(from left) Austin O'Connor, Levi Haines, and Peyton Robb (Photos/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
The 2023 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships are less than a week away! In a few short days, 330 wrestlers will make the trek to Tulsa, Oklahoma, with hopes of a national title on their minds. Now it's in a state that hasn't hosted nationals since 2014 and a city that has never hosted the DI Tournament. Our Big 12 friends are plenty-familiar with the venue, the BOK Center, as it has become the home of their conference tournament.
Before the action on the mat starts, InterMat will go through each individual bracket and highlight the favorites, top matches to watch, and much more.
Here are the previously released previews
125 lb Preview
133 lb Preview
141 lb Preview
149 lb Preview
The Top Seed: #1 Austin O'Connor (North Carolina)
It took all year, but Austin O'Connor finally rose to the top spot at 157 lbs. He ascended to the number one seed after surviving another test from #7 Bryce Andonian in the ACC finals, while the previous number one, #3 Peyton Robb, was beaten by #2 Levi Haines. The conference championship brought O'Connor's season record to 18-0, which includes a pair of wins against the dangerous Virginia Tech All-American. It also brings his career record against Andonian to 6-0.
O'Connor missed most of the first half of the season recovering from a knee injury that hampered him during the end of the 2021-22 season. O'Connor fell to ACC rival Ed Scott in the 2022 ACC finals and ended up losing in the first round of the national tournament to Dazjon Castro, then of The Citadel. O'Connor battled back to make the NCAA podium (for a third time), beating Josh Humphreys in the deciding bout.
Those late-season losses and NCAA finish affected O'Connor in the preseason rankings and he had to battle his way up from eight. Once O'Connor hit the mat in December, he never looked back. His bonus point percentage (almost 78%) was almost 25% more than his previous high in 2019-20. Perhaps, O'Connor's best showing of the year was a major decision victory over Andonian in ACC dual competition.
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