For the first time since 2019, college sports fans can prepare for some madness throughout the month of March.
After a one-year layoff due to the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, NCAA Division 1 Championships are back, with teams from schools around the country descending on a variety of cities for their sports’ respective tournaments.
While much of the focus in the middle of the month will remain on the return of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, the most popular form of March Madness, another tournament that will get some mainstream shine is the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships.
Taking place from the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri, around 32 wrestlers in each of the tournament’s 10 weight classes will compete over the span of three days, all with the hopes of standing atop the podium after the finals wrap up on the night of Saturday, March 20.
Returning national champions from 2019, like Iowa’s Spencer Lee, will look to return to the throne after a one-year hiatus from the tournament, while fresh faces like Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso will try to add their first Division I title to their resume.
While many sports fans analyze the 68 teams that qualified for the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament, we evaluated the 300-plus wrestlers clocking in for what they hope is a long weekend out in St. Louis, and put together our predictions for each weight class’ semifinals and finals matches.
Semifinals: No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) def. No. 5 Brody Teske (Northern Illinois), No. 3 Brandon Courtney (Arizona State) def. No. 2 Sam Latona (Virginia Tech)
Finals: Lee def. Courtney
Semifinals: No. 1 Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) def. No. 9 Michael McGee (Arizona State), No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) def. No. 3 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech)
Finals: Bravo-Young def. Fix
Semifinals: No. 1 Jaydin Eierman (Iowa) def. No. 4 Tariq Wilson (NC State), No. 3 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) def. No. 2 Nick Lee (Penn State)
Finals: Eierman def. Rivera
Semifinals: No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) def. No. 5 Ridge Lovett (Nebraska), No. 2 Austin O’Connor (UNC) def. No. 3 Brock Mauller (Missouri)
Finals: Sasso def. O’Connor
Semifinals: No. 1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) def. No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider), No. 2 Hayden Hidlay (NC State) def. David Carr (Iowa State)
Finals: Hidlay def. Deakin
Semifinals: No. 4 Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech) def. No. 1 Alex Marinelli (Iowa), No. 6 Keegan O’Toole (Missouri) def. No. 2 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State)
Finals: Lewis def. O’Toole
Semifinals: No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) def. No. 5 Logan Massa (Michigan), No. 3 Carter Starocci (Penn State) def. No. 2 Demetrius Romero (Utah Valley)
Finals: Kemerer def. Starocci
Semifinals: No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State) def. No. 5 Hunter Bolen (Virginia Tech), No. 2 Trent Hidlay def. No. 3 Lou Deprez (Binghamton)
Finals: Brooks def. Hilday
Semifinals: No. 1 Myles Amine (Michigan) def. No. 4 AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State), No. 2 Eric Schultz (Nebraska) def. No. 3 Kordell Norfleet (Arizona State)
Finals: Amine def. Schultz
Semifinals: No. 1 Gable Steveson (Minnesota) def. No. 4 Cohlton Schultz (Arizona State), No. 2 Mason Parris (Michigan) def. No. 6 Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State)
Finals: Steveson def. Parris