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2012-13 NCAA Preview: Jason Chamberlain returns from Olympic redshirt with No. 1 ranking at 149

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Updated: October 4, 2012

The following is a breakdown of WIN’s Top 20 wrestlers in the 149-pound weight class.

Click here for the preview of the remaining nine weight classes.

Boise State’s Jason Chamberlain (left) defeated former Harvard wrestler Corey Jantzen for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational championship in 2010-11. The Bronco went on to earn All-American honors that winter before taking an Olympic redshirt last season.

1. Jason Chamberlain, Boise State, Senior

After taking an Olympic redshirt last winter, the 2011 All-American is the man to beat at this weight. During his Bronco career, the native of Springville, Utah, has compiled a 77-21 career record, two Pac-10 titles and three NCAA appearances. But it wasn’t until his junior season in 2010-11 that Chamberlain earned All-American honors. Seeded No. 6 in Philadelphia, Chamberlain won three straight matches — including overtime wins against Lehigh’s Joe Napoli and Bucknell’s Kevin LeValley — to earn a spot in the semifinals, where he lost 4-1 to Penn State’s Frank Molinaro. In the wrestlebacks, the Bronco defeated Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State (in overtime) and American’s Ganbayar Sanjaa to claim third place in a 29-2 season.

In his first season in Boise, Chamberlain won a Pac-10 title as a true freshman in 2009, when he went 22-9 and 1-2 at the NCAAs. In 2010, the former four-time Utah state champion and prep All-American came back to earn a 26-10 mark and a second trip to the NCAAs and a quarterfinal match, where he lost to Ohio State’s Lance Palmer before being eliminated in the Round of 12 by American’s Kyle Borshoff.

In freestyle, Chamberlain has competed in two Junior Worlds and finished fifth in 2010. In last year’s Olympic Trials, he reached the quarterfinals after beating former World medalist Cary Kolat.

 

 

 

 

2. Dylan Ness, Minnesota, Sophomore

Competing in his first year with the Gopher varsity, the younger brother of Minnesota’s 2010 Hodge Trophy winner and NCAA champion Jayson Ness, Dylan (24-9 with eight falls) nearly won it all last March despite entering the tournament as a No. 7 seed. But the native of Bloomington, Minn., won four straight matches in St. Louis, including a 3-2 victory over Oklahoma State’s undefeated All-American Jamal Parks in the quarterfinals. An 8-5 win over Pitt’s Tyler Nauman sent Ness to the finals, where Penn State’s Frank Molinaro defeated the Gopher, 4-1, in the fourth meeting of the year between the Big Ten rivals.

Before coming to Minnesota, Ness was named Mr. Minnesota High School Wrestler of the Year after winning state and national honors for Kennedy High School.

3. Donald Vinson, Binghamton, Senior

The third time at the NCAAs was the charm for Vinson, who was 40-5 last winter and finally earned All-American honors with a third-place finish in St. Louis. But what made the Bearcat’s first-time on the podium even more impressive is that Vinson had to win seven consecutive wrestlebacks after the fourth-seeded wrestler lost in the first round to Oklahoma’s Nick Lester. Once in the consolation bracket, Vinson defeated in order: Michigan State’s Dan Osterman by pin; Harvard’s Corey Jantzen, 16-1; Illinois’ Eric Terrazas by fall; Michigan’s Eric Grajales, 12-5; Lester (in a rematch), 16-5; Pitt’s Tyler Nauman, 5-0; and Ohio State’s Cam Tessari, 12-10.

After redshirting in 2009, Vinson entered the Bearcat starting line-up; going 33-13 in 2010 and knocking off Mario Mason (then with Minnesota) in the NCAAs. One year later, the native of Marathon, N.Y., finished 26-6 (including a 5-3 win over eventual NCAA champion Kyle Dake) but failed to win an NCAA bout. Overall his career mark is 99-24.

4. Cam Tessari, Ohio State, Sophomore

This four-time state champion from Monroeville, Ohio, did more than follow the Stieber brothers, Logan and Hunter, to Columbus last year. The Buckeye, one of seven freshmen in the OSU line-up, finished with a 28-11 mark last winter and left the NCAAs with his first All-American honor. In his three days in St. Louis, Tessari, a No. 10 seed, lost his first-round match to Harvard’s Jesse Jantzen, but came back to win six wrestlebacks before losing to Donnie Vinson, 12-10, in the third-place match. Among his biggest wins last March was a 5-4 decision over No. 3 seed Cole VonOhlen in the Round of 12 bout.

During the regular season, Tessari won six of his final matches, including a pin against Minnesota’s eventual national runner-up Dylan Ness.

5. Justin Accordino, Hofstra, Senior

The native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was one of last year’s big surprises at the NCAAs where he was unseeded but defeated Purdue’s No. 12 seed Ivan Lopouchanski, pinned No. 5 Ian Miller of Kent State and majored Oklahoma’s Nick Lester to earn a spot in the semifinals. Accordino then lost to eventual champ Frank Molinaro of Penn State, Ohio State’s Cam Tessari and Pitt’s Tyler Nauman to settle for sixth place.

Accordino originally opened his college career in 2009 on high note when he qualified for the NCAAs as a redshirt freshman at 141 pounds. Unfortunately, injuries sidelined the Pride wrestler for two years, including 2011 when he was 9-6 before injuring his knee at the Southern Scuffle. But he fought back to retain a starting spot last season, first at 157 pounds before dropping down to 149 in December … and eventually ended the year with a 26-14 record and a CAA runner-up finish.

6. Scott Sakaguchi, Oregon State, Junior

There would be no sophomore slump for this native of Clovis, Calif., last winter when he finished 38-7 overall, won his first Pac-12 championship and claimed his first All-American honor with a seventh-place finish in St. Louis. After an opening win over Matt Nereim of NC State, Sakaguchi lost his second-round bout to eventual champion Frank Molinaro of Penn State. In the wrestlebacks, the Beaver clinched his first All-American honor with a 4-2 overtime upset win over Oklahoma State’s All-American Jamal Park; then defeated Oklahoma’s Nick Lester, 1-0, in the seventh-place bout after first losing to Ohio State’s Cam Tessari. One year earlier, Sakaguchi went 2-2 at the Nationals, where he defeated Wyoming’s Cole Dallaserra and Northern Colorado’s Justin Gaethje. Sakaguchi’s career mark is 64-20 before this season.

7. Nick Lester, Oklahoma, Junior

One of two Lesters in the OU line-up — brother Matt wrestles at 157 pounds — Nick earned All-American honors last season (8th) after upsetting No. 4 seed Donnie Vinson of Binghamton in the first round as an unseeded wrestler. The native of Eureka, Kan., also defeated American’s Kevin Tao before losing his quarterfinal to Hofstra’s Justin Accordino. Lester clinched an All-American honor when he blanked Scott Santos of Columbia in the Round of 12 before losing to Vinson and Oregon State’s Sakaguchi. Overall, Lester’s career record is 31-19, including an 8-6 mark two years ago as a reserve.

The native of St. Louis, won two state titles for Eureka High School before competing in college.

8. Andrew Alton, Penn State, Sophomore

As one-half of Penn State’s brother attack — twin sibling Dylan Alton is a returning All-American at 157 pounds — Andrew is moving up to 149 this winter after the native of Mill Hall, Pa., first competed as a true freshman in 2010 at 141 pounds before taking a redshirt last season. In compiling a 30-10 record two years ago, Andrew won his first 17 matches and also made his mark by flattening 18 foes to eventually claimed WIN’s Schalles Award as the nation’s best college pinner, co-presented by Cliff Keen Athletic. The former two-time Pennsylvania state champion from Central Mountain High School ended his first PSU campaign by claiming fifth at the Big Tens and landed a berth in the NCAAs, where he reached the quarterfinals. But he dropped consecutive bouts to Cal Poly’s Boris Novachkov and Penn’s Zach Kemmerer and failed to place.

9. Cole VonOhlen, Air Force, Senior

No Air Force wrestler has won more matches in a season and career than this native of Jackson, Minn. VonOhlen has posted a 112-22 record in three years as a starter. Unfortunately, VonOhlen has yet to finish a season on the All-American stand, including last year when he was 37-4 and seeded No. 3 and won two bouts to reach the quarterfinals. But he then dropped consecutive matches to Pitt’s Tyler Nauman and Ohio State’s Cam Tessari.

In 2011, VonOhlen competed at 141 pounds and set a school record for victories (44-9) to earn a No. 9 seed. But he split four matches and lost a Round of 12 bout to Oregon State’s Mike Mangrum. In 2010, the former two-time Minnesota state champion from Jackson Country Central High School earned a starting spot as a true freshman and finished 31-9. He also earned his first NCAA bid but failed to win a match.

10. Derek Valenti, Virginia, Senior

The younger brother of Penn’s two-time NCAA champion Matt Valenti, this Cavalier decided to redshirt last season after collecting All-American honors in 2011. That was an incredible season for the native of Newton, N.J., as he opened the year with an 12-11 mark before he won 15 of his final 19 matches and eventually claimed eighth place in Philadelphia. During that NCAA run, Valenti defeated Michigan State’s Dan Osterman, Buffalo’s Desi Green, Central Michigan’s Donnie Corby and Michigan’s Eric Grajales, but lost to Penn State’s Frank Molinaro, Oklahoma State’s Jamal Parks and Bucknell’s Kevin LeValley.

One year earlier, Valenti finished 24-8 and competed in his first NCAA; defeating UNC Greensboro’s Ivan Lopouchanski before losing to Parks and Zack Bailey of Oklahoma. Valenti enters his final season with a 75-33 career mark, including 24-10 as a true freshman in 2009.

11. Eric Grajales, Michigan, Junior

With two-time NCAA champion Kellen Russell dominating the 141-pound weight class the last two years, Grajales found himself jumping up to 149 pounds and earning two NCAA visits along the way. Grajales has reached the quarterfinals in each tournament, but the former four-time state champion and prep All-American from Brandon, Fla., has yet to finish among the top eight on the college level.

That includes last year, when he won the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and finished 20-8 overall but came up one victory short of All-American honors when he lost in the quarters to Penn State’s Frank Molinaro and in the Round of 12 to Binghamton’s Donnie Vinson. One year earlier, when he was 18-14, Grajales pinned West Virginia’s Brandon Rader and won by injury default over NCAA champion Darrion Caldwell to reach the quarters. But after losing to American’s Ganbayar Sanjaa, Grajales was eliminated by Virginia’s Derek Valenti.

12. Ian Miller, Kent State, Sophomore

Before last year’s NCAAs, it appeared adjusting to college was no big deal for the then-true freshman from Oak Harbor, Ohio. Miller won 28 of his first 32 matches, as he won the Mat Town Invitational, the Body Bar Invitational and became the first true freshman since 2008 to claim a MAC championship. In St. Louis, where he was seeded No. 5, Miller pinned his first-round foe, Eric Terrazas of Illinois, but then dropped consecutive matches to Hofstra’s unseeded Justin Accordino and Virginia’s Gus Sako.

Before coming to Kent State, Miller won the Ironman championship and earned his third state placement for Oak Harbor High School. He finished third as a sophomore, won a championship as a junior and finished second as a senior.

13. David Habat, Edinboro, Sophomore

Of the five freshmen who wrestled for the Fighting Scots last season, no one recorded more wins (36-8) than this four-time Ohio state place-winner from St. Ignatius in Cleveland, Ohio, who earned a No. 9 seed for the NCAAs after finishing second in the EWLs. Unseeded Nick Brascetta of Virginia Tech upset the redshirt freshman Habat, 3-1, in the first round. Habat did defeat Stephen Robertson of Penn in consolation but was eliminated by Columbia’s Steve Santos.

 

 

14. Jake Sueflohn, Nebraska, Sophomore

One year removed from winning his second Wisconsin state championship for Arrowhead High School in Watertown, Wisc., Sueflohn earned an immediate spot in the Huskers’ line-up at 141 pounds last winter when he finished 25-11 and competed in his first national tournament. Among his most impressive regular-season victories was a 10-2 major decision against Ohio State’s Hunter Stieber. An eventual fifth-place finish at the Big Tens sent Sueflohn to St. Louis and the Nationals where he lost a first-round match to Virginia Tech’s Zach Neibert, before defeating Rider’s Mike Kessler and losing to Rutgers’ Billy Ashnault.

 

15. Josh Kindig, Oklahoma State, Junior

The junior from Auburn, Pa. (and a two-time state champion from Blue Mountain High School) became a starter for the Cowboys early in his true freshman season in 2011 (at the National Duals when Luke Silver suffered an injury) and has compiled a 42-20 career record while qualifying for the NCAAs each season at 141 pounds. Kindig (who finished 16-10 last winter after going 26-10 in 2011) finished third in each of his Big 12 tournament appearances and is 3-4 in the NCAA tournaments. That included a 2-2 mark in 2011 when he won consolation bouts before losing to Zach Kemmerer of Penn. He was 1-2 last March.

16. Steve Santos, Columbia, Senior

The native of Brick, N.J., became an immediate starter for this Ivy League school and won 34 out of 57 matches his first two seasons, including a victory over Binghamton’s Donnie Vinson as a freshman and against Rutgers’ Mario Mason during his injury-plagued sophomore season. But it wasn’t until last winter that Santos earned his first NCAA appearance after winning 26 of 37 bouts and fourth place in the EIWA. Unfortunately, he just missed earning All-American honors in St. Louis, where he was 3-2. He defeated Lock Haven’s Owen Wilkenson, Edinboro’s David Habat and Missouri’s Kyle Bradley, but lost in the Round of 12 to Oklahoma’s Nick Lester.

 

17. Taylor Walsh, Indiana, Sophomore

As a redshirt freshman, the native of Cherry Hill, N.J., earned an NCAA berth and No. 11 seeding as the Hoosier compiled a 29-12 record  … and pinned 13 foes in the process. That included a 62-second fall against Chattanooga’s Den Pavlou in the national tournament. Unfortunately, that would be Walsh’s only win in St. Louis, where he lost a first-round bout to Bloomsburg’s Bryce Busler and a second-round wrestleback to Oregon State’s Scott Sakaguchi.

Before coming to Indiana, Walsh was a two-time state champion for Camden Catholic High School in New Jersey.

18. Nick Brascetta, Virginia Tech, Sophomore

The former St. Paris Graham High School teammate of Zach Neibert, Brascetta won an ACC championship as a true freshman last season. That sent the former two-time Ohio state champion to the NCAAs, where he upset No. 9 seed David Habat of Edinboro in the first round. But after losing to Michigan’s Eric Grajales, he was eliminated after his only consolation bout; a 6-4 victory by Northwestern’s Kaleb Bradley to end the Hokie’s season at 22-6

 

 

19. Josh Wilson, Utah Valley, Senior

Competing in his first national tournament, the native of Morgan, Utah, found himself in the second round when he defeated Missouri’s Kyle Bradley in a pigtail bout and Rutgers’ Mario Mason in a first-round match. Unfortunately, the Wolverine lost consecutive matches Oklahoma State’s Jamal Parks and Illinois’ Eric Terrazas (in overtime) to end his year at 20-11. But considering the two-time state champion from Morgan High School sat out the first two years at this college in Orem, Utah — including a second year because of injury — it’s impressive he has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons.

 

20. Mario Mason, Rutgers, Senior

What a roller coaster career is has been for this former prep All-American from Blair Academy, where he won the prestigious Ironman, Beast of the East and three New Jersey state championships before first signing with Minnesota. Unfortunately, he competed just one year with the Gophers — qualifying for one national tournament as a redshirt freshman in 2010 — before the Moorestown, N.J. native returned to his home state. In two years at Rutgers, Mason earned additional trips to the Nationals; finishing in the Round of 12 in 2011 but failing to advance last March when injuries marred his postseason.

Overall, Mason’s career record is 64-25, including 47-13 at Rutgers.

 

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