DETROIT — Under the bright lights of Little Caesars Arena, 80 athletes fought their way on to the podium at the 2022 NCAA wrestling championships. This is an honor they will hold for the rest of their lives, and it's a distinction that puts them in elite company.
Here's how the 2022 placewinners earned their spot, along with updated final placements:
125 pounds: Nick Suriano became the first NCAA All-American crowned in the 2022 tournament after pinning 2021 All-American Sam Latona in the quarterfinals. This year marks his third All-American honor, and he added a second national title to his resume with a win in the finals over Pat Glory of Princeton. Glory earned his second All-American honor after advancing to the semifinals, and his second-place finish is the highest of his career. Glory's EIWA foe, Vito Arujau, finished third after dropping to Glory in the semifinals and beating Northwestern's Michael DeAugustino in the bronze-medal match. The Ivys are back, and Princeton and Cornell brought the heat at 125 pounds.
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DeAugustino earned his All-American honor after a Blood Round win over Joey Prata of Oklahoma, and he would go on to finish fourth. The Big Ten produced half of the All-Americans at this weight.
In the Blood Round, Minnesota's Pat McKee did what Pat McKee does, as he beat All-American Killian Cardinale to earn his second appearance on the podium. McKee won four matches on the backside against Purdue's Devin Schroder, Oklahoma State's Trevor Mastrogiovanni, Northern Iowa's Brody Teske and then Cardinale to become an All-American, navigating one of the deepest roads in the bracket but doing so in dominant fashion. In an interview with NCAA.com, McKee talked about his toughness on the backside of the bracket, and he said his secret to win these matches was making sure he avoided feeling too high or too low after a win or a loss. This steady mindset put him back on the podium in fifth place.
Brandon Courtney, a 2022 semifinalist, became an All-American after his competitive 3-2 win over West Virginia's Killian Cardinale. Courtney made it to the finals last year for his first All-American honor at an NCAA tournament, but he's a two-time place-winner now, finishing sixth in 2022 to McKee.
Another Big Ten wrestler in Eric Barnett also earned his second podium finish with a win over All-American Sam Latona in the Blood Round. He became one of three Badgers to earn this distinction in 2021 and finished seventh this season.
125: Eric Barnett wins 7-3 decision over Latona to be 2X All-American pic.twitter.com/axhKeX9nXn— Wisconsin Wrestling (@BadgerWrestling) March 19, 2022
Brandon Kaylor rounded out the Blood Round winners at 125 pounds, as he beat Noah Surtin for All-American honors and scored big points to help the Beavers with his eighth-place finish. It's been quite the tournament for head coach Chris Pendleton's Oregon State team.
133 pounds: After finishing eighth as a true freshman and winning an NCAA title his junior year, Penn State's Roman Bravo-Young earned his third podium finish with a pin against Josh Koderhandt in the quarterfinals. He went on to win the weight class for the second time.
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His Big Ten rival Austin DeSanto also earned All-American honors with a quarterfinal win, and this year marks DeSanto's third time on the podium after finishing fifth in 2019 and third in 2021. His performance at the 2022 tournament helped him earn another third-place finish. NCAA finalist Daton Fix put himself back on the podium as well, and his win over McGee in the semifinals also earned him his third NCAA finalists appearance. Fix has already had quite a career, and he's now a three-time NCAA runner-up.
Michael McGee, this year's fourth-place finisher earned his second All-American honor after finishing sixth last year, and he secured his podium finish after a quarterfinal win over Kyle Biscoglia of UNI. Lucas Byrd earned a fifth-place finish, and he ended up on the podium after an impressive run on the backside where he beat Anthony Madrigal, Michael Colaiocco, Joe Heilmann and Dylan Ragusin to finish fifth. What a run for the Fighting Illini after a first-round upset. Joining Byrd on the podium is Korbin Myers of Virginia Tech, a veteran who earned his second national distinction after a win over a tough Matt Ramos of Purdue and would go on to finish sixth.
In one of the most emotional Blood Round matches of the tournament, Northwestern's Chris Cannon topped Pittsburgh's Micky Phillippi, giving the Wildcat another All-American trophy and delivering Phillippi his third career Blood Round loss. As excited as Cannon was, Phillippi's disappointment was just as evident. As a No. 10 seed, Cannon was the second-lowest seed to win in the Blood Round, and he finished the tournament in seventh. No. 11 Devan Turner officially became the lowest seed at this weight to end up on the podium when he beat No. 25 Brian Courtney for his first All-American honor. Turner concluded the 2022 event in eighth place, falling to Cannon.
141 pounds: Nick Lee of Penn State became the second Nittany Lion to earn All-American honors in this tournament after he beat Grant Willits in the quarterfinals and secured his spot in the semifinals. He then beat Stanford two-time All-American Real Woods in the semifinals to book another trip to the finals before winning the weight, continuing the Penn State excellence at this event. ACC stars Kizhan Clarke met Lee in the finals after his wild tournament run and would go on to finish second, but his journey is absolutely worth celebrating. Clarke earned the first top-eight tournament finish of his career when he beat Cole Matthews of Pittsburgh. Matthews would go on to finish fifth, losing to Grant Willits of Oregon State in the consolation quarterfinals but beating Stanford's Real Woods in the fifth-place match, putting Woods in sixth.
Just ahead of Matthews on the podium was Rutgers' five-time All-American and four-time placewinner Sebastian Rivera, a graduate student who beat Andrew Alirez in the Blood Round to stay alive. He would ultimately also beat Willits in the bronze medal match, putting Willits in fourth as the Beaver earned his first All-American honor. Willits rebounded from his quarterfinal loss to earn All-American honors after topping topping Chad "Mr. March" Red and keeping the Husker off the podium.
Jakob Bergeland and CJ Composto, both first-time All-Americans rounded out the podium in seventh and eight respectively. Bergeland beat Clay Clarson in the Blood Round, while Composto has an even more wild match in the Round of 12.
Composto, who dropped down to the Blood Round after his quarterfinals loss to Woods, went on to win All-American honors after a big win against former NCAA finalist Stevan Micic in a gutsy performance.
149 pounds: Yianni Diakomihalis has been the class of 149 pounds all year, and he booked his third trip the NCAA finals after wins over Zach Sherman of North Carolina, Willie McDougald of Oklahoma, Max Murin of Iowa and Sammy Sasso of Ohio State. None of Diakomihalis' wins were particularly dominant, but he did what he needed to do to end up on the podium again, and he's an All-American and a three-time NCAA champion.
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Ridge Lovett of Nebraska scored big points for the Huskers on his journey to All-American honors as he beat 2021 All-American Jaden Abas in the opening round of the tournament before topping Josh Heil of Campbell and Tariq Wilson of NC State to earn a spot in the semis. He then outscored a funky Bryce Andonian to meet Diakomihalis in the finals before finishing second.
Andonian and Wisconsin's Austin Gomez battled each other twice during their 2022 tournaments, with Andonian winning both times. The first bout send Gomez down to the consolation bracket where he had to battle past Kaden Gfeller of Oklahoma State to earn All-American honors. He then beat Wilson, N.C. State's eventual seventh-place winner, before beating Sasso and dropping to Andonian again to end up fourth. Sasso would go on to finish fifth, after beating App State's Jon Millner, now a two-time All-American. Kyle Parco rounded out the placewinners at 149 pounds, and his consolation results included a Blood Round win over Artalona, a loss to Miller in the consolation quarters, and a loss to Wilson in the eighth-place match.
157 pounds: Northwestern's Ryan Deakin became a four-time All-American when he beat Lehigh's Josh Humphreys in the quarterfinals, but he booked his first ticket to the national finals one match later against Jacori Teemer of Arizona State in the semis. Deakin would go on to win the whole tournament with a victory over Quincy Monday of Princeton.
Monday advanced to the semifinals after a win over Ed Scott of N.C State, and he then battled fellow All-American Will Lewan and Quincy Monday in the semifinals with Monday picking up the win to book a trip to the finals. Lewan would go on to finish fifth after a win against Jacori Teemer of Arizona State.
Teemer, a three-time All-American and two-time placewinner, earned his spot on the podium after a win over Jared Franek in the quarters, and Franek would later drop again to returning NCAA champion David Carr in the Blood Round.
Let's talk about David Carr though — what a leader. While Deakin and Monday had impressive finals performances, defending NCAA champion Carr showed impressive grit and heart in his journey back to the podium this year too, as he suffered a second-round shocking upset to Oregon State's Hunter Willits in tiebreakers to drop down to the consolations. Carr, however, was undeterred. He beat 2021 All-American Wyatt Sheets of Oklahoma in his next bout and then beat Iowa's 2021 All-American Kaleb Young to the advance to the Blood Round where he would ultimately top Franek before making a run for third. Peyton Robb of Nebraska took fourth after dropping to Carr in the third-place match. Willits would go on to All-American as well, beating The Citadel's Dazjon Casto for his first top-eight trophy.
Another national champ who suffered an early loss but battled back was North Carolina's Austin O'Connor, a true warrior. O'Connor dropped to Casto in his opening bout before beating Jacob Wright of Wyoming, Hunter Richards of Cornell and Humphreys. O'Connor then forfeited out due to injury but his perseverance and toughness in this tournament will not be forgotten.
165 pounds: The defending champion Shane Griffith made his return to the national finals and the All-American podium after wins against Cael Carlson, 2021 All-American Zach Hartman, Wisconsin superstar freshman Dean Hamiti and then Cal Poly's Evan Wick in the semifinals. Wick joined Griffith on the podium, as did Hamiti, but it was Mizzou's Keegan O'Toole who walked away with the win in the finals. His path there was insane as well, as he had to beat 2021 NCAA All-American Anthony Valencia, Ohio State's Carson Kharchla, and Michigan's Cam Amine, just to reach the finals before meeting Griffith.
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Griffith took second in the tournament while Wick took third and Hamiti forfeited out to Iowa's Alex Marinelli for fifth. The Hawkeye beat Harvard's Philip Conigliaro to earn his fourth All-American honor and third NCAA top-eight trophy. Kharchla and Amine would later win in the Blood Round to join O'Toole and Griffith on the podium in seventh and fourth respectively.
Wick's All-American win came in the quarterfinals against Peyton Hall of West Virginia while Hamiti earned his top-eight finish in the Blood Round against 2021 NCAA finalist Jake Wentzel. Hall also went on to win in the Blood Round, topping Justin McCoy of Virginia for his first All-American honor.
174 pounds: The 174-pound weight class might have been the deepest class in the tournament with two NCAA finalists and two NCAA champions in the field. Carter Starocci and Mekhi Lewis both became All-Americans again and booked their tickets back to the NCAA finals with semifinal wins over Hayden Hidlay and Logan Massa, respectively. Starocci would take the win on Saturday night with Lewis finishing second, but both men battled every second.
Hidlay and Massa earned their All-American honors earlier in the tournament with quarterfinal wins over Michael Kemerer and Clay Lautt. Hiday went on to major Kemerer for third place, putting his Hawkeye opponent fourth on the podium. Lautt ended up in eighth after losing to Mikey Labriola in the seventh-place match, while Massa took fifth after a win against Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State. The Cowboy beat Ethan Smith in the Blood Round to put himself on the podium in 2022. Labriola also earned his All-American honor in the Blood Round when he topped Hayden Hastings of Wyoming.
184 pounds: Big Ten finalists Aaron Brooks and Myles Amine both earned All-American honors and finals bids after impressive NCAA tournament runs. Brooks beat AJ Burkhart, Hunter Bolen, Kaleb Romero, and 2021 NCAA finalist Trent Hidlay on his way to the finals while Amine topped Colin McCracken, Dakota Geer, Zach Braunagel and Bernie Truax in his tournament run. Brooks would outscore Amine in the finals, but the Wolverine ended his career on the podium one last time.
Truax and Hidlay both secured their All-Americans when they advanced to the semifinals, and the wins added a second All-American to the resumes of both of those athletes. Cal Poly's Truax took fourth at the weight, dropping to Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa, another All-American. Hidlay wrestled Romero for fifth, beating the Buckeye 3-2 in his final match of the tournament. Romero became an All-American after beating Purdue's Max Lyon in the Blood Round.
Joining these stars on the podium are Jon Loew of Cornell and Marcus Coleman of Iowa State, both of whom won in the Blood Round against Zach Braunagel and Trey Munoz respectively. Coleman beat Loew for seventh in the consolation medal match.
197 pounds: The biggest story of 197 pounds was Ohio State's Gavin Hoffman, as the Buckeye earned the first All-American honor of his career at an NCAA tournament with his quarterfinals upset win over Jake Woodley of Oklahoma. He then fell in the semifinals to All-American and NCAA finalist Max Dean of Penn State, but Hoffman wrestled back for sixth and will bring an individual All-American trophy back to Columbus. Yonger Bastida, Iowa State's 197-pound All-American beat Hoffman for fifth place, but Bastida's most notable win came in the Blood Round when he topped Woodley to earn his podium spot.
Dean would later steal back the spotlight from all of these guys when he won the 2022 NCAA title at this weight, beating Iowa's All-American Jacob Warner. The Hawkeye made headlines when he beat Alan Clothier, Thomas Penola, Eric Schultz and Stephan Buchanan to book that finals spot for the first time in his career, the only Hawkeye to accomplish this feat this year.
Buchanan and Schultz both joined Warner on the podium after wins in the quarterfinals and the Blood Round respectively. Buchanan finished third, while Schultz was seventh. Rounding out the All-Americans at 197 pounds are Rocky Elam of Missouri and Greg Bulsak of Rutgers who both won their placement bouts in the Blood Round against former NCAA finalist Nino Bonaccorsi and former All-American Lou Deprez respectively. They finished fourth and eighth respectively.
285 pounds: The heavyweight class is led by Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson, a senior Minnesota Gopher who earned All-American honors again when he beat Northwestern's Lucas Davison in the quarterfinals. Davison actually took Steveson down in the match, the first time the Gopher had been taken down all year, but Steveson did Steveson things and beat Davison 10-5 for the win. The Wildcat, however, fought back in the Blood Round to place at the national tournament for the first time in his career. He beat Oregon State's Gary Traub for the honor and would go on to take sixth. Steveson would go on to win the weight after topping Arizona State's Cohlton Schultz, a young Sun Devil who won a wild semifinal against Wood to secure a spot in the 2022 NCAA finals and ultimately finish second.
Fellow Big Ten wrestler Greg Kerkvliet also fought Gable Steveson tough in his semifinal match with the 2021 champ, but Kerkvliet ultimately dropped his bout and wrestled back before forfeiting for fourth, earning the second All-American honor of his career. Winning the bronze by default against Kerkvliet was Lehigh's Jordan Wood, a senior who will now end his career as a multiple-time All-American. Wood beat Iowa's Tony Cassioppi in the quarterfinals, forcing Cassioppi to wrestle in the Blood Round for his All-American honor. The Hawkeye heavyweight beat out Missouri's Zach Elam for a seventh-place podium finish, and he's joined on the podium by fellow Big Ten wrestlers Mason Parris of Michigan and Christian Lance of Nebraska as well, who finished fifth and eighth.