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Big Ten rivals Delgado and Megaludis are biggest little men to beat at 125 pounds
By Mike Finn
Editor’s Notes: The information below is subject to change as some wrestlers may change weights or redshirt this upcoming season.
Overall Thoughts: Six of last year’s eight All-Americans return, including Big Ten rivals Jesse Delgado of Illinois and Penn State’s Nico Megaludis, who finished 1-2 last March in Des Moines. Meanwhile, Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett wants to prove last year’s postseason was no “rookie” fluke and Missouri’s Alan Water wants to improve upon a strong season last year as well.
Which stud will start … and replace a stud?
At Iowa, Matt McDonough — the two-time national champion and three-time NCAA finalist — has finally graduated, but head coach Tom Brands certainly has plenty of talent in his wrestling room to successfully take over the spot. The only question is which of two talented redshirt freshmen will emerge as the probable starter: Thomas Gillman, who finished 23-5 wrestling unattached and will represent the U.S. at this month’s Junior Worlds in freestyle; or Cory Clark, who was 20-2 during a redshirt campaign which also saw him defeat eventual NCAA champ Jesse Delgado, 6-1, in the finals of the UNI Open.
Back from redshirting
Pitt senior Anthony Zanetta, a three-time EWL champion and 2010 EWL Freshman of the Year, redshirted last season. Prior to that, he had posted an 82-28 career mark but has yet to earn All-American honors in three previous NCAAs. His best national performances came in 2011 and 2012 when he posted 2-2 marks in each of those tournaments.
NCAA Champion — Jesse Delgado, Illinois, Junior, 27-3 record in 2012-13
The defending national champion was seeded No. 2, after winning the Big 10 Championship, and avenged an earlier-season loss to Penn State’s Nico Megaludis, 7-4, in last year NCAAs. The native of Gilroy, Calif. — who transferred with current associate head coach Mark Perry from Cal Poly — is a two-time All-American after also placing seventh in 2012. He enters his junior season with a career mark of 61-10 with 11 falls.
NCAA Runner-up — Nico Megaludis, Penn State, Junior, 28-4
The two-time national runner-up lost to Iowa’s Matt McDonough in the 2012 finals and to Illinois’ Jesse Delgado last March in Des Moines. The native of Murrysville, Pa., did pin Delgado in a dual meet last winter in Champaign, Ill. Overall, his career record is 56-12.
3rd-place finisher — Nahshon Garrett, Cornell, Sophomore, 43-5
The Big Red rookie was seeded No. 6 last March when he edged two-time NCAA champion Matt McDonough of Iowa, 4-2 in overtime, of their quarterfinal meeting. After losing to Illinois’ Jesse Delgado in the semis, the native of Chico, Calif., came back to win two wrestlebacks, including a 6-1 victory over Missouri’s Alan Waters in the third-place match.
4th-place finisher —Alan Waters, Missouri, Senior, 33-2
The Tiger was enjoying one of the best-ever regular-season performances by a Missouri wrestler last year as he entered the NCAAs with a spotless 29-0 mark, which also earned him a No. 1 seed. Unfortunately, the native of Kansas City lost a 3-2 tiebreaker to PSU’s Megaludis in the semis and to Cornell’s Garrett in the 2013 third-place bout. Waters has been a starter for coach Brian Smith the past three years, including his true freshman season when he compiled a 39-7 record and two years ago when he was 29-4 and seeded No. 3 in the NCAAs but failed to place.
7th place finisher — David Thorn, Minnesota, Senior, 19-12
Competing against some of the nation’s best 125-pounders in his own conference is why the native of St. Michael, Minn., only finished sixth at the Big Ten Championships and entered the NCAAs unseeded. But after losing 5-2 to Missouri’s Alan Waters in the first round of the national tournament, the Gopher came back to win five wrestlebacks, including three by fall (one of which was a 1:17 flattening of Wyoming’s Tyler Cox) in the seventh-place match.
8. Tyler Cox, Wyoming, Junior, 35-11
One year after taking an Olympic redshirt in 2012, the Gillette, Wyoming native, earned his first All-American honor last March by turning a No. 12 seed into an eighth-place finish in Des Moines. He lost a second-round bout to Appalachian State’s Dominic Parisi, but came back to win three wrestlebacks, including wins over former All-Americans Nico Triggas (seeded 11th) of Ohio State and Nathan Kraisser (seeded 7th) of North Carolina
Other Returning NCAA Qualifiers
• Nathan Kraisser, North Carolina (seeded No. 7), Sophomore, 33-7, Round of 12
• Dominic Parisi, Appalachian State (unseeded), Sophomore, 30-13, reached Round of 12 in 2013 NCAAs
• Sean Boyle, Michigan, Senior, 24-12, Round of 16
• Ed Klimara, Oklahoma State, Sophomore, 29-16, Round of 16
• Steve Mitcheff, Kent State, Junior, 30-13, Round of 16
• Joe DeAngelo, NC State, Senior 8-9, Round of 24
• Josh Martinez, Air Force, Sophomore, 28-11, Round of 24
• Jade Rauser, Utah Valley, Sophomore, 21-10, Round of 24
• Evan Silver, Stanford, Junior, 26-15, Round of 24
• Bill Watterson, Brown, Senior, 21-18, Round of 24
• Rob Deutsch, Old Dominion, Sophomore, 28-11, Round of 32
• Nick Soto, Chattanooga, Junior, 27-8, Round of 32
• Kevon Powell, Ohio U., Sophomore 8-15, Round of 32
• Ben Willeford, Cleveland State, Sophomore, 19-16, Round of 32
• Eric Montoya, Campbell, Sophomore, 33-17, Round of 32
• David Terao, American U., Sophomore, 28-14, Round of 32
• Joe Duca, Indiana, Junior, 15-18, Round of 32
• Max Soria, Buffalo, Junior, 27-14, Round of 32