Creating The Best Indiana D1 Lineup Of All Time

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A few weeks ago I asked my Twitter followers how they would put together an all-time great college dual team with the current weights using athletes from their home states. The responses were great and really got me curious. So, I did the research and have now putting together the best possible team for some of the top states, including some formidable back-up teams.

Previous States: Pennsylvania, California, Oklahoma, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Now, to the crossroads of America!

125: Angel Escobedo, 2007-10

Hometown: Griffith

College: Indiana

NCAA Finishes: 4, 1, 5, 3 (125)

You can’t talk about Indiana wrestling without talking about Angel Escobedo. Now the head coach of the Hoosiers, Escobedo was a four-time All-American for them in the late 2000s. His lone NCAA title came off the heels of a 34-1 season. He defeated Brandon Precin and Charlie Falck before defeating future Hodge Trophy winner Jayson Ness 10-3 in the finals.

Escobedo’s junior year was hampered by a nagging shoulder injury, which led to a 26-5 record and fifth-place finish. After having shoulder surgery in the offseason, Escobedo returned and went undefeated in the regular season. However, after defeating Anthony Robles in the quarters, Escobedo was upended by Andrew Long. He came back in the consolations to defeat Zach Sanders and Troy Nickerson for third. 

Escobedo’s college record was 137-14 with seven losses coming his freshman season and five coming in that injury-hampered junior season. The Griffith native would go on to be a force on the international scene immediately after college, taking fifth at the 2013 World Championships.

Watch Angel Escobedo defeat Brandon Precin for the 2007 Midlands title below.

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125 Backups

Leroy Vega - 3X AA for Minnesota in the late 90s/early 2000s

Kelvin Jackson - 1995 118 lbs NCAA champion for Michigan State


133: Stevan Micic, 2017-

Hometown: Cedar Lake

College: Michigan

NCAA Finishes: 4, 2, 3 (133), ?

With one year of eligibility left (although he is quite old) Stevan Micic is already a three-time All-American and NCAA finalist. He has wins over Nick Suriano, Luke Pletcher, Austin Desanto, Sebastian Rivera, and Kaid Brock. He only has two losses that didn’t come to a national champion, one of which (Zane Richards) he avenged later that season. His collegiate record is 93-14 with 20 tech falls and 35 major decisions. 

What’s more impressive, however, is what the Serbian Sickle has been able to do on the international scene while still in college. Last summer Micic was able to make the World quarterfinals before falling to fifth. In 2015, he won a Junior World bronze medal.

Watch Stevan Micic defeat Austin Desanto at the 2018 NCAA tournament below.

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133 Backup

Alan Grammer - 2X AA for SIU Edwardsville in the 80s


141: Reece Humphrey, 2006-10

Hometown: Indianapolis

College: Ohio State

NCAA Finishes: NQ, R12, 2 (133), 3 (141)

They don’t call Reece Humphrey “Highlight Humphrey” for nothing. Reece was dangerous from any position and wasn’t afraid to lock up some under/over hooks and toss anyone on their head. He even won a University Greco-Roman title in 2009. Humphrey’s biggest victory of his career came when he handed Kyle Dake the first loss of his career, 4-2. However, Dake would eventually avenge that loss in the tiebreakers in the 2010 NCAA semifinals.

Humphrey also had a successful freestyle career. The Indianapolis native won a University World silver medal while still in college and would go on to make three Senior World Teams. He also defeated Russian Nationals and Yarygin champion Aleksandr Bogomoev just one year out of college in 2011.

141 Backups

Nick Lee - 2X AA for Penn State with 1 more year of eligibility

Chad Red - 2X AA for Nebraska with 1 more year of eligibility


149 Starter: Jason Tsirtsis, 2014-18

Hometown: Crown Point

College: Northwestern/Arizona State

NCAA Finishes: 1, 3, NQ, 7 (149)

Jason Tsirtsis had an incredibly interesting wrestling career. It makes much more sense when you find out everything that happened to him during his first few years at Northwestern. He goes into depth on everything during his wall talk with Bader, which you can (and I highly recommend you do) watch HERE.

Simply looking at his wrestling, however, Tsirtsis was famously the master of barely squeaking by in matches. His true freshman year he won the NCAA title by going 4-1, 4-3, TB1 2-1, TB1 2-1, SV 3-1. However, he did this to Kendrick Maple, Drake Houdashelt, and Josh Kindig. Not bad. Tsirtsis made the NCAA semis again as a sophomore, but fell to David Habat 3-2. However, he did come back for third over Brandon Sorensen. After struggling through his junior year and transferring to Arizona State, he won FloWrestling’s 2018 Comeback Wrestling of the Year when he got back on the NCAA podium.

Watch Jason Tsirtsis win his NCAA title with some behind the scenes footage below.

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149 Backups

Matt Coughlin - 2007 AA for Indiana

Bill Maldanodo - 2002 AA for Iowa State


157 Starter: Dave Lilovich, 1983-86

Hometown: LaPorte

College: Purdue

NCAA Finishes: NQ, 4, 7 (158)

After only wrestling six matches his freshman year, Lilovich would go on to put up 106 wins the next three years. Forty-five of those 106 wins came by fall. His final two seasons were his best. He reached the podium twice and had a winning percentage of .784. A 2009 The Times of Northwest Indiana article had this quote from Dave’s brother, Joe.

"It was that tough farm-boy attitude. It was like a street brawl out there and you didn't want to lose." —Joe Lilovich on he and his brother’s wrestling.

157 Backup

Eric Douglas - 1998 AA for Purdue


165 Starter: Andrew Howe, 2009-14

Hometown: Cedar Lake

College: Wisconsin/Oklahoma

NCAA Finishes: 2, 1, 3 (165), 2 (174)

Andrew Howe was an absolute force to be reckoned with in college. Finishing 2, 1, 3, 2 for a total golf score of eight is incredibly low for a four-time AA. It was Howe’s hand fighting and positioning that made him such a good wrestler. 

Here are some of the wrestlers on Andrew Howe’s NCAA hitlist: Chris Perry, Jon Reader, Tyler Caldwell, Logan Storley, Robert Kokesh, Moza Fay, Dan Vallimont, Ryan Morningstar, and Nick Marable. What’s just as, if not more, impressive, is what Howe did on the senior level while still in college. He won the 2010 US Open, made the finals of the 2010 and 2011 World Team Trials as well as the 2012 Olympic Trials, and took fourth at the 2009 and 2013 World Team Trials. His hit list at these events included: David Taylor, Trent Paulson, Travis Paulson, Nick Marable, Moza Fay, and Ryan Morningstar. Oh, and he won a 2009 Junior World bronze medal and in 2011 beat Kyle Dake to make the University World Team. All of this while still in college.

Watch Andrew Howe beat Kyle Dake at 2011 University Nationals below.

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165 Backup

Brad Traviolia - 1990 NCAA finalist for Northwestern


174 Starter: Richard Voliva, 1933-34

Hometown: Bloomington

College: Indiana

NCAA Finishes: 2, 1 (175)

From Richar Voliva’s EIWA Hall of Fame page, as a junior at 175, Dick lost only to Iowa State’s two-time NCAA champion Bob Hess, before enjoying an unbeaten senior season. His college record was 48-4 and he wrestled for the 1932 Hoosier national title team, the Big Ten's first. From 1932 on, Voliva placed 2,3,1 at National AAUs. The title came in 1936, the same year he became an Olympic silver medalist in Berlin.

174 Backups

Chris Traicoff - 1936 NCAA champion for Indiana

Dylan Lydy - 3X NCAA qualifier for Purdue from 2017-2020


184 Starter: Bud Palmer, 1976-79

Hometown: Muncie

College: Iowa

NCAA Finishes: 3, NQ (190), 2 (177)

Bud Palmer was part of the legendary Dan Gable Iowa teams of the late '70s. Palmer and his famous foot sweep won two Big Ten titles and made the NCAA finals in 1979. However, in extremely un-Gable-like fashion, Palmer was disqualified for stalling in the finals against Mark Lieberman. Palmer was allegedly poked in the eye at the beginning of the match.

184 Backup

Ben Wissel - 4X qualifier and 2X AA for Purdue in the mid-2000s


197 Starter - Charles McDaniel, 1935-38

Hometown: Bloomington

College: Indiana

NCAA Finishes: 1 (UNL), 2 (191), 1 (UNL)

A three-time Indiana state champion and four-time state finalist from Bloomington South, Charles McDaniel stayed home and went to Indiana, one of the top wrestling universities of the 1930s. One of the first multiple-time heavyweight champions in NCAA history, McDaniel won the unlimited weight class while only weighing in at about 190 lbs.

197 Backups

Mark Whitehead - 1989 NCAA finalist for Northwestern

Keith Davison - 2X AA for Wisconsin in the 90s


285 Starter: Greg Wagner, 2003-06

Hometown: Fort Wayne

College: Michigan

NCAA Finishes: R12, 6, 4, 3 (285)

The closer for the Wolverines in the mid-2000s, Wagner was a 2001 Indiana state champion from Fort Wayne Snider. Unfortunately for Wagner he overlapped with some great heavyweights during this time such as Cole Konrad, Steve Mocco, and Tommy Rowlands. After dropping his 2006 NCAA semifinal match to Mocco 2-1, Wagner came back to get third over Cain Velasquez by a score of 9-1.

285 Backups

Tony Vaughn - 1994 AA for Purdue

Adam Chalfant - 2014 AA for Indiana


There you have it, the greatest Indiana D1 lineup of all-time.

WeightNameYears ActiveHometownCollege
125Angle Escobedo2007-10
GriffithIndiana
133Stevan Micic2017-Cedar LakeMichigan
141Reece Humphrey2006-10
IndianapolisOhio State
149Jason Tsirtsis2014-18Crown PointNorthwestern/Arizona State
157Dave Lilovich
1983-86LaPortePurdue
165Andrew Howe2009-14Cedar LakeWisconsin/Oklahoma
174Richard Voliva
1933-34BloomingtonIndiana
184Bud Palmer
1976-79Muncie
Iowa
197Charles McDaniel1935-38BloomingtonIndiana
285Greg Wagner2003-06Fort WayneMichigan

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From USA Wrestling

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Being the second-largest high school in the state of Texas with around 5,000 students, Allen High School is no stranger to putting out star athletes — whether it's Heisman Trophy winner and #1 NFL draft pick Kyler Murray, Olympic gold medalist gymnast Carly Patterson, or the other double-digit draft picks in the big four professional sports. The Eagles are also known for their wrestling having won the last 10 Texas 6A state championships. On the mat, they've produced the likes of Oliver Pierce, Bo Nickal, Braeden Redlin, and most recently AJ Ferrari. 

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