Top-seeded 149 lber Kyle Parco (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
2023 Pac-12 Conference Preview
19 total allocations/23 in 2022
Where:Palo Alto, California (Stanford University)
How to Watch: Pac-12.com/Pac-12 Network
On a busy weekend, out on the west coast, the Pac-12 Championships will take place on the campus of Stanford University. At the beginning of the season, this conference looked like it would be won by Arizona State, running away. That may still happen, but the Sun Devils have come back to the pack. Injuries have decimated ASU and their dual record suffered. Arizona State, as currently constructed, should function well in a large tournament format. With a small tournament like the Pac-12, anything can happen. We saw that last season as the Sun Devils edged Oregon State by a half-point for their third straight title.
Once again, Oregon State should be a key player in the team race. The Beavers are battle-tested and formidable. They will start the tournament with four number-one seeds and have a well-balanced lineup. Between the Beavers performance at the Pac-12 tournament last year and their three All-Americans two weeks later, they have proven that Chris Pendleton and staff can get the most out of their wrestlers at the right time.
Speaking of balance, Cal Poly had a perfect Pac-12 dual season and comes in with a very solid set of starters. Will that regular season success translate to tournaments?
The final contender is the host Stanford. Rob Koll's team features two past All-Americans and a squad that also fares better in a large tournament setting.
The way the different conference tournaments have been structured, you should be able to watch the Pac-12 finals (along with the Big 12) at the end of Sunday evening, after a long weekend of action.
Below is our weight-by-weight preview of the action, along with predictions for top-four finishers at all ten weights and a team race projection. Wrestlers bolded are the ones we have pegged to receive automatic qualifying bids at their respective weight classes.
Right off the bat, we start with one of the conference's toughest weights. A pair of All-Americans lead the way, while a freshman isn't far behind them. Arizona State's Brandon Courtney is in search of his fourth Pac-12 crown. In each of the last two seasons, he's also gone on to earn All-American honors, with a high-water mark being a 2021 NCAA finals appearance. Courtney hasn't lost to a conference opponent since the Oregon State's Ronnie Bresser during 2018-19 regular season. It'll be another OSU wrestler that tries to bring that winning streak to a screeching halt as All-American Brandon Kaylor represents his primary competition. In addition, Kaylor will try to stop his own streak. He's 0-4 officially in his career against the Sun Devil star, but had also lost to Courtney during his redshirt season.
Before another round in the Courtney/Kaylor saga, the Beaver All-American will need to get by Stanford freshman Nico Provo. Over the weekend, the two met for the first time and Provo gave Kaylor all he could handle in a 3-2. A week later, could he flip the script? Provo's best performance this year came when he took third at the Southern Scuffle and defeated a pair of ranked opponents.
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