2020 NCAA Wrestling Championships

2020 NCAA Championships All-State Team

2020 NCAA Championships All-State Team

Bratke takes a look at what states would have the best team based on 2020 NCAA Championship qualifiers.

Mar 18, 2020 by Kyle Bratke

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Back in 2015 when I was still on the content team, I did an article ranking states based on wrestlers hailing from that state and how they finished at the NCAA Championships. Five years later, I'm back on the content team and doing this article for the second time under much different circumstances.

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Back in 2015 when I was still on the content team, I did an article ranking states based on wrestlers hailing from that state and how they finished at the NCAA Championships. Five years later, I'm back on the content team and doing this article for the second time under much different circumstances.

In 2015, the first criteria to be on your state's team was to be the highest finishing D1 All-American at the NCAA Championships. If there was no All-American from the state, we went to the FloWrestling D1 rankings and chose the highest-ranked wrestler. 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).

This year with the cancellation of the NCAA Championships and the fact that now, unlike in 2015, every wrestler in the bracket is seeded, my first criteria was each state's highest-seeded wrestler. Also unlike in 2015, I did not rank the teams. I separated them based on how many spots they could fill using only D1 wrestlers that qualified for the 2020 NCAA Championships and then found their average seed. This time around, I looked at more than 10 states. I chose to look at each state that could fill at least seven starting lineup spots. Finally, to make it easier on myself, I just considered D1 wrestlers for each state's lineup and didn't look to other divisions to complete lineups as I did in 2015. 

States With Full Lineups

Pennsylvania - Average Seed = 3.9

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 4

125: #1 Spencer Lee (Iowa)

133: #4 Mickey Phillippi (Pittsburgh) 

141: #1 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State)

149: #3 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State)

157: #2 Hayden Hidaly (NC State)

165: #2 Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)

174: #2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa)

184: #5 Trent Hidlay (NC State)

197: #10 Greg Bulsak (Clarion)

285: #9 Jordan Wood (Lehigh)

This team is absurd. No wrestler seeded outside of the top 10 and an average seed of under four. Team Pennsylvania boats two NCAA champions in Spencer Lee and Vincenzo Joseph along with fellow All-Americans Luke Pletcher, Hayden Hidlay, Michael Kemerer, and Jordan Wood. As is the case for most seasons, this was by far the best team. 

Ohio - Average Seed = 6.6

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 4

125: #12 Alex Mackall (Iowa State)

133: #13 Tim Rooney (Kent State)

141: #5 Dom Demas (Oklahoma)

149: #6 Matt Kolodzik (Princeton)

157: #3 David Carr (Iowa State)

165: #1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa)

174: #6 Kaleb Romero (Ohio State)

184: #14 Rocky Jordan (Ohio State)

197: #1 Kollin Moore (Ohio State)

285: #5 Matt Stencel (Central Michigan)

As was the case in 2015, Ohio checks in at number two. The Buckeyes are led by top seeds and All-Americans Alex Marinelli and Kollin Moore, but also have some serious depth as Dom Demas, Matt Kolodzik, and Matt Stencel are all former All-Americans and seeded fifth or lower. Freshman stud David Carr adds some firepower to the middle of the lineup

Illinois - Average Seed = 7.3

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 3

125: #21 Justin Cardani (Illinois)

133: #7 Travis Piotrowski (Illinois)

141: #3 Real Woods (Stanford)

149: #2 Austin O'Connor (North Carolina)

157: #6 Kendall Coleman (Purdue)

165: #5 Isaiah White (Nebraska)

174: #17 Joey Gunther (Illinois)

184: #6 Cam Caffey (Michigan State)

197: #3 Eric Schultz (Nebraska)

285: #3 Anthony Cassioppi (Iowa)

The Land of Lincoln is the next state with at least 10 natives that qualified for the NCAA Championships that could fill out a roster from top to bottom. While Illinois' average seed was that of an All-American, only two wrestlers on the squad have been on the podium before, Austin O'Connor and Isaiah White. However, with the emergence of freshman Real Woods, Kendall Coleman, and Anthony Cassioppi along with the breakthrough seasons from Cam Caffey and Eric Schultz, Team Illinois was poised to turn in one of their best performances at the NCAA Championships. 

Minnesota - Average Seed = 11.5

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 3

125: #24 Pat McKee (Minnesota)

133: #2 Seth Gross (Wisconsin)

141: #10 Mitch McKee (Minnesota)

149: #16 Griffin Parriott (Purdue)

157: #13 Peyton Robb (Nebraska)

165: #14 Andrew Fogarty (North Dakota State)

174: #1 Mark Hall (Penn State)

184: #7 Taylor Venz (Nebraska)

197: #27 Jackson Striggow (Michigan)

285: #1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota)

Powered by the Apple Valley trio of NCAA champions Seth Gross and Mark Hall and 2020 #1 seed Gable Steveson, Team Minnesota is the top state with nine D1 members. All-Americans Mitch McKee and Taylor Venz help make this a solid lineup from top to bottom.  

States With 9 Wrestlers In Their Lineup

California - Average Seed = 14.4

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State =3

125: #16 Nic Aguilar (Rutgers) 

133: #12 Devan Turner (Oregon State) 

141: #25 DJ Lloren (Fresno State)

149: #24 Russell Rohlfing (CSUB)

157: #17 Justin Thomas (Oklahoma) 

165: #8 Evan Wick (Wisconsin) 

174: #8 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) 

184: #8 Andrew Morgan (Campbell) 

197: No Entry

285: #12 Josh Hokit (Fresno State) 

Another really strong showing from Cali. All-Americans Evan Wick and Josh Hokit lead the way, but Anthony Valencia and Andrew Morgan were positioned really well to make strong pushes to the podium.

Michigan - Average Seed = 14.5

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 4

125: #5 Devin Schroder (Purdue)

133: #9 Noah Gonser (Campbell)

141: #4 Ian Parker (Iowa State)

149: #10 Kanen Storr (Michigan)

157: #21 Logan Parks (Central Michigan)

165: No entry 

174: #7 Devin Skatzka (Minnesota)

184: #26 Jelani Embree (Michigan)

197: #28 Landon Pelham (Central Michigan)

285: #6 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin)

More than half of the Great Lakes State lineup is a top 10 seed and with Devin Schroder, Noah Gonser, and Ian Parker having the best seasons of their careers, it's safe to say Michigan was poised to have a great NCAA Tournament. Devin Skatzka and Trent Hillger were well-positioned to finish on the podium as well. 

New York - Average Seed = 16

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 4

125: #3 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State)

133: #21 Derek Spann (Buffalo)

141: No Entry 

149: #25 Hunter Richard (Cornell)

157: #4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider)

165: #19 Troy Keller (Buffalo)

174: #33 Phillip Spadafora (Maryland)

184: #4 Lou Deprez (Binghamton)

197: #13 Tom Lane (Cal Poly)

285: #22 Deonte Wilson (NC State) 

With three wrestlers seeded in the top four, New York appeared to be ready to have a great NCAA Championships as well. While Piccininni is the only former All-American, Jesse Dellavecchia and Lou Deprez were big favorites to find the podium and Tom Lane was in the bloodround a year ago.

States With 8 Wrestlers In Their Lineup

Indiana - Average Seed = 9.62

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 1

125: #6 Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan)

133: No entry

141: #2 Nick Lee (Penn State)

149: #7 Brayton Lee (Minnesota)

157: #20 Jake Tucker (Michigan State)

165: #21 Cael McCormick (Army) 

174: #4 Dylan Lydy (Purdue)

184: No entry

197: #15 Lucas Davison (Northwestern)

285: #2 Mason Parris (Michigan)

When I did this article back in 2015, Indiana didn't make the top 10. This year they fill eight weight classes with an average seed of under 10. Three wrestlers seeded in the top five and five of the eight seeded inside the top seven is very impressive. Nick Lee is the only wrestler of the bunch who has placed before, but Hildebrandt, Lydy, and Parris were having breakout years, and Brayton Lee and Lucas Davison were making noise in their first seasons in the varsity lineup. 

New Jersey - Average Seed = 12.13

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 3

125: #2 Pat Glory (Princeton)

133: #1 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern)

141: #26 Sal Profaci (American)

149: No entry

157: #24 Matt Zovistoski (App State)

165: #3 Shane Griffith (Stanford)

174: #3 Jordan Kutler (Lehigh)

184: #21 Billy Janzer (Rutgers)

197: #17 Jordan Pagano (Rutgers)

285: No entry

While Jersey only fills eight spots, half of them are top-three seeds and outside of freshman Shane Griffith, who would have been wrestling in his first NCAA Championships; all of them have been All-Americans previously. 

Iowa - Average Seed = 15.4

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 6

125: #17 Jay Schwarm (Northern Iowa)

133: No entry

141: #13 Michael Blockhus (Northern Iowa)

149: #12 Henry Pohlmeyer (South Dakota State)

157: No entry

165: #31 Chase Straw (Iowa State)

174: #5 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa)

184: #23 Marcus Coleman (Iowa State)

197: #11 Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State)

285: #11 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State)

Six of the eight wrestlers in this lineup stayed inside the borders of Iowa to wrestle at an in-state school. That's the second-highest number on this list. While Iowa does fill eight spots, only Bryce Steiert grabbed a top-10 seed. However, I would not have been surprised at all if Schwarm, Blockhus, Pohlmeyer, Sloan, and Gremmel had made deep runs in Minneapolis. 

Colorado - Average Seed = 19.5

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 4

125: #25 Fabian Gutierrez (Chattanooga)

133: #15 Mosha Schwartz (Northern Colorado)

141: #29 Grant Willits (Oregon State)

149: #14 Andrew Alirez (Northern Colorado)

157: #1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)

165: No entry

174: No entry

184: #31 Tate Samuelson (Wyoming)

197: #25 Jacob Seely (Northern Colorado)

285: #16 Dalton Robertson (Northern Colorado)

Just three years ago in 2017, Colorado had just three NCAA qualifiers. In 2020 they had nine qualifiers and were able to fill eight weight classes. Ryan Deakin would have entered Minneapolis as the favorite and with true freshmen, Mosha Schwartz and Andrew Alirez seeded inside the top 15, the future is bright. 

States With 7 Wrestlers In Their Lineup

Virginia - Average Seed = 15.57

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 7

125: #15 Killian Cardinale (Old Dominion)

133: #28 Collin Gerardi (Virginia Tech)

141: No entry

149: No entry

157: #28 BC Laprade (Virginia Tech)

165: No entry

174: #11 Neal Richard (VMI)

184: #2 Hunter Bolen (Virginia Tech)

197: #7 Jay Aiello (Virginia)

285: #18 John Borst (Virginia Tech)

A year ago, Virginia had just four qualifiers, this year they had 10 wrestlers across seven weight classes. What's interesting is that every wrestler in the lineup above and nine of the ten total qualifiers stayed in Virginia to compete in college. Virginia is one of two states (Georgia) on this list to not have any All-Americans in the lineup. However, Hunter Bolen, Jay Aiello, and Neal Richard would have been in the mix to change that. 

Georgia - Average Seed = 17.14

Wrestlers That Stayed In-State = 0

125: #28 Jackson DiSario (Stanford)

133: #24 Todd Small (Iowa State)

141: No entry

149: No entry

157: #19 Justin Ruffin (SIUE)

165: #10 Thomas Bullard (NC State)

174: #15 Daniel Bullard (NC State)

184: #1 Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa)

197: No entry

285: #23 Quinn Miller (Virginia)

Another great year for Georgia wrestling. Year in and year out the Peach State continues to impress and make waves on the D1 scene. This year they had a top seed in Taylor Lujan and another top 10 seed in Thomas Bullard. Unfortunately, no Georgia wrestlers can stay in-state because no D1 schools offer programs. Get it together Georgia and Georgia Tech! 

I really enjoy doing this article and seeing how states vary from year to year. Let me know what you think @Kbratke on Twitter or by email at kyle.bratke@flosports.tv