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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Facts, Trends, and Numbers from the 2023 NCAA Championships (post-Tournament)

    2023 NCAA Champion Andrew Alirez (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    The NCAA Tournament has come and gone, along with the 2022-23 season. With a boatload of results, 80 All-Americans and ten national champions there are plenty of opportunities for me to have fun. And by fun, I mean looking for new facts, trends, and numbers to talk about from the tournament. Here's the pre-tournament version that focuses on conference results, seeding, and qualifiers.

    And I'll need your help with the fact at the end of this article. It's rare, I'm just not sure how rare!

    NCAA Title Notes

    Keegan O'Toole is only the third multi-time champion for the Missouri Tigers (Ben Askren and J'den Cox are the others).

    Nino Bonaccorsi won Pittsburgh's first national title since his head coach Keith Gavin did so in 2008.

    With Austin O'Connor (North Carolina) and Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) winning titles, it marked the first time since 1994 that the ACC had multiple national champions. Back in '94, Sammie Henson (Clemson) and TJ Jaworsky (North Carolina) won titles.

    After going ten years between national titles (2012-22), Michigan has had champs in back-to-back seasons (Nick Suriano/21 and Mason Parris/22).

    Cornell had multiple champions for the first time since the 2016 tournament (Nahshon Garrett - 133 and Gabe Dean - 184).

    Carter Starocci and Aaron Brooks' titles extended Penn State's streak with at least one national champion, one that dates back to the 2011 tournament.

    Penn State's two national champions are the school's fewest since they had two in 2016 (Nico Megaludis/125 and Zain Retherford/149).

    The 2023 Tournament was the first one since 2013 where a freshman did not capture a title (if you're counting Keegan O'Toole as a freshman in 2022).

    Team-Related Notes

    Andrew Alirez's performance set plenty of records at Northern Colorado. He was the first All-American since future-UFC star Justin Gaethje in 2010 and the first national champion since 1962 when Jack Flasche won the 157 lb weight class. Alirez is also the first NCAA placewinner for the Bears under head coach Troy Nickerson.

    Andrew Alirez's title made it back-to-back years for Colorado natives winning national championships (Ryan Deakin/2022). The last time Colorado had national champions in consecutive years was with Dean Lahr (Colorado) in 1963 and 1964.

    Wyatt Hendrickson became the first All-American from the Air Force Academy since fellow 285 lber Kevin Hoy made the national finals in 2003.

    The Air Force Academy's 28.5 points are the most at the NCAA Tournament in team history.

    Arizona State finished with four (or more) All-Americans (Brandon Courtney, Michael McGee, Kyle Parco, Cohlton Schultz) for the third consecutive season.

    Bernie Truax became Cal Poly's first three-time All-American since Boris Novachkov in 2010-12.
    Clarion's Will Feldkamp was his school's first NCAA All-American under Keith Ferraro and the first overall since 2013.

    Iowa finished with six All-Americans. They have had at least five in every NCAA Tournament since 2014.
    An Iowa wrestler has lost in the 141 lb NCAA finals four times since 2010. Woods (2023), Jaydin Eierman (2021), Montell Marion (2010 and 2012).

    Nebraska has had national finalists in back-to-back years with Mikey Labriola and Ridge Lovett. The last time that happened was in 2010 and 2011 with Craig Brester and Jordan Burroughs, respectively.

    North Dakota State had NCAA All-Americans for the first time since 2015 (Jared Franek/157 and Michael Caliendo/165). They also had two that season with Kurtis Julson (174) and Hayden Zillmer (184).

    Northern Illinois went from 2005-2020 without any All-Americans. After Izzak Olejnik took eighth at 165 lbs, it meant a Huskie earned AA honors for the second time in three years (Brit Wilson 6th/2021).

    Parker Keckeisen finished as a runner-up at 184 lbs for Northern Iowa. It marked the third time that Keckeisen earned All-American honors (3,3,2). The last time a Panther wrestler got on the podium three times was Sean Stender (2003/4th, 2004/6th, 2005/2nd).

    Jesse Mendez became the first true freshman from Ohio State to place at the national tournament (6th/133) since Myles Martin won the 174 lb weight class in 2016.

    Mendez, Levi Haines, and Caleb Henson are the only true freshman All-Americans this year.

    For the third time in four tournaments, an Ohio State wrestler has lost in the 149 lbs finals. Sasso (2021 and 2023) and Micah Jordan (2019).

    Ohio State has been without a national championship since Kyle Snyder finished up in 2018. That's the longest without one under Tom Ryan.

    After Aaron Brooks' title at 184 lbs, that weight class has been won by a Penn State wrestler in 8 of the last 12 tournaments. Brooks (2021-23), Bo Nickal (2017-18), Ed Ruth (2013-14), Quentin Wright (2011).

    Not only did Patrick Glory win Princeton's first national title since Brad Glass in 1951, but he is also Princeton's first two-time national finalist since John Orr, who was a two-time runner-up at 142 lbs in 1984 and 1985.

    Purdue went without an All-American from 2013 through 2022. This year they had two (Matt Ramos - 2nd; Parker Filius - 7th). They are the first two All-Americans during head coach Tony Ersland's tenure, as well. Finally, Ramos is the Boilermakers first finalist since Chris Fleeger in 2006. The last Purdue semifinalist was Cashe Quiroga in 2010.

    For the first time since 2013, Rutgers went without a placewinner.

    Shane Griffith's fifth-place finish at 165 lbs (5th, 2nd, 1st) made him a three-time NCAA All-American for Stanford. He's only the third three-time AA in school history.

    Virginia Tech finished with five All-Americans. They've had at least three every year since 2013.

    With Killian Cardinale's finish, West Virginia has now had a placewinner in three consecutive tournaments. The last time they achieved that feat was 2005-07 (Matt Lebe/2005, Brandon Rader/2006-07).

    State-Related Notes

    Brandon Courtney, Roman Bravo-Young, and Beau Bartlett all earn All-American honors. All are from Arizona. The last time Arizona had three All-Americans was in 1990 with Shawn Charles (2nd), Wayne McMinn (6th), and Thom Ortiz (2nd). Each wrestled for Arizona State.

    There were six All-Americans from the state of California. The last time they hit that mark was in 2013 with 7.

    Georgia has multiple NCAA All-Americans (Caleb Henson/Gavin Kane) for the first time since 2002 when Chris Rodrigues - North Carolina (125/8th) and Witt Durden - Oklahoma (133/3rd).

    New York had a pair of NCAA champions in Vito Arujau and Yianni Diakomihalis. The last time multiple New Yorkers won titles was in 2010

    North Dakota State's Jared Franek was the first North Dakota native to earn All-American honors for the Bison since their transition to DI in 2005.

    Pennsylvania had 11 All-Americans which was the state's fewest since producing eight in 2017.

    Pennsylvania had three All-Americans in the 174 lb weight class with Carter Starocci (1st), Mikey Labriola (2nd), and Ethan Smith (7th).

    Pennsylvania has had at least one national champion in every tournament since 2016 (17 total).

    Six wrestlers won NCAA titles while wrestling in their home state. Patrick Glory (Princeton/NJ), Vito Arujau (Cornell/NY), Andrew Alirez Northern Colorado/CO), Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell/NY), Carter Starocci (Penn State/PA), and Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh/PA). The last time that happened was in 2017.

    Seed-Related Notes

    There were two wrestlers with seeds of 20 or greater that got onto the podium. Both were at 125 lbs and met in the seventh place bout, #27 Eddie Ventresca (Virginia Tech) and #28 Killian Cardinale (West Virginia).
    Cardinale was also the only All-American that made the tournament as an at-large selection.

    The only #1 seed that did not make the NCAA finals was Spencer Lee at 125 lbs.

    Shayne Van Ness (Penn State/149) was the lowest-seeded semifinalist at #12.

    Van Ness was one of only two double-digit seeds to finish in the top three. The third-place finisher at 125 lbs, Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) was the tenth seed.

    Five of the ten weight classes had the four top seeds advance to the semifinals.

    With #2 Keegan O'Toole's win, the last #1 seed to win a national title at 165 lbs was Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State/2016).

    Conference-Related Notes

    The MAC finished with four All-Americans (Noto - Lock Haven, Olejnik - Northern Illinois, Feldkamp - Clarion, Laird - Rider) after having none in 2022.

    The Pac-12's All-American count dropped from 13 in 2022 to 7 in 2023.

    9 of the 13 Big 12 schools produced at least one All-American. Last season, only six schools in the league had an AA.

    The EIWA had seven All-Americans with the Ivy League accounting for six of those AA's (Josh Humphrey - Lehigh; was the other).

    The EIWA went 1-6 in the Round of 12. Cornell (Ungar, Ramirez), Lehigh (Hines, Beard), Drexel (Bonino), Harvard (Slavikouski). Jacob Cardenas (Cornell) was the only victory.

    The conference breakdown by national champions is: Big Ten (3), EIWA (3), Big 12 (2), ACC (2). Last year, the Big Ten accounted for eight. The last time the Big Ten had that few was in 2011 with two.

    The last time the EIWA had three national champions was in 2012 with Cornell's trio of Kyle Dake (157), Steve Bosak (184), and Cam Simaz (197).

    The only Big Ten champion that did not make the podium (or the semifinals) was 197 lber Silas Allred of Nebraska.

    Miscellaneous-Related Notes

    The only All-American to lose in the opening round was Gavin Kane (North Carolina) at 184 lbs. Kane fell to Colton Hawks in his first match, then proceeded to defeat #27 Caleb Hopkins (Campbell), #12 Abe Assad (Iowa), #19 Jacob Nolan (Binghamton), and #7 Hunter Bolen (Virginia Tech).

    Carter Starocci's pin in the finals was the first finals fall since Bo Nickal pinned Myles Martin in 2018. (Shoutout to Shannon Scovel for getting that before me)

    The last five NCAA runner's-up at 174 lbs have had a first name that starts with "M." Mikey Labriola, Mekhi Lewis, Michael Kemerer, Mark Hall x2.

    The top half of the 2019 184 lb bracket now has one returning champ (Myles Martin) and two eventual ones (Max Dean and Nino Bonaccorsi). Drew Foster came from the bottom half and won.

    With Patrick Glory and Vito Arujau winning titles, Sebastian Rivera now has wins over five national champions (Spencer Lee, Seth Gross, Roman Bravo-Young). And with Real Woods making the finals, he has beaten seven national finalists (Zeke Moisey), despite never making the finals himself.

    Going to need to crowdsource for this one: David Carr and Shane Griffith met in the 165 lb quarterfinals. I'm trying to find the last time two RETURNING NCAA champions met in the quarterfinals. There have been a few semi-recent occurrences where an eventual champ met a returning champ, but not with two that already had titles entering the tournament.

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