Last Updated 10:27 AM, March 29, 2021

Iowa Hawkeyes win 2021 NCAA wrestling team title

Watch highlights from every match of the 2021 Wrestling Championship finals
12:15 am, March 21, 2021

David Carr takes gold at 157 pounds

Dellavecchia does down to start the third, but Carr has taken control. He racks up the riding time, but Rider challenges for locked hands. No locked hands, so we continue. Carr stays on top and pushes his riding time over a minute. The Cyclone is 45 seconds away from a national title. Now he's looking for back points, but that's it. DAVID CARR IS A NATIONAL CHAMPION! 

SECOND PERIOD: Carr leads 3-0
Carr stars the second period on bottom. Dellavecchia initiates the ride and holds Carr down for 38 seconds, but Carr does earn the escape and takes the 1-0 lead. Carr goes in for the first shot of the match, and he finishes. That's a 3-0 lead for the Cyclone has he chases his first title. Carr rides out the period, and he'll head into the third period with lead. 

FIRST PERIOD: Scoreless again. No wrestler has scored a point in the first period so far in this finals session. 

7:20 pm, March 18, 2021

UNC's O'Connor wins his first title at 149

Third period: Austin O'Connor wins 3-2
Sasso escapes. He ties is up 1-1, but Sasso has riding time. Less than a minute to go. Sasso takes a shot, but O'Connor reverses and picks up two and eliminates the riding time. The Tar Heel is warned for stalling, and Sasso escapes. It's 3-2 O'Connor, riding time is not a factor. In the last ten seconds, it's Sammy Sasso with the takedown. Or almost. He had O'Connor on the edge with time and wrapped himself around both ankles. The refs did not call the takedown, but Ohio State challenges. Now we wait. NO TAKEDOWN! 

Second period: O'Connor leads 1-0
Austin O'Connor chooses bottom to start the second. Here he comes, but Sasso has his eyes on the cradle. The refs are calling for more action, but nothing happens. Stalemate. There's some caution here from two two wresters who aren't known for cautious wrestling. O'Connor escapes, so that's a 1-0 lead for the Tar Heel. Sasso does have over one minute of riding time, and that's how they'll head into the third. 

First period: Tied, 0-0
Scoreless. Goodness, this has been a trend.

7:20 pm, March 18, 2021

Nick Lee tops Eierman at 141

It's Penn State in overtime again as Nick Lee finishes to win his first national title! Two-for-two for the Nittany Lions.

Nick Lee picks up the early two points in the third for a momentum shifter, but Eierman escapes so we're all tied up again. Lee has 30 seconds of riding time. Less than a minute in the match. Eierman warned for stalling. A shot from Eierman, but grabs the leg. Not enough time. We're going to overtime. Again. 

SECOND PERIOD: Eierman leads 1-0
Eierman starts bottom to begin the second, and he's out for one escape point. That's all we have for scoring in the second, and we'll head to the third 1-0 Eierman

FIRST PERIOD: Scoreless 0-0
Lots of action early, but we're scoreless after the first minute. And scoreless after the second, but that's not for a lack of action or effort. Eierman and Lee are both wrestling smart, attacking cautiously but holding tough defensively to force restarts. 

7:20 pm, March 18, 2021

No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young wins 133 pounds

TAKEDOWN ROMAN-BRAVO YOUNG! He needs overtime, but the Nittany Lion is a national champ! 

Third period: 
Bravo-Young starts down and escapes. He leads 1-0 with 1:50 to go, and that's a shot for the Penn State wrestler. No points, but here's the scramble. No points, but Bravo-Young is dinged for stalling. We're tied 1-1, and Bravo-Young is then hit again. Fix leads 2-1, but Bravo-Young has the riding time. We're heading to overtime. 

Second period: Scoreless 0-0
The Nittany Lion racks up serious riding time as he holds Fix down for the entire two minutes. A stall warning on Roman Bravo-Young serves as the only hint of points in the second period, but we're scoreless again heading into the third.

First period: Scoreless 0-0
After a brief basketball delay, we are back to wrestling and off and running. Fix and Bravo-Young are scoreless after one period, and Fix chose down to start the second period.


Daton Fix returns to the national finals tournament after finishing second in 2019, and he'll meet Big Ten champion Roman Bravo-Young for his toughest test yet. Fix is one of of seven No. 1 seeds still alive, and he earned his spot under the bright lights after a major, two falls and a decision earlier in this tournament. You can rewatch his 2019 tournament run here and follow along as we track this top seed in the first finals match of the evening. 


7:20 pm, March 18, 2021

Jesse Dellavecchia upsets Ryan Deakin at 157

Northwestern's Ryan Deakin put up three solid wins so far this tournament, and he had done what he needed to do to put himself in position for a finals run. But Jesse Dellavecchia brought a new challenge. The first-time Rider All-American held Deakin scoreless through the first period, but in the second, riding the Wildcat, Dellavecchia went to work. Before fans could even blink, Dellavecchia had Deakin on his back for back points, back points, back points, and then BOOM. Dellavecchia had pinned the top seed, and he was moving on the finals.

The two-time Big Ten champion, Ryan Deakin, will drop down to the consolation finals and look to wrestle for third, but it's Dellavecchia, the MAC champion, who will have his shot at the finals. Dellavecchia will come into Saturday night's final with a 10-0 record and 50% bonus. Here's the moment he's been dreaming about his whole life: Saturday night wrestling under the bright lights. 

"I know I can turn just worked out, "Dellavecchia said. "It's a weird journey, but I've been loving it and happy to have found Rider." 

11:11 pm, March 20, 2021

NIU's Mason Kauffman wins Elite 90 Award

 Congratulations to Mason Kauffman of NIU for being awarded the Elite 90 Award. The honor is presented annually to the student-athlete at the NCAA Tournament in each sport with the highest GPA. You can read about all of the 2021 Elite 90 Award here.

11:24 pm, March 10, 2021

2021 NCAA wrestling championship brackets & schedule

See the updated brackets here. 

See the updated team scores here.  

See the final coaches rankings of 2021 here

Complete Championship Schedule

Thursday, March 18 11 a.m. First Round ESPNU
  2 p.m. First Round ESPNU
  6 p.m. Second Round ESPN2
  9 p.m. Second Round ESPN2
Friday, March 19 11 a.m. Quarterfinals ESPNU
  3 p.m. Semifinals ESPNU
  8 p.m. Semifinals ESPN
Saturday, March 20 11 a.m. Medal Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Championship ESPN
4:42 pm, March 20, 2021

Meet the 2021 NCAA wrestling All-Americans

In 2019, 80 men stood on the podium and celebrated that they were among the most elite of the elite in college athletics. They were All-Americans. Now, after a year of adversity and the challenge of competing in a national pandemic, champion wrestling is back. The top-eight men in each of the ten weight classes this year have earned a special honor, and they will march out together as a group tonight during the parade of All-Americans savoring and remembering the moments that made up this wild, unprecedented year.

Here's what you need to know about the individuals that will take home All-American trophies

11:24 pm, March 10, 2021

Semifinal Results

285-pound semifinal winners: Gable Steveson & Mason Parris

Heavyweight is the story we expected it to be with Gable Steveson and Mason Parris advancing over Tony Cassioppi and Gannon Gremmel. Mason Parris notches a second-period pin, and Steveson’s match takes him a little longer, but he also notches the win in major decision fashion 16-6. Mason Parris will have a rematch against Gable Steveson in the finals. 

197-pound semifinal winners: Nino Bonaccorsi & AJ Ferrari

AJ Ferrari and Nino Bonaccorsi both pick up their first takedowns two minutes into the first, but Woodley earns the escape to make his match 2-1 against Bonaccorsi. Ferrari, for his part, holds on to drive his riding time against No. 1 Myles Amine just over a minute before Amine climbs over him for the escape. It's 2-1 on both mats, folks. Let's go the second period. 

Blood time for Ferrari, so we'll focus on Bonaccorsi who continues to ride Woodley and push his time to 1:32 with less than a minute to go in the second. Bonaccorsi rides out Woodley for the period, so they'll head into the third 2-1 with Bonaccorsi holding 2:21 of riding time. Bonaccorsi escapes to start the third, giving him the 3-1 lead with 31 seconds to go. And it's Bonaccorsi to the finals with a 4-1 lead with riding time! 

Amine and Ferrari are back, and it's Ferrari who will start on bottom. The Cowboy escapes, so he's up 3-1 now with 45 seconds to go in the second. Another shot for Ferrari, but Amine shows impressive defense to hold on and avoid another takedown at the end. Ferrari rode out the entire third period to notch the win. We have a Ferrari-Bonaccorsi in the finals. 

184 pound semifinal winners: Aaron Brooks & Trent Hidlay

Aaron Brooks shows off that Penn State speed with the first takedown against Parker Keckeisen, but a Keckeisen escape keeps the score close at 2-1 to end the first period. Brooks started down to start the second and picked up an escape of his own, while Trent Hidlay and John Poznanski end their first period scoreless. Hidlay picks up an escape to put the first point on the board in his match. 

Against the strength and confidence of Brooks, Keckeisen has shown he's a fighter, and he battled against Brooks moves to initiate a scramble late in the second, but Brooks came out on top to end the period up 5-1 with 31 seconds of riding time. Keckeisen earns an escape to start the third to bring the score within three, while Hidlay and Poznanski are tied at 1-1 with an escape each. We'll see those two fighter go to overtime. 

Aaron Brooks, on the other hand, wraps up his semifinals match with a 6-4 win, despite a last second takedown by Keckeisen. That's another Nittany Lion in the finals!

On the second mat, Hidlay and Poznanski stay tied up heading into sudden victory. Poznanski starts his :30 seconds down. Hidlay rides him out. Here we go. Hidlay on bottom. Hidlay escapes. It's 2-1 for the Wolfpack sophomore. Fifteen seconds. Three seconds. Stall warning. But he holds on! Trent Hidlay is an NCAA finalist and will take on Aaron Brooks tomorrow! 

174 pound semifinal winners: Carter Starocci & Michael Kemerer
Michael Kemerer isn't wasting any time. A takedown in the first minute gives him a 2-1 lead after his opponent, Bernie Truax, escapes. But then Kemerer goes back to work for another takedown to lead 4-2 at the blood time break near the end of the second. Kemerer took down to start the third, and his escape makes the score 5-1 with 70 seconds to wrestle. Credit to Truax for never slowing down, as the Cal Poly athlete worked to keep shooting in this low-scoring match. Kemerer has the riding time, and with 28 seconds left, he's inching closer to his first national finals trip. Add another takedown for the Hawkeye, and it's an 8-1 win for the Hawkeye. 

Starocci's escape was his lone point in the second period, but he rode Romero out well in the third to secure riding time. And the win. Carter Starocci is an NCAA finalist as a freshman! 

165-pound semifinal winners: Shane Griffith vs. Jake Wentzel

Shane Griffith continues his dream tournament run, beating Alex Marinelli in the quarterfinals and then topping Zach Hartman of Bucknell 9-2. Jake Wentzel, in the second semifinals, wrestled to his seed, topping Ethan Smith of Ohio State for his first finals appearance. 

157-pound semifinals: Jesse Dellavecchia & David Carr 

Jesse Dellavecchia. That's the story out of 157 pounds. The Rider All-American topped Ryan Deakin by fall in one of the biggest upsets of the tournament to book his first trip to the NCAA finals, and he'll meet David Carr, the Iowa State sophomore who picked up an upset of his own. These two men didn't care about their talented opponents, they cared about their own performances, a dream mindset. Welcome to the finals, Dellavecchia and Carr. This is your moment.  

149-pound semifinals: Sammy Sasso & Austin O'Connor

Sammy Sasso didn't need a lot of time to punch his ticket to the finals, and he locked up a cradle against Boo Lewallen early and put his opponent on his back. That's a Sammy "Savage" Sasso kind of performance. The Buckeyes have a finalist. 

Brock Mauller and Austin O'Connor wrestled much closer, and with a minute left in the third, the two men hwere tied at 1-1. Mauller kept attacking, but O'Connor stayed strong and fired off shot of his own for the final seconds. This one is heading to overtime! Mauller picks up a stall call and then goes in for a quick shot at the buzzer, but he doesn't quite finish his move in time. We're moving to sudden victory. 

O'Connor escapes, and he's back on his feet looking for a move of his own. Nothing. Mauller goes down. Stall warning against O'Connor. Twelve seconds. Austin O'Connor is heading to the finals with an overtime win, and he'll see Sasso next. 

141-pound semifinal winners: Jaydin Eierman & Nick Lee

Is this the most intense semifinal yet? Nick Lee, Sebastian Rivera, Jaydin Eierman and Tariq Wilson want to prove that yes, they'll bring more excitement than you'll see in any weight class, but the first period action was slow. Until it wasn't. 

Sebastian Rivera picks up the first takedown in his semi against Nick Lee, and he rides him out for the rest of the period to take a 2-0 lead after one. But it was Jaydin Eierman who stole the show with his first-period pin against Tariq Wilson. Take a bow, Mr. Riddler. You're an NCAA Finalist!

But it's not over in the second semifinal. Lee chose down to start the second period and picked up an escape to tie the match and pick up a takedown of his own. Rivera chooses bottom to start the third, and he works for a quick escape. It's 4-3 with 90 seconds to go. One minute left. Rivera was aggressive and active, but a shot turned into a takedown and back points for Nick Lee. Sebastian will drop down to the consolation and aim to wrestle for third. 

133-pound semifinal winners: Roman Bravo-Young & Daton Fix 

The pace! The pace! The pace! The 133-pounders are all off to a fast start. Roman Bravo-Young picked up the first takedown against Korbin Myers, and Daton Fix did the same thing against Austin DeSanto in his match, but these guys aren't holding anything back. Escapes for Myers and DeSanto keeps these semifinals at one-point matches. 

Fix starts his match with an escape to extend his lead to 3-1, while Bravo-Young works to ride Myers after starting the period on top. Myers escapes to tie the match. Riding time is not a factor (yet) in either match, and these four quality competitors continue to battle. 

We head to the third with Fix leading DeSanto 3-1, and Bravo-Young tied up with Myers 2-2. An escape from DeSanto brings his score against fix to 3-2. Bravo-Young goes neutral to start his third period. One minute left in Fix-DeSanto. Bravo-Young extends his lead, he's now ahead 4-2 and less than a minute away from being an NCAA finalist. Bravo-Young keeps fighting and builds his riding time for a 5-2 decision. And Fix is moving on too! The Cowboy tops DeSanto 3-2.

125-pound semifinal winners: Spencer Lee & Brandon Courtney

Spencer Lee will, as expected, advance to the 2021 NCAA semifinals at 125 pounds. You can track Spencer Lee's journey to the NCAA finals here, as he remains perfect with 100% bonus. He'll face Brandon Courtney of Arizona State after Courtney's impressive overtime win against Taylor LaMont. Courtney is also undefeated on the year with 57% bonus, and he secured his first All-American honor this year with his performance. These two have never met in college. 

7:20 pm, March 18, 2021

Notable results from Session III Part II

285 pounds: The big men know how to put on a show! Iowa's Tony Cassioppi advances to his first semifinals after a tough 4-1 win over Cohlton Schultz of Arizona State, and he'll have the top-seed, the undefeated, the dominant Gable Steveson up next. Steveson beat Penn State's Greg Kerkvliet in a 9-4 match where he gave up a takedown, but Steveson will no doubt be ready to put up some bonus in the semifinals. Cassioppi has never beat Steveson, and in their last meeting, the Gopher topped Iowa's Cassioppi by major in their last meeting. 

On the other side of the bracket, Michigan's Mason Parris will see Iowa State's Gannon Gremmel, after Gremmel beat Wisconsin's Trent Hillger in a tough overtime match. 

197 pounds: AJ Ferrari isn't messing around, as the freshman beat junior Jacob Warner with a key third-period reversal. Ferrari will see Pitt's Nino Bonaccorsi next in the semifinals, but he's officially a true freshman All-American now and a key player in the Cowboy's chase for a team title. The Oklahoma State star likes to be the team guy, and his performance at the Big 12 tournament helped Oklahoma State tie Oklahoma for the conference team title. Now he has a chance to be a hero again. 

Seeds don't bother Jacob Woodley, as he punches his ticket into the semifinals with a huge win over Penn State's Michael Beard. Woodley will have No. 1 Myles Amine next after Amine topped Buchanan in a tight 7-6 decision. 

184 pounds: Aaron Brooks to the semifinals! he Nittany Lion held tough against Taylor Venz, the only person to have ever beaten him in college. 

N.C. State's Trent Hidlay also moves on, keeping the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds alive on the opposite sides on the bracket. NIU's Brit Wilson was in that match against Hidlay for the entire seven minutes though, and he'll be a tough match for his consolation opponent. 

Both Parker Keckeisen and John Poznanski earned their next matches in nail-bitters, with Keckeisen earning his win through a takedown in overtime against Hunter Bolen, and Poznanski navigating an intense, drama-filled match with a late challenge to take down Lou DePrez for his big win. Poznanski will see Hidlay while Keckeisen has Brooks next. 

174 pounds: Starocci punches his ticket to the semifinals with a decision win over Andrew McNally of Kent State, and he'll meet Demetrius Romero, who forced his way into the semis with a shutout 5-0 over Kaleb Romero. 

Bernie Truax of Caly Poly will be on the other side of the bracket in the semifinals after his win over Mikey Labriola, and he'll have a meeting with another Michael, No. 1 Kemerer of Iowa. 

165 pounds: Shane Griffith pulls off a huge overtime upset against Alex Marinelli to book his ticket to the semifinals where he'll face Zach Hartman of Bucknell. Hartman advanced after No. 4 Mekhi Lewis injury defaulted out of the quarterfinals. 

No. 7 Ethan Smith also busts the bracket with his win over No. 2 Anthony Valencia, and his win put him on the podium for the first time in his career. He'll have Jake Wentzel of Pitt after Wentzel beat Mizzou's outstanding freshman Keegan O'Toole 9-6. 

3:07 pm, March 19, 2021

Notable moments from Day 2

157 pounds: Hayden Hidlay with the pin of Jacob Wright, and he's in the semifinals for the third time in his career. He cruised into the semifinals with ease, while Northwestern's Ryan Deakin battled to the final second for his 5-4 takedown decision win. He'll wrestle Dellavecchia, while Hidlay will take on David Carr of Iowa State. Carr's win came in sudden victory against Brayton Lee, and he'll move on the semifinals for the first time in his career. 

Penn State's Brady Berge, who had been having an impressive tournament so far, went down with an injury in his quarterfinal match against Jesse Dellavecchia, so the Rider wrestler becomes an All-American while Berge drops down into the consolation finals. We'll wait to hear from the Nittany Lions on a health update before his consolation match. 

149 pounds: We're chalk at 149 pounds as Sammy Sasso picked up an 8-3 decision over Yayha Thomas, Brock Mauller beat Bryce Andonian by the same score, No. 4 Boo Lewallen held on in overtime for a single-takedown 6-4 win over Iowa's Max Murin, and Austin O'Connor did his thing for a 5-2 win over Jonathan Millner

141 pounds: Tariq Wilson is in the semifinals for the second time in his career after an impressive win over Real Woods that ended with the kind of respect and appreciation you love to see guys show for each other after a battle. The N.C. State senior, now a two-time All-American, will see Jaydin Eierman in the next round after the Hawkeye pinned Dresden Simon in his quarterfinal. 

THE RIVERA MISSION: Everything you need to know about Rutgers' Sebastian Rivera's quest for a title

On the other side of the bracket, Nick Lee did Nick Lee things and beat Zach Sherman handily to earn a spot in the semifinals. He'll see Sebastian Rivera for a Big Ten semifinal rematch. 

133 pounds: Roman Bravo-Young advances with a decision, but Daton Fix steals the headline with his third-period pin over Chris Cannon. Fix advances to his second career semifinal while Bravo-Young will wrestle tonight for the first time as a semifinalist. Bravo-Young, the Penn State junior, will have Korbin Myers in his bout after the Hokie senior's emotional win over Matt Schmitt of Missouri. 

Austin DeSanto will wrestle Fix in the semifinals after his spot with a dominant win over Micky Phillippi of Pittsburgh. The Iowa junior put on a show as he secures his second podium spot. The Hawks are rolling!

125 pounds: Taylor LaMont upsets Sam Latona, and he'll see Brandon Courtney in the semifinals after the Sun Devil took down Jakob Camacho in his quarterfinal. Fans will be denied another Latona-Camacho match immediately, but it's possible those two could hit in the consolations. 

BONUS MACHINE: Tracking Spencer Lee's undefeated perfect season

Spencer Lee also gutted out a major win against Devin Schroder, so he'll see Drew Hildebrandt in the semifinals. Hildebrandt's quarterfinal win secures his spot on the podium for the first time in his career, but he has a challenge ahead of him with the two-time champion next. 

2:50 pm, March 18, 2021

Paul Bianchi makes Little Rock history

Little Rock’s first NCAA qualifier, Paul Bianchi, finished his season at the NCAA Tournament with a 1-2 finish, but his journey from North Dakota State to Arkansas to St. Louis is one for the record books. 

Paul Bianchi needed a wildcard to qualify for the NCAA tournament, and when the seeding committee awarded him that spot, he became the first Little Rock wrestler to compete on the Big Stage. Bianchi also picked up his first career win at the tournament on Thursday night in a battle against Zach Redding of Iowa State 9-4. His two losses came in the first round though to Iowa’s Austin DeSanto by tech fall and then in the consolations to Zach Price of South Dakota State. This record season and this legendary Trojan, however, won't be forgotten. 

Bianchi came into the tournament with a 10-4 record after a fourth place finish in the Pac-12 tournament, and he’s the first national qualifier in school history for the Little Rock Trojans. By simply stepping out on the mat in the Maroon and Silver, Bianchi solidified himself in the record books. 

7:20 pm, March 18, 2021

Heart of a Hokie: Mekhi Lewis battles adversity

The road to the top of the podium is hard for any wrestler in the NCAA tournament, but, for Mekhi Lewis, that road has been particularly challenging this year.

After injuring his shoulder earlier in the season in the Virginia Tech-Pitt dual, the 2019 NCAA champion Lewis medically forfeited out of the ACC tournament and needed a wild card to secure at spot at the national tournament. The seeding committee gave him that wildcard and put him in the No. 4 seed, a good position to be in, but one that will now put him on a collision course against Alex Marinelli if both guys win their next match. The problem is, though, his shoulder isn't fully healed. 

HISTORY MADE: Mekhi Lewis becomes first Virginia Tech wrestler to win a title

In his second-round match against Tanner Skidgel of Navy, Lewis paused. He felt the pain again. Injury time offered him a chance to collect himself and regroup, but his facial expressions suggested that things weren't good. Two minutes were left on the clock. He led by one. A win would keep his title chances alive. Lewis looked at his coaches, adjusted his headgear and stepped back on the mat. 

He battled. For the entire two minutes, Lewis wrestled with heart and grit, continue to drive offense and doing everything in his power to hold on. Time ticked down. Ten seconds. Five seconds. He did it. The 2019 NCAA champion, injured and all, advanced to the quarterfinals. He wasn't well, but he was still in it. 

Early Friday morning, Virginia Tech put out a statement that Lewis would medically withdraw from the 2021 tournament. Injury did ultimately end his chances at another title, but Lewis' toughness will be remembered. 

1:07 am, March 19, 2021

Highlights and headlines from Session II, Part II

Shane Griffith stays alive with a clutch third-period takedown: Luke Weber of North Dakota State nearly had the win over his Stanford 165-pound sophomore opponent, but Griffith never gave up. With less than 15 seconds on the clock in the final period, it was Griffith who found Weber's ankles for a takedown on the edge to secure the victory and stay alive. He moves on! 

Smith slows down Wittlake for the win: Ohio State has had an up-and-down day, but Smith gives the Buckeyes something to celebrate as he punches his ticket to the quarterfinals after a hard-fought 4-3 win over Travis Wittlake. 

165-pound quarterfinals

  • No. 1 Alex Marinelli vs. No. 8 Shane Griffith
  • No. 4 Mekhi Lewis vs. No. 5 Zach Hartman
  • No. 3 Jake Wentzel vs. No. 6 Keegan O'Toole
  • No. 7 Smith vs. No. 2 Valencia

174-pound quarterfinals 

  • No. 1 Michael Kemerer vs. No. 8 Daniel Bullard
  • No. 12 Bernie Truax vs. No. 4 Michael Labriola
  • No. 6 Andrew McNally vs. No. 3 Carter Starocci
  • No. 7 Kaleb Romero vs. No. 2 Demetrius Romero

184-pound quarterfinals 

  • No. 1 Aaron Brooks vs. No. 8 Taylor Venz
  • No. 4 Parker Keckeisen vs. No. 5 Hunter Bolen
  • No. 3 Lou DePrez vs. No. 6 John Poznanski
  • No. 2 Trent Hidlay vs. No. 7 Brit Wilson

Battle-tested Ferrari moves on: The Big 12 Tournament Outstanding Wrestler continues to prove himself against elite level competition, fending off Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State 5-0 in the second round of the tournament, despite shots from Sloan and a fast-paced match. Ferrari is the real deal, and he'll have his shot in the quarterfinals tomorrow. 

Jake Woodley takes down Caffey: No. 26 Jake Woodley of Oklahoma picked up a big upset win against No. 10 Cameron Caffey at 197 pounds to set him up for the quarterfinals. 

197-pound quarterfinals 

  • No. 26 Jake Woodey vs. No. 15 Michael Beard
  • No. 3 Kordell Norfleet vs. No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi
  • No. 5 Jacob Warner vs. No. 4 AJ Ferrari
  • No. 1 Myles Amine vs. No. 8 Stephen Buchanan 

Thor comes through, Bono jumps around: Wisconsin's Trent Hillger earned a major upset over No. 3 Matt Stencel to earn his spot in the quarterfinals, and the junior Badger moves on. Hillger's had an mixed year of results, but this performance shows that he's back to be in All-American form and is ready to compete for a trophy. 

285-pound quarterfinals

  • No. 1 Gable Steveson vs. No. 9 Greg Kerkvliet
  • No. 14 Trent Hillger vs. No. 6 Gannon Gremmel
  • No. 4 Cohlton Schultz vs. No. 3 Tony Cassioppi 
  • No. 2 Mason Parris vs. No. 7 Ethan Laird
10:19 pm, March 18, 2021

Key results from Session II

125 pounds: Schroder proves Big Ten success was not a fluke: The 2021 Big Ten finalist earned a huge win against a conference foe in the second round of the NCAA tournament as he beat Michigan State's Rayvon Foley to advance in the championship bracket. He'll have Spencer Lee next in a rematch of the 2021 Big Ten finals where Lee teched Schroder in the second period. 

Quarterfinals for 125 pounds: 

  • No. 1 Spencer Lee vs. No. 9 Devin Schroder
  • No. 5 Brody Teske vs. No. 4 Drew Hildebrant
  • No. 3 Brian Courtney vs. No. 6 Jakob Camacho
  • No. 7 Taylor LaMont vs. No. 2 Sam Latona

Quarterfinals for 133 pounds: 

  • No. 1 Daton Fix vs. No. 8 Chris Cannon
  • No. 5 Micky Phillippi vs. No. 4 Austin DeSanto
  • No. 3 Korbin Myers vs. No. 6 Matt Schmitt
  • No. 10 Louie Hayes vs. No. 2 Roman Bravo-Young

141 pounds: Mr. March falls to Simon: Chad Red, the Nebraska star who has been known to catch fire at the NCAA tournament, dropped his second-round match to Dresden Simon of Central Michigan, as the Chips continue their impressive tournament. Simon held on for the 6-3 match to punch his ticket to the quarters, and he'll see Jaydin Eierman next. 

141 pounds: Real Woods is back: The 2021 Pac-12 runner-up scored a huge win against All-American Dom Demas in overtime with a savvy takedown that sends him into the quarterfinals as the No. 21 seed. That was a redemption match for him, as he needed a wildcard to earn a spot at this tournament but has now proven that he belongs. He'll have All-American Tariq Wilson next. 

Quarterfinals for 141 pounds: 

  • No. 1 Jaydin Eierman vs. No. 9 Dresden Simon
  • No. 21 Real Woods vs. No. 4 Tariq Wilson
  • No. 10 Zach Sherman vs. No. 2 Nick Lee
  • No. 3 Sebastian Rivera vs. No. 6 Allan Hart

149 pounds: Max Murin finds a way: The Iowa 149-pounder flies under the radar because of the ridiculous dominance of his teammates, but it's clear that Murin is in the All-American conversation, and his performance in the second-round sent a message that he is not to be discounted or disrespected. Murin was gritty and tough in his 5-2 win over Ridge Lovett, and he's the third Hawkeye into the quarters. 

Quarterfinals for 149 pounds 

  • No. 1 Sammy Sasso vs. No. 25 Yahya Thomas
  • No. 12 Max Murin vs. No. 4 Boo Lewallen
  • No. 3 Brock Mauller vs. No. 6 Bryce Andonian
  • No. 2 Austin O`Connor vs. No. 7 John Millner

157 pounds: Berge prevailed in a battle of powerhouse programs: Any match between Iowa and Penn State is worth watching, but this particular match, the second-round 157-pound contest between No. 12 Brady Berge and No. 5 Kaleb Young was particularly exciting. Berge, who has had his share of injuries and has faced adversity throughout his entire wrestling career, snuck past Big Ten finalist Kaleb Young for the 3-2 win and major team points. He's the third Nittany Lions to move into the quarters!

157 pounds: Hayden Hidlay is a bonus machine: The N.C. State senior picked up a technical fall in his second-round match, and he looked calm as ever doing it. Hidlay's title quest continues. 

Quarterfinals for 157 pounds

  • No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia vs. No. 12 Brady Berge
  • No. 8 Jared Franek vs. No. 1 Ryan Deakin
  • No. 2 Hayden Hidlay vs. No. 23 Jacob Wright
  • No. 3 David Carr vs. No. 6 Brayton Lee
6:14 pm, March 18, 2021

Best moments from the first-round action Part II

N.C. State looks tough across all weights, highlighted by Bullard wins to start the second half - Thomas Bullard proves that he's a competitor at this deep weight as he moves forward in the championship bracket following in a win against an in-state rival. His brother, Daniel, followed up that performance with a win of his own, topping Air Force's Surratt 4-0. No. 2 Trent Hilday also put on a show at 184 pounds with his bonus win. 

Gardner-Webb vs. Brooks coming up soon- Wildcard wrestler Jha'Quan Anderson wins in overtime 3-1 against Joe Accousti to move on from the pigtail match into the championship bracket. He'll have Aaron Brooks of Penn State next 

Sporting a brace, Mekhi Lewis picks up a win- The defending champion Hokie battled for his 8-3 win over Brian Meyer of Lehigh, but he accomplished his goal and picked up a win. The 2019 tournament was Lewis' breakout show, so we'll see if he can string together five wins again. 

Amine over Monday - In one of the more highly-anticipated first-round matchups, it was Michigan's Cam Amine having his hand raised (at least the COVID-19-protocol version of having his hand raised) after an overtime scrap with North Carolina's Kennedy Monday. 

Wentzel with the gritty win- Jake Wentzel of Pittsburgh survived his first match against Drexel's Barczak to advance in the championship bracket. Barczak pushed the No. 3-seeded Panther and was on the verge of an upset, even forcing a challenge, but this one belonged to Wentzel. 

Big win for Wittlake- The Cowboy star made a statement in his dominating performance, taking down Penn State's Joe Lee to deliver the Nittany Lions their first loss of the day. 

Chasing Greatness: Army notches its first win of the day with Pasiuk's 8-3 win over Clay Lautt of North Carolina. 

Air Valencia on Fire: The No. 2 seed at 174 pounds, Anthony Valencia of Arizona State, picked up his first win by major 14-4 over Ferrante. He'll move forward in the championship bracket and look to end up on the podium for the first time. 

PIN for McNally: Kent State's No. 6 seed Andrew McNally moves on after pinning Virginia Tech’s Dakota Howard. That's a way to start!

Starocci makes a statement: Intensity and action in the third period helped Penn State's Carter Starocci seal the deal for his first NCAA tournament major decision as he defeats Marcelli 10-2

Romero holds on: Despite the threat of an upset from Jake Logan, Demetrius Romero holds on for the 8-6 win. Logan put up a serious fight, and he'll be a landmine in the wrestlebacks, but for now, it's Romero whose title dreams are still alive. 

Brands wrestles tough, keeps Iowa undefeated: The 184-pound weight class and the 149-pound weight classes are Iowa's weakest (but weakest is relative — both guys are seeded in the top-15). Nelson Brands, the 184-pounder, however, showed that he's ready for this moment and ready to chase a podium spot. The sophomore notched an 8-6 win in the first round, and he'll move on. 

Pin for Mizzou, struggle for Bucks: Missouri's Jeremiah Kent pinned Ohio State's Rocky Jordan at 184 pounds to give points to the Tigers. Missouri is in the hunt for a team title, and this win helps big. The Bucks have struggled so far this afternoon, but they'll look to Sammy Sasso to light up the scoreboard this evening in his second-round match.  

DePrez digs deep and wins a close one:  Lou DePrez could win a title at 184 pounds, but his goal of standing on top was seriously threatened in the first round as he went down to the wire with Gregg Harvey before pulling out the 6-4 win.

The Cary Kolat effect: Navy is in the house and picking up pins! David Key secures a huge pin over Chris Weiler of Wisconsin to advance in the championship bracket at 184 pounds. The Mids are here to compete. 

Jacob Warner...what a fight: The Iowa Hawkeye had the No. 5 seed heading into this tournament, but N.C. State's Nick Reenan put him in real trouble early, nearly securing a pin before Warner worked his way out. Warner picked up the pace in the final seconds of the third period to secure a game-changing takedown that pushed the match into overtime, and then he went to work. His winning move in extra time kept the Hawks undefeated on the day and gave Tom Brand his most intense match of the day.

North Dakota State and Oklahoma score big: Jake Woodley took No. 7 Rocky Elam 4-1 for a huge upset, but that wasn't even the biggest win of the tournament so far. The craziest performance award belongs to Owen Pentz who pinned No. 2 Evan Schultz to stay alive in the championship bracket!

3:00 pm, March 18, 2021

First-round live updates

Highlights from first-half of the first-round action

  • McCormick of Virginia wins his pigtail, and he'll have Spencer Lee of Iowa next
  • Devin Schroder keeps the momentum of his Big Ten tournament success rolling and picks up a win over Fabian Gutierrez of UT-Chattanooga to advance 
  • Wyatt Sheets stays alive as well, and the Cowboy moves on to the second-round

  • Cayden Rooks with the win, and he's advancing as well

  • Brody Teske of Northern Iowa moves on after an impressive and gritty final fall 
  • Cole Rhone of Bloomsburg earns a win over Bryce West 13-10
  • Dylan Ragusin guts out a 13-10 finish for his first round win
  • Liam Cronin is back! The Husker tied his match against Ferri of Kent State late and held on for the win after two key third-period takedowns and a fall. Never count this guy out!
  • Jakob Camacho recovers after an early deficit for a first-round major against American's Gage Curry
  • Michael DeAugustino holds on for a hard-fought win against Mastrogiovanni of Oklahoma State 
  • Sam Latona pulls out a win with two third-period takedowns against Jonathan Tropea of Rider 
  • Mickey Phillippi moves on by major decision over Ty Smith of Utah Valley
  • No. 8 seed Chris Cannon of Northwestern beats Rundell 10-1 major decision
  • Robbie Howard tops Malik Heinselman of Ohio State and moves on at 125 pounds while the Buckeye junior drops down to the consolation finals 
  • Jarrett Trombley moves on after earning the lone takedown in his match against Van Vleet of Air Force. That's the second Pack athlete to advance. 
  • Bravo-Young wins with BONUS for the Nittany Lions
  • Korbin Myers notches a tech in his first bout of the tournament, and he'll move on to the second round
  • Cole Matthews wins with a major of McKenzie Bell! The Panther pushes forward 
  • Heavy-hitters Sebastian Rivera, Nick Lee and Spencer Lee advance
  • Tariq Wilson of N.C. State also takes the win the first round by technical fall
  • Kyle Burwick of Wisconsin with the PIN! The Badger is moving forward. 
  • Mr. March Chad Red keeps himself in the championship bracket with a win
  • Dom Demas picks up his first win of the tournament as well as he chases another All-American finish
  • Daton Fix shows why he's the top seed at 133 pounds, as he dominates his way to a first-round major 
  • Ridge Lovett survives the first round in extra time and keeps building on his success frm the Big Ten tournament
  • Max Murin picks up his first win of the postseason with a close one over Graham Rooks 
  • Sammy Sasso steps up with BONUS for the Buckeyes 
  • Holy cow David Carr. The Iowa State sophomore looks every bit like a title contender after his 15-2 major decision over Markus Hartman of Army. That match was all Carr, and he’s waited a long time to be able to put on a performance like that.
  • North Dakota will advance to the next round as Franek picks up a win. 

First match, first move 

App State's Codi Russell is off to a hot start, leading his first-round match 2-1 after the first period. The tournament has officially started, folks, and App State is here to make some noise. Russell ended up dropping the match 7-6 to Killian Cardinale, but he'll be back in the consolations soon. 

Wrestlers, clear the mats! 

1:54 pm, March 18, 2021

One hour until go time

T-1 HOUR! It's almost go time, and the wrestlers are ready! Follow along for live updates from the 2021 NCAA wrestling tournament here.  

You can also read below for a full weight-by-weight preview, sleepers to watch and storylines to follow. Welcome to the 2021 NCAA wrestling tournament in St. Louis, Missouri! 

125-pound preview: Spencer Lee vs. the field

What we know about the top seed: Iowa’s Spencer Lee is a two-time NCAA champion, two-time Big Ten champion, a Hodge Trophy winner, and a leader on a Hawkeye team chasing its first NCAA title in over a decade. He’s been dominant all year and has the potential to end all of his matches in this tournament early, either by pin or technical fall. You can read more about Lee’s perfect season here and follow along as we track his quest for a 100% bonus season. 

Relive Iowa's Spencer Lee defending his 125 pound title

Storylines to follow: 

  • Spencer’s quest: The spotlight will be on Spencer Lee as he chases his third NCAA title, and he’s the overwhelming favorite in every match that could come his way in the tournament. Lee has not lost a college match since the 2019 Oklahoma State-Iowa dual, and he’s been wrestling head and shoulders above the competition this season, pinning or teching each opponent. He’ll have the winner of a pigtail match between Kysen Terukina and Patrick McCormick in the first round and could see Michigan’s Rayvon Foley in the quarterfinals, if both athletes wrestle to seed. Lee pinned Foley in 23 seconds at the Big Ten tournament and is undefeated against the Spartan in his career. 
  • ACC battle: The battle for All-American at this weight is fascinating, as is the race to the finals on Saturday night. No. 2 Sam Latona of Virginia Tech and No. 3 Jakob Camacho of N.C. State finished in those same respective spots in the ACC finals and could see each other again in the semifinals, if they both wrestle to seed. Latona also beat Camacho earlier in the year in the N.C. State-Virginia Tech dual, with Latona’s win sealing the deal for the Hokies. The No. 2 bracket spot is ideal because of its distance away from Spencer Lee, these two might have to go through one another if they want to a chance to wrestle under the spotlight on the last day of the tournament.  
  • Malik Heinselmen’s revenge tour: Ohio State’s Malik Heinselman will be a fun athlete to follow in this tournament as he attempts to earn his first spot on the podium in his third NCAA tournament appearance. Heinselman has jumped levels this year after finishing 24-11 as a freshman and a 18-15 record before the cancelled championship as a sophomore. In 2021, Heinselman has been wrestling like the age group world team member that he’s been in the past. The Buckeye true junior has a 10-3 record and will come with the No. 10 seed, giving him a tough first bout against Penn State’s Robbie Howard. Heinselman beat Howard 5-2 in the Big Ten tournament, but he’ll need to do it again to move forward in the championship bracket. The Buckeyes have seen greatness in Heinselman since his freshman year, and he’s showing the rest of the conference what that greatness looks like now. Will this be the year Heinselman breaks through? 

Sleeper to watch: Dylan Ragusin. Michigan’s Ragusin hardly qualifies as a sleeper given his No. 11 seed, but he’s ranked outside the top-ten and still has a real chance of finishing on the podium as a freshman. The young Michigan star finished eighth in the Big Ten tournament and will see Daniel Vega of South Dakota State in the first round. Ragusin is a guy who has shown his elite skills on the senior level, and he’s dangerous as the No. 11 seed in a bracket that, on the bottom side, is anyone’s game. 

8:37 pm, March 16, 2021

133-pound preview: Daton Fix is on a mission

What we know about the top seed: Oklahoma’s Daton Fix is an NCAA finalist, two-time Big 12 Champion and 2019 senior world team member at 57kg. He dropped in the championship bout in the 2019 NCAA finals to Rutgers’ Nick Suriano, but, after an Olympic redshirt in 2020, Fix is back to take what he believes he deserves. The Cowboy sophomore heads into his second national tournament with a 9-0 record and a nearly 90% bonus rate, and he’s dangerous. 

Oklahoma State's Daton Fix reads heartfelt letter from his parents

Storylines to follow: 

  • Underrated freshman: The 133-pound bracket hasn’t been as hyped this year as years past, but there are a few hidden threats in the weight that could be a problem for top seeds as the tournament progresses. One of those challenging wrestlers will be Lucas Byrd, a No. 7 seed freshman whose only two losses this year have been to Austin DeSanto; Byrd was majored in the first match against the Hawkeye and kept it close in the second to lose 5-4. He hasn’t wrestled top-tier talent, but he did finish third in the Big Ten two weeks ago, an impressive finish for a freshman. If he wrestles to seed, he’ll see Roman Bravo-Young in the quarters, and Bravo-Young is undefeated, but he’s wrestled close with DeSanto, Chris Cannon and Jake Rundell. Will Byrd end up on the podium? He’s seeded to do just that, but his performances might be more interesting than the outcomes, given his tough, gritty style and elite intensity. 
  • Is Penn State in the title race if Bravo-Young wins gold? The Iowa Hawkeyes are expected to roll through the NCAA tournament and win their first team title in over a decade, but Penn State won’t go down without a fight. The 133-pound bracket will be a place that Penn State will need to score, and score big, if it hopes to battle with the Hawks, and the Nittany Lion rep at this weight is a guy that really could go all the way. Junior Roman Bravo-Young comes into the tournament as the No. 2 seed after winning the Big Ten tournament, and he’ll look to wrestle his way into Saturday night and try to win his first crown. Bravo-Young was consistent and steady in his performances this year, bu if he follows the Penn State trends and picks up his bonus rate on the Big Stage, he’ll certainly be a guy that could take home gold. 
  • Micky Phillippi at No. 5: Pittsburgh’s Micky Phillippi is the only wrestler in this field with a win over Daton Fix in college, and while Phillippi has never finished on the podium at the national tournament, he is dangerous. If everyone wrestles to seed, Phillippi will have beat Austin DeSanto in the quarters to have a shot at Fix, and he’s never wrestled DeSanto in college, creating an interesting matchup. Phillippi comes into the tournament with an 8-1 record, following a loss to Virginia Tech’s Korbin Myers in the ACC tournament, and he hasn’t dominated his opponents enough to put the world on notice as a title threat, but his record shows he can beat the best. 

Sleeper to watch: Chance Rich. It’s always fun to watch the wildcards. Chance Rich of CSU-Bakersfield is now a two-time NCAA qualifier who finished his regular season 5-2 with a runner-up finish at the Pac-12 tournament, and while he needed an at-large bid to enter the tournament, he’s in now. Rich has the kind of resume and style that suggests he could make a “Tariq Wilson finishes 3rd in 2018” kind of run at a weight that has a history of surprises. Rich certainly believes in himself, telling that he thinks him and his school "are really underrated and I think everyone's going to see some big upsets when I get to the tournament. I'm coming full force now."

Rich beat Paul Biannci of Little Rock (the school’s first NCAA qualifier!) at the conference tournament before losing in the finals, but he’s just someone that has a style suited for big moments. His first-round match will be against Zach Price of South Dakota State, a wrestler he lost to 6-3 last season, and if he makes it past that match, he could see Korbin Myers in the next round. Rich may have to wrestle up the backside if he wants to fight for a podium spot, and there are few guys that could give him some problems in the consols, but why couldn’t he do what Wilson did? Nothing’s stopping him. He’s in and he’s ready. Suggesting that a No. 19 seed has a path to the podium is bold, but let’s be bold. Take a chance.  

8:38 pm, March 16, 2021

141-pound preview: Eierman, Lee and Rivera lead the field

What we know about the top seed: Iowa’s Jaydin Eierman is a three-time MAC champion, one-time Big Ten champion and a three-time All-American chasing his first title in the Black and Gold of Iowa. Eierman navigated one of the trickiest fields at the Big Ten tournament to stand on top of a podium that included Nick Lee of Penn State and Sebastian Rivera, and he’ll see both of those guys again in St. Louis as he aims to win gold. 

Storylines to follow: 

  • Triple threat: The Lee, Rivera, Eierman triangle is a fascinating one, with all three of these guys in good position to be named a champion. Lee and Rivera will be on the same side of the bracket and could meet in the semifinals for a Big Ten semifinals rematch, and if these two end up wrestling, this will be the match to watch. Rivera will look to become the third Rutgers national champion in program history, and he already told the NCAA that he doesn’t “think there’s anyone in the country who can compete with me.” We’ll soon find out if he’s right. 
  • What will we see from Real Woods?: Stanford’s Real Woods had a unique journey back to the NCAA championships after earning the No. 3 seed last year. Woods did not have any regular season matches heading into the Pac-12 tournament, and a win at the tournament would have secured him a spot in the national tournament without a wildcard. His unexpected second-place performance, however, meant that he needed to wrestle exhibition matches after Pac-12 to even be considered, and while he picked up those wins, his ability to make a deep run at NCAAs is unknown. The entire Stanford team has faced adversity this year after learning that the program would be cut, but the Cardinal have battled. The big test comes now, and Woods certainly has the potential to be a title contender, but he hasn’t shown that he’s there yet, based on his matches so far this year. 
  • The return of championship Tariq? N.C. State’s Tariq Wilson won the ACC tournament for the first time in late February, and the senior Wolfpack wrestler now heads into his third NCAA tournament ready to end up back on the podium. Wilson finished third as a freshman in a surprise run to the podium, but he dropped in the Blood Round in 2019 to finish just short of the top eight. In 2020, Wilson came into the tournament with a 24-6 record, but he’s 9-0 this year in the No. 4 spot. He has the kind of seed he needs to make a deep run, and if he wrestles to seed, his match against Jaydin Eierman could be wild. The ability of Wilson to compete with the top three guys in the Big Ten is unknown, but we’re days away from finding out just how far this 141-pounder can go. 

Sleeper to watch: Real Woods. As previously mentioned, Woods is coming into this tournament as a much lower seed than his potential, earning the No. 21 spot despite being in the conversation as a podium guy last year. Woods hasn’t proven himself this year, but he’s an elite competitor who had a tremendous season as a freshman, and his path to the podium isn’t bad. Woods will have Grant Willits of Oregon State — the same guy that beat him in the Pac-12 tournament — in the first round, but if he reverses the outcome, he could see Dom Demas next, and then potentially Wilson in the quarters. Woods could find himself 0-2 easily if he fails to wrestle in top form, but, if he does find his groove, his first three competitors could all be beatable, putting Woods on the podium for the first time. 

7:59 pm, March 15, 2021

The race for the 141-pound NCAA title

The spotlight follows Sebastian Rivera everywhere he goes. He made headlines last year after winning the Big Ten tournament in a loaded 133-pound bracket, and he now he's all set to battle against No. 1 Jaydin Eierman of Iowa and No. 2 Nick Lee of Penn State for the top spot at 141 pounds. Read more about Rivera's story here
9:32 pm, March 16, 2021

149-pound preview: A new champ will emerge

What we know about the top seed: Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso is a Big Ten champion and was the No. 3 seed heading into the 2020 NCAA tournament. The Buckeye sophomore is 12-0 on the year with 41% bonus and is Ohio State’s best chance for a national champion this year. 

Storylines to follow: 

  • New champ: What makes this weight fun is that whoever wins the bracket will win their first title, as 149 pounds does not have any returning champions or even returning finalists. Six of the eight athletes — Sasso, Austin O’Connor, Brock Mauller, Boo Lewallen, Josh Heil and Jarrett Degen — earned NWCA First Team All-American honors last year, but there’s plenty of room for a new star to emerge on the big stage at this weight. 
  • Rutgers rising: No. 10 Michael Van Brill of Rutgers will be an athlete to watch, as he picked up momentum during the Big Ten tournament to finish third behind Sammy Sasso and Ridge Lovett of Nebraska. Van Brill comes into the tournament with a 5-4 record and is seeded just outside the All-American mark, but if the bracket goes to seed, he could have a Blood Round match against Lovett himself. Rutgers found tremendous success at this tournament two years ago, crowning two champions and earning a top-ten finish. Could Van Brill be the latest All-American star for the Scarlet Knights?

Sleeper to watch: Josh Heil. The Campbell senior has quietly put together an impressive SoCon career in his four years with the Camels, and the 2021 tournament could be his chance to put that talent on display. Heil came into last year’s tournament as the No. 8 seed after winning his conference, and he was in a good position to make a podium run with his 29-4 record. COVID ruined his chances to showcase his skills, but his seed did earn him All-American honors. This year, however, Heil has a chance to physically stand on the podium, but he’s in a bit of a tougher spot than he was last season, given his SoCon finals loss to John Millner. Despite his seeed though, Heil could go on a run, and he does have career wins over now-graduated Tristan Moran, All-American Kyle Scoop and 2020 ACC champion Zach Sherman. If Heil beats Moore and everyone wrestles to seed, he could see Murin in the Blood Round. Heil lost to Murin at Midlands, but a win from either guy would not be surprising. 

12:10 am, March 17, 2021

157-pound preview: Big names, big stars, big dreams 

What we know about the top seed: Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin is a two-time Big Ten champion, two-time All-American, a Hodge Trophy finalist and junior world silver medalist. Deakin has absolutely dominated his weight class this year, and he holds a 6-0 record with 66% bonus, and he’ll look for his first title this year. 

Storylines to watch: 

  • Hidlay mania: N.C. State Hayden Hidlay is perhaps the biggest threat — along with Iowa State’s David Carr — to Deakin’s title run, and the two haven’t met since Cliff Keen in 2019 when Deakin beat Hidlay 6-2. This year, though, Hidlay has been absolutely unstoppable, and he’s riding the momentum of winning his fourth ACC title and staying undefeated in conference action for his entire career. HIdlay, as a senior, will hope to go out on a high note in this tournament, as he’s been seconds away from a title for multiple years, finishing second and fourth in his two tournament appearances. The Wolfpack leader had the No. 2 seed last year as well, but COVID ruined his plans, like it did so many others. Is this the year Hidlay breaks through? Deakin’s a big challenge, but this final would be fireworks. 
  • The Hawks need Kaleb Young: It’s no secret that Iowa wants to dominate this year’s tournament. They want ten guys on the podium, they want multiple champs, and, more than anything, they want a team title. Kaleb Young will be a big part of that puzzle, and, in fact, Cody Goodwin of the Des Moines Register argues that Kaleb Young is the piece that built the Iowa puzzle. His points may not make or break the team race, but, as a No. 5 seed, he’ll have expectations of finishing on the podium, and if Iowa wants to finish with ten All-Americans, Young will need to wrestle to seed. His path is doable, certainly, and he’s wrestled so tough this year, but this is when it really counts. 

Sleeper to watch: Sometimes a sleeper is a young athlete who just just finds his groove and catches fire at the national tournament, other times the logical sleeper is a veteran, previously hindered by injuries, looking for his moment to shine. At 157 pounds, the sleeper in this bracket is the latter. Penn State’s Brady Berge comes into the tournament as the No. 12 seed, so hardly qualifying as a “sleeper,” but Berge just hasn’t had his time in the spotlight yet. The junior battled injuries last season before the cancelled tournament and has put together a solid season with an 8-2 record. Berge’s only losses have been against Kendall Coleman and Brayton Lee, both guys seeded in the top-10 and both who only beat Berge by a takedown or less. The Nittany Lion isn’t a bonus machine, but he’s solid, and he could very well end up on the podium. If he wrestles to seed he’ll see Kaleb Young in the second round, and the two athletes have never met, creating a fun potential Penn State vs. Iowa battle for a spot in the quarterfinals. 

12:36 am, March 17, 2021

165-pound preview: The Bull is back

What we know about the top seed: Iowa’s Alex Marinelli is a three-time Big Ten champion, three-time All-American and the No.1 seed in this tournament for the third time in his career. Marinelli has finished sixth and seventh in this tournament and will look to be one of several Hawkeye champions this year when he take the mat in St. Louis. 

Storylines to watch: 

  • How healthy is Mekhi? Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis is one of only two returning champions at this tournament, but his efforts to win a second title may or may not be impacted by an injury that kept him out of the ACC tournament and required him to wait for a wildcard for nationals. Lewis injured his knee in the Virginia Tech- Pitt dual, and he hasn’t been back on the mat since, but he is entered into the NCAA bracket as the No. 4 seed, meaning he could see Marinelli in the semis if he wrestles to seed. Health is the biggest question with Lewis because if he’s healthy, it’s pretty clear that he’s in the title conversation 
  • Young guys in the fight: This bracket has it all: seasoned veterans, conference rivalries, and, last but certainly not least, a whole crop of talented freshmen and sophomore sensations who could earn All-American honors for the first time. Sophomores Shane Griffith of Stanford, Travis Wittlake of Oklahoma State, Peyton Robb of Nebraska, Izzak Olejnik of Northern Illinois and Danny Braunagel of Illinois will be wrestling at NCAAs for the first time as their seasons were cut short last year because of COVID. Minnesota’s Andrew Sparks is wrestling in his first season. Cam Amine of Michigan, Keegan O’Toole of Missouri and Joe Lee of Penn State are also potential All-American contenders who could fight for a spot on the podium in their rookie seasons. The 165-pound podium is open and just waiting to be filled by future stars. 

Sleeper to watch: Thomas Bullard. N.C. State’s No. 17 Thomas Bullard has shown that he can wrestle like an All-American, as he has wins over North Carolina’s Kennedy Monday and Pitt’s Jake Wentzel. Those kinds of high-caliber wins shows the kind of wrestler Bullard can be, and if he competes at that level, he’s a guy who could make the podium, but his draw isn’t easy.

Bullard will see No. 16 William Formato, a sophomore, of Appalachian State in the first round, and he lost to the Mountaineer 4-0 in the first match of the year. A loss drops Bullard down to wrestle the loser of the match between Marinelli and the winner of the pigtail match, and that’s a winnable bout for Bullard. He could wrestle through the semis, and that might have to be his path because even if he does beat Formato, he’ll likely have Marinelli in the second round. The road to the podium isn’t smooth for Bullard, but that’s the point of this tournament, and the Wolfpack athlete does have the chance to put just enough wins together to put himself in the top eight. 

8:05 pm, March 17, 2021

174-pound preview: Kemerer strives for gold in sixth year

What we know about the top seed: Iowa’s Michael Kemerer is a Big Ten champion, three-time All-American and one of the most veteran wrestlers in this field. The sixth-year senior is undefeated on the year with a 7-0 record and will be chasing his first title. 

Storylines to follow: 

  • Big Ten Freshman of the Year at No. 3: Penn State’s Carter Starocci’s freshman year has been a mirror image of former Penn State star Mark Hall’s career, as he too came in as a highly-touted recruit, dropped his first collegiate match and went on a run to finish second in the Big Ten tournament in his rookie season. Hall went on to win the entire NCAA tournament in 2017, and all eyes will be on Starocci to see if he can do the same thing. As the No. 3 seed, the Nittany Lion freshman has a good path to Saturday night. He’ll see Victor Marcelli of Virginia in the first round, and if everyone wrestles to seed, he’ll have Hayden Hastings of Wyoming next, then Andrew McNally of Kent State and then Demetrius Romero of Utah Valley. Starocci seems to have found his groove, but he’ll need to hold on to that momentum if he wants another shot at Kemerer. 
  • Tigers rolling in with Style: Missouri sophomore Peyton Mocco comes into his first NCAA tournament at No. 10, and he’s part of a ten-man Missouri team that could compete for a team trophy, if all goes well. The Tigers have flown under the radar this year while sweeping the MAC conference, but they can’t be ignored now. The tournament will be Mocco’s first as a Tiger, as he qualified last year but didn’t have the chance to compete because of COVID-19. Mocco will have Anthony Mantanona in the first round, and if he advances, he could see Kaleb Romero of Ohio State in the second round for another serious test. The Tigers will need Mocco on the podium, likely, to have a shot at a top-four team finish, and as the No. 10, he’s journey will be exciting and intense. 

Sleeper to watch: Dustin Plott. The Oklahoma State freshmen have stepped up this year and shown that they are ready to compete with the top college guys in the country, and one of those talented freshman is 174-pound Cowboy Dustin Plott. A native of Tuttle, Oklahoma has been solid in his first year for the Orange and Black, posting a 14-4 record and a fourth-place finish at the Big 12 Tournament. Plott’s draw for the tournament puts him in a good spot to chase the podium in his first year, and, as the No. 18 seed, he’ll have Thomas Flitz of App State in the first round. An upset win there would put him in a bout against No. 2 Demetrius Romero, an undefeated Mountaineer for Utah Valley who has put up nearly 70% bonus. Plott could panic under the pressure of the tournament, sure, but he’s traveling with an experienced team, a close-knit set of training partners and a legendary coach. Great things come from that combination, making him an ideal sleeper to watch. 

8:45 pm, March 17, 2021

184-pound preview: Big Ten champ Brooks holds top seed

What we know about the top seed: Penn State’s Aaron Brooks is a two-time Big Ten champion and was the No. 3 seed heading into the 2020 tournament. The Nittany Lions sophomore has separated himself as one of the best athletes in the Penn State lineup and is 9-0 on the year with 66% bonus. 

Storylines to watch: 

  • Trent Hidlay and Hunter Bolen: The ACC rivalry between Trent Hilday and Hunter Bolen at 184-pounds has been a fan’s delight for the past two years, with Bolen winning the first three matchups and Hidlay breaking through in his ACC tournament final this year for the first time. Bolen has been the other wrestler in college to beat Hidlay twice, and they’ll be on opposite sides of the bracket this time, a situation that favors Hidlay. As the No. 2 seed, Hidlay’s path is better, though he could see Lou DePrez in the semifinals if both athletes make it that far. Hidlay and DePrez have split matches too, with the Bearcat getting the better of Hidlay in their last meeting. This version of the N.C. State sophomore though looks better than any version so far, and if he pieces everything together right, he could be on a path to a Saturday night match. Bolen will have to go through Penn State’s Aaron Brooks if he wants another shot at Hilday, assuming everyone wrestles to seed, and Brooks is dangerous, but anything can happen at the national tournament. 
  • Big Ten personalities: Aaron Brooks, of course, leads the way in the deepest conference in the nation, but his Big Ten counterparts have some interesting storylines as well heading into this tournament. At No. 8, on Brook’s side of the bracket, is Nebraska’s Taylor Venz, the only guy to beat Brooks in college. Brooks beat Venz 10-5 in the Big Ten finals, and he hasn’t lost to him since their first meeting, but that one win for Venz does make him a wildcard against the top-seed. Also on Brook’s side is No. 12 Nelson Brands, a young Hawkeye who majored Venz in the regular season but finished ranked lower than him in the conference after a Big Ten tournament loss to Rutgers’ John Poznanski 3-2 and a loss to Brooks in the same tournament. Brands is an All-American contender, but he’ll need to wrestle more like the guy that beat Venz than the guy that lost to Poznanski if he wants to finish on the podium. Poznanski, however, could make a podium run of his own, and, as the No. 6 seed, he’s in a good position to do just that. He’ll have Taylor Brown of Army first and then, if he wins, the victor of Dakota Geer vs. Devin Kane. Poznanski is new on the scene, but he’s gritty, fun and someone that makes this weight class even more interesting. 
8:24 pm, March 17, 2021

197-pound preview: Amine looks to make his mark

What we know about the top seed: Michigan’s Myles Amine is a Big Ten champion, three-time All-American and Olympian for San Bernardino. The Wolverine senior has never finished higher than third at an NCAA championships, but, as the highest ranked Michigan athlete in the field, he has the potential to bring home gold for the Wolverines in St. Louis

  • AJ Ferrari and the Battle of Big 12 stars: Stephen Buchanan, Noah Adams, and AJ Ferrari has battled it out this year for the top wrestler in the Big 12 honors, and, in the end, freshman Ferrari came out on top, winning his first conference title in style to give Oklahoma State a share of the team championship. Now all three will be back in the same bracket again, with Ferrari leading the pack at the No. 4 seed, and Buchanan and Adams facing off, potentially in the second round. Buchanan comes in as the No. 8 seed, and he’ll have J.J. Dixon in the first round, while Adams, the No. 9 seed, will have Benjamin Smith of CSU-Bakersfield. If they both advance, and No. 1 Myles Amine of Michigan wrestles to seed, the winner could have Amine while Ferrari will need to battle through Colin McCracken, and, if everyone wrestles to seed, Tanner Sloan and Jacob Warner before he looks to the semifinals. This weight is stacked in the Big 12, and these three wrestlers always put on a show. 
  • Is Nick Reenan elite? This is the question N.C. State needs to know. The Wolfpack senior, Reenan, is a three-time NCAA qualifier who has not yet made the podium but did make Final X in freestyle in 2018. Reenan was a late postseason addition for head coach Pat Popolizio, replacing freshman Isaac Trumble before ACCs, but now the eyes will be on Reenan to see if he can live up to the expectations of being N.C. State’s guy at this weight. Reenan comes into the tournament with a 7-3 record, his losses coming against Max Shaw, Jay Aiello and Nino Bonaccorsi, all quality opponents. These performances, though, put him in the No. 28 seed with a first-round match against Jacob Warner, a Iowa All-American, and the backside won’t be easy for Reenan if he loses. Wins for Reenan keep N.C. State in the trophy conversation, and losses will hurt the team. Can the senior put everything together in potentially his final go-round? 

Sleeper: Lucas Davison. Northwestern’s Lucas Davison put up an impressive season last year with wins over Purdue’s Christian Brunner and Penn State’s Shakur Rasheed, and he’s been solid for the Wildcats this year as well. Davison’s best win in 2021 came against Michael Beard in the Big Ten tournament, and while Davison hasn’t beaten the top guys in the weight like Eric Schultz, Jacob Warner and Cam Caffey, he hasn’t given up bonus points, and he’s done what he’s needed to do to stay in the hunt. Now, the sophomore Wildcat has a real chance to elevate his game in a podium quest that starts with Marcus Coleman of Iowa State in the first round. These two have never wrestled in college, but a win here for Davison could put him up against Warner again in the second round. His two career losses to Warner have been 5-0 and 9-3, so he’ll need to wrestle more aggressively to compete with the Hawkeye, but this is a familiar opponent. Northwestern is a program that has been impressive over the past few years, and to see the evolution of Ryan Deakin and former Wildcat Sebastian Rivera shows the potential of the guys in that room. Davison’s seed and previous performances suggest he’s a little off that level right now, but what better time than the NCAA tournament to find some momentum and hit a hot streak? 

7:56 pm, March 17, 2021

285-pound preview: First title in sight for Steveson 

What we know about the top seed: Minnesota’s Gable Steveson is a two-time Big Ten champion, NCAA finalist and two-time NCAA All-American. Steveson has run through the field at heavyweight this year and carries a 12-0 record with 100% bonus. The Gopher junior is a frontrunner for the Hodge Trophy this year, along with Spencer Lee, and he’ll be chasing his first title under the bright lights next week. The heavyweight class is uniquely talented and athletic this year, but Steveson seems to be in a league of his own. 

  • Stars at No. 2 and No. 3: Michigan’s Mason Parris and Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi are elite heavyweights. They could be title contenders any other year, and they both have the talent to compete for national team spots at the senior level. However, this year appears to be Steveson’s year. Parris earned the No. 2 seed, so he’ll hope for a rematch against the Big Ten champ on Saturday. Cassioppi, on the other hand, has a No. 3 seed, but he’s struggled against Parris in the past and would need a breakthrough performance to get past the Michigan Man. These two athletes, while great, have been overshadowed this year, but their excellence shouldn’t be ignored, even in the presence of Steveson. 
  • Nittany Lion Watch: As previously mentioned, Iowa is expected to lead the team race, but the defending champs Penn State are still appointment viewing. At heavyweight, freshman Greg Kerkvilet made his return to the Penn State lineup earlier this year, Nittany Lion fans went wild. Kerkvilet put up impressive performances this summer and in his freestyle career, so much so that the hype had built up around him and he was considered a title contender. His performance at the Big Ten tournament slowed that momentum, as he took losses to Tony Cassioppi and Mason Parris, but, as previously mentioned, those two athletes are exceptional, making those losses reasonable for a freshman, even one in the All-American conversation. Kerkvilet has the No. 9 seed, so he could see Jordan Wood in the second round and then Gable Steveson in the quarters if he beats Wood. His path to a championship isn’t great, but Kerkvilet is still a fascinating character and an interesting guy to watch. 

Sleeper to watch: Hunter Catka: Virginia Tech’s Hunter Catka’s path to the podium is all uphill, but the young Hokie has been impressive in his rookie season and wrestles well with the lights are bright. At the ACC tournament, Catka finished second to N.C. State’s Deonte Wilson in a tie-breaker, and his only other loss came against Virginia’s Quinn Miller 4-0, an outcome he reversed at the ACC tournament. Catka will make his NCAA tournament debut against a tough Carter Isley in the first round, and if he wins that first match, he’ll likely have Mason Parris next. Catka, like many sleepers, might have to work his way through the backside of the bracket if he wants to podium, but if Wilson is in the All-American conversation, so is Catka, even from the No. 18 seed.

11:26 pm, March 10, 2021

5 takeaways from the 2021 NCAA wrestling bracket

Predictions are a fool’s game at this point, but here are a few key takeaways from the seeds, matchups and brackets for the 2021 tournament as well as how some of these bouts could play out if everything goes to seed. 

Lucky Latona: Virginia Tech’s Sam Latona earned the coveted No. 2 spot at 125 pounds, opposite Spencer Lee, though his path to the finals won’t be easy. If the bracket goes chalk, he’ll have Pat McKee of Minnesota in the second round, and McKee has beaten Big Ten finalist Devin Schroder this year. Latona is also on the same side as N.C. State’s Jakob Camacho, who Latona has beaten twice but who always puts up a fight. Michigan’s Dylan Ragusin could be a landmine in this bracket too, though he’ll have to go through Camacho first if everyone wrestles to seed. 

On the other side of the bracket, it’s Schroder with the unlucky draw as the No. 9 seed, and if he beats wildcard wrestler Fabian Gutierrez in the first round, he could see Big Ten rival RayVon Foley in the second round. Foley beat Schroder earlier this year, 10-4, and he’s seeded higher as the No. 8 seed, though Schroder outplaced Foley in the Big Ten tournament. The 125-pound bracket is insane, but if Latona can wrestle to seed, he’s on track to have a shot at the finals.

The Riddler, Nick Lee, and SeaBass seeded 1, 2, 3: Big Ten Champion Jaydin Eierman of Iowa secured the No. 1 seed at 141 pounds, but Penn State’s Nick Lee and Rutgers’ Sebastian Rivera earned the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, despite finishing in those respective places at the conference tournament, while ACC champion Tariq Wilson earned the No. 4 seed. If the bracket goes chalk, Lee will meet Rivera for a Big Ten semifinals rematch in the national semifinals. Eierman will have to go through Nebraska’s Chad Red in the quarterfinals, if the bracket goes chalk, before seeing Wilson, if everyone wrestles to seed.

No one in this bracket has won an NCAA title before, and none of these athletes has ever made it to the finals. Wilson, Rivera and Eierman have all finished as high as third, while Lee has been fifth twice and Red has been seventh and eighth. Last year, all eyes were at 133 pounds, as Rivera led the conference and the country with his wins over Roman Bravo-Young and Seth Gross. As Rivera moved up to 141 pounds, the spotlight followed him, and the race for the title at this weight might be one of the most fun storylines of the year. 

Max Murin has a path to the podium: Despite being the only Iowa wrestler to need a wild card into the tournament, Max Murin is still in a good position to end up on the official podium for the first time at an NCAA championship in his career. The junior Hawkeye is seeded No. 12, just like his teammate Nelson Brands, and he has Indiana’s Graham Rooks in the first round. While the two have never met in college, Murin had beaten guys ranked higher than Rooks prior to his 0-2 finish at the Big Ten tournament. A win against Rooks in a chalk bracket would put Murin up against Lovett, the Big Ten finalist, and even a loss there isn’t horrific for Murin, though things would become interesting in the consolation bracket.

Up on the top of the championship bracket is Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez, a senior national champion earlier this year in freestyle who needed a wildcard to compete in this folkstyle tournament, and he ended up as the No. 32 seed, a dangerous draw for No. 1 Sammy Sasso of Ohio State. Sasso is the favorite, but this makes Alirez a dangerous draw later in the bracket, especially for Murin. The Hawkeye will be hoping for a Sasso win, as the top seed pinned him in the dual and would be a problem in the consols, and Murin will also be hoping that Casey Cobb of Navy wrestles to seed and keeps Alirez out of the way. If the bracket goes chalk, Cobb will meet No. 13 Mitch Moore in the consolation match above Murin. The two have never met in college, but Moore wrestles guys tough. If seeds hold, Moore will advance and see Murin, and if Murin survives this tests, he’ll have Jonathan Millner of App State. Millner won the SoCon title with an impressive win over Josh Heil and he has the momentum Murin lacks heading into this tournament. Millner’s an under-the-radar threat who, if everyone wrestles to seed, is set to be an All-American, but the door of opportunity is open for Murin if he steps up. 

HAWKEYE HEROS: Iowa wins 2021 Big Ten wrestling tournament

If Iowa wants to put 10 guys on the podium, pressure will be on Brands as well at 184 pounds, as his No. 12 seed puts him up against Hunter Bolen of Virginia Tech in the second round, assuming they both win their first round matches. A loss here for Brands would drop him to the consolation bracket, where, if everything goes chalk, he’ll have Devin Kane of North Carolina. A win there would bring him to Chris Weiler of Wisconsin, whom he beat 2-0. If Weiler loses to Zach Braunagel of Illinois previously in the consolations, the match could be tougher for Brands, as he split with Braunagel this year with both matches being decided by less than a point. A win though puts him in the Blood Round against Brit Wilson, again if he makes it this far and everyone else wrestles to seed. Iowa is going to need everything to go its way to have 10 All-Americans, and that outcome isn’t easy, but it is possible. 

Battles ahead for The Bull: Alex Marinelli can’t seem to catch a break. The No. 1 Hawkeye will be chasing his first national title this year and is the top seed for the third time, but once again, his path is tough. Right below him in the bracket is Thomas Bullard, a No. 17 seed from N.C. State who has wins over Kennedy Monday and Jake Wentzel this year, the No. 22 and No. 3 seeds respectively. If Bullard upsets William Fornato of App State, he’ll see Marinelli in the second round. Wins in the second and third rounds put Marinelli up against Shane Griffith of Stanford, if he also wrestles to seed.

Marinelli lost to the No. 8 seed in his last run at the NCAA tournament, and Griffith is certainly a worthy opponent who has the potential to generate a similar outcome. Griffith has only lost once in his varsity career, and the loss came this year at the Pac-12 tournament to the now No. 2 seed Anthony Valencia. Arizona State’s Valencia is also working to end up on the podium for the first time in his career, and his path is good. Griffith, though, is a serious title contender, and his quarterfinal against The Bull will be can’t-miss wrestling. Marinelli has been a staple in the Iowa lineup for his entire career, and he’s done just about everything but win a national title. As a leader and an icon, it’s hard to pick against the Bull, but the seeding committee did not make his life easy. 

Ferrari at the No. 4: Mr. Fast Twitch doesn’t slow down for anyone, and Oklahoma State freshman AJ Ferrari has a shot to win it all at 197 pounds. After an impressive showing in a deep bracket at Big 12s, Ferrari put himself in a solid position for his first national tournament, and he’ll have Colin McCracken of Kent State first. A win gives him another match against Tanner Sloan, an in-conference opponent who has quality wins but lost to Ferrari 7-1 last weekend. If Ferrari wrestles like he did at Big 12s and beats Sloan, he’ll enter into what could be a Big Ten bonanza with Jacob Warner at the No. 5 seed, No. 1 Myles Amine at the No. 1 seed and Eric Schultz at the No. 2 seed. 

The difference between Ferrari and Warner is a clash of styles, as Ferrari’s pace doesn't click with Warner’s methodical wrestling, creating a fascinating matchup. If Ferrari advances against Iowa’s Warner, he’ll be in the semifinals, a guaranteed All-American. Up next for the freshman though, if everything goes to seed, would be Amine, again a wrestler who hasn’t put a ton of points on the board this year but has won every match and wrestles like the veteran he is. A win for Ferrari here would be an upset but perhaps not the world’s biggest surprise. Ferrari shocked the world in his Big 12 performance with his wins over Stephen Buchanan and Jake Woodley, and he’s as tough as they come. If he knocks off No. 1 Amine and everyone else wrestles to seed, he’ll have a third consecutive Big Ten opponent in Eric Schultz. Ferrari’s seed suggests he’ll be out in the semifinals and wrestling on the backside for third. His performances, confidence and flash suggests he shouldn’t be discounted to just wrestle to seed. 

5:11 pm, February 18, 2021

How to watch the 2021 NCAA wrestling championship selection show

The 2019 wrestling championships in Pittsburgh.

You can watch the 2021 NCAA Division I men's wrestling tournament at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10, here on right on this page.

You can see the complete NCAA selection show schedule for fall and winter sports here.

8:52 pm, March 9, 2021

NCAA announces at-large selections

Sixty-four wrestlers earned at-large bids to the 2021 NCAA tournament. You can read the full list by tapping or clicking here.  Here are some highlights and initial impressions: 

Notable highlights: 

● Big Ten lightweights Eric Barnett and Liam Cronin both earned at-large bids at 125 pounds. Cronin, despite coming into the Big Ten wrestling tournament as the No. 2, went 2-2 with losses to Devin Schroder and Michael DeAugustino. Barnett, on the other hand, went 2-3 with wins over Penn State’s Robbie Howard and Illinois' Justin Cardani and losses to Malik Heineslman, Patrick McKee and Cronin. Earlier in the season, Barnett pinned Schroder of Purdue, but Schroder put together a solid tournament and advanced to the finals before being teched by Spencer Lee. Iowa’s Lee has dominated the weight class all season, but the remaining spots on the podium could be anyone’s game. Additional at-large qualifiers in the weight include Fabian Gutierrez of UT-Chattanooga, Brandon Taylor or Oregon State, Micah Roes of Binghamton, Zurich Storm of Campbell and Kysen Terukina of Iowa State. 

● Stanford’s Real Woods, the No. 3 seed in last year’s tournament, earned an at-large bid after wrestling exhibition matches after the Pac-12 tournament. The Cardinal sophomore finished second in his conference tournament, but is back in the All-American discussion after securing a wildcard spot. 

● With Max Murin of Iowa earning an at-large big at 149 pounds, the Hawks have officially qualified all ten weights and keep open the possibility of putting ten athletes on the podium, a feat that has only been accomplished once in 2000 by the Minnesota Gophers. Penn State’s Beau Bartlett did not earn at at-large bid, so the Nittany Lions will head to St. Louis with nine athletes. 

● Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis will have his shot at a second national title after earning a wild card spot at 165 pounds, despite medically withdrawing from the ACC tournament. The 165-pound weight class in the ACC is particularly interesting, as Kennedy Monday earned his at-large bid as well, putting Monday, Lewis, Thomas Bullard of N.C. State and Jake Keating of Virginia all in the same bracket again. This should be fun. 

4:05 pm, February 18, 2021

Key dates to know

March 10: At-large selections

Wrestlers who do not win their conference or earn a conference allocation spot will need to earn their bid to the NCAA tournament through an at-large bid. Any wrestler looking for an at-large bid must have four matches in his championship weight class in the season to qualify. Each weight class will have at least four at-large bids available, and the athletes who qualify for those spots will be selected by a committee. 

March 10: Bracket release

The 2021 NCAA wrestling tournament bracket will include seeding for each wrestler at each weight and will include the first matches for all 33 qualifiers. 

March 18-20: NCAA Tournament 

This year's national tournament will be held at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri March 18-20. Read more about how the NCAA tournament works here.

4:07 pm, February 18, 2021

Qualifying for the NCAA men's wrestling tournament

The 2021 NCAA men's wrestling tournament qualification process will look a little different this year, as certain rules and requirements have been adjusted as a result of COVID-19, but the tournament is still being held March 18-20 in St. Louis. In preparation for the qualifying tournaments and bracket release, here are the additional rules about who is eligible to compete at NCAAs. 

Wrestlers hoping to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships will need to go through their conference tournament, as each conference has a specified number of automatic qualifying spots at each weight. In previous years, athletes who did not weigh-in at their conference tournament were not able to qualify for an at-large bid,  but, as a result of COVID-19, athletes can now qualify for an at-large bid if they have more than four matches on the year and have to sit out the conference dual because of COVID-19. Conference winners will automatically qualify. Those who do not win will need four matches on the season to be eligible for an at-large bid. 

LEARN MORE: How a college wrestling dual is scored

You can read more about the allocation process and the number of spots allocated to each weight class here

Feb. 26-27 Mid-American Conference Rider
Feb. 28 Southern Conference  Appalachian State
Feb. 28 Atlantic Coast Conference NC State
March 6-7 Big 12 Conference Tulsa, Oklahoma
March 6-7 Big Ten Conference Penn State
March 6-7 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association TBD
March 6 Pac-12 Conference Oregon State
4:33 pm, February 18, 2021

Championship History

2019 Penn State Cael Sanderson 137.5 Ohio State 96.5 Pittsburgh
2018 Penn State Cael Sanderson 141.5 Ohio State 133.5 Cleveland
2017 Penn State Cael Sanderson 146.5 Ohio State 110 St. Louis
2016 Penn State Cael Sanderson 123 Oklahoma St. 97.5 New York
2015 Ohio State Tom Ryan 102 Iowa 84 St. Louis
2014 Penn State Cael Sanderson 109.5 Minnesota 104 Oklahoma City
2013 Penn State Cael Sanderson 123.5 Oklahoma St. 119.5 Des Moines, Iowa
2012 Penn State Cael Sanderson 143.0 Minnesota 117.5 St. Louis
2011 Penn State Cael Sanderson 103.5 Cornell 89.5 Philadelphia
2010 Iowa Tom Brands 134.5 Cornell 90 Omaha, Neb.
2009 Iowa Tom Brands 96.5 Ohio State 92 St. Louis
2008 Iowa Tom Brands 117.5 Ohio State 79 St. Louis
2007 Minnesota J Robinson 98 Iowa State 88.5 Auburn Hills, Mich.
2006 Oklahoma State John Smith 122.5 Minnesota 84 Oklahoma City
2005 Oklahoma State John Smith 153 Michigan 83 St. Louis
2004 Oklahoma State John Smith 123.5 Iowa 82 St. Louis
2003 Oklahoma State John Smith 143 Minnesota 104.5 Kansas City, Mo.
2002 Minnesota J Robinson 126.5 Iowa State 104 Albany, N.Y.
2001 Minnesota J Robinson 138.5 Iowa 125.5 Iowa
2000 Iowa Jim Zalesky 116 Iowa State 109.5 St. Louis
1999 Iowa Jim Zalesky 100.5 Minnesota 98.5 Penn State
1998 Iowa Jim Zalesky 115 Minnesota 102 Cleveland State
1997 Iowa Dan Gable 170 Oklahoma State 113.5 UNI
1996 Iowa Dan Gable 122.5 Iowa State 78.5 Minnesota
1995 Iowa Dan Gable 134 Oregon state 77.5 Iowa
1994 Oklahoma State John Smith 94.75 Iowa 76.5 North Carolina
1993 Iowa Dan Gable 123.75 Penn State 87.5 Iowa State
1992 Iowa Dan Gable 149 Oklahoma State 100.5 Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
1991 Iowa Dan Gable 157 Oklahoma State 108.75 Iowa
1990 Oklahoma State Joe Seay 117.75 Arizona State 104.75 Maryland
1989 Oklahoma State Joe Seay 91.25 Arizona State 70.5 Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
1988 Arizona State Bobby Douglas 93 Iowa 85.5 Iowa
1987 Iowa State Jim Gibbons 133 Iowa 108 Maryland
1986 Iowa Dan Gable 158 Oklahoma 84.25 Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
1985 Iowa Dan Gable 145.25 Oklahoma 98.5 Iowa State
1984 Iowa Dan Gable 123.75 Oklahoma State 98 Maryland
1983 Iowa Dan Gable 155 Oklahoma State 102 Iowa
1982 Iowa Dan Gable 131.75 Iowa State 111 Oklahoma & Oklahoma State
1981 Iowa Dan Gable 129.75 Oklahoma 100.25 Princeton
1980 Iowa Dan Gable 110.75 Oklahoma State 87 Oregon State
1979 Iowa Dan Gable 122.5 Iowa State 88 Iowa State
1978 Iowa Dan Gable 94.5 Iowa State 94 Maryland
1977 Iowa State Harold Nichols 95.5 Oklahoma State 88.75 Oklahoma
1976 Iowa Gary Kurdelmeier 123.5 Iowa State 85.75 Arizona
1975 Iowa Gary Kurdelmeier 102 Oklahoma 77 Princeton
1974 Oklahoma Stan Abel 69.5 Michigan 67 Iowa State
1973 Iowa State Harold Nichols 85 Oregon state 72.5 Washington
1972 Iowa State Harold Nichols 103 Michigan State 72.5 Maryland
1971 Oklahoma State Tommy Chesbro 94 Iowa State 66 Auburn
1970 Iowa State Harold Nichols 99 Michigan State 84 Northwestern
1969 Iowa State Harold Nichols 104 Oklahoma 69 BYU
1968 Oklahoma State Myron Roderick 81 Iowa State 78 Penn State
1967 Michigan State Grady Peninger 74 Michigan 63 Kent State
1966 Oklahoma State Myron Roderick 79 Iowa State 70 Iowa State
1965 Iowa State Harold Nichols 87 Oklahoma State 86 Wyoming
1964 Oklahoma State Myron Roderick 87 Oklahoma 58 Cornell
1963 Oklahoma Thomas Evans 48 Iowa State 45 Kent State
1962 Oklahoma State Myron Roderick 82 Oklahoma 45 Oklahoma State
1961 Oklahoma State Myron Roderick 82 Oklahoma 63 Oregon State
1960 Oklahoma Thomas Evans 59 Iowa State 40 Maryland
1959 Oklahoma State Myron Roderick 73 Iowa State 51 Iowa
1958 Oklahoma State Myron Roderick 77 Iowa State 62 Wyoming
1957 Oklahoma Port Robertson 73 Pittsburgh 66 Pittsburgh
1956 Oklahoma State Art Griffith 65 Oklahoma 62 Oklahoma State
1955 Oklahoma State Art Griffith 40 Penn State 31 Cornell
1954 Oklahoma State Art Griffith 32 Pittsburgh 17 Oklahoma
1953 Penn State Charles Speidel 21 Oklahoma 15 Penn State
1952 Oklahoma Port Robertson 22 UNI 21 Colorado State
1951 Oklahoma Port Robertson 24 Oklahoma State 23 Lehigh
1950 UNI David McCuskey 30 Purdue 16 UNI
1949 Olahoma State Art Griffith 32 UNI 27 Colorado State
1948 Oklahoma State Art Griffith 33 Michigan State 28 Lehigh
1947 Cornell College Paul Scott 32 UNI 19 Illinois
1946 Oklahoma State Art Griffith 25 UNI 24 Oklahoma State
1942 Oklahoma State Art Griffith 31 Michigan State 26 Michigan State
1941 Oklahoma State Art Griffith 37 Michigan State 26 Lehigh
1940 Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher 24 Indiana 14 Illinois
1939 Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher 33 Lehigh 12 Frankline & Marshall
1938 Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher 19 Illinois 15 Penn State
1937 Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher 31 Oklahoma 13 Indiana State
1936 Oklahoma Paul Keen 14 Central Oklahoma/Oklahoma State 10 Washington & Lee
1935 Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher 36 Oklahoma 18 Lehigh
1934 Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher 29 Indiana 19 Michigan
1933 *Iowa State/Oklahoma State Hugo Otopali/E.C. Gallagher       Lehigh
1932 *Indiana W.H. Thorn 14 Oklahoma State 11 Indiana
1931 *Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher   Iowa State   Brown
1930 Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher 27 Illinois 14 Penn State
1929 Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher 26 Michigan 18 Ohio state
1928 *Oklahoma State E.C. Gallagher   Iowa State/Michigan   Iowa State

No tournament held between 1943-45, 2020