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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    NCAA Champ Alirez to Olympic Redshirt for 2023-24

    Today, the University of Northern Colorado and star 141 lber, Andrew Alirez, released a video through social media stating he’ll take an Olympic redshirt for the 2023-24 season. Alirez went 28-0 last year to capture Northern Colorado’s first NCAA title since 1962. 

    Alirez’s NCAA quarterfinal win over Lachlan McNeil made him the first NCAA All-American during Troy Nickerson’s tenure at the school. He’d wrap up the national title with a 6-4 victory over top-seeded Big Ten champion Real Woods of Iowa. 

    In addition to his NCAA exploits, Alirez also won the Southern Scuffle and his second Big 12 championship during the 2022-23 campaign. 

    Alirez now has his sights set on making the 2024 Olympic team. In July, Alirez reminded the country (and world) of his freestyle chops by winning the Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland. On his way to the title, Alirez dismantled three-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist Haji Aliyev of Azerbaijan. 

    In 2018, Alirez used the spring freestyle season as his breakout. At the Junior World Team Trials, Alirez ran through the mini-tournament unscathed, with tech fall victories over collegiate opponents like Nick Lee and Yahya Thomas. He ultimately fell to Dom Demas in the finals, but snagged a match from Demas in the best-of-three wrestle-offs. That tournament took place after Alirez’s junior year of high school, which helped lead to a #3 overall ranking in the Class of 2019. 

    As we get closer to the collegiate season, we’ll have a better understanding of who will try to replace Alirez at 141 lbs in the Bears lineup. Looking at UNC’s roster they have sophomores Rudy Lopez and Armando Garcia, along with redshirt freshman Otto Cate-Cribari.

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