2016 NCAA Preview: 133 pounds

Notable 133-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 10 133

Updated 2016 NCAA Brackets

1. Nahshon Garrett, Cornell, Senior, Chico, Calif.

cornell 133 Cornell_125_Nahshon Garrett2015-16 Notes: After competing at 125 the last three seasons, the three-time All-American entered the EIWAs with a spotless record (28-0) with eight pins and six technical falls. Garrett has also scored plenty of points, including a 14-9 decision against last year’s NCAA champ Cody Brewer in the Las Vegas Invite.

NCAA Resume: 16-2 (3rd, 2nd, 5th) in three tourneys. Garrett’s finest NCAA moment came in 2015 when he reached the finals before losing to Illinois Jesse Delgado. One year earlier, Garrett stunned Iowa’s defending national champ Matt McDonough in the quarters, then beat top-seed Alan Waters of Missouri for third.  Last March, after getting upset by Zeke Moisey in the second round, Garrett won four straight wrestlebacks, before settling with a fifth-place win over Michigan’s Conor Youtsey.

2. Zane Richards, Illinois, Junior, Carbondale, Ill.

illinois 133 Richards_DSC0369-12015-16 Notes: The Illini entered the Big Tens undefeated (21-0) with five pins and moved as high as No. 2 in the nation when he defeated Iowa’s Cory Clark in sudden victory in January. A few weeks earlier, Richards won the Reno Tournament of Champions.

NCAA Resume: 3-4 in two NCAAs — Richards was seeded fifth last March but was upset by Virginia’s George DiCamillo in the second round and lost his consolation bout to Nebraska’s Eric Montoya. As a freshman, Richards went 2-2 with one of his losses coming in overtime to Iowa’s eventual champ Tony Ramos.

3. Cory Clark, Iowa, Junior, Pleasant Hill, Iowa

iowa 133 Clark, Cory2015-16 Notes: After losing to Illinois’ Zane Richards, the Hawkeye won eight straight heading to the Big Tens and recorded three of his season’s seven pins during the late-season streak. An injury forced Clark to default at the Midlands after reaching the semifinals.

NCAA Resume: 9-3 (5th, 2nd) in two tourneys — After claiming fifth-place as a No. 8 seed in 2014, the Hawkeye moved up to 133 last year and reached the finals as a No. 3 seed, beating Penn State James Gulibon in the semifinals.

4. Cody Brewer, Oklahoma, Senior, Kansas City, Mo.

oklahoma 133 Brewer_Cody2015-16 Notes: Early December was tough on the defending nationals champ who was beaten by Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett at the Las Vegas Invite and was pinned by Oklahoma State’s Kaid Brock … but entered the Big 12s on an eight-match winning streak by scoring a fall or in double digits in every one of those bouts.

NCAA Resume: 12-5 (8th, 7th, 1st) in three tourneys — Seeded 13th a second consecutive national tournament, Brewer surprised everyone last March, when Brewer scored three major decisions, including 13-3 over top-seed Chris Dardanes (Minn.) in the semifinals before beating Iowa’s Cory Clark, 11-8 in the finals.

5. Jordan Conaway, Penn State, Senior, Abbottstown, Pa.

penn state 133 Conaway_Jordan (H-15-MS) 69262015-16 Notes: Returning to 133 pounds, Conaway defeated Virginia’s George DiCamillo to reach the finals of the Southern Scuffle and then won 9 of his final 10 regular-season bouts. That streak included wins over former All-Americans Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State) and Lehigh’s Mason Beckman.

NCAA Resume: 7-5 (8th) in two tourneys — After just missing All-American honors by one match as a true freshman in 2013, Conaway redshirted a year later and returned to the NCAAs last March when the No. 11 seed competed at 125 pounds and earned All-American honors with a R12 win over American’s David Terao.

Other notable wrestlers in alphabetical order:

• Virginia’s George DiCamillo was shooting for his third ACC championship after going 24-3 in the regular season; scoring bonus points in 18 of those victories. That included a 13-3 major against Iowa State’s Earl Hall at the Las Vegas Invite. The Cavalier junior has qualified for two NCAAs, going 3-2 in 2013 and 2-2 last March when he upset Illinois’ Zane Richards in the second round but lost in the Round of 12 to Edinboro’s A.J. Schopp.

• Iowa State senior Earl Hall entered the Big 12s by winning 11 of 12 bouts, including an 11-3 major decision against Lehigh’s Mason Beckman. The native of Homestead, Fla., qualified for the last two NCAAs; finishing eighth at 125 pounds in 2014 when he reached the semifinals as an unseeded wrestler. Last year, the Cyclone moved up to 133 and reached the semis again but lost in the Round of 12 to Lehigh’s Mason Beckman.

• Wisconsin’s Ryan Taylor, who finished seventh nationally last March while competing in his second NCAAs, competed in just nine matches prior to the Big Tens and suffered four losses as a junior. That was a stark contrast to his first two seasons in Madison where he compiled a 46-10 mark.

• Lehigh senior Mason Beckman also dealt with a tough senior season; going 13-9 heading into the EIWAs. This also came after the Mountain Hawk earned two American honors — finishing sixth in 2014 and 2015 — and qualifying for three NCAAs.

Mack McGuire of Kent State has qualified for the NCAAs in his first three seasons with the Flashes; compiling a 3-6 mark, including 2-2 last March when he beat Oklahoma State’s Gary Wayne Harding after earning a No. 16 seed for a second straight year. This year, the senior opened the season by winning the Navy Classic in November before defeating Midlands champ Emilio Saavedra of Old Dominion.

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