2020 UWW Jr and U23 Nationals

Which College Team 'Won' The 2020 U23 Nationals?

Which College Team 'Won' The 2020 U23 Nationals?

We look at the results from men's freestyle U23 Nationals to find out which college 'won' the tournament.

Nov 19, 2020 by Andrew Spey
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U23 Nationals wasn't a replacement tournament for the canceled NCAAs from March, nor was it a complete preview of what the 2020-21 NCAA season might look like in a normal year, but it did attract the strongest U23 field in recent memory despite not having a world team spot on the line. 

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U23 Nationals wasn't a replacement tournament for the canceled NCAAs from March, nor was it a complete preview of what the 2020-21 NCAA season might look like in a normal year, but it did attract the strongest U23 field in recent memory despite not having a world team spot on the line. 

Full Results from USA Wrestling Junior & U23 Nationals

Brackets, teams scores & more inside FloArena

The entries may have been bolstered by the looming specter of Covid-19 induced postponements and cancelations. Regardless of all the reasons, USA Wrestling and company managed to host the event in extremely difficult circumstances, and fans were treated to NCAA caliber brackets in Mid November in Omaha. 

To find out which school 'won' the tournament, we took the top eight finishers from the 10 men's freestyle brackets and assigned points based on the NCAA scoring rubric for placements (16, 12, 10, 9, 7, 6, 4, 3 for 1st thru 8th place respectively) to the team each wrestler either attends or graduated from, and ignored advancement and bonus points.

We then added up the scores and determine which school unofficially 'won' U23s. 

RANKCOLLEGEPOINTS
1Iowa88
2Oklahoma38
3Iowa State36
4Arizona State36
5South Dakota State34
6Virginia Tech30
7Minnesota29
8Wisconsin28
9Purdue28
10Pitt26
11Michigan23
12Northern Iowa20
13Virginia19
14Missouri19
15Michigan State17
16Maryland16
17Illinois16
18Wyoming12
19West Virginia12
20Penn12
21Drexel11
22Little Rock10
23Campbell10
24Buffalo10
25Wartburg9
26Princeton9
27Lehigh9
28American9
29Utah Valley7
30Rider7
31Central7
32North Carolina6
33Columbia6
34Stanford4
35Mary4
36Harvard4
37Wisconsin-La Crosse3
38Northern State3
39App State3


Iowa may not have left Omaha with any U23 stop signs, but they did return with 10 All-American honors, more than double the next highest total. In fact, let's look at the raw number of top-eight finishes by school. 

SCHOOLU23 AAs
Iowa10
Arizona State5
Virginia Tech4
Pitt4
Wisconsin3
Virginia3
South Dakota State3
Purdue3
Oklahoma3
Minnesota3
Michigan3
Iowa State3
Wyoming2
Northern Iowa2
Missouri2
Michigan State2
Illinois2
Drexel2


That's every school with more than one U23 medal from last weekend. So yeah, pretty dece tournament by the Hawkeyes.

Iowa's All-Americans came by way of their four finalists (Kaleb Young, Nelson Brands, Jacob Warner & Tony Cassioppi), one third-placer (Max Murin), two fourths (Austin DeSanto & Jerimiah Moody), a sixth (Myles Wilson), and a brace of eighth-placers (Carter Happel & Aaron Costello). 

Oklahoma squeaked by Big 12 rival Iowa State and the Pac-12's Arizona State thanks to their champ, Jacob Woodley, and runner-up, Dom Demas, also their only two entrants in the U23 divisions. 

Watch Woodley defeat Warner to push the Sooners into second-place in our team rankings:

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Besides their one champ, Ramazan Attasauov, who was a revelation at 57kg, the Cyclones had two third-placers, Ian Parker and Gannon Gremmel. Attasauov is one watch in the future. Originally from Nalchik, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, the same region in Russia that produced freestyle wrestling greats Bilyal Makhov and Anuiar Geduev, Attasauov wrestled in high school in Massachusetts before making his way to Ames, Iowa where he is a redshirt freshman.

Iowa State tied with Arizona State, who scored their points with five All-Americans: Josh Kramer, Cory Crooks, Jacori Teemer, Cade Belshay, and Kordell Norfleet, who all placed between fourth and sixth-place. 

Within the top five, South Dakota State deserves a special mention, as they are the only non-Power 5 conference program to finish in the top 10, and the only one to produce a champion as well in Tanner Sloan.

Watch Tanner Sloan avenge a Bg 12 finals loss from last March with a victory over Noah Adams in the 97kg finals in Omaha:

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"But that's not fair!" you say, "you shouldn't count the points of wrestlers who already graduated!" Okay, fair point. I mean it's all made up but whatever, it's not that hard to take out the All-Americans that graduated. There aren't that many of them. 

Four champs get their points removed, as Youssif Hemida, Taylor Lujan, David McFadden, and Mitch McKee are all out of eligibility. A few others get their points wiped off as well, and we get the following new leaderboard without the graduates:

RANKCOLLEGEPOINTS
1Iowa79
2Oklahoma38
3Iowa State36
4South Dakota State34
5Arizona State29
6Wisconsin28
7Purdue28
8Pitt26
9Michigan23
10Virginia19
11Missouri19
12Michigan State17
13Illinois16
14Virginia Tech14
15Minnesota13
16Wyoming12
17West Virginia12
18Penn12
19Drexel11
20Little Rock10
21Wartburg9
22Princeton9
23Lehigh9
24American9
25Utah Valley7
26Rider7
27Central7
28North Carolina6
29Columbia6
30Stanford4
31Northern Iowa4
32Mary4
33Harvard4
34Wisconsin-La Crosse3
35Northern State3
36App State3


Not that much changes but worth checking out nonetheless.

I'd also like to point out that 79kg third-placer Muhamed McBryde graduated from Buffalo in 2016, yet still has U23 eligibility because he received his bachelor's degree at age 18. Here's more background on the 2019 79kg U23 world teamer:

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McBryde would eventually finish fifth at the World Championships.