Nebraska's All-American Chad Red Jr. (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Today, NCAA Allocations will be released! It's the first step in determining who will wrestle in Tulsa at the 2023 NCAA Championships. A formula that takes into account RPI, winning percentage, and coaches rankings will divvy out allocations to each conference; with no more than 29 being handed out per weight class. The rest will be at-large berths.
The beauty of this format is that even if you did not earn an allocation for your conference, you could also "steal" one as they are open to anyone in the conference that places in the range allocated by the NCAA. That scenario is quite common. In fact, we've looked at a handful of wrestlers that did not earn allocations at their respective conference tournaments, yet still got to compete at nationals last season.
Wrestling By Pirate's Allocation List
Stevan Micic (Michigan)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 6-4
Micic had a limited regular season and didn't end up having the postseason success we've been accustomed to seeing out of him. He ended up getting an NCAA berth with a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten. That led to a 24th seed in Detroit and he advanced to the NCAA Round of 12 before getting eliminated.
Frankie Tal-Shahar (Northwestern)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 9-6
Tal-Shahar finished the regular season with four Big Ten dual victories, including one over Parker Filius (Purdue); however, it wasn't enough for an automatic qualifying spot. He booked a trip to nationals by defeating Joe Zargo (Wisconsin) for seventh in the Big Ten. Tal-Shahar went 1-2 at nationals, but did register a win over returning All-American Clay Carlson (South Dakota State).
Chad Red Jr. (Nebraska)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 11-4
Red Jr. narrowly missed out on earning an allocation for the Big Ten and then did not qualify for NCAA's after going 1-2 at the Big Ten tournament. Red Jr. still was able to compete at nationals and made it to the Round of 12 before losing via fall to Grant Willits (Oregon State).
Wil Gil (Franklin & Marshall)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 23-5
Even with such an impressive-looking record in the regular season, Wil Gil wasn't able to earn a qualifying bid for the EIWA. With four slots available in the EIWA, Gil lost in the quarterfinals, then proceeded to crush the consolation bracket and got third place. Even though he didn't win a match at nationals, he was F&M's first qualifier since 2019.
Quinn Kinner (Rider)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 14-6
In his first year at Rider, Kinner had a solid season, but was still not one of the three MAC wrestlers that earned an allocation last season. No worries, Kinner just won the entire conference tournament and forwent the possibility of hoping for an at-large. Though he went 1-2 at nationals, Kinner did pick up a win over former Ohio State teammate Dylan D'Emilio.
Michael Blockhus (Minnesota)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 13-11
In 2021-22, Michael Blockhus had one of those years that you see good wrestlers have from time to time in the Big Ten. During duals, he suffered losses to the eventual top-four placers at the conference tournament, along with another returning All-American. Basically, his record didn't mesh with his talent. Blockhus took fifth in Lincoln and secured his spot at the NCAA Tournament. There he avenged an early-season loss to Legend Lamer (Cal Poly), but ultimately went 1-2.
Colin Realbuto (Northern Iowa)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 14-8
The 2021-22 season was truly a breakout year for Colin Realbuto. He started slow, but finished strong. At the Big 12 Championships, Realbuto avenged two regular season losses (Jarrett Degen and Josh Edmond) to take third at the Big 12 Championships and steal a qualifying bid. At the NCAA Tournament, Realbuto went 2-2 highlighted by a win over the #14 seed, Josh Finesilver (Duke).
PJ Ogunsanya (Army West Point)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 11-2
An injury suffered in mid-January against Yianni Diakomihalis kept PJ Ogunsanya out until the postseason and prevented him from earning an automatic qualifying bid. Ogunsanya won a pair of bouts at the EIWA Championships, but ultimately needed to rely on an at-large berth for NCAA's. At the national tournament, Ogunsanya went 2-2 including a victory by fall over #7 Josh Heil (Campbell).
Kody Komara (Kent State)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 13-11
The MAC was very deep in 2021-22 at 149 lbs, but even so, Kody Komara did not earn one of the five allocations for the league. That didn't matter as he got by an injured Alex Madrigal (George Mason) in the semis and pinned Marcus Robinson (Cleveland State) for a conference championship. Komara was held winless at nationals, but still had a MAC Tournament to be proud of.
Cory Crooks (Oregon State)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 12-8
After making the 2021 NCAA Championships for Arizona State, Cory Crooks transferred to Oregon State to use his final year of eligibility. Crooks took his lumps during the 2021-22 regular season and appeared to be on the outside looking in regarding NCAA qualification. That changed when he pinned 2021 All-American Jaden Abas (Stanford) for third place in the Pac-12 and punched his ticket to nationals. In Detroit, Cory was able to go 2-2.
Brady Berge (Penn State)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 5-1
Brady Berge made the extremely unusual transition from coaching at South Dakota State to competing for Penn State within the same season. Berge had a huge regular season win over All-American Cam Amine, but only had a handful of matches under his belt before the postseason. He had an excellent Big Ten tournament with a pair of wins over Iowa's All-American Kaleb Young and finished third. After getting the 16th seed at nationals, Berge lost to a pair of eventual AA's and went 2-2 overall.
Ben Barton (Lock Haven)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 22-7
The Campbell transfer, Ben Barton, must have just missed out on earning an allocation for the MAC, as his record was solid headed into the postseason. He left nothing to chance and won the MAC title to lock up a third NCAA Tournament appearance. Barton wouldn't be so fortunate at nationals, as he went 0-2 with a pair of decision losses.
Tyler Eischens (Stanford)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 16-10
Tyler Eischens looked poised to rack up a qualifying spot for the Pac-12, but lost two of his final three matches and must have just missed the target benchmarks. Eischens ended up winning the conference after grinding out three consecutive close decisions. In the opening round of the NCAA Championships, Eischens pulled off a big upset when he knocked off returning All-American Ethan Smith (Ohio State) in a 13-12 shootout. That would be his only win of the tournament.
Abe Assad (Iowa)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 10-6
Some early-season competitions against non-DI opponents likely put Abe Assad under the match minimum and led to him not earning an allocation for the Big Ten. That wasn't a big deal as the Big Ten had 12 automatic qualifying slots at 184 anyways. Assad went on to place seventh at the conference tournament, which locked in a spot at nationals. In Detroit, Assad went 1-2 with losses to a pair of past All-Americans.
Keegan Moore (Oklahoma)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 4-2
After a transfer from Northern Iowa, Keegan Moore didn't suit up for Oklahoma until mid-January. Moore finished his regular season with a win over two-time All-American Dakota Geer (Oklahoma State) in the Bedlam dual. He'd replicate the feat at the Big 12 Championships where he'd get fourth. Though he was the 27th seed at the NCAA Tournament, Moore picked up wins over notables such as Tate Samuelson (Lehigh) and Layne Malczewski (Michigan State).
Ben Smith (Cleveland State)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 17-4
Despite finishing the regular season by winning 12 of his final 13 matches, Ben Smith did not earn an allocation for the MAC. Smith carried that hot streak into the MAC Tournament by making the finals and pinning the favorite, Will Feldkamp (Clarion), for the title. Smith would go on to nationals and exit without a win, but put himself in that position after a great conference tournament.
Luke Surber (Oklahoma State)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 10-7
With a modest 10-7 record and in an extremely deep Big 12 weight class, it didn't appear as if there was a path to the NCAA tournament for Luke Surber. That was until Surber reversed the results against three opponents (Tyrell Gordon, Sam Schuyler, Zach Elam) and made the Big 12 finals. Though he was majored by Wyatt Hendrickson, the league was taking the top-six placewinners to Detroit, so he easily qualified. At NCAA's, Surber picked up a win over Bedlam rival Josh Heindselman, an opponent who he split matches with earlier in the season.
Joe Doyle (Binghamton)
2021-22 Regular Season Record: 14-6
Joe Doyle was on the cusp of earning an allocation but came up just short. He left nothing to doubt in the EIWA Championships pinning three opponents on his way to third place. Doyle also had a good run at NCAA's majoring the #14 seed Luke Luffman (Illinois) among his two wins.