2023 NCAA 3rd Place finisher Chris Foca (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
It's the moment you all haven't been waiting for! You didn't ask for it but you got it anyway! The 2023 All-Jagger Team! What are the requirements you ask? Beats me! I just picked a bunch of guys I enjoyed watching this year. So let's get to it!
125 - Dean Peterson (Rutgers)
The All-Jagger has to lead off with a Jersey guy and I can't think of a better pick than my man Dean. The Jersey Shore native showed what grit is after a heartbreaking opening round loss to reach the blood round including a win over backside legend Patrick McKee. The Scarlet Knight also has a knack for revenge wins. I love revenge wins. Bonus points for being a Mets fan.
133 - Sam Latona (Virginia Tech)
I just love watching Sam take the mat. You never know what will happen and he can beat anyone at any time. It's hard to believe that he has two years left and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them ended with a match on Saturday night in March.
141 - Beau Bartlett (Penn State)
Double B was thrown right into the fire as a true freshman in a year where he didn't even have a chance to get acclimated to college wrestling, not to mention, he was at the wrong weight. Now at the correct weight, the former Wyoming Seminary star, via Arizona, is showing why he was such a highly touted recruit. Any Scott Green-trained wrestler has a place on my squad.
149 - Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell)
Yeah, the four-time champ gets a spot on the All-Jagger. He also squeezed in a world final during that time. Now with his attention fully turned to freestyle, the man also known as John will win a world title one day. I assume it will be his second favorite accomplishment after this honor.
157 - Peyton Robb (Nebraska)
The mailbag staff (me) just want to wish Peyton a speedy recovery and we hope to see you back on the mat soon. My man gutted out a place on the podium then went straight to the hospital and once the wrestling community found out about it, they donated so much money they had to shut the thing down. Robb Strong, indeed.
165 - Shane Griffith (Stanford)
Sugar Shane might be a free agent in the real world, but he always has a place on my team. My offer of lunch at Lodi Pizza once a week still stands if Griffith comes to Rutgers.
174 - Chris Foca (Cornell)
It's a Bergen Catholic reunion! Seriously though, Foca might be the most exciting wrestler in college. I've watched this guy since he debuted with a Beast of the East title way back in 2016 and he just keeps getting better. One win and two losses at the big dance in 2022 turned into a 5-1 record this year and a third-place finish. Giant tattoo of New Jersey on his shoulder? Total Jagger guy. Possibly my captain.
184 - Matt Finesilver (Michigan)
"Handsome" Matt made history by being the first Finesilver to wrestle somewhere other than Duke and he was more than up to the challenge to take on the Big Ten conference. Armed with a killer mustache and an advocate in Dr. Rhino constantly asking questions about him, Matt became a mailbag favorite this year, so it's only fitting that he represents my squad at 184. My guy came up just short of the podium this year, but who cares. You're All-Jagger! That's something Mitch, Josh, Zach, Bubba Ray, and Devon Finesilver never did! Bragging rights are important around here.
197 - Silas Allred (Nebraska)
I admit I wasn't super familiar with Silas going into March. I know he was a pretty big prospect but I usually check out Nebraska duals after Mikey Labs or I'm just in a fog but that time of night anyway to remember much of his matches. Then he put a hurting on the returning champ and I was like..whoa, this dude is for real. Then he did it again two weeks later! Then 197 did what 197 does and ate him up in the bloodround. But that's alright! We love bloodround guys here! From now on I'll try to stay awake for the end of every dual.
285 - Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force)
Here's another guy I hadn't seen much of until the end of the season. But I love everything about him. And if asked, I'll be his wingman any time.
Well that's it for the second annual All-Jagger team! Will there be a third? Will I hold this job for another year? Nobody knows for sure. Fresh mailbag coming your way tomorrow so get those questions in while you can!