The results are in, and I don’t want to be overly critical of the performances of these heroic battlers but… well, they’re not great.
Of course, it should go without saying though I’ll say it anyway, just lasting at a D1 program for 4 or 5 years is stupendously difficult. Making the NCAA tournament takes herculean efforts and determination. These kids have sacrificed an unimaginably precious time in their life to dedicate themselves to this sport. They are all true champions, regardless of what happened at MSG last weekend.
Now, on with the post mortem.
125 Paul Petrov (12) BUCKNELL: 0-2, Round of 32. L Russell (US) EDINBORO TB-1 3-2. L Romero (US) AIR FORCE 9-4. Both Russell and Romero ended up 1-2. Drat.
133 Mack McGuire (9) KENT STATE: 2-2, Round of 16. W Bruno (US) MICHIGAN TB-1 3-2. L Hall (8) IOWA STATE 8-3. W David (US) NAVY 4-2. L Rauser (US) UTAH VALLEY 5-3. Hall beat Rauser for 7th so Mighty Mack’s two losses were to All-Americans. Bah.
141 Todd Preston (10) HARVARD: 1-2, Round of 32. L Everett (US) ARMY 4-2. W Finesilver (US) DUKE 13-3. L Pongracz (US) CHATTANOOGA . Neither Everett nor Pongracz made it past the round of 24. Fiddlesticks.
149 Matt Kraus (13) ARIZONA STATE: 1-2, Round of 24. W Cotten (US) BUFFALO 2-1. L Cimato (4) DREXEL 3-2. L Jeffries (US) OKLAHOMA 11-2. Jeffries is a tough wrestler, but he also lost his next match. Phooey.
157 John Boyle (10) AMERICAN: 2-2, Round of 16. W Cottrell (US) WEST VIRGINIA 5-3. L Pack (7) SOUTH DAKOTA STATE TB-1 2-1. W Chino (US) OHIO 4-2. L Gantt (2) NORTH CAROLINA STATE 3-2. No shame in losing to fellow Yunderdog, nor to two seed Gantt. So close.
157 Cody Pack (7) SOUTH DAKOTA STATE: 2-2, Round of 12. Richards (US) VMI 9-1. W Boyle (10) AMERICAN TB-1 2-1. L Walsh (15) RIDER 11-10. L Palacio (5) CORNELL 10-3. Pack only lost to the 4th and 5th place finishers. So tantalizingly close!
165 Conor Brennan (12) RIDER: 2-2, Round of 12. W Faust (US) DUKE 7-3. W Rohskopf (5) NORTH CAROLINA STATE SV-1 4-2. L Lewis (4) MISSOURI 3-0. L Perrotti (7) RUTGERS 5-4. The two losses here were to the 4th and 8th place finishers. Blarg.
174 Mike Ottinger (10) CENTRAL MICHIGAN: 1-2, Round of 24. W Campbell (US) PITTSBURGH 3-2. L Walters (7) OHIO 3-2. L Epperly (8) VIRGINIA TECH 17-6. Losses to the 3rd and 7th place finishers. Wrestling is hard. Feh.
174 Blaise Butler (3) MISSOURI: 3-2, Round of 12. L Reed (US) OKLAHOMA 16-9. W Schleifer (US) PRINCETON 13-2. W Wolf (US) LEHIGH 17-8. W Brunson (5) ILLINOIS 3-2. L Walters (7) OHIO SV-1 4-2. I watched most of Butler’s matches. He was going ape the entire tournament. So much fun to watch. This was an especially tough one. Nards.
184 Mathew Miller (9) NAVY: 6-2, 5th Place. W Schneider (US) BINGHAMTON 6-1. L Boyd (8) OKLAHOMA STATE 10-3. W Krohn (US) STANFORD. W Sleigh (US) BUCKNELL. W Thomas (11) PENNSYLVANIA F 1:50. W Brooks (2) IOWA F 2:35. L Renda (13) NORTH CAROLINA STATE 5-4. W Miklus (14) MISSOURI 4-2. Aw yeah, now that’s what I’m talking about, baby. Miller was one of the most electric wrestlers in the tournament. Then he was awarded his trophy by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Miller will also become an officer in the Navy. Well done young man! Whoopee!
197 Rueben Franklin (9) CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD: 0-2, Round of 32. L Scott (US) NORTHERN ILLINOIS 8-5. L Sprenkle (US) LOCK HAVEN 8-6. No All Americans out of this group. Yeesh.
285 Riley Shaw (US) CLEVELAND STATE: 2-2, Round of 16. L Marsden (4) OKLAHOMA STATE 5-1. W Johnson (13) CHATTANOOGA 10-1. W Goodhart (US) DREXEL 7-3. L Smith (12) Rutgers F 1:39. Not a bad showing by the unseeded Shaw. Still, que lastima.
285 Billy Smith (12) RUTGERS 4-2, Round of 12. L Larson (US) OKLAHOMA 8-4. W Solomon (US) PITTSBURGH 3-0. W Gillen (US) VIRGINIA 9-4. W Cornwell (US) GARDNER-WEBB 7-2. W Shaw (US) CLEVELAND STATE F 1:39. L Wessell (8) LEHIGH 3-2. Smith lost in the last seconds of the bloodround to an opponent he beat in the last dual meet of the year. Turds. Double turds. TURDS RAISED TO THE POWER OF A THOUSAND BURNING SUNS.
Phew – I’m exhausted just typing up these results. It turned out to be an incredibly frustrating tournament for a lot of seniors. Of the 4X qualifiers looking for their 1st AA, only three broke through to the promise land. They are: 125 David Terao (15) AMERICAN 4th place (and was one of the great stories of the entire tournament); 133 Jade Rauser (US) UTAH VALLEY 8th place; and 165 Austin Wilson (10) NEBRASKA 7th place.
Regardless, the 2016 NCAA tournament was enormously entertaining. There is an endless supply of fascinating stories to mine from just 3 days of wrestling. I hope everyone enjoyed the rasslin as much as I did!