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2016 NCAA Preview: 141 pounds

Notable 141-Pounders to Watch

Editor’s Note: Due to press deadlines, the following profiles of WIN’s ranked wrestlers were written prior to the NCAA qualifying tournaments.

2015-16 Head-to-head Matchups of Top 10 141

Updated 2016 NCAA Brackets

1. Dean Heil, Oklahoma State, Sophomore, Brunswick, Ohio

oklahoma state 141 HeilDmug162015-16 Notes: Before losing in overtime to North Carolina’s Joey Ward on Feb. 19, the Cowboy had a perfect season, which included a pair of overtime victories over Stanford’s Joey McKenna, including a 2-1 tiebreaker win in the finals of the Southern Scuffle.

NCAA Resume: 5-2 (4th) in one tournament — Seeded just 14th, the Cowboy upset Missouri’s Dean Heil in sudden victory to reach the 2015 semifinals. Despite losing to Old Dominion’s Chris Mecate, Heil came back to win three consolation bouts, including a 9-5 win over Boise State’s Geo Martinez in the Round of 12. Two more wins over Rutgers’ Anthony Ashnault and NC State’s Kevin Jack sent Heil to the third-place bout where he lost to Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter.

2. Joey McKenna, Stanford, Freshman, Towaco, N.J.

Joey McKenna2015-16 Notes: One year removed from a Blair Academy career — which saw McKenna win three National Prep titles — the Cardinal rookie has enjoyed a banner season. With his only losses coming to Oklahoma State’s Dean Heil, McKenna earned bonus points in 12 of his victories  — including four by pin — while recording wins over All-Americans James Gulibon of Penn State and North Carolina’s Evan Henderson.

NCAA Resume: first tournament

3. Kevin Jack, NC State, Sophomore, Danbury, Conn.

nc state 141 Kevin Jack2015-16 Notes: The former New England prep champion may have surprised many by earning All-American honors last March, but Jack has handled expectations better this winter. Since losing to Northern Illinois’ Steve Bleise in the Midlands quarterfinals, Jack entered the ACCs on a 15-match winning streak, including wins over conference rivals Joey Ward of North Carolina and Solomon Chishko of Virginia Tech.

NCAA Resume: 4-2 (5th) in one tournament — Unseeded as a true freshman last March, the Wolfpacker beat three straight seeded wrestlers — Iowa’s No. 5 Josh Dzeiwa, North Carolina’s No. 12 Joey Ward and Virginia Tech’s No. 3 Devin Carter — to reach the semis where he lost to eventual champ Logan Stieber. Once in the consys, Jack lost to Okie State’s Dean Heil before blanking Old Dominion’s Chris Mecate.

4. Micah Jordan, Ohio State, RS Freshman, Urbana, Ohio

 

ohio state 141 Jordan_Micah2015-16 Notes: Micah followed in the footsteps of his older brother Bo by also claiming four Ohio state championships for St. Paris Graham High School. Now the young Buckeye hopes to also earn All-American honors like Bo, which is a strong possibility considering Micah won very match prior to the Big Tens, except for a 4-3 loss to Missouri’s Matt Manley on Dec. 12. That came after Jordan won the Las Vegas Invite with wins over Harvard’s Todd Preston and Virginia Tech’s Solomon Chishko.

NCAA Resume: first tournament

5. Solomon Chishko, Virginia Tech, RS Freshman, Jeanette, Pa.

virginia tech 141 Chisko_Solomon_16WR_HEAD_462015-16 Notes:  The former Pennsylvania state champ from Canon-McMillan High School won 25 of 28 matches. Among his first victories included a 3-1 decision against Penn State’s James Gulibon. In winning 13 of his final 14 bouts prior to the ACC tournament, the biggest may have been a 7-3 decision against North Carolina’s Joey Ward.

NCAA Resume: first tournament

Other notable wrestlers in alphabetical order:

• Rutgers Anthony Ashnault finished eighth in his first NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed last March when he won his first two matches, then clinched All-American honors with a 3-2 victory over Lehigh’s Darian Cruz in the Round of 12. This winter, Ashnault opened his second season with 13 wins, including a 7-4 win over North Carolina’s Evan Henderson in November.

Richard Durso, a three-time national qualifier, captured Franklin & Marshall’s 10th All-American honor in 2014 when he finished eighth as sophomore; then redshirted last winter. This season, the Diplomat won 33 bouts before the EIWAs, including a 2-1 victory over Lehigh’s Randy Cruz.

• Missouri’s Matt Manley returned from redshirting last winter to the Tiger lineup after earning an NCAA spot in 2014 when he went 1-2. This season, the month of December was enjoyable as Manley won six bouts at the Las Vegas Invite and a 4-3 win over Ohio State’s Micah Jordan on Dec. 12.

• Harvard’s Todd Preston has experienced a roller coaster-like career; winning an EIWA championship two years ago but breaking his wrist in last year’s conference tournament. This season, the Crimson senior has regained his winning edge, including a second-place finish at the Las Vegas Invitational.

• Minnesota redshirt freshman Tommy Thorn followed in his older brothers — Mike and David — as Gopher starters as well as his father John, a former All-American at Iowa State. In his first season as a starter, Tommy stood 30-7 and enjoyed a seven-match winning streak prior to the Big Tens, including an 8-1 win over Rutgers’ Anthony Ashnault.

• Junior Joey Ward of North Carolina entered the ACCs on a high note with six straight wins, including an upset of Oklahoma State’s Dean Heil in sudden victory on Feb. 19. Ward sandwiched a redshirt season in 2013-14 with a pair of NCAA appearances; going 1-2 in 2013 and 2-2 last March.

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