2022 NCAA champion Nick Lee (right) and Beau Bartlett (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
One aspect we missed out on with the extra year of Covid eligibility was superstars graduating, moving on, and having to be replaced by their respective teams. Now that we're back to a relatively normal year of collegiate wrestling, that is a necessity for most programs.
So, how do you replace superstars, team captains, and pillars of your wrestling program? Generally, you don't, but others step in and do their best to make a name for themselves. And who replaces them? There's no solution that applies to everyone. Some teams turned to the transfer portal. Others have a stud freshman ready to go. Some have an existing teammate ready to move up or down in weight. Some just have a lot of depth and have a veteran that's been biding his time; in this instance maybe a year more than they anticipated.
However, as they get closer to the 2022-23 season, there are plenty of wrestlers looking to replace significant NCAA point-scorers from Detroit.
Here is more about those wrestlers who we'll dub "The Replacements."
The graduated wrestler is listed in bold, while his replacement(s) are listed below them.
Nick Suriano (Michigan - 125)
The Replacement: #16 Jack Medley
Ultimate team guy Jack Medley gets the call at 125 lbs after spending the first half of the 2021-22 season as the starter. Medley went 12-4 with three wins over eventual national qualifiers last season. In his only year as a full-time starter at 125 lbs (2019-20), Medley was fourth in the Big Ten and seeded 14th at the national tournament. During that season, Medley put up wins over future 2022 All-Americans Michael DeAugustino (Northwestern), Eric Barnett (Wisconsin), and Brandon Kaylor (Oregon State).
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