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Best weight at NCAAs this year and why?

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I haven't been able to keep up with the wrestling this season as much as I usually do - still planning on attending NCAAs next month though. Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on which weights will be the most exciting or "up for grabs" this year and why you think that.

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197 should be the bracket that blows up.  There isn't anyone untouchable and the top tier includes the most people than any other weight.

285 you have Tier 1 of Steveson

184 you have Tier 1 of 4 or 5 guys

174 you have Tier 1 of 5 or 6 guys

165 you have Tier 1 of 6 or 7 guys

157 you have Tier 1 of 2 or 3 guys

149 you have Tier 1 of Johnny D

141 you have Tier 1 of 3 or 4 guys

133 you have Tier 1 of 2 or 3 guys

125 you have Tier 1 of 3 or 4 guys

When I say Tier 1, I mean guys who should be favored to make very deep runs.  197 you have like 16 or 17 guys that I wouldn't be surprised by deep runs from.  Tier 2 guys can beat Tier 1 guys, but they aren't going to beat many of them without taking lumps, UNLESS they wrestle out of their mind for the day/weekend.

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When I think of toughest weight I think of which weight is going to have the quarter finals packed full of top level guys who could all be NCAA champ caliber guys. This year I think there’s two weights that fit that bill - 165 and 174. I’d give the slight nod to 165 for the toughest. 

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4 hours ago, flyingcement said:

165 is the deepest

285 has the single best wrestler overall

197 is the most wide open

Agree with most of this, except I would say 174 is the deepest over 165.  174 has more top end guys than 165.  Starocci, Mekhi, Kemerer, Hayden, Massa, and Smith.  The top-4 at 165 don't measure up to the top-4 at 174 yet.

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2 hours ago, ShakaAloha said:

 yet.

Good point.

Which is why I have to say HWT this year. I know FS and Greco are different sports, but we have so many accomplished world-class athletes at HWT right now. Sure, they could fall off 'yet'. but by today's measures, that's where it's at. 184 has great accomplished wrestlers too. I wish Micic were in the mix at 133...

Again, I know they're different sports, but World Class is totally a thing, especially in a country where it's not our primary set of rules. 

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Best wrestler does not equal best weight. Gable won't be challenged through the tournament. There aren't multiple guys at HWT that can win the title. There is one.

Sent from my moto g power using Tapatalk

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2 minutes ago, jmez said:

Best wrestler does not equal best weight. Gable won't be challenged through the tournament. There aren't multiple guys at HWT that can win the title. There is one.

right i'm saying that heavy will be underrecognized because gable is so obviously going to win, but if gable were ... say, freshman year gable ... it would be the deepest weight in the tournament (and he'd still win but it wouldn't be as obvious a conclusion). if gable didn't come back to college, it would be clear that it was a very, very deep weight. cass, schultz, parris, hendrickson... i'm sure someone who deserves mention isn't coming into my head. 

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5 hours ago, ShakaAloha said:

Agree with most of this, except I would say 174 is the deepest over 165.  174 has more top end guys than 165.  Starocci, Mekhi, Kemerer, Hayden, Massa, and Smith.  The top-4 at 165 don't measure up to the top-4 at 174 yet.

I'd throw in Labriola also

Edited by silver

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9 hours ago, ShakaAloha said:

Agree with most of this, except I would say 174 is the deepest over 165.  174 has more top end guys than 165.  Starocci, Mekhi, Kemerer, Hayden, Massa, and Smith.  The top-4 at 165 don't measure up to the top-4 at 174 yet.

I’d agree with the “top 4” comment but not necessarily “more top end guys.” Smith and Mekhi were 165 last year, and Smith placed 5th while Mekhi DNP although of course he was injured.  

Meanwhile, last year’s champ at 165 probably won’t be seeded higher than 4th and I’d be surprised if the other finalist even AA’s.  What makes 165 more interesting IMO is that 3 of the top 5 or so didn’t wrestle last season.

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16 hours ago, ShakaAloha said:

Agree with most of this, except I would say 174 is the deepest over 165.  174 has more top end guys than 165.  Starocci, Mekhi, Kemerer, Hayden, Massa, and Smith.  The top-4 at 165 don't measure up to the top-4 at 174 yet.

Yeah that could be true.  I think maybe we are seeing some bias from folks like myself in terms of what style of wrestling we prefer to see.  I think generally, even if the listed wrestlers at 174 are more accomplished, that the group at 165 is more dynamic and exciting.  That's subjective I suppose, but wondering if others felt similar.  

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13 hours ago, ugarte said:

right i'm saying that heavy will be underrecognized because gable is so obviously going to win, but if gable were ... say, freshman year gable ... it would be the deepest weight in the tournament (and he'd still win but it wouldn't be as obvious a conclusion). if gable didn't come back to college, it would be clear that it was a very, very deep weight. cass, schultz, parris, hendrickson... i'm sure someone who deserves mention isn't coming into my head. 

HWT has 6 guys with World-Class success

Steveson: Olympic Champ in 2021, 2x Cadet World Champ, Jr World Champ, 3,1,1st seed at NCAA

Parris: Junior World Champ 2019, 2nd at 2021 NCAA behind Gable, 2020 AA (28-1 losing to Steveson 8-6)

Cassioppi: U23 World Champ 20-21, 3rd at 2021 NCAA, 2020 AA (ranked 3rd)

Schultz: Greco Senior World Team member, 2019 Greco Jr Silver, 2018 Greco Jr Bronze, 2017 Greco Cadet Gold, 4th at NCAA as a frosh (behind the top 3)

Kerkvliet: U23 Bronze 2019, Junior Silver 2018, Cadet Gold 2017 & Silver 2016, 2021 NCAA 7th

Hendrickson: Junior World 5th 2021, rd of 12 NCAA as a frosh.

Other returning AAs

Stencel: 3x NCAA Qualifier, 5th ranked AA in 2020, 7th in 2019, 4x MAC champ

Hilger: 3 x AA

...then there's all the other returning NCAA qualifiers.

Starting with Wood: 4x EIWA champ

I'm gonna stop there.

 

Yeah, Gable is probably gonna dominate and win the Hodge in perhaps the most-deserved way ever.

Remove Gable Steveson from the equation, and HWT is still the most competitive weight class this year. Then, it would only have 5 guys who have wrestled for world-level medals, winning 4 Golds, 3 Silvers, and 2 Bronze! What other weight class compares to 9 world-level medals (13 with 8 Golds, including Gables)?

 

Edited by denger

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7 hours ago, 1032004 said:

I’d agree with the “top 4” comment but not necessarily “more top end guys.” Smith and Mekhi were 165 last year, and Smith placed 5th while Mekhi DNP although of course he was injured.  

Meanwhile, last year’s champ at 165 probably won’t be seeded higher than 4th and I’d be surprised if the other finalist even AA’s.  What makes 165 more interesting IMO is that 3 of the top 5 or so didn’t wrestle last season.

When you compare the credentials of the top guys at 174 to 165, it is obvious that 174 is significantly better.  174 has two NCAA champs and two NCAA finalists (who are also three time podium AA's).  No other weight can claim that.  Lewis only DNP last year because he was hurt.  Also keep in mind that when Lewis won his title, the bracket included Marinelli and Wick who are both currently in the top 3 of 165, as well as Hartman.  

Also, your point about Griffith being ranked 5th after winning last year, illustrates how watered down the bracket was for 165 in 2021, as Wick was sitting out to train for the Olympic Trials, Karchla was hurt, and Hamiti was in high school.  This is further supported by the runner-up, Wentzel, having five losses this season to the likes of Lehigh, Harvard, Columbia, and Valencia of ASU.  Furthermore, Wittlake, the 4th place finisher from last year also has five losses this season, including a loss to Northern Iowa.  

165:
1. Wick (NCAA 3rd/4th, Olympic Trials 3rd)
2. O'Toole (NCAA 3rd, Junior World Gold)
3. Marinelli (NCAA 6th/7th)
4. Karchla (RS Freshman, injured last season)
5. Griffith (NCAA Champ)
6. Hamiti (True Freshman)
7. Hartman (NCAA 6th)
8. Wentzel (NCAA 2nd)
 

174:
1. Starocci (NCAA Champ)
2. Kemerer (NCAA 2nd/3rd/4th)
3. Hidlay (NCAA 2nd/4th/5th)
4. Lewis (NCAA Champ)
5. Labriola (NCAA 3rd/5th)
6. Massa (NCAA 3rd/5th)
7. Smith (NCAA 5th)
8. Lautt (NQ - R16)
 

Edited by ShakaAloha

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1 hour ago, ShakaAloha said:

When you compare the credentials of the top guys at 174 to 165, it is obvious that 174 is significantly better.  174 has two NCAA champs and two NCAA finalists (who are also three time podium AA's).  No other weight can claim that.  Lewis only DNP last year because he was hurt.  Also keep in mind that when Lewis won his title, the bracket included Marinelli and Wick who are both currently in the top 3 of 165, as well as Hartman.  

Also, your point about Griffith being ranked 5th after winning last year, illustrates how watered down the bracket was for 165 in 2021, as Wick was sitting out to train for the Olympic Trials, Karchla was hurt, and Hamiti was in high school.  This is further supported by the runner-up, Wentzel, having five losses this season to the likes of Lehigh, Harvard, Columbia, and Valencia of ASU.  Furthermore, Wittlake, the 4th place finisher from last year also has five losses this season, including a loss to Northern Iowa.  

165:
1. Wick (NCAA 3rd/4th, Olympic Trials 3rd)
2. O'Toole (NCAA 3rd, Junior World Gold)
3. Marinelli (NCAA 6th/7th)
4. Karchla (RS Freshman, injured last season)
5. Griffith (NCAA Champ)
6. Hamiti (True Freshman)
7. Hartman (NCAA 6th)
8. Wentzel (NCAA 2nd)
 

174:
1. Starocci (NCAA Champ)
2. Kemerer (NCAA 2nd/3rd/4th)
3. Hidlay (NCAA 2nd/4th/5th)
4. Lewis (NCAA Champ)
5. Labriola (NCAA 3rd/5th)
6. Massa (NCAA 3rd/5th)
7. Smith (NCAA 5th)
8. Lautt (NQ - R16)
 

Yeah this doesn’t disagree with what I said.  The top 4 is better, but I don’t think 5-8+ is, considering your #7 at 174 got 5th at 165 last year and #8 at 165 got 2nd last year.  165 also has multiple All Americans currently ranked outside the top 8 - like Wittlake, Valencia and Amine.

Even among the top 4, clearly the top 4 at 174 have better credentials right now.   But that’s partly because 2 of the top guys at 165 are freshmen and of course we all know Marinelli is better than his credentials.

 

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