The Four Teams With Outstanding Upperweights
As time has gone by, upperweights have become more athletic and higher scoring. Though the final three weights are not yet overflowing with these freaks of nature, they are becoming more and more common.
Four teams stand out from the pack when it comes to 184, 197 and 285 pounds. In line with the general top heaviness (no pun intended) of Division 1 wrestling this year, three of them were featured in our best middleweights article as well.
Ohio State184: No. 2 Myles Martin
197: No. 1 Kollin Moore
285: No. 1 Kyle Snyder
The best upperweight group from last year all return to hold down their spot this season. This trio projects to somewhere over 60 points at the NCAA tournament in March. Myles Martin is the one guy who can beat top ranked Bo Nickal, but also took some curious losses as he adjusted to the weight last year. Size is no longer an issue, and now in his third year seems like a lock to make the finals.
Wrestling Kollin Moore is like staring down the barrel of a gun. He shoots constantly, with his boot scoot being particularly effective. Moore scored 18.5 team points last year as a third placer and could hit at least four more points in Cleveland. The nation's top-ranked 197 could be in for a very long reign at light heavyweight.
Kyle Snyder is Captain America, the Sadulaev Slayer. He is trying to become the first three-time heavyweight champ since Carlton Haselrig of Pittsburgh, and started off his run by knocking off the last guy shooting for number three.
Penn State184: No. 1 Bo Nickal
197: No. 4 Matt McCutcheon
285: No. 4 Nick Nevills
While McCutcheon and Nevills are very strong AA candidates, Nickal's ability to pin makes this group special. The defending national champ, a two-time finalist who knocked off the buzzsaw that was Gabe Dean, will be one of this season's highest point scorers. We just don't know how he'll do it yet, and honestly, Bo probably doesn't either at this point (see below.
McCutcheon benefits from a weight class that suffered a mass exodus. A three-time NCAA qualifier, he starts the year ranked fourth and may wind up being a huge key to Penn State's titles hopes this year.
It took Cael Sanderson a few years, but he finally seems to have his heavyweight situation set for the foreseeable future. Nick Nevills' injury as a freshman wasn't ideal for the Nittany Lions, but the heaviest of the three 'Ns' from the class of 2014 (Nickal, Nolf and Nevills) is now ranked 4th as a junior and there is a strong likelihood he finishes as a three-time AA.
Michigan184: No. 5 Domenic Abounader
197: No. 7 Kevin Beazley
285: No. 2 Adam Coon
None of these three guys were in the Wolverines' lineup last year. Aboundader is a similar case to McCutcheon in that he is a three time qualifier to never All American but be highly ranked due to a number of seniors leaving the weight. Expectations are high in Ann Arbor this year, but with Penn State, Ohio State and Oklahoma State hogging the top three spots, there is little margin for error if the Wolverines want to claim a team trophy, and a podium finish for Abounader would play a huge part in that. It would also help increase the astonishing streak of All Americans produced by St. Edward's high school.
With Abounader, Alec Pantaleo and Adam Coon all returning off redshirt, it was already reasonable to expect Michigan to be highly ranked all year. When the news broke that Kevin Beazley would be transferring, those expectations went from "highly ranked" to "team trophy."
There is perhaps no more anticipated return this year than Coon's, which is what happens after you place third and second, and then don't wrestle a year. The future astronaut, or NFL linemen, or Greco world team member is likely to Snyder's finals opponent come St. Patrick's Day evening.
Watch Coon take out Walz in the NCAA third place match
Virginia Tech184: No. 7 Zack Zavatsky
197: No. 2 Jared Haught
285: NR Andrew Dunn
Even with the loss of the three-time All American Ty Walz, the Hokies still present challenges for most teams at the upperweights. Zavatsky has incredible potential but just needs to close the deal in March.
Jared Haught has become Mr. Consistent. Just like Brett Pfarr before him, Haught came into college as a good but not spectacular recruit, and has worked himself into the No. 2 spot. If he can pick up his offensive output just a little bit, he'll be one of the best assets in the country this year.
Dunn is the lone question mark of the bunch, and really of this entire article. Having never wrestled a varsity match though, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. A couple points at NCAAs might be all the new coaching staff needs to keep the team in the Top-10 for the sixth consecutive year.