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Shannon Scovel | NCAA.com | February 6, 2023

Luke Surber upset win at 197 pounds shakes up college wrestling power rankings

The most exciting college wrestlers to watch this season

With every passing week, the college wrestling postseason inches closer and closer. There's an added excitement to these end-of-season duals, as the intensity increases and the stakes rise. Here's where the top five wrestlers in each of the ten weight classes stand right now, based on recent results, momentum swings and big results. 

Editor's note: The following lists are not official rankings from the NCAA. Instead, these are subjective, personal rankings of the five top athletes in all ten weights subject to change week to week. Debates are welcomed. 

125 pounds

1. Spencer Lee, Iowa
2. Patrick Glory, Princeton
3. Liam Cronin, Nebraska
4. Matt Ramos, Purdue
5. Patrick McKee, Minnesota

While the Spencer Lee show continues at 125 pounds, credit belongs to Minnesota's Patrick McKee for his battle against the champ Friday night in the Maturi Pavilion. McKee lost 7-1 to Lee in a hard-fought bout, but he had the crowd on the edge of their seats as he battled with grit and heart for seven minutes. Few wrestlers have kept Spencer Lee to a decision in the last three years, and while there are no moral victories in wrestling, McKee's effort was exceptional. Despite the loss, he remains at No. 5, while Glory, Cronin and Ramos hold down their 2-4 spots. 

Glory, in particular, picked up a nice 10-2 major over Brett Ungar of Cornell, a solid performance that the Tigers needed in a dual where they struggled against the Big Red. Glory's on track to compete for another EIWA title, the third of his career, and if he avoids a loss, he'll be a strong contender for one of the top few seeds at NCAAs, potentially putting him on a collision course with Lee. 

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Killian Cardinale of West Virginia is another athlete is a good position to make a deep run at nationals this year, given his undefeated record. I say this every week, but Cardinale is in the conversation of the top five in this weight. He's beaten everyone in his path, a rare feat, and now he just needs that statement win to crack this list. He'll no doubt have the chance to make some noise in Tulsa and be a problem for those in his weight. 

133 pounds

1. Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State
2. Daton Fix, Oklahoma State
3. Vito Arujau, Cornell
4. Michael McGee, Arizona State
5. Connor McGonagle, Lehigh

The story this week is less about Roman Bravo-Young, Penn State's undefeated two-time national champion, and more about Oklahoma State's Daton Fix. Twice, when his team needed bonus points this weekend, Daton stepped up. He pinned Michigan's Dylan Ragusin and majored Missouri's Connor Brown to give the Cowboys two ranked team victories. Fix is a leader, and he showed that this weekend. 

The biggest (and only) change to these rankings this week came at the No. 5 spot. I gave Phillippi the vote last week because of his win over Virginia Tech's Latona. Phillippi did beat both of his opponents over the weekend, but I'm giving Connor McGonagle the nod this weekend because he too earned a win, but his came by bonus. McGonagle also does have a win over Phillippi from earlier in the year, and while he has one more loss than the Panther on the year, McGonagle gets the edge this week. Bonus points matter in these rankings. Momentum matters.

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This new set of power rankings puts me in alignment with InterMat at 133 pounds, and that's okay. This is a two-man weight class right now, with undefeated Bravo-Young and Fix leading the way. Arujau and McGee are tough and won't want to be written out of the title conversation, but there is separation between the top guys and the next two right now. 

141 pounds

1. Andrew Alirez, Northern Colorado
2. Real Woods, Iowa
3. Cole Matthews, Pitt
4. Beau Bartlett, Penn State 
5. Ryan Jack, N.C. State

Speaking of bonus points, shoutout to Andrew Alirez for his dominance against Job Greenwood and Dylan Droegemuller of Wyoming and North Dakota State. Alirez earned two back-to-back major decisions, showing once again why he's the No. 1 guy at the weight. 

No. 3 Cole Matthews also impressed with his ranked wins over Lachlan McNeil and Casey Swiderski, though, in typically Matthews' fashion, the Panther notched these wins in close, tough fashion. Matthews will be a challenge for most of this weight class come March because he's defensive and strong, and he doesn't give up a lot of points. No. 2 Real Woods battled Swiderski, in particular, close earlier this year, and Matthews' performance against this shared opponent suggests little separation between him, Woods and the entirely of the top-ranked guys at 141 pounds. 

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Beau Bartlett, who slipped out of the rankings last week after his loss to Woods, is back in at No. 4, a big jump for the Nittany Lion. His pin against Joey Showalter showed an offensive side of Bartlett that he'll need to channel come March. He also picked up a solid decision win against Dylan D'Emilio of Ohio State to elevate him back into the top five. His rise to No. 4 has everything to do with his pin and nothing to do with Brock Hardy, the Cornhusker who slides just out of the top five this week, despite his win over Danny Pucino and Parker Filius. Hardy is an excellent wrestler, but these rankings are based on performances each week and subject to change based on most recent results. 

149 pounds

1. Yianni Diakomihalis, Cornell
2. Sammy Sasso, Ohio State
3. Yahya Thomas, Northwestern
4. Austin Gomez, Wisconsin
5. Kyle Parco, Arizona State

This weight class is just so much fun. Ohio State's Sammy Sasso and Northwestern's Yahya Thomas headlined 149 pounds this week with their marathon tie-breaker battle that ended with Sasso prevailing 2-1. The biggest takeaway from this bout? Thomas is absolutely in this title conversation. Sasso worked his way to the 2021 NCAA finals, losing narrowly to North Carolina's Austin O'Connor, who has since bumped to 157 pounds. Thomas finished third that year but came up just short of the podium last year. Both of these guys have a legitimate chance to compete for top honors in 2023, but they'll have to overcome three-time champ Yianni Diakomihalis and the rest of the deep weight in order to have that opportunity. 

Diakomihalis did what he needed to do over the weekend, beating Doug Zapf 8-3. This wasn't the highest scoring match ever, but Diakomihalis got the win and put points on the board. He holds down his No. 1 spot while Kyle Parco bookends the weight at No. 5 following his wins over Joseph Bianchi and Riley Gurr. 

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Wisconsin's Austin Gomez did not wrestle this week, but he expects to be back for nationals. When his return is certain, and he's back on the mat, he'll rise in the power rankings. Stay tuned.

157 pounds

1. Peyton Robb, Nebraska
2. Austin O'Connor, North Carolina
3. Bryce Andonian, Virginia Tech 
4. Jared Franek, North Dakota State
5. Josh Humphreys, Lehigh

While all of the top guys at 149 pounds have taken a loss, the story of 157 pounds is a little different. Peyton Robb still leads the way with a 20-0 record, his most recent win coming by fall against Anthony Federico. 2021 NCAA champion Austin O'Connor is right on his heels, as he's 14-0 and notched a tech fall against Jared Keslar over the weekend. Bryce Andonian, who continues to rise up the rankings with every win, is 6-0 on the year and looking as funky as ever after pinning Logan Ferrero. 

Then there's Josh Humphreys, the Lehigh veteran who made his triumphant return back to the mat for the first time since December. Humphrey's notched a solid 6-3 win over Nathan Lukez, and while it wasn't a flashy performance, it was enough to maintain his undefeated record. North Dakota State's Jared Franek sits one spot ahead of Humphreys with a 17-1 record, but his only loss so far came against Robb in decision fashion. Neither Humphreys nor Franek have been on the podium at NCAAs yet in their careers, so both guys have big opportunities this spring to break through. 

165 pounds

1. Keegan O'Toole, Missouri
2. David Carr, Iowa State
3. Shane Griffith, Stanford
4. Cam Amine, Michigan
5. Quincy Monday, Princeton

Keegan O'Toole is the class of this weight. With two bonus point wins against Gerrit Nijenhuis and All-American Wyatt Sheets, O'Toole is proving that he's the best of the best at 165 pounds. David Carr is certainly a title threat as well, as he notched wins over All-American Peyton Hall and Holden Heller, but O'Toole's bonus rate is just too strong to shift these rankings right now. 

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After these two guys, the rankings become a little more interesting, with Cornell's Julian Ramirez throwing the latest wrench into the list. Ramirez loves to be a disrupter, and he has a history of taking down top guys in the regular season to create insanity. Last year, the Big Red middleweight upset Stanford's Shane Griffith early in the season, mixing up the rankings and causing chaos. This year, he's done the same thing to a returning NCAA finalist, outscoring Princeton's Quincy Monday 10-6.

Monday stays in the top-five, despite the loss, because, much like Griffith, his lone loss at this weight combined with his quality wins made him a formidable threat. His loss came against a higher-ranked opponent than Griffith, but he sits at No. 5 temporary because of the recency of that loss. Monday did respond by pinning Carter Baer, so there's little reason to be concerned about him, and I expect him to jump Griffith and Amine next week after another set of wins. He's no less of a title contender than he was last week. Ramirez is a tough opponent for anyone.

174 pounds

1. Carter Starocci, Penn State
2. Mikey Labriola, Nebraska
3. Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech
4. Michael O'Malley, Drexel
5. Chris Foca, Cornell

Oh boy, Carter Starocci ‚ÄĒ this guy knows how to generate headlines. The two-time champ came into this week holding down the top spot in the power rankings, and he maintained his No. 1 position, but not without some drama. In a bout all about avenging his 2021 loss Indiana's DJ Washington, Starocci topped the Hoosier 11-3, with most of those points coming in the second half of the dual. Choice words were exchanged at the end of the bout, but this remains Starocci's weight. The Nittany Lion also picked up a good 11-5 win over All-American Ethan Smith, adding depth to his resume this year with another ranked win.

Mikey Labriola of Nebraska remains in second with an impressive 21-0 record, and he earned that last win to his resume by way of a sudden victory decision against a competitive Edmund Ruth. Illinois' Ruth is on the rise and could be a serious bracket buster in March, but, for now, it's Labriola who emerged victorious and stays in the top five. No. 3 Mekhi Lewis won by forfeit this weekend against Duke, but he'll have No. 8 Clay Lautt next weekend for what should be an elite matchup. 

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Chris Foca and Michael O'Malley each earned two victories this weekend as well, and they both each earned a pin. I'll keep O'Malley at No. 4 for another week, but if Foca keeps winning and notches more ranked wins, particularly in his bout against Smith on Feb. 18, he'll have an argument to move up. 

184 pounds

1. Aaron Brooks, Penn State
2. Parker Keckeisen, Northern Iowa
3. Trent Hidlay, NC State
4. Marcus Coleman, Iowa State
5. Kaleb Romero, Ohio State

The 184-pound weight class has seven All-Americans in the top-eight, and while Penn State's Aaron Brooks leads the way, he's shown earlier this year that he's beatable. Iowa State's Marcus Coleman beat Brooks earlier this year, and Coleman continues to look good, earning wins over Anthony Carman and Reese Heller over the weekend. He remains at No. 4 because of the solid resumes of Parker Keckeisen and Trent Hidlay, but, as I said in the first power rankings of the semester, any of these guys can win in March. 

Ohio State's Kaleb Romero took his fourth loss of the year over the weekend in a 3-2 fashion against Brooks, but it is still hard to justify moving him out of this spot. Trey Munoz, one of the other wrestlers in the weight with fewer losses, dropped a bout to Lenny Pinto earlier this year, and Isaiah Salazar, who is 15-1 on the year, lost to Jacob Nolan. Neither Pinto nor Nolan have a ranking that would suggest this loss was anything other than an upset, so despite the fact that Romero's winning percentage dropped this weekend, his losses are still better than those behind him in the rankings, so he stays at No. 5. 

197 pounds

1. Nino Bonaccorsi, Pittsburgh
2. Michael Beard, Lehigh
3. Rocky Elam, Missouri
4. Max Dean, Penn State
5. Yonger Bastida, Iowa State

The 197-pound weight class is the most exciting weight of the week. Oklahoma State's Luke Surber caused serious shifts in these rankings when he delivered Missouri's Rocky Elam his first loss of the year in front of the Cowboy faithful on Sunday afternoon. Surber's five losses against Bastida, Tanner Harvey, Jaxon Smith, Michial Foy and Michael Beard make it tough to move him into the top five, but he played a role in this new lineup of top guys at the weight.

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Nino Bonaccorsi shifts to the top spot following Surber's upset victory , as the Panther remains undefeated following his gutsy win over Yonger Bastida, and he'll have N.C. State's Isaac Trumble next week for another test. Lehigh's Michael Beard, who has two losses against Bonaccorsi and All-American Bernie Truax, moves to No. 2. Elam slides into the No. 3 spot, ahead of Max Dean but above Bastida. Truax has a case for the top five with his 9-1 record, but his loss came against Trumble, while Bastida lost to two higher-ranked opponents in Bonaccorsi and Dean. 

285 pounds

1. Mason Parris, Michigan
2. Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State
3. Tony Cassioppi, Iowa
4. Lucas Davison, Northwestern
5. Wyatt Hendrickson, Air Force

Konner Doucet of Oklahoma State kept his bout close with Mason Parris, but the Michigan All-American did what he needed to do to walk away with the victory, holding down his top spot in the power rankings. Greg Kerkvliet notched bonus points in both of his matches this year, and he'll look to enact revenge on Parris at the Big Ten tournament to potential set himself up for a higher seed at nationals. While Parris got the best of Kerkvliet in their last bout, the Nittany Lion has done nothing but win since. 

Cassioppi did not wrestle this week, while Northwestern's Lucas Davison was dominant in his senior night pin over All-American Tate Orndorff of Ohio State. It's tough to move Davison above Cassioppi given Cassioppi's win over the Wildcat, but that's another match I'd like to see again at Big Tens. 

Air Force Wyatt Hendrickson also secured bonus point wins over the weekend by way of his major decision against Juan Mora, and he'll wrestle American next weekend. Arizona State's Cohlton Schultz also picked up two wins, strengthening his case to be back in the top five every week. 


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