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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    2022-23 Pac-12 Breakout Candidates

    Little Rock 174 lber Triston Wills (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    Every year there are wrestlers that have “breakout” seasons. Whether it's wrestlers that are coming off a strong redshirt season, or young wrestlers who have a big jump from experience in the next season, it is always fun to see which athletes separate and improve from year to year In this article series, I am going to highlight a wrestler from every school in each of the seven different conferences that have the potential to breakout. That could mean anything from making a surprising splash at the national tournament, to qualifying for the first time, or even getting some important dual wins for a school. Up next are the seven schools that make up the PAC-12 Conference.

    Arizona State - #19 Anthony Montalvo, 184lbs (Jr)

    In 2020, Montalvo was a standout wrestler for Oklahoma State with a 25-6 record, third place Big 12 finish, and the ninth seed at NCAA's. The next two years he had season-ending injuries and was only able to wrestle in three matches. He has a chance at a fresh start after transferring to Arizona State this offseason. If Montalvo is able to stay healthy and show the form he demonstrated in his redshirt freshman year, he could be an immediate podium contender.

    Cal Poly - #27 Luka Wick, 157lbs (Fr)

    The younger brother of Evan Wick, Luka will be looking to make his name just as known after going 12-0 as a redshirt. His biggest win was against Lane Stigall of Oregon State, their starter at 149lbs. What makes him someone to keep an eye on was his impressive bonus rate of 75%, including eight pins. He is moving up to 157lbs and has the resume to continue the Wick family dominance.

    CSU Bakersfield - Albert Urias, 174lbs, (Jr)

    Urias is going into his fourth year as a starter and coming off his best record yet. He went 25-14 after going 3-3 in 2021 and 17-16 in 2020. He had wins over qualifiers Anthony Mantanona and Tyler Eischens. If he can continue his ascent and knock off some more ranked wrestlers, he could easily end up in the rankings.

    Little Rock - Triston Wills, 174lbs (So)

    Wills and Albert Urias actually traded wins over each other at the PAC-12 tournament, with Wills finishing third. Wills had wins over ranked wrestlers Mason Kauffman, Thomas Flitz, Andrew McNally, and Sean Harman. Nearly all of his losses came to ranked wrestlers. If Wills can improve his consistency during the season, then he has a good chance to earn an automatic qualifying spot at the PAC-12 tournament.

    Oregon State - #28 Isaiah Crosby, 157lbs (Jr)

    After two years at Iowa Western CC and an NJCAA title at 157lbs, Crosby transferred to Oregon State and went 5-1 while backing up Hunter Willits. All his matches came at the Reno TOC where he finished as runner-up. His run included wins over Luke Mechler, a solid Oklahoma State redshirting freshman, and Charlie Darracott, who was the starter for Stanford. Crosby had a close 7-5 decision loss to Jacob Wright of Wyoming in the finals. Now a starter himself, Crosby will look to climb even higher in the rankings with more ranked matches.

    Stanford - #30 Jackson DiSario, 133lbs (Jr)

    A two-time qualifier at 125lbs, DiSario had a down year in 2021-22 in his first season at 133lbs. DiSario was the 28th seed in 2020, and went 0-2 as the 26th seed in 2021. Last season, he made the move to 133lbs and beat out the previous starter Jason Miranda. He had a respectable 19-10 record, but wasn't able to get any ranked wins and had some unranked losses. With another season under his belt, there is clear potential for DiSario to return to the national tournament.

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