149 Pound Pre-Season NCAA Wrestling Preview & Predictions

149 Pound Pre-Season NCAA Wrestling Preview & Predictions

Go deep inside the borderline with everything you need to know about the 149-pound weight class this upcoming 2023-24 NCAA D1 wrestling season.

Oct 17, 2023 by Andrew Spey

While it may have felt like 10,000 days since last NCAA wrestling season, it’s actually only been about seven months. The eulogy you hear is not the vicarious thrills you are about to experience but for the changing of the seasons and the schism between summer and autumn that marks the start of a new wrestling season. 

The excitement level on the parabola of hype is once again curving upward as legions of wrestling fans prepare for a new season of competition. Allow this article to serve as a Rosetta Stone to understanding the 149-pound weight class next season, and specifically the wrestlers therein that will push it to ever greater heights. 

Other weight class previews: 125, 133, 141, 157, 165, 174

First Things First

No sober analysis of the weight class is complete without mentioning that Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis will no longer be part of it. Last season, the native New Yorker became just the fifth four-time NCAA wrestling champion in history.

Watch Yianni win his fourth NCAA crown:


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Sign Up

Already a subscriber? Log In

But don’t hold a grudge about Yianni’s departure, the weight class is set to see a flood of new talent, with NCAA runner-up and #1 ranked Ridge Lovett returning from a redshirt season to lead the deluge of contenders. 

Vying for spots in the raging athletic tempest that is the NCAA Wrestling Championships will be over 20 returning NCAA qualifiers and at least seven returning All-Americans. 

All-Americans Who Are Returning

149 Pound Rankings 

  • #1 Ridge Lovett, Nebraska: Better learn to swim when you take on the aforementioned Lovett, as the Idaho native often drags his opponent to deep waters. 
  • #2 Shayne Van Ness, Penn State: The sophomore from New Jersey placed third last season. Good luck trying to crawl away when SVN has you in his clutches. 
  • #3 Kyle Parco, Arizona State: Already a three-time All-American, placing 6th, 8th, and 4th in three trips to the NCAAs, Parco has a chance to become a five-time All-American. It’s almost as if he’s metamorphized into a higher-evolved competitor. Like he’s stepped into his shadow and come out the other side. 
  • #4 Caleb Henson, Virginia Tech: Like Van Ness, Henson placed as a freshman, finishing in fifth place in 2023. This Georgia native does the opposite of stink. Fist in the air is how Hokie fans will cheer for him. 
  • #5 Brock Mauller, Missouri: Though not invincible, it can sure seem that way sometimes. Mauller placed on the podium three times, finishing 6th, 5th, and 7th while additionally receiving the #5 seed in the canceled 2020 Tournament. 
  • #9 Dylan D’Emilio, Ohio State: This Buckeye placed eighth last season and has two more years of eligibility remaining. His mat awareness is so perceptive it is like he is seeing with a third eye. 
  • #11 Jaden Abas, Stanford: The Californian placed seventh in the 2021 tournament, then went 1-2 at the last two natties. Abas’ funky style can easily get his unsuspecting opponents caught up in the undertow. 

Hear from SVN during this off-season:

Shayne Van Ness Full Interview

All-Americans Who Are Not Returning

Before we move on to additional contenders, we should mention some of the All-Americans who won’t be on the mats at 149-pounds this season. 

Besides Yianni, Max Murin has also exhausted his NCAA eligibility. The Hawkeye placed sixth last season, finally making the podium on his fifth time qualifying for the NCAA tournament, a feat never seen before in college wrestling history. 

Additionally, All-American Michael Blockhus will be back with the Minnesota Gophers after a brief sojourn on the fight circuit, but will be moving up to 157, and thus, is a topic for a different preview article. 

2023 finalist Sammy Sasso was set to return to 157 but he’s now in recovery mode after a shocking incident where he was shot in Columbus earlier this summer. We, along with the rest of the wrestling community, wish Sammy nothing but the best in hopes of a speedy and uneventful recovery.   

But fret not about he departed, and steel yourself with a dose of fear inoculum, as there is no shortage of worthies vying for collegiate glory at 149-pounds this upcoming season.

Even More Contenders

Lamer and Arrington reached the bloodround at last year’s NCAAs, while Voinovich finished in the round of 16. Lamer and Voinovich also transferred over the summer, Lamer from Michigan and Voinovich from Oklahoma State. 

Watch Arrington vs Lamer from the consi round of 2022's CKLV: 


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Sign Up

Already a subscriber? Log In

The New Kids On The Block

Middleweight Redshirt Report | Top True Freshmen

Which freshman has got the right stuff, baby? 

Gioffre is one of the highest ranked freshman, have scored several big wins while redshirting last season, including a victory over All-American Jaden Abas. 

Oklahoma native Williams is one of the more highly touted young Cowboys. Scott, Swisher, Solomon, and Dutton all had solid redshirt campaigns. Solomon’s season was spent at NC State before he transferred to his ACC rival. 

Webster may spend this season in a redshirt but expect him to start at least one or two duals as the new NCAA rules allow true freshmen to compete in up to five varsity events while not losing a year of eligibility. 

Sleepers and Landmines

  • Willie McDougald, Oklahoma: One of the most dangerous weapons in first-year Sooner head coach Roger Kish’s arsenal.
  • Casey Swiderski, Iowa State: Although he is eligible for a redshirt, it’s tough to keep a hard-nosed kid like Swiderski off the mat. He’s also bumping up from 141, where he finished in the bloodround. 
  • Richard Fedalen, Columbia: Fedalen is bumping down from 157 where he went 11-4 as a true freshman for the Lions. 

Listen to Casey Swiderski in the preseason of his freshman year at ISU:


Also In The News

Transfer Tracker

Jordan Decatur has transferred from Ohio State to Kent State. Manzona Bryant transferred from Lehigh to Northern Colorado. Mitch Moore will spend his final year of eligibility at Rutgers after previous stops at Oklahoma and Virginia Tech. And Marcus Polanco transferred from Minnesota to Purdue. 


  1.  Shayne Van Ness, Penn State
  2.  Kyle Parco, Arizona State
  3.  Ridge Lovett, Nebraska
  4.  Brock Mauller, Missouri
  5.  Caleb Henson, Virginia Tech
  6.  Jackson Arrington, NC State
  7.  Casey Swiderski, Iowa State
  8.  Chance Lamer, Cal Poly

There is a lot of uncertainty in these so-called predictions, so please don't mistake my potentially inaccurate prognostication with perceived intolerance for any competitors that I didn't pick to AA. I would not be surprised to see almost any wrestler on the podium in Kansas City next March.  

Bottom Line

While not a literal opiate for the masses of wrestling fans, the NCAA season is still pretty cool, and everyone should be pumped for the 149-pound weight class this season, which has intrigue to spare. This wide-open weight class is like a stew, with all sorts of intense ingredients thrown into the pot. 

Thanks for reading. We hope this preview is a valuable tool that helps you prepare for the season, see you down in Arizona Bay!