Sunday, March 10, 2024

In Contention For An At Large/WildCard Bid NCAA DI = 125 lbs

 It only took till near 11:30 p.m. central time for all of the NCAA Division I qualifiers to be said & done, but now that they finally are, it's time to start thinking about At Large Bids/Wildcards.  Not everyone earned an automatic allocation and each weight class a certain number of allotments given for At Large/Wildcard bids.  125 lbs has six spots available.  Here's who I think is in contention for those spots. 

Nico Provo
Northern Colorado 

I can all but guarantee that one of our six Wildcard selections here at 125 lbs will be Stevo Poulin of Northern Colorado.  A BIG 12 champion last year, he simply fell one match short of automatic qualification with a 7th place finish this year.  This season he is 18-4, a Southern Scuffle champ & he defeated this year's BIG 12 champ in the dual meet.  There's no way he's being left home.  He's going. 

Brandon Kaylor
Oregon State 

An NCAA DI 8th place All American in '22 & a PAC-12 champion last year, I'd also put money on Brandon Kaylor of Oregon State being selected as an at large bid. He unfortunately dropped a heartbreaker in the true-2nd place match at this year's PAC 12's, but I can't see that keeping him out of the tournament. He has some quality wins on the year & he was 4th at the prestigious CKLV. 

Diego Sotelo

I feel extremely confident that Poulin & Kaylor will be 2/6 of our wildcards here, but as I try and determine the other 4/6, things get a little fuzzier.  I think Diego Sotelo of Harvard is a solid candidate.  I realize that the Midlands was rather water downed, so maybe mentioning a 5th place finish there isn't worth mentioning.  I do think though, that what does hold a lot of weight in favor of Sotelo getting a ticket to the NCAA's is an 11-8 win over Anthony Noto of Lock Haven.  When it comes down to cutting time, that one win could be what separates a Q from a DNQ. 

Eli Griffin
California Baptist 

Eli Griffin of California Baptist I feel is a very strong candidate for NCAA at large/wildcard qualification. 20 wins on the season, he owns a very impressive 15-0 technical fall over Max Gallagher of Penn. He also owns a 7-4 decision over Poulin, who defeated him for 7th place at the BIG 12's. 

Spencer Moore
North Carolina

Finishing 3rd in a weight class where he needed to finish in the top two, it wouldn't surprise me at all if Spencer Moore of North Carolina got a nod here at 125 lbs.  I think what he has going for him most is a 2-0 win over Kaylor. 

Brendan McCrone
Ohio State

Not a good BIG 10 tournament for the Buckeye freshman, but no matter, I think he may have enough quality wins to get into his first NCAA tournament. A 4-1 win over Tristan Lujan of Michigan State (who beat him for the Q) & a 7-1 win over Dean Peterson of Rutgers will help, but the real key that will probably unlock the door for McCrone is that 0:37 fall he had over ACC champ Jakob Camacho of NC State. 

Joey Fischer

Joey Fischer of Clarion presents a very convoluted situation.  On the one hand, he has some pretty ugly losses.  On the other hand, he owns a 9-6 decision over MAC champ Anthony Noto of Lock Haven.  I have to note what bothers me most about evaluating Fischer.  He eventually medical forfeited to 6th place in the MAC himself.  That isn't so much this issue.  This is....

Had he made it to the semi's and simply forfeited to 6th place, his chances for an at large/wildcard bid would actually be better.  Instead he tried to wrestle, ended up losing in the consolation semi-final & then forfeited to 6th place.  The actual loss in the consolation semis hurts him & makes it harder on him to receive that bid now.  Doesn't that seem ass backwards to you?  That if he would have just forfeited from the get go, he'd have a better shot at qualification?  Like it or not, that is the way wrestling works. You are better off to forfeit your way to 6th place than you are to wrestle your way to 6th place when it comes to getting a look for qualification.  The fact that is a reality in our sport, really rubs me the wrong way. 

Drew West
Gardner Webb

I hate saying this, but I actually doubt Drew West of Gardner Webb will get in.  I'd love to see him get in though.  He's been around forever, this is his final shot, & he pinned a guy to make the SOCON finals who had just manhandled him in a technical fall a month ago. 21-9 on the season, I hope he's at least in the discussion. 


These 8 guys are the guys that come to my mind as I evaluate 125 lbs. 

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