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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Three Quick Reactions from the NCAA Allocation Release

    3x NCAA All-American Stevan Micic (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    Earlier this afternoon, the NCAA released it's qualifier allocation for the DI national championships which will be held in Detroit, Michigan, March 17th-19th. Those figures let us know how many wrestlers per weight class will punch their tickets to nationals at the conclusion of their respective conference tournaments.

    After perusing the allocations and comparing them to InterMat's national rankings, there were some possible irregularities to watch out for as we watch the results of the conference tournaments. Since some notable wrestlers, ones that have the chance to win their conference or have a deep run, didn't earn bids, there will be some dominoes that fall.

    Here's what we've found from the allocations.

    Chaos at 141 lbs

    Perhaps the weight class that will get shook up the most as the result of the allocations is 141 lbs. The Big Ten is front and center amongst the potential problems. The seven wrestlers that earned qualifying bids for the conference were: #1 Nick Lee (Penn State), #2 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa), #3 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers), #17 Dylan D'Emilio (Ohio State), #18 Jake Bergeland (Minnesota), #22 Joe Zargo (Wisconsin) and #31 Parker Filius (Purdue).

    Now there are some gigantic omissions amongst the Big Ten wrestlers that didn't qualify a spot. In fact, they have combined to AA seven times at the NCAA Championships. #10 Chad Red Jr. (Nebraska), #15 Stevan Micic (Michigan), and #16 Dylan Duncan (Illinois). You'd assume that under normal circumstances, all three would finish in the top-seven. If that happens, the conference would have three wrestlers who earned spots, seeking at-large bids. Other names in the Big Ten, to throw in the mix, are Frankie Tal-Shahar (Northwestern) and Cayden Rooks (Indiana). Tal-Shahar is a freshman that has wrestled progressively better at the end of the year and could shock someone in Lincoln. Rooks is looking to snap a five-match losing streak, but was a qualifier in 2021.

    Another possible monkey wrench in the conference is the health of Rivera. If he's limited and doesn't grab an automatic qualifying spot, it'll be another highly-qualified wrestler seeking a precious at-large berth. Across the country, there are only five such bids available.

    Other unusual takeaways from 141 lbs involve the MAC and Pac-12. There are three automatic qualifying slots available for the MAC, with #12 Dresden Simon (Central Michigan), Seth Koleno (Clarion), and Kyran Hagan (Ohio), picking up the bids. Koleno and Hagan are not ranked in InterMat's top-33, while Quinn Kinner (Rider) and Gabe Willochell (Edinboro) are.

    The Pac-12 gained a pair of spots from #8 Real Woods (Stanford) and #13 Grant Willits (Oregon State). Two conference members, #32 Lawrence Saenz (Cal Poly) and #33 Angelo Martinoni (CSU Bakersfield), are ranked and may be seeking a precious bid.

    More than most other weight classes in recent memory, 141 lbs will likely have some high-quality wrestlers left out in the cold.

    Possible problems at 165 lbs

    The Big Ten should be responsible for the issues at 141, but it could be the Big 12 that's an issue at 165 lbs. The conference is allocated four spots in Detroit. The Big 12 wrestlers that earned those spots were: #2 Keegan O'Toole (Missouri), #7 Peyton Hall (West Virginia), #16 Austin Yant (Northern Iowa), #17 Luke Weber (North Dakota State).

    Notably absent from that list is returning All-American #11 Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State). In addition, there are four other conference members that are currently among the top-33. #21 Cole Moody (Wyoming), #31 Isaac Judge (Iowa State), #32 Joe Grello (Oklahoma), #33 Tanner Cook (South Dakota State). That means a handful of quality wrestlers from the Big 12 will be in the at-large pool.

    Other conferences could chip in with some headaches, too. The Big Ten, the MAC, and the SoCon all have unranked wrestlers that earned automatic slots (Cael Carlson - Minnesota, Riley Smucker - Cleveland State, and Rodrick Mosley - Gardner-Webb).

    Could the B1G qualifier all 14 at 184?

    I'm sure at first glance, seeing that the Big Ten will earn 12 automatic qualifying spots at 184 lbs, you may have done a double-take. That couldn't be right, could it? Well, 13 of the top-28 wrestlers at the weight class reside in the Big Ten! The only one of the bunch that didn't earn an allocation was #20 Abe Assad (Iowa). It's probably a safe bet that Assad places top-12 and pushes someone else into the at-large pool.

    With Assad and the other 12, semi-safely headed to nationals, the only other wrestler in the conference on the outside is Northwestern's Jack Jessen. Though he's currently 1-8 on the year, Jessen took #28 Max Lyon (Purdue) to sudden victory Saturday afternoon. He's certainly capable of beating someone in the league and making it into the top-12.

    With one at-large berth almost certainly going to the Big Ten, that leaves only three others for the remaining six conferences. One that probably will have multiple wrestlers seeking those limited spots is the Big 12. The Big 12 has three ranked wrestlers that didn't earn spots in #15 Tate Samuelson (Wyoming), #32 Cade King (South Dakota State), and #33 Keegan Moore (Oklahoma).

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