NCAA Week 1 Review: OSU-UNC featured 149-pound finalists … at different weights

Updated: November 8, 2021

Photo: Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso (right) and North Carolina’s Austin O’Connor squared off in last year’s NCAA final at 149 pounds, with the Tar Heel prevailing for the national title. The two are wrestling at different weights this winter and each won bouts in the Buckeye dual victory over the Tar Heels this past weekend. (John Sachs photo)

By Mike Finn

The majority of the top college wrestling teams will officially open their 2021-22 season this weekend, but a few NCAA Div. I schools — Ohio State, North Carolina, Lehigh and Campbell — ranked in WIN’s preseason rankings — made some noise last weekend to start off a season that will end next March at the NCAA Division I Championships in Detroit, Mich.

WIN Magazine will begin its weekly Tournament Power Index rating of teams and individual rankings next Monday (Nov. 15) and its team dual rankings on Nov. 29 after all teams have started their season.

The dual meet between Ohio State (tied for 8th in WIN’s Tournament Power Index) and North Carolina (25th) saw the Buckeyes prevail 23-12, Nov. 7 in Columbus, Ohio, and the dual featured two wrestlers who appeared in last year’s 149-pound final. 2021 NCAA champ Austin O’Connor has moved up to 157 pounds, where he was ranked fifth in WIN’s preseason rankings, posted his second pin of this young season with a 3:44 fall against OSU’s Jashon Hubbard. Meanwhile, Sammy Sasso, who lost to O’Connor in last year’s NCAA final, is ranked No. 2 this preseason (behind Cornell’s two-time champ Yianni Diakomihalis) and opened this season with 4-3 victory over Zach Sherman, who earned All-American honors at 141 pounds last winter. Meanwhile, Ohio State redshirt freshman Carson Kharchla, ranked No. 7 at 165 pounds, opened his varsity career with a major decision over UNC’s Sonny Santiago.

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Meanwhile in Corvalis, Ore., Oregon State (ranked No. 40 in WIN’s preseason TPI) entertained No. 20 Lehigh and No. 30 Campbell in a triangular … and all three teams left the event 1-1. Lehigh defeated OSU, 24-12, but lost to Campbell, 22-11, while the Beavers of the Pac-12 defeated the Camels of the SoCon, 23-12. Among the wrestlers who went 2-0 on the weekend were Campbell’s Josh Heil (ranked 15th at 149), Oregon State’s Grant Willits (14th at 141) and Lehigh’s All-American heavyweight Jordan Wood (ranked No. 8).

Rutgers opened its season with three team victories, but the Scarlet Knights’ Sammy Alvarez (ranked No. 9 at 133) lost by fall to Binghamton senior Anthony Sobotker.

There were also several preseason tournaments, including at the Southeast Open in Salem, Va., where 2019 165-pound NCAA champ Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech (ranked third by WIN) won a championship at 174 pounds. Other Hokies to win titles were Korbin Myers (No. 5) at 133 and heavyweight Nathan Traxler (No. 15). Princeton also competed at the Southeast Open, including Quincey Monday (No. 9) winning a championship at 157 pounds.

Winning championships at the Michigan State Open were Oklahoma’s unranked Tony Madrigal, who upset Michigan State All-American Rayvon Foley at 133 pounds, and Cal Poly’s Evan Wick, the former All-American transfer from Wisconsin.

Updating WIN’s Preseason Top 30 Teams

The following breaks down how the Top 30 teams in WIN’s 2021-22 preseason rankings have performed … and what is scheduled this weekend … as the season officially opened on Nov. 1.

RkSchoolLast weekUpcoming
1IowaNov. 19 vs Princeton
2Penn StateNov. 13 vs Sacred Heart & Oregon State @ Journeyman Duals
3Oklahoma StateNov. 13 at Stanford
4Arizona StateNov. 14 at Mountaineer Open in Boone, NC
5Michiganat Michigan State OpenNov. 14 vs. CSU Bakersfield
6MissouriNov. 11 at North Dakota State/Nov. 14 vs Northern Colorado
7NC Stateat Citadel OpenNov. 14 Wolfpack WC Open
8t.MinnesotaNov. 13 at Bison Open in Fargo, ND
8t.Ohio State (1-0)def. No Carolina 23-12Nov. 14 at Intercollegiate Open in Tiffin, Ohio
10Stanfordat Menlo OpenNov. 13 vs. Oklahoma State
11CornellNov. 20 at Stanford
12Northwesternat Michigan State OpenNov. 13 vs. SIU-Edwardsville
13Rutgers (3-0)def NJCU, Cleveland State & BinghamtonNov. 13 at Davidson Quad with Clarion & Chattanooga
14Virginia Techat Southeast Open in Salem, Va.Nov. 14 at Wolfpack Open
15Pittat Clarion OpenNov. 12 at Buffalo, Nov. 13 at Edinboro
16Iowa StateNov. 27 vs. Army & Cal Baptist
17Cal Polyat Michigan State OpenNov. 20 vs San Francisco State
18Northern IowaNov. 13 at Grand View
19NebraskaNov. 11 vs Neb-Kearney & Chadron State
20t.Illinoisat Michigan State OpenNov. 14 at Mountaineer Open in Boone, NC
20t.Lehigh (1-1)lost to Campbell 22-11, def. Oregon State, 21-12Nov. 14 at Journeyman
20t.Princetonat Southeast Open in Salem, Va.Nov. 19 at Iowa
23t.Oklahomaat Michigan State OpenNov. 13 at West Virginia
23t.Wisconsin (1-0)def Buffalo, 30-3, at Michigan State OpenNov. 12 vs Little Rock, Nov. 13 at Grand View Open
25t.North Carolina (2-1)def. Life & Queens, lost to Ohio State 23-12Nov. 17 at Nebraska
25t.WyomingNov. 27 Wyoming Open
27No. Colorado (4-0)def. NW Kansas, No. Idaho, Doane, Utah ValleyNov. 14 at Missouri
28Utah Valley (3-1)def. Doane, No. Idaho, NW Kansas; lost to No. Colo.Nov. 19 at CSU Bakersfield & Cal Baptist
29Northern Illinoisat Michigan State OpenNov. 13 at Rider
30Campbell (2-1)def. Montreat and Lehigh, lost to Oregon StateNov. 14 at Wolfpack Open




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