NCAA Preseason Scouting Report: 141 pounds

Updated: October 12, 2022

Photo: Pitt’s Cole Matthews (right) claimed his first All-American honor in 2022 after dealing with injuries in his college career. He hopes to become his school’s first NCAA champion since Keith Gavin, the Panthers’ current coach, who won a national title in 2008.

With the top four wrestlers from last year’s NCAAs — including champion Nick Lee and North Carolina’s runner-up Kizhan Clarke — finishing their eligibility, this is expected to be a wide-open weight in 2023.

Check out WIN’s preseason preview at 141 pounds and see who the top contenders are to finish as champion at the 2023 NCAAs next March in Tulsa, Okla. WIN will update its rankings in the November issue as wrestlers finalize their weight classes for this season.

141-pound NCAA Wrestlers to Watch

• There are four other returning All-Americans from 2022: Pitt’s Cole Matthews (5th place) and Iowa’s Real Woods (6th, while wrestling for Stanford); and a pair of wrestlers who were seeded lower but made the medal stand: Minnesota’s Jakob Bergeland (7th) and Penn’s C.J. Composto (8th).

Cole Matthews

Matthews, from Greenville, Pa., has qualified for two NCAAs, including 2021 when he overcame an injury. Last year, he reached the semifinals as a No. 6 seed with a victory over Rutgers All-American Sebastian Rivera before losing in a tiebreaker to Clarke. 11 former Panthers have won NCAA titles; the last was current Pitt coach Keith Gavin in 2008.

Real Woods

Woods, a native of Albuquerque, N.M., has won two Pac-12 championships, qualified for three NCAA tourneys and brings one All-American honor with him after transferring to Iowa. He reached last year’s semis, where he only lost 3-2 to Penn State’s eventual champ Nick Lee.

Jake Bergeland

Bergeland is from Hugo, Minn., waited four years to earn a starting spot for the Gophers. The graduate student  was seeded No. 10 at the 2022 NCAAs, but earned All-American status when he pinned No. 5-seed Andrew Alirez of Northern Colorado in the Round of 12.

CJ Composto

Composto, from Westfield, N.J., was seeded No. 12 after qualifying for his first national tournament as an EIWA runner-up. The Quaker reached the quarters after beating Northern Colorado’s Alirez in overtime, then beat Michigan All-American Stevan Micic in the Round of 12.

Clay Carlson

• Another former All-American is South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson, who finished seventh nationally in 2021. Last year, the native of Willmar, Minn., qualified for another NCAAs, but finished 3-2 in Detroit, losing in the Round of 12.

Andrew Alirez

• Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez first made a splash in 2020 when he qualified for the cancelled NCAAs at 149 pounds as a true freshman. Since then, the native of Greeley, Colo.; saw injuries end his chance to compete in the 2021 NCAAs before losing in the Round of 12 last March in Detroit. But, he did win his school’s first Big 12 championship in 2022 and advanced farther in the NCAAs than any former Bear since Justin Gaethje in 2010.

Ryan Jack had big “family” shoes to fill at NC State, where his older brother Kevin Jack won three All-American honors for the Wolfpack. After sharing starting time as a true freshman in 2021, this native of Danbury, Conn., was the No. 3 seed at the ACC tournament where he beat eventual NCAA runner-up Kizhan Clarke before losing 3-2 to Pitt’s Cole Matthews in the final. He split four bouts at the NCAAs and was eliminated in overtime by SDSU’s Carlson.

• Missouri’s Alan Hart has qualified for the last three NCAAs, including last year when the native of Akron, Ohio., finished second in the Big 12s. A No. 9 seed in Detroit, the Tiger beat Michigan’s former All-American Stevan Micic. 

• Columbia’s Matt Kazimir is still looking for his first All-American honor but the native of Auburn Hills, Ohio, certainly has made people take notice out East. First, the Lion finished second in the 2020 EIWA Championships. Then, after returning from a freestyle-only winter in 2021, Kazimir won his school’s first conference championship since 2018 and 24th all-time. He then finished 1-2 at the NCAAs.

• North Dakota State’s Dylan Droegemueller beat Kazimir in last year’s NCAA wrestlebacks as the Bison from Champlin, Minn., competed in his first national tournament.

• Penn State’s Beau Bartlett, a qualifier at 149 in 2022, is expected to move down as replacement for Nick Lee. 

2022 NCAA All-American Matches

1st – 1. Nick Lee (Penn State) dec. 15. Kizhan Clarke (North Carolina), 10-3 

3rd – 3. Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers) dec. 8. Grant Willits (Oregon State), 6-5

5th – 6. Cole Matthews (Pitt) dec. 4. Real Woods (Stanford), 7-3

7th – 10. Jacob Bergland (Minnesota) major dec. 12. C.J. Composito (Penn), 10-0

Click here to view WIN’s Preseason Team Tournament Power Index

WIN’s 141-pound Preseason Individual Rankings

Wt Name School Year 2022 NCAA
1 Cole Matthews Pitt Sr. 5th
2 Real Woods Iowa Sr. 6th (Stanford)
3 Jakob Bergeland Minnesota Gr. 7th
4 CJ Composto Penn Jr. 8th
5 Andrew Alirez Northern Colorado Jr. R12
6 Clay Carlson South Dakota State Sr. R12
7 Allan Hart Missouri Sr. R24
8 Ryan Jack NC State So. R16
9 Carter Young Oklahoma State So. R32
10 Dylan Droegemueller North Dakota State Sr. R16
11 Matt Kazmir Columbia Sr. R24
12 Joseph Zargo Wisconsin So. R24
13 Frankie Tal Shahar Northwestern Jr. R24
14 Dylan D’Emilio Ohio State Jr. R24
15 Quinn Kinner Rider Jr. R24
16 Parker Filius Purdue Gr. R24
17 Beau Bartlett Penn State Jr. R24/149
18 Cole Mattin Michigan Jr. Reserve
19 Shannon Hanna Campbell Sr. R32
20 Jesse Vasquez Arizona State So. Injured

Click here to view WIN’s 125-pound Preview

Click here to view WIN’s 133-pound Preview

WIN will preview additional weights between now and Oct. 21

  • Oct. 13 – 149 pounds
  • Oct. 14 – 157 pounds
  • Oct. 17 – 165 pounds
  • Oct. 18 – 174 pounds
  • Oct. 19 – 184 pounds
  • Oct. 20 – 197 pounds
  • Oct. 21 – Heavyweight