#1 ranked 165 lber Evan Wick (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Earlier this morning, InterMat released our new set of weekly rankings for DI wrestling. At the 165 lb weight class, there was a new name atop the list in Evan Wick. The three-time NCAA All-American has made history by becoming Cal Poly's first #1 ranked wrestler since Chad Mendes at 141 lbs in 2007-08.
Mendes himself became the first Mustang wrestler in 28 years to earn top billing at his respective weight. The future UFC superstar was the top seed at the 2008 NCAA Championships and went on to finish as a national runner-up, falling in the finals to J Jaggers (Ohio State), 5-2. He concluded the year with a 30-1 record and earned All-American honors for the second time in his career. Mendes' accomplishments earned him 2008 Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year honors.
Wick ascended to the top spot at 165 lbs after the previous #1, Alex Marinelli (Iowa), fell to Carson Khachla (Ohio State) on Friday night. He solidified the ranking Monday by scoring a 9-1 major decision over then-unbeaten Anthony Valencia (Arizona State), a returning All-American.
For the year, Wick is now 10-0, with bonus points coming in seven of those contests. The win over Valencia was Wick's first appearance since winning the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in early December. In Vegas, Wick prevailed in one of the most star-studded brackets. His final three wins came over DII national champion Matt Malcom (Nebraska-Kearney), 2021 All-American Cam Amine (Michigan), and 2021 NCAA Champion Shane Griffith (Stanford).
Wick controlled the returning champion to the tune of 6-2. The two are slated to meet again on the final weekend of the regular season as the Mustangs travel to Palo Alto. Some combination of Wick, Griffith, and Valencia will likely meet at the Pac-12 Championships and possibly in Detroit.
A graduate transfer from Wisconsin, Wick has returned to his home state to complete his final year of collegiate eligibility. He's the face of a squad that is now tied for #12 in InterMat's Tournament rankings. In addition to Evan, five other Mustang wrestlers are currently among the top-33.
Cal Poly head coach Jon Sioredas had this to say about Wick:
"Evan embodies our core values and exemplifies consistent high-level leadership for our program. His performance is a direct reflection of his preparation.
His humble and thoughtful approach to our sport is contagious and is making a vast impact on everyone around him, including myself.
It is exciting to have a front row seat in his journey, as he continues to evolve in both his wrestling and as a leader."