2016 NCAA Preview: Heavyweight

Notable Heavyweights 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 Hwt

Updated 2016 NCAA Brackets

1. Kyle Snyder, Ohio State, Sophomore, Woodbine, Md.

Ohio State Mens Wrestling2015-16 Notes: How big of an impact will winning a World freestyle championship have on this Buckeye in the college folkstyle postseason? It gave Snyder enough confidence to move up to heavyweight this winter, but the 216-pound World champ has seen more international freestyle competition than on college. Heading into the Big Tens, Snyder only wrestled in three folkstyle bouts, but all led to bonus points with one major and two tech falls.

NCAA Resume: 4-1 (2nd) in one tournament — Seeded No. 4 at 197 pounds, the Buckeye won his first four bouts, including a 3-2 semifinal over Missouri’s J’den Cox, before losing by fall to Iowa State’s Kyven Gadson in the 2015 finals.

2. Nick Gwiazdowski, NC State, Senior, Delanson, N.Y.

nc state hwt Nick Gwiazdowski2015-16 Notes: Heading into the ACCs, the two-time NCAA champion had won 82 straight college matches, including a 27-0 mark this winter with nine pins and five technical falls. Among his big wins was a 4-3 decision over Arizona State’s Tanner Harms for the Midlands championship and a 4-2 decision against Virginia Tech’s Ty Walz on Feb. 12.

NCAA Resume: 15-3 (8th, 1st, 1st) in three tournaments — Gwiazdowski has not lost a nationals match since 2012 when he finished eighth … as a member of the Binghamton team. Since then, the senior is perfect at the NCAA while representing the Wolfpack and won championships in 2014 (over Minnesota’s Anthony Nelson) and last March (over Michigan’s Adam Coon).

3. Ty Walz, Virginia Tech, Junior, Cleveland, Ohio

virginia tech hwt Walz_Ty_16WR_HEAD_462015-16 Notes: The Hokie won his first 20 bouts of the season, including a 7-3 decision against Oklahoma’s Ross Larson for the Las Vegas Invite title … and more importantly a 3-2 win over Michigan’s defending national runner-up Adam Coon of Michigan on Feb. 21.

NCAA Resume: 7-4 (7th) in two tournaments — Walz officially earned his first All-American honor last March when he won four of five consolation bouts, including a 2-1 overtime win over Oklahoma State’s Austin Marsden in the R12 and a 6-2 decision against Minnesota’s Michael Kroell in the seventh-place match.

4. Adam Coon, Michigan, Junior, Fowlerville, Mich.

Athletics, Leah Howard2015-16 Notes: This has been quite a winter for Coon, the 2015 national runner-up, who won the U.S. Open in Greco-Roman wrestling in December in the midst of winning 15 straight college folkstyle bouts, including 11 bonus wins (six by pin).

NCAA Resume: 6-3 (2nd) in two tournaments — The Wolverine, seeded sixth, advanced to the 2015 finals with a 3-1 sudden victory over Northwestern’s No. 2 Michael McMullan in the semifinals. This came after Coon came up short for AA honors when the No. 4 seed lost in OT to Iowa’s Bobby Telford in the quarters and to Ohio’s Jeremy Johnson in the R12.

5. Austin Marsden, Oklahoma State, Senior, Crystal Lake, Ill.

oklahoma state hwt Austin Marsden2015-16 Notes: The Cowboy entered the Big 12s on a 17-match winning streak, which included a 4-0 win over Appalachian State’s Denzel Dejournette for the Southern Scuffle championship.

NCAA Resume: 6-7 (8th) in three tournaments — The Cowboy earned his only All-American honor two years ago when he beat Boise State’s J.T. Felix in the R12. Last year, Marsden nearly repeated as he won his first two matches before losing in double overtime to Wisconsin’s Connor Medbery and Virginia Tech’s Ty Walz.

Other notable wrestlers in alphabetical order:

• Stanford’s Nathan Butler is looking to improve on last year’s 1-2 NCAA mark as the Cardinal sophomore stood 23-6 with eight pins on the season. This included a third-place finish at the Reno TOC.

Denzel Dejournette hopes to become just the eight All-American in Appalachian State history as the junior from Winston-Salem, N.C., entered the SoCon tournament with a 29-2 record and championships at the Michigan State Open and Keystone Classic. Last year, the Mountaineer finished 33-6, including a 1-2 mark at the NCAAs.

Amarveer Dhesi of Oregon State, an NCAA qualifier in 2014, has responded well after missing last winter because of an offseason knee injury. Entering the Pac-12 tournament with a 24-3 record and 10-match winning streak, he avenged an earlier-season loss to Arizona State’s Tanner Hall. A native of Surrey, Canada, Dhesi won a FILA Junior World championship in 2014.

Tanner Hall of Arizona State, a two-time Junior World team member and three-time Idaho state champion, returned to wrestling this past fall after spending 24 months on a Mormon mission to Uganda. Among his biggest highlights was reaching the Midlands final where he lost by a point to NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski.

Michael Kroells, an eight-place finisher in 2015, looks to continue Minnesota’s All-American run of heavyweights — four by Cole Konrad (2004-07) and Anthony Nelson (2011-14) — as the sophomore stood 27-6 entering the Big Tens.

Joe Stolfi looks to become Bucknell’s sixth different All-American and first since Kevin LeValley’s 7th-place finish in 2011 as the senior from Harleysville, Pa., entered the EIWAs with a 17-1 record and 10 pins. The Bison nearly medaled as a freshman in 2013 but lost in the R12. Last year, an injury forced him to withdraw after splitting two NCAA bouts.

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