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.

Rk School Last week Upcoming
1 Iowa Nov. 19 vs Princeton
2 Penn State Nov. 13 vs Sacred Heart & Oregon State @ Journeyman Duals
3 Oklahoma State Nov. 13 at Stanford
4 Arizona State Nov. 14 at Mountaineer Open in Boone, NC
5 Michigan at Michigan State Open Nov. 14 vs. CSU Bakersfield
6 Missouri Nov. 11 at North Dakota State/Nov. 14 vs Northern Colorado
7 NC State at Citadel Open Nov. 14 Wolfpack WC Open
8t. Minnesota Nov. 13 at Bison Open in Fargo, ND
8t. Ohio State (1-0) def. No Carolina 23-12 Nov. 14 at Intercollegiate Open in Tiffin, Ohio
10 Stanford at Menlo Open Nov. 13 vs. Oklahoma State
11 Cornell Nov. 20 at Stanford
12 Northwestern at Michigan State Open Nov. 13 vs. SIU-Edwardsville
13 Rutgers (3-0) def NJCU, Cleveland State & Binghamton Nov. 13 at Davidson Quad with Clarion & Chattanooga
14 Virginia Tech at Southeast Open in Salem, Va. Nov. 14 at Wolfpack Open
15 Pitt at Clarion Open Nov. 12 at Buffalo, Nov. 13 at Edinboro
16 Iowa State Nov. 27 vs. Army & Cal Baptist
17 Cal Poly at Michigan State Open Nov. 20 vs San Francisco State
18 Northern Iowa Nov. 13 at Grand View
19 Nebraska Nov. 11 vs Neb-Kearney & Chadron State
20t. Illinois at Michigan State Open Nov. 14 at Mountaineer Open in Boone, NC
20t. Lehigh (1-1) lost to Campbell 22-11, def. Oregon State, 21-12 Nov. 14 at Journeyman
20t. Princeton at Southeast Open in Salem, Va. Nov. 19 at Iowa
23t. Oklahoma at Michigan State Open Nov. 13 at West Virginia
23t. Wisconsin (1-0) def Buffalo, 30-3, at Michigan State Open Nov. 12 vs Little Rock, Nov. 13 at Grand View Open
25t. North Carolina (2-1) def. Life & Queens, lost to Ohio State 23-12 Nov. 17 at Nebraska
25t. Wyoming Nov. 27 Wyoming Open
27 No. Colorado (4-0) def. NW Kansas, No. Idaho, Doane, Utah Valley Nov. 14 at Missouri
28 Utah Valley (3-1) def. Doane, No. Idaho, NW Kansas; lost to No. Colo. Nov. 19 at CSU Bakersfield & Cal Baptist
29 Northern Illinois at Michigan State Open Nov. 13 at Rider
30 Campbell (2-1) def. Montreat and Lehigh, lost to Oregon State Nov. 14 at Wolfpack Open