The top three seeds at 157 lbs David Carr (center), Ryan Deakin (left), and Jacori Teemer (Carr Photo/Mark Lundy; Deakin Photo/Sam Janicki; Teemer Photo/Tony Rotundo)
The 2022 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships are less than a week away! In a few short days, 330 wrestlers will make the trek to Detroit, Michigan, with hopes of a national title on their minds. In addition, fan seating will be at 100% capacity for the first time since Pittsburgh in 2019. Now it's in an area that hasn't hosted nationals since 2007 and even that tournament was not held downtown; it was way out in Auburn Hills.
Before the action on the mat starts, InterMat will go through each individual bracket and highlight the favorites, top matches to watch, and much more.
Here are the weight classes already released:
125 lb preview
133 lb preview
141 lb preview
149 lb preview
We'll move on to the 157 lbers as we release two of our weight class previews for the next five days:
The Top Seed: David Carr (Iowa State)
For the second consecutive season, David Carr comes into the national tournament with a spotless record. Last year, with limited travel and competition, there were a handful of undefeated wrestlers, which led to him getting the third seed. This time he'll assume top billing at 157 lbs. Carr has won 52 straight bouts and might be a favorite for the Hodge Trophy, were Gable Steveson (Minnesota) not around.
Carr has improved his bonus point percentage in 2021-22 to 66%, which is just a hair better than last season. Aside from a sudden victory win in his first appearance of the season, Carr has generally blown through the competition. He has one other match in 2021-22 that saw his opponent stay within two points.
At the Big 12 Championships, Carr put together an 8-2 win over our sixth seed, Jared Franek (North Dakota State), for his third conference title. Franek is one of the few opponents who has been able to limit Carr to a decision; however, this win had a larger margin of victory than their dual (7-3).
With the way various schedules were created, it led to most of the big dogs around the country missing Carr in duals and tournaments. Therefore, we could have some fun, new matchups or ones that we haven't seen in years. One of those is between him and second-seeded Ryan Deakin. Deakin is responsible for Carr's only career loss, at the 2019 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational.
The Contenders: #2 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern); #3 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State); #4 Ed Scott (NC State); #5 Quincy Monday (Princeton)
The Conference Champs:
ACC: #4 Ed Scott (NC State)
Big 12: #1 David Carr (Iowa State)
Big Ten: #2 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
EIWA: #5 Quincy Monday (Princeton)
MAC: #26 Ben Barton (Lock Haven)
Pac-12: #3 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State)
SoCon: #22 Dazjon Castol (The Citadel)
Top First-Round Matches
#16 Brady Berge (Penn State) vs. #17 Hunter Willits (Oregon State)
#9 Kaleb Young (Iowa) vs. #24 Doug Zapf (Penn)
#8 Will Lewan (Michigan) vs. #25 Jarrett Jacques (Missouri)
#14 Jake Keating (Virginia) vs. #19 Kendall Coleman (Purdue)
#15 Johnny Lovett (Central Michigan) vs. #18 Andrew Cerniglia (Navy)
We alluded to it in the discussion about David Carr, but this weight class has its talent pretty evenly distributed around the conferences. It isn't lopsided in favor of the Big Ten, for example. Each of the top-five seeds comes from different conferences, and most of them haven't met this season. 157 lbs is one of two weight classes with three undefeated contenders.
The biggest threat to a repeat from Carr is Deakin, the second seed. The Wildcat star recently won his third Big Ten title and is only the third NU wrestler to accomplish this feat. In each of the last two years, Deakin has earned the top-seed at the NCAA Championships. Last year, Deakin was stunned in the semifinals by Rider's Jesse Dellavecchia and in 2020, the tournament wasn't wrestled. Could he get that elusive title?
On Deakin's half of the bracket is undefeated Jacori Teemer as the third seed. Teemer fell to Deakin in the NCAA third-place bout last year, 1-0. While he's unbeaten, Teemer has played with fire a few times and prevailed in four matches that have gone to sudden victory/tiebreakers. One of which came in the Pac-12 finals to Hunter Willits.
There's new blood at this weight class in the 4/5/7th seeds. #4 Ed Scott competed at 149 lbs last year, as a true freshman, and didn't qualify for St. Louis. This year, Scott has been lights out and is coming in off an ACC Championships, where he knocked off returning champion Austin O'Connor in the finals. Scott is dangerous and can end a match in a flash with his headlock. The #5 seed, Quincy Monday, hasn't actually appeared in a national tournament since 2019, because of the cancelation in 2020 and the Ivy League shutdown in 2021. His three losses in 2021-22 have come to the top-four seeds. Like Monday, Josh Humphreys has missed the last two national tournaments, as he redshirted with an injury last year. He is brutal from the top position and can neutralize anyone.
Sixth-seeded Jared Franek is in good position to become the first NDSU wrestler to make the podium since the 2015 season. Two of his three losses this season came to Carr and the other was to All-American Brayton Lee (Minnesota), who is injured and not competing. Franek could have a massive second-round match with O'Connor. Provided he's healthy, O'Connor is a super-dangerous 11th seed. That loss in the ACC finals to Scott seems costly, but I like his positioning in the bracket.
Finally, the Big Ten contingent of #8 Will Lewan (Michigan), #9 Kaleb Young (Iowa), #10 Peyton Robb (Nebraska), and #16 Brady Berge (Penn State) will all make a push for the podium. All four are bruisers that are capable of winning ugly and advancing, which is the primary goal.
Quadrant to Watch: We've already started to talk about it; it's the third one. The one that includes a possible second-round match between Franek/O'Connor. Above it, #14 Jake Keating and #19 Kendall Coleman hit in round one. Keating is responsible for Scott's only loss of the year in an 11-10 shootout. Coleman's never shy about putting points on the board, so expect plenty between these two Illinois natives. Above them is Jacori Teemer. Keating teammate, Justin McCoy, handed Teemer his first collegiate loss, so maybe he has some tips should Keating and Teemer clash.
Darkhorse All-American Contender: #16 Brady Berge (Penn State)
The 16th seed for Brady Berge falls into the category of â€œI get it, but I don't really like it.â€ I understand that Berge had a limited schedule with only 11 matches versus DI competition, four of which came against 165 lbers. There wasn't a lot of information to go off of. But, Berge did finish third with two wins over Kaleb Young and a fall against Kendall Coleman (Purdue) in the process. He's certainly better than the 16th best wrestler at this weight.
Berge will have a very difficult first-round match in Willits, who traditionally wrestles Teemer close. Provided he gets by Willits, Berge should meet top-seeded Carr. It's a much more difficult match than you'd expect for Carr at that point in time, as the #1 seed. To get on the podium, Berge probably has to beat some combination of Lewan/Young and Franek/O'Connor. As he gets more mat time, those are winnable matches.
We've gone through two paragraphs without mentioning how great of a story it was that Berge's even here. After last season, Berge stopped competing due to injuries and took a job on the South Dakota State coaching staff. With Penn State needing help at 157/165, Berge temporarily left his post and came back to help the Nittany Lions regain a national title. He's already got a third-place finish at the Big Ten's under his belt; what else is Berge capable of doing?
Extreme (+20 seed) Darkhorse All-American Contender: #27 Garrett Model (Wisconsin)
Sometimes the biggest hurdle for a wrestler looking to succeed at a tournament like this is the mental block of actually beating top opposition. That's something Garrett Model doesn't have to worry about. Earlier this season, Model handed, then-undefeated Brayton Lee, his first loss of the year. Lee has an excellent track record and was an AA in 2021, so a loss to the then-9-6 Model, was shocking.
While the Lee win was a highlight, it wasn't the only of the year for the Badger. At the Big Ten Championships, Model's back was against the wall in the seventh-place match. Win or rely on an at-large berth was the stakes. Across the mat from him was #21 Chase Saldate (Michigan State), who sported a 26-7 record at the time. That didn't phase Model, as he dominated the contest from start to finish and punched his ticket to Detroit with a 7-0 win.
Model has his work cut out for him with a first-round match against #6 Franek. Even with an opening-round loss, there's a path for Model to grab some wins on the backside and who knows what happens from there? What we do know is that he's beaten one of the best at this weight, already.
#1 David Carr (Iowa State) vs. #8 Will Lewan (Michigan)
#4 Ed Scott (NC State) vs. #5 Quincy Monday (Princeton)
#3 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State) vs. #11 Austin O'Connor (North Carolina)
#7 Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) vs. #2 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
#1 David Carr (Iowa State) vs. #5 Quincy Monday (Princeton)
#3 Jacori Teemer (Arizona State) vs. #7 Josh Humphreys (Lehigh)
1st) David Carr (Iowa State)
2nd) Jacori Teemer (Arizona State)
3rd) Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
4th) Josh Humphreys (Lehigh)
5th) Ed Scott (NC State)
6th) Quincy Monday (Princeton)
7th) Austin O'Connor (North Carolina)
8th) Will Lewan (Michigan)
Round of 12 Finishers: #10 Peyton Robb (Nebraska), #6 Jared Franek (North Dakota State), #14 Jake Keating (Virginia); #16 Brady Berge (Penn State)
Consolation Round of 16: #17 Hunter Willits (Oregon State), #19 Kendall Coleman (Purdue); #27 Garrett Model (Wisconsin), #9 Kaleb Young (Iowa)