Tuesday, March 12, 2024

In Contention for an At Large/Wildcard Bid NCAA DI = 174 lbs

 Here's where things get super interesting.  We only have four at large bids to be handed out here & one of them is already spoken for. So in reality we only have three that will be fought for & trust me, we have way more than three wrestlers in contention for one of these spots.  174 is a convoluted mess & I for one will be very interested to see who gets the nod & who doesn't. 

Carter Starocci
Penn State

A three time NCAA DI champion, who's lost exactly twice in his entire collegiate career if we're talking actually "someone beat him" losses.  He's going to the NCAA DI tournament this year & he's most likely going to win his fourth title. 

That's out of the way.  Time to dive into the mess that is 174 lbs....

Danny Wask

Navy freshman Danny Wask presents a strong case.  23 wins on the season he won the Navy Classic & he finished 4th at Cliff Keen Las Vegas.  He more than has the W's.  A 7-6 decision over SOCON champ Austin Murphy, he also owns a 3-2 tiebreaker over Alex Faison of North Carolina State. 

D.J. Washington

It makes me sick to my stomach to think that three time NCAA DI qualifier, D.J. Washington of Indiana might not get in this year.  What he has going against him is that towards the end of the season he just seemed to fall apart.  What he has going for him, is that he started off '23-'24 fairly strong.  He majored  MAC champ Alex Cramer of Central Michigan 15-4.  On top of that he owns two technical falls over MAC runner-up Michael Wilson of Rider (18-3 & 17-1).  He also owns a 4-2 decision over EIWA runner-up Ben Pasiuk of Army.  If beginning of the season results hold as much weight as do end of the season results, this poses well for the Hoosier. 

Sal Perrine

Some might take issue with me putting Sal Perrine of Ohio on this list, considering he had such a disappointing MAC tournament.  My response to that is simple.  The entire point of the way the qualification system works (or at least is supposed to) is that it is to encompass the entire season.  Perrine has done enough this year to warrant himself in contention for a 2024 Q.  8-5 over Murphy, he also owns an 8-5 s.v. over Cael Valencia of Arizona State & a 7-3 decision over Oklahoma State's Braydon Thompson.  He was 5th at CKLV. 

Luca Augustine

The young Panther makes his case for NCAA qualification with some notable wins.  He absolutely destroyed Valencia 14-2.  He also owns a 13-4 win over Michael Wilson & a 2-1 tiebreaker over Braydon Thompson.  Perhaps most impressive a 5-4 decision over Iowa State's M.J. Gaitan & a 4-2 decision over Justin McCoy of Virginia. 

Tate Picklo

I think I gotta mention the Sooner when talking about possible at large/wildcard bids.  Among his victories this season a 7-2 decision over Cramer, a 5-2 s.v. over Braydon Thompson & an 8-4 decision over BIG 12 runner-up Gaven Sax of North Dakota State. 

Tyler Brennan 
Little Rock

It's been outright amazing the fantastic job that Neil Erisman & staff have been doing at Little Rock.  Outright, four Trojans qualified for the NCAA championships & when it is all said and done, perhaps five will be going.  Tyler Brennan took 3rd in a PAC-12 bracket that took the top two.  19-5 on the season, he owns a 6-0 win over Valencia. 

Bubba Wilson

Would love to see Bubba Wilson of Nebraska get a nod, but I'm not sure if he has the credentials this year to get in or not. 16 wins on the season, his most impressive is a 5-2 decision over Alex Faison of North Carolina State. 

Jared Simma
Northern Iowa

And yet we have another candidate for NCAA DI qualification here at 174 lbs.  17 wins on the season, Jared Simma owns a 3:41 fall over Faison. 


From where I stand 8 wrestlers fighting over the last three spots trying to get into the 2024 NCAA DI championships at 174 lbs.  Shame we couldn't have a wrestle-off for them.  8 man bracket, top 3 go.  Doesn't work that way, so subjectivity will come into play.  I'm anxious to see who the three will be.  I think I made cases for each of them. 

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