It's no secret to anyone that has paid attention to NCAA DI wrestling for long that the NCAA isn't too keen on doing the SOCON any favors. When it comes to looking over who all needs an at large bid/wildcard into the NCAA's, the SOCON is usually the last place they look. Nevertheless in the 2021-2022 season, I feel that there are four & I'll even make the case for five individuals who deserve those bids.
Here they are...
|125 lbs |
Caleb Smith of Appalachian State
Smith is an excellent candidate for an At Large/Wildcard bid. At the start of the Southern Conference championships he was ranked #25 in the nation. He finished 5th earlier this season at the Southern Scuffle & he has quality wins of 6-3 over Ryan Miller of Pennsylvania & 3-1 sudden victory over Korbin Meink of Campbell (who defeated him 5-3 sudden victory at the SOCON's).
|157 lbs |
Cody Bond of Appalachian State
At the start of the Southern Conference championships Bond was ranked #28. He finished as the SOCON runner-up. Both of those factors should help him in the case for NCAA qualification.
|165 lbs |
Will Formato of Appalachian State
Of all of the Southern Conference wrestlers looking for an At Large/Wildcard bid, Will Formato makes the best case.
#19 in the Nation
Finished 3rd at SOCON's when top 2 had allocations.
Has defeated Thomas Bullard of North Carolina State who will contend for an ACC title today twice by scores of 6-1 & 3-2. He also defeated R.J. Mosley of Gardner Webb, who defeated him 5-2 & eventually won the SOCON title, 2-1 tiebreaker.
I'd be very surprised if Formato doesn't get a bid.
|174 lbs |
I know each season is in & of it's own. That we're not supposed to look at last year, but still we're talking about a guy that was one match shy of All American last season. He lost in a tiebreaker in the SOCON finals this season. You'd have to think he's on the radar for NCAA qualification through the At Large/Wildcard selection.
We could be into wishful thinking category here, but if everything else at 197 lbs goes as it should (which it won't) then I'd think that Campbell's Chris Kober might stand a chance at getting into the NCAA's this year as an At Large/Wildcard bid. The two time Southern Conference champion, finished Runner-up this season in a bracket that was far tougher than it'll ever be given credit for being.