2021-22 Preseason All-Big Ten Teams

3x NCAA champion Spencer Lee (Photo/Tony Rotundo;

InterMat has released its preseason All-Big Ten first and second teams, along with preseason conference Wrestler of the Year, preseason Newcomer of the Year, and preseason team favorite. We use the term "Newcomer" since there is the chance of wrestlers that competed at the national tournament in 2021, being called "freshmen."

First-Team Preseason All-Big Ten

125 - Spencer Lee (Iowa)
133 - Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State)
141 - Nick Lee (Penn State)
149 - Sammy Sasso (Ohio State)
157 - Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
165 - Alex Marinelli (Iowa)
174 - Carter Starocci (Penn State)
184 - Aaron Brooks (Penn State)
197 - Braxton Amos (Wisconsin)
285 - Gable Steveson (Minnesota)

Second-Team Preseason All-Big Ten

125 - Patrick McKee (Minnesota)
133 - Austin DeSanto (Iowa)
141 - Jaydin Eierman (Iowa)
149 - Yahya Thomas (Northwestern)
157 - Kaleb Young (Iowa)
165 - Carson Kharchla (Ohio State)
174 - Michael Kemerer (Iowa)
184 - Myles Amine (Michigan)
197 - Jacob Warner (Iowa)
285 - Mason Parris (Michigan)

Preseason Big Ten Wrestler of the Year: Spencer Lee

We're giving Spencer Lee the nod over Gable Steveson because of his opportunity at history.

Spencer Lee enters his final season with the Hawkeyes with the opportunity to win a fourth NCAA title. Only four others in NCAA history have won four Division I national titles: Oklahoma State's Pat Smith ('90-92, '94), Iowa State's Cael Sanderson ('99-02), Cornell's Kyle Dake ('10-13), and Ohio State's Logan Stieber ('12-15).

Additionally, Spencer has twice won the Hodge Trophy, college wrestling's Heisman equivalent, and is one of just five wrestlers to win the award multiple times in its 27-year history. He will take a 75-5 career record into his senior season, which includes a 35-match winning streak where he's outscored his opponents by a staggering 430-40.

It will be hard to bet against Spencer Lee if he adds his name to another historic wrestling list. Until proven otherwise, he's the favorite at 125 pounds, a likely front-runner for the Hodge again, and all eyes will be on him all year, from the Hawkeyes' first dual against Princeton until the NCAA Championships in Detroit come March.

Spencer Lee is one of the few wrestlers who came into college with unbelievable hype, and not only matched that hype, but in many ways, exceeded it.

Preseason Big Ten Newcomer of the Year: Braxton Amos

There are many newcomers who have the potential to make a big splash this year in the Big Ten - like Max Dean, Greg Bulsak, Austin Gomez, Joe Roberts, perhaps Alex Facundo, others as well - but we're rolling with Wisconsin's Braxton Amos here.

His résumé is already mighty impressive: He qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, then made the Greco-Roman finals. He not only made the Junior world team in both styles as well, but won medals at the world championships in both, too - gold in freestyle, bronze in Greco.

Those accomplishments have created sky-high expectations for Amos entering his true freshman year with the Badgers. Between 2015 and 2019, seven U.S. wrestlers won Junior men's freestyle world titles. All of them either won an NCAA title or made the finals.

Can Amos continue that trend? We think so. His impact will be swift and immediate, and you aren't going to want to miss it.

Preseason Big Ten Team Favorite: Iowa Hawkeyes

We're really going out on a limb here in picking the defending NCAA team title winners, but these Hawkeyes are still the team to beat - not just in the Big Ten, but in the country this season.

They bring back everybody: seven total All-Americans, including six who finished in the top-four and three finalists. Iowa scored 129 points, in what many considered to be a less-than-great team effort overall (Alex Marinelli, Max Murin, Nelson Brands combined to score just 7 points), and still won the NCAA team title by 15.5 points over Penn State.

The Nittany Lions will provide a stiff challenge, with four returning national champs and other point-scorers. Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Minnesota will provide varying levels of pressure, too. Outside of the conference, teams like Cornell, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, and Arizona State will make the NCAA Championships interesting in March.

But until proven otherwise, the Hawkeyes are the favorite. With the benefit of the COVID-19 relief year, and the willingness of their seniors to come back for one more season, the championship window remains open.

The bad guys in black are back for another year. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.


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mzendar (1) about a month ago
Of course you picked Iowa. I will take PSU.