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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    2021-22 College Preview: American

    2021 NCAA qualifier Tim Fitzpatrick (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)


    American Eagles



    “The coaching staff and the team are very excited about the process of the journey to the top. Since we missed so much time last year, nobody knows what to expect from us. That has taken some pressure off the team and allowed us to just focus on getting better. We will be a team that needs to be taken very seriously in duals. This team is filled with unproven potential.” - Head Coach Jason Borrelli.

    TOP RETURNERS


    American's lone wrestler with NCAA tournament experience is Tim Fitzpatrick. In 2021, Fitzpatrick qualified for nationals at 174 lbs, but he will drop to 165 for the 2021-22 campaign. The coaching staff has high expectations for Fitzpatrick this season; Borrelli describes him as “having a great attitude and being very consistent with his training.”

    Another veteran presence in the AU lineup will be at 149 lbs with Patrick Ryan. Ryan entered the 2021 EIWA Championships at 141 lbs, but was cutting a significant amount of weight to crack the lineup with Kizhan Clarke at 149. Ryan has never appeared in a dual meet for American but amassed a 33-16 record while hitting open tournaments. Up a weight, the junior is said to be much healthier and in a better place with his training and preparation.

    KEY DEPARTURES


    The 2021 season was a tumultuous one for the Eagles. Former head coach Teague Moore departed in late January and the team was led by alum Jason Grimes on an interim basis. Due to Covid, the team did not participate in any dual meets and the EIWA Championships became the team's season debut. About a month after the NCAA Tournament, Borrelli was hired as the team's new head coach. Before Borrelli was hired, the team's top three wrestlers hit the transfer portal.

    Four-time NCAA qualifier (125) Gage Curry moved on as a graduate transfer in his hometown, when he landed at Pittsburgh. Two-time national qualifier (184) Tanner Harvey also went home to use his final year of eligibility and wrestle for Oregon State. Harvey did not attempt to compete in 2021. Finally, Kizhan Clarke (149), the 15th seed in 2020, will finish as a graduate transfer at North Carolina.

    NEWCOMERS


    There are a lot of new faces that could emerge as starters in year one under Borrelli. Perhaps the most talented is Missouri state champion Lucas White. White's competitiveness, along with his toughness, has already endeared him to the AU staff. Fortunately, White is expected to compete at 174 lbs which is a deep weight for the Eagles. American may be able to redshirt White for the 2021-22 season.

    Expect to see some young faces in at 133 lbs. Exactly who? That remains to be seen. Shamil Kalmatov is a Kyrgyzstan native that could make a name for himself. As one may expect, Kalmatov is still getting acclimated to folkstyle, but should be a force on his feet. Josh Bauman could also be in the mix. The true freshman was a part of a power program in Pennsylvania (Notre Dame-Green Pond) may have snuck under the radar for some folks. There are a few, young 125 lbers that could eventually move up to 133, one of which is two-time New Jersey placer, Jack Maida.

    Antonio Segura (157) and Carsten Rawls (197) are also a pair of freshmen which good high school credentials that could push their incumbents.


    WRESTLERS TO WATCH


    Will Jarrell sticks out as a wrestler that could be due for a breakout season at 197 lbs. In 2019-20, Jarrell was thrown into the mix immediately, as a true freshman, and compiled a 7-24 record. Jarrell did not see the mat in 2021. Borrelli says that Jarrell has, “put in a lot of work to transform his body. He now is lean and rangy.”

    Down a weight from Jarrell is veteran Connor Bourne. Like Jarrell, Bourne was asked immediately to step in as a true freshman at 184 lbs and took some lumps (4-14). He did not compete either in 2021. Bourne “check all of the boxes” as far as doing all the things Borrelli requires to succeed. His commitment is said to be as strong as anyone on the team. In the past, Bourne has battled injuries, so the AU staff is confident he'll have success, if healthy.

    POTENTIAL LINEUP



    125: Andy Fallon (So)

    133: Shamil Kalmatov (Fr)/Josh Bauman (Fr)

    141: Ryan Zimmerman (So)

    149: Patrick Ryan (Jr)

    157: Cole Painter (Jr)/Elijah White (So)

    165: Tim Fitzpatrick (Jr)

    174: Colin Shannon (Sr)/Ben Root (Jr)

    184: Connor Bourne (Jr)

    197: Will Jarrell (Jr)

    285: Isaac Righter (So)

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