As crazy & loaded as each weight class already is with wrestlers trying to make the NCAA tournament this weekend, the truth is it could be even more competitive than what it already is!
Here is a list of some of the top wrestlers in the 2021-2022 season that had to miss out because of injury.
|Spencer Lee of Iowa|
Nothing in NCAA DI wrestling is a guarantee, but when you're already a three time National Champion, who has kicked the crap out of nearly everyone you've stepped on the mat with, your chances are pretty good. Take nothing away from Nick Suriano of MICHIGAN, Pat Glory of Princeton Or Vitali Arujau of Cornell, but each has to be thanking whoever they pray to that Lee is no longer standing in the way. From a team perspective, Penn State knows good and well how valuable Lee's points would have been to Iowa.
|Liam Cronin of Nebraska|
125 lbs in the BIG 10 is already a convoluted mess. Just think about how much tougher it'd be if two time NCAA qualifier Liam Cronin were looking to steal a spot right now. It'd make getting a trip to the NCAA's all the tougher.
|Brandon Paetzell of Lehigh|
Again nothing is a guarantee & Lehigh does have Malyke Hines an EIWA champion at 133 lbs, but still Brandon Paetzell is a two time EIWA 3rd place finisher & if he were healthy right now, he'd make whatever bracket it was more competitive.
|Matt Schmitt of Missouri |
Schmitt is a three time NCAA qualifier, who has made the R12 at the NCAA tournament who I believe with victories over Kyle Biscoglia of Northern Iowa & Anthony Madrigal of Oklahoma would be heavily contending for BIG 12 Runner-up honors this weekend. Missouri ought to qualify 9 wrestlers to the NCAA's this year as far as I'm concerned. Schmitt would've made 10.
|Mike Carr of Illinois|
Not 100% Sure but believe 149
If you read JT#1 on a regular basis you know that I've been a big fan/supporter of Christian Kanzler all season but it doesn't refute the fact that Mike Carr is a two time NCAA qualifier, who has made the BIG 10 finals & the R12 at the NCAA tournament.
|Jesse Vasquez of Arizona State|
Vasquez is an outstanding freshman with a promising career who was having an outstanding season until he got injured against returning NCAA champion Nick Lee of Penn State. His season ended prematurely 7-1.
|Mitch Moore of Oklahoma |
Another NCAA R12'er, who has made both the ACC & the BIG 12 finals in his career, think of how much tougher 149 lbs would be if Mitch Moore weren't injured.
|Justin Ruffin of Southern Illinois Edwardsville|
I believe that if Justin Ruffin were 100% that he'd be contending for an MAC title this weekend.
|Demetrius Romero of Utah Valley|
6th in the nation last year & a two time BIG 12 champion, think of how much tougher 165 lbs would be this season if Demetrius Romero of Utah Valley hadn't gotten hurt.
|Jake Tucker of Michigan State|
Tucker is a two time NCAA qualifier for the Spartans. I believe that if he were healthy right now, that he'd have earned an allocation.
|Nelson Brands of Iowa|
Even if healthy, as loaded as the Hawkeye lineup is, not 100% positive if Brands would be the starter or not. Nevertheless he's not 100% right now because of injury and that makes a major difference. Brands is an NCAA qualifier & he has a lot of quality victories thus far in his career.
|Jackson Turley of Rutgers|
Turley was 8th in the nation last season, you know good and well how much tougher 174 lbs would be if he were competing.
|AJ Ferarri of Oklahoma State|
I'm sure there will be comments made, but it doesn't change the fact that 197 lbs is drastically different this season now that Oklahoma State's A.J. Ferrari is out. Again, nothing is a guarantee, but the 2021 NCAA champion was looking just as good as he was last year.
|Anthony Montalvo of Oklahoma State|
Not 100% sure
I don't know what weight class Montalvo would be competing at, but what I do know is that the BIG 12 3rd place finisher would be competing for both a high placement in the BIG 12 & NCAA All American honors if he were healthy this season.
|Jacob Holschlag of Northern Iowa|
Holschlag was 5th in the nation all the way back in 2018. Then he got hurt & Schwab could just never get him healthy again. Shame, because if he were 100%, as tough as 197 already is, it'd be even tougher.
|Tanner Harvey of Oregon State|
A two time NCAA qualifier who owns a 3rd place finish in the EIWA, I was anxious to see how Harvey would do in the PAC-12 this season. Could he have given Arizona State's Kordell Norfleet a run for his $$? Not sure about that, but what I am sure of is that he'd most likely have been Norfleet's opponent in the finals & that he would have earned trip #3 to the NCAA's.
|Yaraslau Slavilouski of Harvard|
A lot of positive things are happening at Harvard & they will continue to, but I feel their momentum slowed down drastically when Slavilouski was injured at CKLV earlier this season. An EIWA runner-up, I believe he once again would have been the EIWA runner-up again this season & contended for All American honors.
There you have it. I'm sure I missed some but these were all of the top notch wrestlers I could think of that if healthy would be making a difference this weekend. Let me know if I missed anyone. I sure didn't mean to!