Year after year the question remains the same; "What state is the best wrestling state?" This year we look to answer that question. We have taken 10 of the traditonally best wrestling states and compiled line-ups based on wrestlers hailing from that state.
The first criteria used to determine the teams was the highest placing All-American from the state. If there was no All-American from the state, we went to the ASICS FloRankings and chose the higest ranked wrestlers. If no wrestlers from the state were ranked, we chose an NCAA qualifier from the state or looked in other divisions for national champions and/or All-Americans (Division II, III, NAIA, NJCAA).
In just a few instances we did use wrestlers who did not start this year so that we could complete the lineup.
10. New York
Team New York is lead by two-time defending national champion and three-time All-American, Nick Gwiazdowski and NCAA runnner-up and two-time All-American, Brian Relabuto of Cornell. Gwiazdowski isn't the only national champion on the team, as Joe Russ was a NJCAA national champion this year and Joe Giaramita was a Division III national champion. New York also boasts two other All-Americans in Tory Cain and Tyler Beckwith.
125-Max Soria, Buffalo, previous NCAA qualifier
133-Joe Russ, Nassau Community College, NJCAA national champion
141-Anthony Abidin, Nebraska, NCAA qualifier
149-Cody Ruggirello, Hofstra, NCAA qualifier
157-Brian Realbuto, Cornell, NCAA runner-up
165-Dylan Palacio, Cornell, NCAA qualifier
174-Tory Cain, Rochester Tech, NCAA Division III 5th
184-Tyler Beckwith, SUNY Cortland, NCAA Division III 8th
197-Joe Giaramita, SUNY Cortland, NCAA Division III national champion
285-Nick Gwiazdowski, North Carolina State, NCAA national champion
Team Minnesota boasts seven All-Americans spanning across three different divisions. The Gopher state features four Division I All-Americans in Dylan Ness, Kurtis Julson, Hayden Zillmer and Mike Kroells. They also have a Division III national champion with Mike Fuenffinger, a DIII All-American with Eric Twahey and a DII All-American with Larry Bomstad.
125-Mike Fuenffinger, Augsburg, Division III national champion
133-Ben Morgan, Minnesota
141-Mitch Bengston, North Dakota State, NCAA qualifier
149-Larry Bomstad, St. Cloud State, Division II 7th
157-Dylan Ness, Minnesota, NCAA 6th
165-Cooper Moore, Northern Iowa, NCAA qualifier
174-Kurtis Julson, North Dakota State, NCAA qualifier
184-Hayden Zillmer, North Dakota State, NCAA 6th
197-Eric Twohey, Wisconsin-La Crosse, NCAA Division III 3rd
285-Mike Kroells, Minnesota, NCAA 8th
Michigan features five All-Americans and is led by NCAA finalist Adam Coon and national champion Gabe Dean. Conor Youtsey and Jackson Morse round out the list of Division I All-Americans for the Great Lakes State and Division II NCAA runner-up Sean Turner adds depth to the list of All-Americans for Team Michigan.
125-Conor Youtsey, Michigan, NCAA 6th
133-Tyler Kesselring, Central Michigan
141-Mike Shaw, Eastern Michigan
149-Alec Pantaleo, Michigan, NCAA qualifier
157-Sean Turner, Anderson University, NCAA Division II runner-up
165-Jackson Morse, Illinois, NCAA fourth
174-Taylor Massa, NCAA qualifier
184-Gabe Dean, NCAA national champion
197-Anthony Abro, Eastern Michigan, NCAA qualifier
285-Adam Coon, Michigan, NCAA runner-up
Team Illinois features nine Division I starters, all of whom were NCAA qualifiers, and four of which claimed All-American honors in St. Louis. Illinois also features two wrestlers in Jack Dechow and Austin Marsden who were All-Americans last year along with Blaise Butler who fell in the blood round. Farai Sewara added the only national title from the state claiming a Division III national title while only two wrestlers on this team elected to stay in state to compete.
125-Eddie Klimara, Oklahoma State, NCAA 7th
133-Chris Dardanes, Minnesota, NCAA 4th
141-Lavion Mayes, Missouri, NCAA 7th
149-Kyle Langenderfer, Illinois, NCAA qualifier
157-Brian Murphy, Michigan, NCAA 7th
165-Farai Sewara, Coe College, Division III national champion
174-Blaise Butler, Virginia, NCAA qualifier
184-Jack Dechow, Old Dominion, NCAA qualifier, former All-American
197-Jeff Keopke, Illinois, NCAA qualifier
285-Austin Marsden, Oklahoma State, NCAA qualifier, former All-American
Team Missouri is all about star power. Alan Waters, Cody Brewer, Drake Houdashelt, Blake Stauffer and J'den Cox anchor this line up. Three national champions and two other multiple time All-Americans are featured here. Johnny Eblen was consistently ranked in the top five all year and Devon Mellon fell in the blood round.
125-Alan Waters, Missouri, NCAA 3rd
133-Cody Brewer, Oklahoma, NCAA national champion
141-Le'roy Barnes, Missouri, 2014 NJCAA national champion at Neosho Community College
149-Drake Houdashelt, Missouri, NCAA national champion
157-Derrick Weller, Lindenwood, Division II 5th
165-Cody Johnson, Missouri
174-Johnny Eblen, Missouri, NCAA qualifier
184-Blake Stauffer, Arizona State, NCAA 4th
197-J'den Cox, Missouri, NCAA 5th, former national champion
285-Devon Mellon, NCAA qualifier
In a sharp contrast to Team Illinois, nine wrestlers on Team Iowa elected to stay in Iowa to compete. Iowa is lead by four wrestlers who placed in the top four at the NCAA Tournament, including two national finalists, and NCAA champion Kyven Gadson. Iowa also has two-time All-American Mike Moreno, who failed to place this year, and Tanner Weatherman, who has been in the blood round twice, along with Blaize Cabell also fell this year in the same round.
125-Thomas Gilman, Iowa, NCAA 4th
133-Cory Clark, Iowa, NCAA runner-up
141-Jake Marlin, North Iowa Community College, NJCAA runner-up
149-Brandon Sorensen, Iowa, NCAA 4th
157-Mike Kelly, Iowa, NCAA qualifier
165-Mike Moreno, NCAA qualifier, former All-American
174-Tanner Weatherman, Iowa State, NCAA qualifier
184-Willie Miklus, Missouri, NCAA 7th
197-Kyven Gadson, Iowa State, NCAA national champion
285-Blaize Cabell-Northern Iowa, NCAA qualifier
4. New Jersey
Team New Jersey boasts six All-Americans with five of those coming at the Division I level. Taylor Walsh and James Green lead the way for the Garden State with an NCAA finals appearance and a third place finish, respectively. New Jersey is also the home to three other Division I All-American's: Anthony Ashnualt, BJ Clagon and Jimmy Lawson. It is also the home to NCAA Division II runner-up Zach Zotollo.
125-Evan Silver, Stanford, NCAA qualifier
133-Kevin Devoy, Drexel, NCAA qualifier
141-Anthony Ashnault, Rutgers, NCAA 8th
149-BJ Clagon, Rider, NCAA 5th
157-James Green, Nebraska, NCAA 3rd
165-Taylor Walsh, Indiana, NCAA 2nd
174-Zach Zotollo, The College of New Jersey, Division II runner-up
184-Hayden Hrymack, Rutgers
197-Abe Ayala, Princeton, NCAA qualifier
285-Jimmy Lawson, Penn State, NCAA 6th
Much like Missouri Team California is full of star power. The Golden State features three national champions across three different levels and another national finalist. This team features a total of seven All-Americans, with all ten team members qualifying for their national tournament.
125-Nahshon Garrett, Cornell, NCAA 5th
133-Ian Nickell, CSU Bakersfield, NCAA qualifier
141-Chris Mecate, Old Dominion, NCAA 6th
149 Christian Pagdilao, Arizona State, NCAA qualifier
157-Isaiah Martinez, NCAA national champion
165-Jim Wilson, Stanford, NCAA 8th
174- Joey Davis, Notre Dame College, NCAA Division II national champion
184-Nikko Reyes, Illinois, NCAA qualifier
197-Morgan McIntosh, Penn State, NCAA 3rd
285-Gabi Musallam, Missouri Valley, NAIA national champion
Team Ohio's line up is all Division I wrestlers with all of them qualifying for the NCAAtournament this year. Seven of those 10 qualifiers were All-Americans with four wrestlers finishing in the top three and two national champions. Former All-American Cody Walters fell in the blood round and for the second year in a row so did Max Thomusseit.
125-Nathan Tomasello, Ohio State, NCAA national champion
133-Ryan Taylor, Wisconsin, NCAA 7th
141-Logan Stieber, Ohio State, NCAA national champion
149-David Habat, Edinboro, NCAA runner-up
157- Nick Brascetta, Virginia Tech, NCAA 4th
165-Bo Jordan, Ohio State, NCAA 3rd
174-Cody Walters, NCAA qualifier, former All-American
184-Max Thomusseit, Pittsburgh, NCAA qualifier
197-Phil Wellington, Ohio, NCAA qualifier
285-Ty Walz, Virginia Tech, NCAA 7th
Much like Ohio, all ten members of Team Pennsylvania are Division I wrestlers who all qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Eight of those 10 qualifiers were All-Americans, with six of them finishing in the top three. While Team PA didn't have a national champion, they did have four national finalists.
125-Zeke Moisey, West Virginia, NCAA runner-up
133-AJ Schopp, Edinboro, NCAA 3rd
141-Mitchell Port, Edinboro, NCAA 2nd
149-Dan Neff, Lock Haven, NCAA 8th
157-Mitch Minotti, Lehigh, NCAA 8th
165-Tristan Warner, Old Dominion, NCAA qualifier
174-Tyler Wilps, Pittsburgh, NCAA runner-up
184-Nate Brown, Lehigh, NCAA runner-up
197-Zach Nye, Virginia, NCAA qualifier
285-Mike McMullan, Northwestern, NCAA 3rd
Comment below and let us know what team you think is the best!