Spencer Lee in the 2021 NCAA semifinals (Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Even though it's mid-June, it's never too early to look ahead to the next college season. And by ahead, we mean WAY ahead to Detroit and the 2022 NCAA Championships. A reoccurring feature between now and then will be our All-330 projections. What is the all-330? That number represents the total number of wrestlers in action at the tournament. 33 per weight class.
Here is our first stab at projecting the wrestlers that will qualify for the 2022 NCAA Championships. Since we are so early in the year, these lists will evolve as wrestlers transfer, go up or down in weight, or change redshirt status. There are some true freshmen listed among the 330.
Each weight has been broken up into their respective conference. All wrestlers are listed by their school's name, these are not rankings. To the bottom right of each weight you'll see seven wrestlers in the "just missed" category. Those are the wrestlers that were considered for the top-33 but didn't make the cut...for now.
This weight, as much as many, has been boosted by the return of the Ivy League wrestlers. We have added four Ivy Leaguers into the mix. That nudges out a handful of 2021 national qualifiers. While the top-tier at 125 is extremely small, it is very deep.
The 2020 133 lb weight class was one of the most top-heavy of the last decade. We have Sebastian Rivera moving back to give the 2022 more of a 2020 feel. Stevan Micic and Nick Suriano are also possibilities, but we have not listed them yet.
This weight class only gets deeper with the addition of All-American contenders Sammy Alvarez and Austin Gomez. For now, we have Joshua Saunders at 141 and Yianni Diakomihalis at 149. You'll notice Real Woods in his own category. He'll be added to a conference once he make his intentions known.
This is the first weight with a wrestler from the Class of 2021. We have Shayne Van Ness as the starter for Penn State. That is not set in stone, but we'll go with it for now. Also, Jaden Abas and Kizhan Clarke, could change the face of this weight once they decide their future homes.
This weight looks a bit different from 2021 as we've added a handful of wrestlers that are expected to change weights (Austin O'Connor, Jake Keating, Peyton Robb), along with two of the best freshmen in the Class of 2021 (Paddy Gallagher and Dean Hamiti).
For now, we have Ryan Deakin at 165. There's no way he could make 157 again, could he? We've got the beginning of some weight changes with Ohio State and the new Cal Poly Mustang, Evan Wick in the Pac-12. Shane Griffith will make an impact here (or possibly at 174), based on his decision.
Some new faces from the ACC (Mekhi Lewis, Hayden Hidlay, and Kennedy Monday) make this weight class an absolute meatgrinder. The Big Ten alone has six returning AA's.
With transfer Patrick Brucki in Ann Arbor and ready to go at 197, along with a soft commitment from Myles Amine to return, we have him down at 184.
Missouri's move to the Big 12 now gives the conference four returning AA's and a possible 9 qualifiers. The Big Ten gets a shot in the arm adding Max Dean and Greg Bulsak as transfers, along with Wisconsin super-freshman Braxton Amos.
The elephant in the room is Gable Steveson's status. We'll probably have a better idea on that after the Olympics in about a month and a half. For now, we have him in. After competing at 125 kg in freestyle, we have Lucas Davison up from 197 lbs. Typically 285 lbs is very senior-heavy, so the extra year of eligibility is really evident here. All seven in the "just missed" category have qualified for nationals at least once.