Who was the most unlikely All American at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Tournament?

It Rutger’s Anthony Perrotti!

anthony perrotti 2014 NCAA all american

No need to bury the lead.

There were quite a few upsets and wrestlers who out preformed their seeds at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Some folks even went so far as to bestow the tournament’s host, Oklahoma City, with the nickname of Upset City. I don’t think the name will stick but, you know, for the weekend it was all right.

I won’t go through ever single upset – it would be nice to have that much free time – but I’ll try to highlight some of the wrestlers who made the All American podium that most people, specifically the seeding committee, didn’t think was going happen.

Jack Dechow 184 ODU; Mitch Minotti 149 Lehigh; and Josh Kindig 149 Okie St, all finished 9 places higher than their seed  anticipated. Seeds which, for the first time ever, now included spots 13 through 16. Minotti and Dechow are both red shirt freshman by the way.

Meanwhile, true frosh phenom  Joey Dance of Virginia Tech, finish an amazing 12 places above his 16th seed when he placed 4th at the 125 lb weight class. Outstanding.

Finally, there were the six unseeded wrestlers who medaled.  Without a seed to go on, I used the final coaches’ ranking released when the number of conference qualifying spots were announced. Except in Perrotti’s case, as he wasn’t ranked by the coaches, who instead picked 33 other wrestlers ahead of him. He squeaked into the RPI rankings at 32 though, so I used that. Here’s a chart of those unseeded wrestlers.

Weight Name School Rank Place Difference
174 Bryce Hammond Cal State Bakersfield 17 8 9
125 Earl Hall Iowa State 23 8 15
197 Conner Hartmann Duke 20 5 15
149 James English Penn State 26 7 19
125 Darian Cruz Lehigh 26 7 19
157 Anthony Perrotti Rutgers 32 8 24

Tremendous performance by all of them. You may have already heard about James English, a 6th year senior he wasn’t even in the Penn State starting line up until about three weeks before the tournament.

Still, it is Perrotti who had the longest odds coming in to the tourney. To add some perspective, Perrotti was seeded EIGHTH at the EIWA conference tournament. The EIWA only had five guaranteed spots. So Perrotti was looking at 1 in 3 odds at best to even make the NCAA tournament. But Perrotti went on a tear, beating the 5th and 2nd seeded wrestlers in the EIWA’s to finish 3rd, securing himself a coveted tournament berth.

Perrotti’s hot streak continued in Oklahoma City, as he beat the 8th, 16th and 6th seeded wrestlers on his way past the Round of 12 and in to the record books. Perrotti did pick up 3 losses on his way to an 8th place finish, but I think it’s worth noting that they were to the 10th, 2nd and 5th seeded wrestlers by a grand total of 4 points. Perrotti was also one of three ‘road warriors’ of the tournament; wrestlers who lost their first round match and then won at least four matches in a row in the consolation bracket to make the medal stand. Cruz and Hammond were the other 2.

It was one of the more fun stories of an immensely entertaining tournament. You can read more about it here. Congrats to Anthony and Coach Goodale’s entire Scarlet Knight program!

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