Pin To Win: Breaking Down A Decade Worth Of Falls At NCAAs

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Last Thursday on FloWrestling Radio Live Ep. 529, I theorized that the heavyweight class produced the least of falls at the D1 level. Ben Askren immediately called me on it and said he thought that heavyweight would be among the weight classes with the most falls. Soon after the show ended, I was deep down the rabbit hole and looking for falls at the past 10 NCAA Championships. Spoiler alert: Ben Askren was right. 

Falls By Weight And Year For The Past Decade

As you can see, there's a lot of egg on my face. Since 2010, heavyweight has the most falls at the NCAA Championships. Five times over the last decade the heavyweight class recorded double-digit pins at the NCAA Championships. No other weight accomplished the same feat more than twice. On the other side of things, 174 is the only weight over the past decade that never had at least one year of double-digit pins. In fact, seven of the 10 years, the 174-pound weight class had five or fewer pins.


Total Amount Of Falls By Weight Class

1. 285 - 86

2. 133 - 82

3.125 - 75

4. 165 - 73

5. 157 - 71

t5. 197 - 71

7. 141 - 68

8. 149 - 56

9. 184 - 47

10. 174 - 44

The 133-pound weight class in 2012 recorded the most falls in a single NCAA Championships over the last decade when they went pin-fall crazy racking up 19. Jordan Oliver, BJ Futrell, Chris Dardanes, and Devin Carter each had three falls while Logan Stieber, Tony Ramos, and AJ Schopp all had two pins of their own. Avid FRL listener Jordan Thome of Army picked up the only other fall in the bracket. 

The fewest falls at an NCAA Championship came in 2018 when the 149-pound weight class only picked up one fall. The lone fall came from three-time NCAA champion Zain Retherford when he pinned Alfred Bannister of Maryland in the round of 16. 

One of the factors that puts the 174-pound weight class in last place is the lack of domination by the champions over the decade. Just Ed Ruth and Zahid Valencia earned falls on their way to NCAA titles. The duo combined to pick up four falls across three title runs. Seven other champions at the weight over the decade failed to record a fall on their way to the title. 

Total Amount Of Falls By Year

1. 2012 - 80

2. 2014 - 77

3. 2013 - 74

4. 2016 - 72

5. 2017 - 70

6. 2018 - 69

7. 2019 - 62

8. 2010 - 59

9. 2011 - 55

t9. 2015 - 55

Average - 67.3

The 2012 NCAA Championships saw the most pins over the past decade thanks in large part to the staggering 19 falls at 133. The NCAA champions that year combined to pick up 14 falls led by David Taylor who pinned his way to the finals and Kyle Dake who pinned his first three opponents. The 2014 NCAA Championships was the only NCAA tournament over the past decade that had more than two weights with double-digit falls. Oklahoma City was treated to four different weights with at least 10 falls.

Fans at the 2011 and 2015 NCAA Championships saw the lowest amount of falls during the decade. At the 2011 NCAA Championships, the NCAA champions recorded just six falls and in 2015 the champions picked just eight falls. In 2011, no weight had more than nine falls and in 2015 only one weight saw double-digit falls.

Will we see more or less falls in the next decade? Which weight will see the biggest increase and which weight will the see biggest drop-off? I can't wait to find out!

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552. Breaking Down The NLWC Event

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Brent Metcalf was a generational Hawkeye from 2007-2010 and a staple on the senior level until 2016. During that time he racked up an incredible hit list that includes World and Olympic champions and medalists, and NCAA champions. Before episode 1 of Metcalf drops this week, get caught up on his beastly hit list.

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