With a 71-percent majority from the NCAA Wrestling Twitter poll, Bryce Meredith of Wyoming has been named NCAA Wrestler of the Week. The 141-pound senior rightly claimed this award, along with the 141-pound title after dominating tough competition at the Reno Tournament of Champions, which included two wins over top-five opponents.
Meredith concluded his performance with a memorable double overtime victory over No. 1 Dean Heil Tuesday night.
Meredith, who entered the tournament as a No. 2 seed, eased his way into the semifinals on Sunday with three first-period falls in his opening three matches. Following his impressive start, No. 4 Meredith controlled the semifinals with a 3-2 victory in a top-five matchup over No. 5 Jaydin Eierman of Missouri. To close the tournament, Meredith matched up against his long-time friend No. 2 Kevin Jack of North Carolina State.
Cheyenne native Bryce Meredith returned to Storey Gym and upset two-time NCAA champ Dean Heil. It was Meredith's first win against Heil and ended the Oklahoma State wrestler's 55-match win streak. #NCAAWrestling pic.twitter.com/jkPg8UTsFS— NCAA Wrestling (@ncaawrestling) December 20, 2017
In a previous meeting this year at the NWCA All-Star Classic, Jack managed to pull off an 8-7 victory. In Reno, however, Meredith turned the tables, defeating Jack 4-3. Meredith claimed the championship and secured his presence as a top-five wrestler.
Riding high expectations from an impressive performance on Sunday, all eyes were on Meredith for his Tuesday night hometown matchup against No. 1 Dean Heil of Oklahoma State. The first period ended 1-0 in favor of Heil, as Meredith gave up an escape. But Meredith answered in the third period with an escape of his own. The much-anticipated match became even more exciting for the crowd at Storey Gym when the duel went into double overtime.
Yet, even with the pressure and atmosphere, Meredith remained collected. Meredith picked up one final escape in the final 20 seconds, holding off Heil with a 2-1 victory in front his hometown crowd. On top of upsetting the two-time defending NCAA champion, Meredith gave Heil his first loss in 55 matches. The win was Meredith’s third-straight over a top-five opponent and eighth over ranked opponents this season. The senior now holds an overall record of 13-1.
With 71% of the votes, Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith is your NCAA Wrestler of the Week! pic.twitter.com/x5lkY2iNAd— NCAA Wrestling (@ncaawrestling) December 20, 2017
Meredith, a graduate of Central High School in Cheyenne, was a four-time state champion. He compiled a record of 123-8 in high school and was a four-time NHSCA All-American.
In his sophomore and junior seasons at Wyoming, Meredith made his presence known with back-to-back trips to the NCAA championships. As an NCAA finalist and two-time All-American, Meredith led UW to a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships last year and finished as a runner-up, losing only to Heil. Meredith ended the season as one of 135 student-athletes in Division I wrestling to be named to the NWCA All-Academic team.
After an unforgettable night, Wyoming hopes to continue its exceptional performance at North Carolina following the new year. The Pokes compete on Jan. 5 in Chapel Hill, N.C. against North Carolina, Duke, Army and American.