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    Dark-horse All-American candidates

    At least one unseeded wrestler always breaks through and becomes an All-American at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. However, that will certainly not happen this year. All wrestlers were seeded into the tournament this year. That does not mean that there are still not some dark-horse candidates out there. The following is a look at the top dark-horse candidates to become an All-American seeded 15th or lower.

    125: No. 15 Sean Fausz (NC State)

    Fausz qualified for his fourth NCAAs after making the ACC finals before falling against No. 5 Jack Mueller (Virginia). In his previous three trips to the big dance, Fausz has come up short of becoming an All-American, and this will be his last chance. He wrestled sparingly this season, since 125 pounds is a big pull for him. In limited action, he went 11-2 with wins over No. 23 Cole Verner (Wyoming) and No. 19 Zeke Moisey (Nebraska). He certainly has the experience to finish in the top eight, but his weight struggles have always seemed to hold him back.

    The Wolfpack wrestler will be favored in his first match against No. 18 Devin Schroder (Purdue). However, things quickly become tougher as he will then likely face No. 2 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State). Fausz will have to make a run on the backside if he falls in the second round, but he may just finish his career as an All-American.

    133: No. 19 Josh Terao (American)

    Four of Terao's five losses on the season came in a 15-day span covering the end of December and the beginning on January. Since Jan. 4, he has gone 11-1 and made the finals of the EIWA Championships. This is his third straight year qualifying for the NCAAs, but he is still looking for his first All-America finish. He does not really have a signature win this year outside of a major decision over Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh). However, he has notable wins on his resume throughout his career.

    Terao's NCAA tournament campaign gets off to a tough start against former Edinboro wrestler Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech), and he could then quickly run into Nick Suriano (Rutgers).

    141: No. 15 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State)

    This is probably not the way a lot of people pictured the season going for Brock after moving up in weight. He set a new career high for losses in a season with seven after only dropping nine matches the previous two years. Despite the tough regular season, he could still make some noise in this tournament. He is coming off back-to-back fifth-places finishes, and he has defeated the likes of No. 23 Sam Turner (Wyoming) and No. 22 Mac Murin (Iowa) this season.

    Brock gets started against another dark-horse candidate in Bryan Lantry (Buffalo), and if things go according to chalk he will then face the second seed Joey McKenna (Ohio State). Things are rarely easy for a double-digit seed.

    149: No. 18 Jared Prince (Navy)

    Since the Southern Scuffle, Prince has gone 10-2 with both of his losses coming in overtime. At the EIWA Championships, he picked up one of the biggest wins of his career as he knocked off No. 5 Matt Kolodzik (Princeton). He lost some momentum when he fell to No. 13 Anthony Artalona (Penn) in the finals. However, he still clearly has the talent to put together a run, and it would be fitting after all of the internal strife he had to overcome prior to the postseason last year.

    Things get off to a challenging start for Price as he faces no. 15 Max Thomsen (UNI) in the opening round. Since he is in the bottom half of the bracket he will likely run into No. 2 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) if he advances.

    Freshman Quincy Monday enters the postseason with a 24-11 record (Photo/Princeton Athletics)

    157: No. 26 Quincy Monday (Princeton)

    In his very first collegiate tournament, Monday dropped an 8-5 decision against No. 20 Luke Weiland (Army). At the EIWA Championships, he was able to reverse that result and take the decision in sudden victory. Also in that season opening tournament, Monday dropped a match against No. 7 Larry Early (Old Dominion). In the first round of the NCAA tournament, he will get the chance to reverse that loss as well. Monday finished his freshman season 24-11 and has the potential to finish as an All-American.

    165: No. 33 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State)

    Smith defeated teammate and fellow All-American Chandler Rogers in a wrestle-off for the chance to represent the Cowboys at 165 pounds in the postseason. He entered the Big 12 Championships as the seventh seed and ended up finishing fifth. Along the way, he dropped a pair of matches against eventual Big 12 champion No. 9 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley) and No. 10 Branson Ashworth (Wyoming).

    Due mostly to his lack of action this year at 165 pounds, Smith enters the NCAA tournament as the last seed, No. 33. If he wins his pigtail against No. 32 Tyler Morland (Northwestern), he will face off against No. 1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa). Facing off against the top seed in the first round could make his quest to become an All-American difficult, but Smith certainly has the talent and definitely has the pedigree.

    174: No. 17 Neal Richards (VMI)

    One of the most exciting aspects of the basketball version of the NCAA tournament is seeing how some of the smaller programs who dominated their competition do against the major conference teams. For wrestling, that is really embodied in Richards. The VMI wrestler started his season with a 7-4 record, but he then broke off a 21-match winning streak that finished with a major decision over No. 18 Andrew Morgan (Campbell) in the finals of the SoCon Championships.

    Richards has not faced the toughest schedule this season, but he certainly has momentum in his favor. His tournament starts with a first-round match against No. 16 Brandon Womack (Cornell)

    Michigan State freshman Cameron Caffey enters the NCAAs as the No. 19 seed at 184 pounds (Photo/Michigan State Athletics)

    184: No. 19 Cameron Caffey (Michigan State)

    In his redshirt freshman season, Caffey won three tournaments before Christmas, including the Reno Tournament of Champions. He spent the majority of the season in the rankings. However, he had a tough Big Ten tournament. He entered the field as the 10th seed and dropped his first two matches to No. 2 Shakur Rasheed (Penn State) and Nick Gravina (Rutgers). Luckily for him, he was able to get it together and ended up winning the mini tournament for ninth place.

    Caffey has been an integral part of the Michigan State rebuild, and he has the offense to compete with almost anyone. Despite facing the a higher seed in the first round, Dylan Wisman (Missouri), he will likely be a popular pick in many fan brackets.

    197: No. 16 Josh Hokit (Fresno State)

    Hokit is one of the few two-sport Division I athletes competing at a high level. In addition to being one of the top-20 197-pound wrestlers, he is also a running back on the Bulldogs football team. This past season, he played in 13 games and made one start on the gridiron before reporting for wrestling duty. On the mats, he went 21-6 and picked up wins over No. 6 Willie Miklus (Iowa State) and No. 19 Tanner Orndorff (Utah Valley).

    Hokit will need his athletic ability and explosion at the NCAA tournament this year. He starts off against Stephen Loiseau (Drexel) in the first round before meeting up with No. 1 Bo Nickal (Penn State).

    285: No. 27 Ian Butterbrodt (Brown)

    In his last season of his collegiate wrestling career, Butterbrodt has finally qualified for the NCAA tournament. He went 3-1 at the EIWA Championships, losing only to champion No. 4 Jordan Wood (Lehigh) via medical forfeit. For the season, he went 18-6. He has not faced the toughest schedule, but heavyweight always seems to be somewhat wide open this time of year. In his first-round match, he faces off against No. 6 Amar Dhesi (Oregon State). The Canadian international wrestler has the edge in skill and experience. However, he has not really looked like himself this year, and Butterbrodt has a solid shot at an upset.

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