All-MAC Team: 125-157 pounds

All-MAC Team: 125-157 pounds

NCAA runner-up Jesse Dellavecchia Headlines Lower Weight All-MAC Selections

Apr 21, 2021 by Mark Spezia
All-MAC Team: 125-157 pounds
Oh, the fireworks Jesse Dellavecchia delivered.

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Oh, the fireworks Jesse Dellavecchia delivered.

In arguably the most surprising moment of the NCAA Championships, the Rider senior pinned previously unbeaten and top-ranked Ryan Deakin of Northwestern in the second period of their semifinal match to become the program’s first national finalist.

Dellavecchia dashed into the embrace of Rider’s coaching staff, including assistant Nic Bedelyon, well-known for wildly celebrating the achievements of those he mentors. Dellavecchia hugged Bedelyon the longest after which Bedelyon playfully threw a punch at Dellavecchia, grazing the side of his face.

“Freaking awesome to see Rider Wrestling have a finalist in Jesse Dellavecchia,” Princeton head coach Chris Ayres tweeted. “Great for (New Jersey) and Coach (John) Hangey. Best part  I think was assistant coach Nic Bedelyon punching Jesse in the head in celebration…only in wrestling.”

Dellavecchia was shut out by Iowa State’s David Carr, 4-0, in the championship match to finish the season 11-1, including four pins and two technical falls. Along the way, the three-time NCAA qualifier captured his second Mid-American Conference championship and was named MAC Wrestler of the Year.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy acknowledged Dellavecchia’s accomplishments during a March 22 press conference and Rider University President Gregory Dell’Ome congratulated him in person.

Rider public address announcer Mike Riccchione dubbed Dellavecchia the G.R.W.O.A.T (Greatest Rider Wrestler Of All Time).

Naturally, Dellavecchia leads our All-MAC selections. 

Here is part one of a look at this season’s honorees:

125 POUNDS: Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan)

Rundown: The younger brother of 2021 Olympian Sarah Hildebrandt is not a bad wrestler, either.

The senior finished fourth at the NCAA Championships, the best showing by a CMU wrestler since current assistant coach Ben Bennett also took fourth in 2013, to become an All-American on the mat for the first time. Hildebrandt, a three-time NCAA qualifier, was a first-team NWCA All-American last season.

“HELL YES. So proud of this dude!!!!!,” Sarah tweeted following her brother’s NCAA tournament run. 

Drew finished 14-2 with a three major decisions, two technical falls and a pin. Hildebrandt won his first 13 matches of the season 25 straight overall before dropping an 11-0 decision to eventual champion Spencer Lee (Iowa) in the NCAA semifinals. 

Fourth in the final national rankings, Hildebrandt rebounded to edge sixth-ranked Sam Latona (Virginia Tech) in the semifinals, 5-4, before falling, 5-3, to third-ranked Patrick McKee (Minnesota) in the third-place match.

He began the tournament by knocking off #20 Zurich Storm (Campbell), #19 Liam Cronin (Nebraska) and #7 Brody Teske (Northern Iowa). 

Hildebrandt is the 16th wrestler in CMU history to earn All-America honors at least twice. He went 1-2 at the 2019 NCAA Championships.

"CMU has a rich program history and to be up there with the greats like that, it's awesome," he said in a story published on the school's athletic website. "I enjoyed it and I'm proud of it. Obviously (fourth is) not what I set out to do; I wanted to win it, but I'm still proud of it."

Hildebrandt bested #22 Noah Surtin for his second MAC title and also took care of #23 Jake Ferri (Kent State) during the season. He was second in the MAC as a sophomore and third as a freshman. 

Hildebrandt, who has not yet indicated if he will return next season, boasts an 83-33 career record, including 45-5 the past two seasons. 

Second Team: Noah Surtin (Missouri), freshman

Third Team: Jake Ferri (Kent State), senior

133 POUNDS: Matt Schmitt (Missouri)

Rundown: The junior reached the round of 12 in his third trip to the NCAA Championships, going 2-2. Schmitt also reached the round of 16 in 2018 while wrestling for West Virginia and is 5-6 overall in career NCAA tourney matches. 

Schmitt, #14 in the final rankings, took care of #21 Jacob Allen (Navy) and 19th-ranked Mario Guillen (Ohio) to begin the tournament before falling to #4 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech) and #7 Michael McGee (Arizona State).

Schmitt's biggest wins this season were a 12-0 blanking of 17th-ranked Devan Turner (Oregon State) and a 4-3 clipping of 20th-ranked Zach Redding (Iowa State).

He finished the season at 12-3, including three major decisions and two technical falls. Schmitt was also the MAC champion after placing fourth in the Big 12 in 2018 and 2019. 

He owns a 54-27 career mark.

Second Team: Mario Guillen (Ohio), senior

Third Team: Richie Koehler (Rider), sophomore

141 POUNDS: Dresden Simon (Central Michigan)

Rundown: It's hard to believe the two-time NCAA qualifier posted a 26-32 record as a freshman and sophomore. Simon has gone 40-11 since.

Despite reaching the round of 12 but falling short of All-American honors at the NCAA Championships, the senior was sixth in the final rankings. Simon was ranked ahead of Nebraska's Chad Red, North Carolina's Zach Sherman and South Dakota State's Clay Carlson, who finished sixth, seventh and eighth to earn All-America honors.

Simon decisioned Red, 6-3, in the second round before being pinned by runner-up Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) and dropping an 8-6 decision to fifth-place finisher Dylan Duncan (Illinois). 

He beat #22 McKenzie Bell (Rider), 12-5, for a second straight MAC title. Simon also bested # 23 Saul Ervin (SIU Edwardsville) during the season and was third in the MAC as a sophomore

He finished with an 11-3 record, including two pins, two technical falls and three major decisions. Simon, a second-team NWCA All-American last season, has a 66-43 career record. 

Simon has not yet indicated if he will return next season.

Second Team: Allan Hart (Missouri), junior

Third Team: McKenzie Bell (Rider), freshman

149 POUNDS: Brock Mauller (Missouri)

Rundown: The junior became the ninth three-time All-American in program history, finishing fifth in the NCAA Championships with an 8-5 decision over Fresno State's Kyle Parco.

Mauller was sixth as a freshman before being named a first-team NWCA All-American last season. He can also become just the 10th four-time MAC champion in the conference's 60-year history next season.

#5 in the final rankings, Mauller racked up a 40-match winning streak that was ended by eventual champion and top-ranked Austin O'Connor (North Carolina) in the NCAA Championship quarterfinals. O'Connor won, 2-1, on a tiebreaker. Mauller then fell to Yahya Thomas (Northwestern) by a 7-4 count before beating Parco.

He knocked off MAC rival Marcus Robinson (Cleveland State), #18 Michael Blockhus (Minnesota) and #9 Bryce Andonian (Virginia Tech) to begin the NCAA tourney. Mauller also bested Robinson in the MAC final. 

Mauller's biggest win this season was a 7-5 decision over fourth-ranked Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State), a two-time All-American who finished fourth this season. He also knocked off 21st-ranked Triston Lara of Northern Iowa, 5-3.

Mauller was 21-2 this season, including a pin, a technical fall and three major decisions. He boasts an 82-8 career record, including 8-5 in the NCAA Championships.

Next season, Mauller can join Ben Askren (2004-07), J'den Cox (2014-17) and Daniel Lewis (2016-19) as the only four-time All-Americans in program history. Only those three along with Drake Houdashelt (2013-15) and Jaydin Eierman (2017-19) have finished in the top six at the NCAA Championships at least three times.

Second Team: Marcus Robinson (Cleveland State), sophomore

Third Team: Anthony Cheloni (Northern Illinois), junior

157 POUNDS: Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider)

Rundown: A first-team NWCA All-American last season, Dellavecchia joined John Carvelheira and Chad Walsh as Rider's only two-time All-Americans. He finished with an 81-19 career record, including 41-3 the past two seasons. 

Dellavecchia, who also reached the round of 16 in 2019, has stated he will not return next season.

"We can’t thank Jesse enough for what he has done for our program," a message posted on the Rider Athletics Twitter account March 25 read. "He is the hardest worker & best role model. Thank you for an amazing career & memories that will last us a lifetime. We’re so glad those schools passed you by so you can wear Rider across your chest!"

Dellavecchia won his first three NCAA Championships matches, including victories against 13th-ranked Hunter Willits (Oregon State) and #7 Brady Berge (Penn State) before meeting Deakin.

After a scoreless first period, Deakin, a two-time All-American, started the second period in the down position and began working his way to his feet, but Dellavecchia would not have none of that.

He quickly took Deakin back down and to the edge of the circle before turning him to record a pin at 3:18. It was the only time Deakin, whose 30-match winning streak also ended, has been pinned in 134 collegiate matches.

Dellavecchia, who did not lose to a MAC wrestler the past two seasons, edged 11th-ranked Jarrett Jacques, 3-2, to defend his conference title after beating #25 Michael Petite (Buffalo) in the semifinals. He was also second in the Eastern Wrestling League as a sophomore.

Dellavecchia was actually out of wrestling for a time after going 15-9 as a true freshman at Binghamton and began working for his father's construction company. Rider's coaching staff, which also originally recruited Dellavecchia, convinced him to restart his college career in 2018. 

Second Team: Jarrett Jacques (Missouri), junior

Third Team: Johnny Lovett (Central Michigan), freshman