowa State
141 lbs
Status = Backup to Ian Parker 

Redding was an NCAA qualifier last season. 

Austin Kraisser of Iowa State
165 lbs
Status = Backup to Isaac Judge 

Although Kraisser was never an NCAA qualifier & he did not end his career at Iowa State as the varsity starter he was still one Hell of a good hand for the Cyclones the past two seasons (& at Campbell before that.)  This year alone he defeated Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State, Tanner Cook of South Dakota State, Marcus Petite of Buffalo & Bubba Wilson of Nebraska. 

Julien Broderson of Iowa State
174 lbs
Status = Back up to Joel Devine 

A backup at 174 for the Cyclones, Broderson still put together an impressive season with wins over Nick Fine of Columbia, Albert Urias of CSU-Bakersfield & Cael Valencia of Arizona State. 

Jaime Hernandez of North Carolina 
133 lbs 
Status = Backup to Joe Heilmann 

A backup to Joe Heilmann, Hernandez is a very tough wrestler who defeated both Dominic Zaccone of Campbell & Kyle Burwick of Wisconsin this season. He was an NCAA qualifier in 2020. 

Chase Zollman of Wyoming 
141 lbs 
Status = Backup to Darren Green 

A backup for the Cowboys this season Zollman qualified for the NCAA's last year & owns a victory over Angelo Martinoni of CSU-Bakersfield this season. 

Cole Moody of Wyoming
165 lbs 
Status = Backup to Cooper Voorhees

Moody did not have many starts this season, which really surprised me. However, I never saw any report on him being injured or hurt.  HE was an NCAA qualifier last season. 

Julian Farber of Northern Iowa
133 lbs
Status = Backup to Kyle Biscoglia 

Farber is an excellent backup to Kyle Biscoglia & will challenge him for the varsity position again next season. Earlier this year Farber took an impressive 4th place finish at the Matmen Open. 

Tristan Lara of Northern Iowa
149 lbs
Status = Backup to Colin Realbuto 

Things are a little cryptic at Northern Iowa & I'm not exactly sure what the situation is here but I do know that Realbuto started this season & Lara did not. Lara was an NCAA qualifier last season. 

Pat Schoenfelder of Northern Iowa
174 lbs 
Status = backup to Lance Runyon 

Up until Lance Runyon returned to the UNI lineup, Schoenfelder was the starter for the Panthers and was proving himself to be one Hell of a hand. His most impressive victories this season where Brennan Swafford of Iowa & Peyton Mocco of Missouri. 

Carter Isley of Northern Iowa 
Status = Backup to Tyrell Gordon 

Isley was a two time NCAA qualifier during his career, who did not start this season. 

Bryant Manzona of Lehigh
149 lbs
Status = Backup to Max Brignola 

I actually thought Lehigh would go with Manzona at the EIWA's but they went with Brignola instead. Among Manzona's more than respectable season, a 7-5 victory over Iowa's Max Murin. 

Drew Marten of Central Michigan 
141 lbs 
Status = Backup to Dresden Simon 

A backup to Simon this season, Marten was an NCAA qualifier in 2020. 

Jordan Hamdan of Michigan State
133 lbs
Status = Backup to Matt Santos  

An NCAA qualifier last season Hamdan lost his starting spot to Matt Santos. 

Austin Brenner of North Dakota State
174 lbs
Status = Not 100% positive 

I don't know exactly what happened with Austin Brenner. What I can tell you is that come the BIG 12's he wasn't starting for the Bison. The other thing I can tell you is that if indeed he was beat out for the position & he is a true backup, he's one of the best in the country.  Placing 4th at the Southern Scuffle, he defeated both Bailee O'Reilly of Minnesota & Matt Finesilver of Duke this season. 

Isaiah Delgado of Utah Valley 
141 lbs 
Status = Backup to Ty Smith 

A unique situation at Utah Valley. Seems that Delgado can figure out just about everybody other than his teammate Ty Smith. This season he has wins over Daren Green, Chase Zollman & Angelo Martinoni. 

Luke Werner of Lock Haven
125 lbs
Status = Backup to Anthony Noto 

My heart breaks for Luke Werner. A career full of unfortunate circumstances & bad luck, I thought finally, he's gonna get his shot this season. Then along came freshman sensation Anthony Noto who is turning out to be one of the best Bald Eagles of the modern era. Over the years Werner had a lot of notable victories, was an NCAA qualifier in 2020 & was only 3 matches shy of 100 career wins. 

Mosha Schwartz of Oklahoma 
Status = Backup to Anthony Madrigal

A late transfer to the Sooners from Northern Colorado, Schwartz did battle Madrigal for the starting position, including earning a 3-2 win over him. He also defeated Haiden Drury of Utah Valley this season. Schwartz is a two time NCAA qualifier. 

Dom Demas of Oklahoma 
141/149 lbs
Status = Don't know 

There is a story here &  I have no idea what it is. What I can tell you is that Dom Demas didn't start for the Sooners much this season & he didn't start at the BIG 12 tournament. He defeated MAC champion Kody Komara 6-3 earlier this season. 

Darrien Roberts of Oklahoma
184 lbs
Status = Backup to Keegan Moore 

Roberts is yet another pheonomenal backup in the country.  He majored Layne Malczewski of Michigan State 11-3 earlier this season. 

Corey Shie of Army 
141 lbs
Status = Backup to Thomas Deck 

A 2019 NCAA qualifier, Shie lost his starting spot to Thomas Deck this season. Nevertheless he still had some highlights including a 3-2 victory over Wil Gil of Franklin & Marshall & pinning Lehigh's Connor McGonagle in only 51 seconds. 

Ben Sullivan Army
Status = Don't know for sure 

I honestly thought Ben Sullivan's career was already said & done but then he showed up for the dual against Iowa Sate.  Never heard a report on him being injured or hurt, so gotta go with what I know & call the 2020 NCAA qualifier one of the best backups. 

Jacob Oliver of Edinboro 
174 lbs
Status = The greatest mystery in NCAA DI Wrestling 

I can't tell you how many times I tried to get to the bottom of what was going on with Oliver. Truth is he probably doesn't even belong on this list & he's probably suffering an injury that no one wants to come forth about. I think he has one more year of eligibility left, so hopefully we see the three time NCAA qualifier back in action next season. 

Anthony Brito of Appalachian State 
141 lbs
Status = Backup to Heath Gonyer 

It was a war for the 141 starting spot at Appalachian State between Brito & Gonyer, that Gonyer eventually won. The War will continue next season. Brito was an NCAA qualifier last season. 

Denton Spencer of Virginia
157 lbs
Status = Backup to Jake Keating 

A backup to Jake Keating, Spencer defeated MAC champion Ben Barton of Lock Haven 6-4 earlier this season. 

Mario Guillen of Ohio 
141 lbs
Status = backup to Kyran Hagan

A backup to Kyran Hagan this season, Guillen is a two time NCAA qualifier. 


This list is LONG isn't it?  To think I probably missed some notable wrestlers too! Just goes to show you at this level even calling yourself a varsity starter is a war! 


No comments:

Post a Comment