2020 NCAA Wrestling Championships

2020 Four-time Qualifiers, Not Yet All-Americans

2020 Four-time Qualifiers, Not Yet All-Americans

All the 2020 seniors who qualified for their fourth National Championship that have yet to earn All-American honors.

Mar 17, 2020 by Andrew Spey
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Accounting for all the seniors who qualified for their fourth NCAA Championship but have not yet earned All-American honors is a far more disheartening task in 2020 than in years past, for obvious reasons. Unlike when we completed the tallying in 2018 (link) and 2019 (link), those seniors at the very least had the opportunity to march in the parade of All-Americans. This year, that opportunity was dashed by the coronavirus. 

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Accounting for all the seniors who qualified for their fourth NCAA Championship but have not yet earned All-American honors is a far more disheartening task in 2020 than in years past, for obvious reasons. Unlike when we completed the tallying in 2018 (link) and 2019 (link), those seniors at the very least had the opportunity to march in the parade of All-Americans. This year, that opportunity was dashed by the coronavirus. 

From the class of 2019, only Mitch Finesilver of Duke and Lehigh's Ryan Preisch broke through to the final eight. They both finished fourth at the 2019 NCAAs, at 149 and 184 pounds respectively. 

Watch Preisch win in the bloodround over Lou DePrez of Binghamton:

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In 2018, only Dom Abounader, wrestling for Michigan at 184 pounds, was able to shake the All-American monkey off his back, placing fifth. 

Watch Abounader defeat NC State's Pete Renda to make the semifinals and guarantee himself a placement:

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Below, the class of 2020.

125: Christian Moody, Oklahoma, #31 Seed

Moody has been denied the opportunity to win his first match at an NCAA Championship.

133: Travis Piotrowski, Illinois, #7 Seed

Piotrowski was having his best season, yet improving on last year's 11th seed by earning the #7 seed. Piotrowski finished fifth at Big Tens. 

Watch Piotrowski beat Sammy Alvarez to take fourth-place at the Big Ten Championships: 

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133: Cam Sykora, North Dakota State, #11 Seed

Sykora was well-situated to be the first Bison AA since Kurtis Julson and Hayden Zillmer made the podium in 2015. 

149: Brock Zacherl, Clarion, #11 Seed

Zacherl had what was to be his senior season cut short when he got injured at the 2018 CKLV. After being granted a medical redshirt, Zacherl racked up a 22-4 record and earned the #11 seed. The Mayport, PA, native would have tried to improve on his round of 12 finish in 2018 and become the first All-American from Clarion since James Fleming in 2013. 

Skip to the 0:17:00 mark of this episode of FRL to listen to Zacherl talk about how he processed the news of the cancelation of the NCAAs and what he plans to do moving forward: 

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149: Russell Rohlfing, CSU-Bakersfield, #24 Seed

Rohlfing was not a favorite to make the podium but the senior from La Habra Heights, California, did break 20 wins for the third time in his illustrious career as a Roadrunner. 

149: Cole Martin, Wisconsin, #29 Seed

Martin is one of five senior starters for the Badgers. He placed three times at Big Tens but had yet to find the podium steps at Nationals. 

149: Jared Prince, Navy, #29 Seed

Prince would have been a much bigger threat to reach an All-American round than his #29 seed would suggest. The Tampa Bay area native reached the round of 12 last season and placed third just a few weeks ago at the EIWAs. Prince's seed is more of a reflection of his lack of matches this season than of his talent.

157: Taleb Rahmani, Pitt, #23 Seed

Rahmani reached the bloodround last year, but will be unable to improve on that finish in 2020. The Marysville, Ohio, native placed first, fourth, second, and second in his four ACC Championships, in that order.  

165: Andrew Fogarty, North Dakota State, #14 Seed

Fogarty provided stability in the middle of the Bison lineup for the last four years, winning over 20 matches in every season while he was as NDSU.

174: Joey Gunther, Iowa/Illinois, #20 Seed

Gunther split time at two Big Ten schools, wrestling two years for the Hawkeyes and two for the Illini. Oddly enough, Gunther also wrestled 165 in his first year at both schools and 174 in his second. 

184: Taylor Lujan, UNI, #1 Seed

No wrestler wants to be known for the accomplishments he didn't achieve, yet Lujan is unfortunately destined to be one of the great "what ifs" of wrestling lore. 

Lujan was seeded 13th, 7th, and 8th at the last three NCAAs (all at 174). Now up at 184, the Carrollton, Georgia, native earned the #1 seed in the country. Lujan finished in the round of 16 as a freshman and was stopped in the bloodround in both 2018 and 2019.

Watch Lujan beat Andrew Morgan this season at Midlands and then Anthony Montalvo in a dual meet. Morgan and Montalvo were the #8 and #9 seed respectively, and one of them likely would have been Lujan's opponent in the quarterfinals. 

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197: Christian Brunner, Purdue, #6 Seed

Brunner is the highest seeds besides Lujan to make this list, although Piotrowski is close behind. The East Dundee, Illinois, native won matches at all three previous NCAAs and was once match away from being an All-American in 2019. 

Although the following three 174-pounders only qualified for three NCAA tournaments, I found their stories compelling enough to warrant inclusion. 

174: Dylan Lydy, Purdue, #4 Seed

Receiving a high seed after two consecutive bloodround finishes has to sting. Lydy's path would have probably taken him to a quarterfinal bout with Bryce Steiert, who he has beaten twice this season, albeit by very close margins both times.

Lydy also beat the guy who eliminated him in the bloodround last season, Mikey Labriola, three times this season. 

174: Neal Richards, VMI, #11 Seed

Richards received the highest seed at an NCAA Championship for the Virginia Miltary Institute since third-seeded Leslie Apedoe in 1999. Apedoe was also the last All-American Keydet when he finished sixth at 285.

174: Ben Harvey Army, #18 Seed

Like his Indiana-native rival, Dylan Lydy, Ben Harvey finished in the bloodround in the last two tournaments. Harvey also beat Lydy in the opening round of the 2019 tournament.