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    Best first-round matchup in every weight class

    Any wrestling fan will tell you that the final night of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships is one of the most exciting sporting events in the world. However, at the 2017 edition of the tournament, there are several bouts in the first round that will likely bring the fans to their feet in St. Louis.

    Below is a look at the best first-round matchup in each weight class.

    125: Dylan Peters (UNI) vs. No. 4 Darian Cruz (Lehigh)

    Even though he went only 8-6 this season, Peters is a two-time All-American. That is a pretty tough draw for Cruz, the fourth seed, who has beaten everyone he faced this season not named No. 6 Nick Suriano (Penn State) or No. 5 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota).

    133: No. 13 Earl Hall (Iowa State) vs. Pat D'Arcy (Princeton)

    Hall had a tough season after being granted an extra year of eligibility. He lost 10 matches this past season, which is more than he has lost in a season since 2014. Hall did manage to defeat the likes of No. 14 Mitch McKee (Minnesota), No 18 Jamal Morris (NC State) and 12th-seeded 125-pounder Sean Fausz (NC State). D'Arcy went only 15-14 for the Tigers, but he should be a good early test to see if Hall is ready to go out with an All-American run.

    141: Ryan Diehl (Maryland) vs. No. 4 Matthew Kolodzik (Princeton)

    Diehl did not become a starter for the Terps until February, and he did not really make a lot of noise until the Big Ten Championships. However, in that bracket, he took decisions over Topher Carton (Iowa) and 14th-seeded Tommy Thorn (Minnesota). He also scored a 46-second fall over Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State). The former PIAA state champion might finally be living up to the hype that was heaped upon him following high school victories over NCAA runner-ups Zeke Moisey (West Virginia) and Jason Nolf (Penn State). Diehl will certainly be facing a tough challenge in Kolodzik, who has been downright dominant this season. The EIWA champion put up a 27-2 record with multiple wins over ranked wrestlers.

    Sahid Kargbo of George Mason enters the NCAAs with a 27-3 record

    149: Sahid Kargbo (George Mason) vs. No. 3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri)

    Mayes is the clear favorite in this one, but he should not look past Kargbo. The Patriot wrestler came into this season with a 43-27 career record but ended up having a breakout senior season, compiling a 27-3 record heading into St. Louis. He dropped a pair of matches against No. 8 Pat Lugo (Edinboro) and fell to No. 16 Alfred Bannister (Maryland) in a marathon overtime match.

    157: No. 9 Joshua Shields (Arizona State) vs. Ryan Mosley (Gardner Webb)

    The first round at 157 pounds features a matchup between the Pac-12 champion and the SoCon champion. Shields had a strong season for the Sun Devils. He went 30-7 and knocked off No. 13 Clark Glass (Oklahoma), Victor Lopez (Bucknell), No. 14 John Van Brill (Rutgers) and No. 10 Brian Murphy (Michigan). Mosley entered the SoCon tournament as the fourth seed but managed to upset Aaron Walker (The Citadel) in the semifinals and Austin Kraisser (Campbell) in the finals.

    165: Johnny Sebastian (Northwestern) vs. No. 5 Chad Walsh (Rider)
    Walsh is the rightful favorite in this bout. The Rider junior went 29-4 this season and scored bonus points in 64 percent of his matches. Sebastian went 22-8 but showed he can be a live underdog. In the first round of the Big Tens, he faced two-time champion No. 1 Isaiah Martinez of Illinois. Even though he lost, Sebastian had his moments in a bout that ended up with 37 total points on the scoreboard.

    VT's Zach Eppery has beaten NC State's Nick Reenan twice this season (Photo/HokieSports.com)

    174: Nick Reenan (NC State) vs. No. 4 Zach Epperly (Virginia Tech)

    Reenan earned an at-large berth after going 21-11 in his true freshman season for the Wolfpack. He has faced Epperly twice already this season with Hokie wrestler taking the victory both times. In their first bout, Epperly narrowly escaped with a 5-3 victory in a back-and-forth contest. The two met again at the ACC Championships, with Epperly winning 4-1 in the semifinals.

    184: No. 8 Jack Dechow (ODU) vs. Dylan Gabel (Northern Colorado)

    Dechow has not been able to get back on the podium since finishing fourth as a freshman. Now, the senior has one last crack at it. This season he went 28-3 with victories over No. 16 seed Jordan Ellingwood (CMU), No. 13 seed Bryce Carr (Chattanooga) and No. 10 seed Michael Macchiavello (NC State). Gabel reached the finals of the Big 12 Championships before falling to No. 4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State). On the season, he went 24-9 with a 73 percent bonus rate.

    197: Brett Harner (Princeton) vs. No. 7 Aaron Studebaker, Nebraska

    Studebaker comes into this bout with a much higher ranking and seed. However, these two have a history. Over the last two seasons, Harner and Studebaker have faced off three times. Studebaker won a pair in overtime, while Harner won the other match via first-period fall. If history holds this one will be another dramatic finish.

    285: Joey Goodhart (Drexel) vs. No. 10 Nathan Butler (Stanford)

    Butler managed to receive the No. 10 seed, while Goodhart was randomly drawn in. The two faced off in January during a dual meet between their respective schools. Goodhart managed to escape with a 4-3 victory. Goodhart went on to finish second at the EIWA tournament, while Butler placed third at the Pac 12 tournament.

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