2024 NCAAs Preview • 174 pounds


Second-Round Notes

  • The predicted quarterfinal between two former champs will happen Friday morning after Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis and Penn State’s Carter Starocci won their second-round matches. The Hokie, a 2019 NCAA champ and No. 1 seed, scored the match’s only takedown with a minute left to beat Rutgers’ Jackson Turley, 5-2. The Nittany Lion, a three-time NcAA champ and given the No. 9 seed after injuries forced him to default in the Big Tens, defeated Cal Poly’s Adam Kemp, 5-3, as he scored the final five points. That included a first-period takedown after the Mustang jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a takedown seven seconds into the bout.
  • Northern Iowa’s Jared Simma, a No. 28 seed, became a surprising quarterfinalist when the Panther, scored a reversal with five seconds left to beat North Carolina’s No. 21 seed Tyler Eischens, 6-5.

First-Round Notes

  • Northern Iowa’s Jared Simma, seeded No. 26, used a four-point nearfall in the second period and a third-period reversal to stun Harvard’s No. 5 seed Philip Conigliaro 7-0.
  • North Carolina’s No, 21 seed Tyler Eischens, a transfer from Stanford, scored a takedown with 17 seconds left to upset Iowa’s No. 12 seed Patrick Kennedy, 9-7. The two wrestlers swapped takedowns in the first period before the Hawkeye scored a second-period reversal and had over two minutes of riding time. He tied the match on an escape with four seconds into the third period before the Tar Heel decided the bout.


The following is a look at WIN’s Top-10 rated wrestlers, plus other notable wrestlers, at 174 pounds before the conference/NCAA qualifying tournaments. Go to WIN-Magazine.com for an updated NCAA preview after the qualifiers.

1. Carter Starocci, Penn State, Sr., Erie, Pa.

Note: On a 63-match winning streak before the Big Tens, but his postseason was put in doubt when Starocci injured his knee in regular-season finale win over Joey Arnold of Edinboro.

Season/Career Record: 12-0/72-2

NCAA Resume: Fourth Nationals after winning three straight NCAA titles; over Iowa’s Michael Kemerer in 2021, Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis in 2022 and over Nebraska’s Mike Labriola last March. His career NCAA mark is 15-0

Regular-season Notes: Scored bonus points in 11 of his 12 victories before the Big Tens.

2. Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech, Sr., Somerset, N.J.

Note: Became school’s first NCAA champion in 2019 as a No. 8 seed.

Season/Career Record: 13-0/97-9

NCAA Resume: Fifth Nationals with the first coming at 165 in 2019 when he won only title. After taking an Olympic redshirt in 2020, he failed to place in 2021, then moved up to 174 and claimed second in 2022 and fourth last March. His career mark is 15-5.

Regular-season Notes: Eight victories were bonus-point wins.

3. Shane Griffith, 

Michigan, Sr., 

Westwood, N.J.

Note: Before transferring this past year, Griffith “saved Stanford wrestling” after he won an NCAA title in 2021 when the school first announced it was dropping the sport, but changed its mind after the NCAAs.

Season/Career Record: 12-2/90-13

NCAA Resume: Fifth Nationals, including the cancelled 2020 NCAAs after he was undefeated at 25-0. All previous AA honors came at 165. After winning at title in 2021, he settled for second place to Missouri’s Keegan O’Toole in 2022, then claimed fifth place last March. His career NCAA record is 14-3.

Regular-season Notes: Griffith won a 4-1 sudden victory over Cade Devos on Jan. 4.

4. Cade DeVos, South Dakota State, Jr., Altoona, Iowa

Note: Started his Jackrabbit career at 157 pounds in 2021 and qualified for NCAAs that season.

Season/Career Record: 18-1/83-30

NCAA Resume: Fourth Nationals, looking to earn his first All-American honor. Last year, he reached the blood round as a No. 13 seed. His overall NCAA record is 5-6.

Regular-season Notes: Won the Las Vegas Invite in December. Also beat Missouri’s Peyton Mocco, 5-0, on Feb. 18.

5. Phillip Conigliaro, Harvard, Sr., Dedham, Mass.

Note: Was a 2017 National Prep champ for Belmont Hill School.

Season/Career Record: 20-1/86-22

NCAA Resume: Fourth Nationals, including the 2020 cancelled NCAAs. He has yet to place, reaching R12 in 2022 and R16 in 2023. His overall mark is 5-4.

Regular-season Notes: Entered the EIWAs with a 15-match winning streak, including 4-2 win over Penn’s Nick Incontrera on Feb. 4.

6. Nick Incontrera, Penn, Jr., 

Flemington, N.J.

Note: He first arrived at Penn in 2019 but competed for the PRTC for two years after the pandemic affected Ivy League wrestling.

Season/Career Record: 


NCAA Resume: Third Nationals and looking to earn his first AA honor after going 1-2 in 2022 and 0-2 last March.

Regular-season Notes: Won 5 of 6 matches at the Midlands in December after being Iowa’s Patrick Kennedy, 10-2, in a dual.

7. Patrick Kennedy, Iowa, So., 

Kasson-Mantorville, Minn.

Note: Was a four-time Minnesota state high school champion.

Season/Career Record: 12-4/34-10

NCAA Resume: Second Nationals after splitting four matches at 165 last March in Tulsa.

Regular-season Notes: Wrestling up a weight from last season, Kennedy defeated Illinois’ Edmond Ruth, 5-1, on Jan. 26.

8. Edmond Ruth, Illinois, Jr., 

Harrisburg, Pa.

Note: His brother, Edward Ruth, was a three-time NCAA champ for Penn State and is now an assistant coach at Illinois. Edmond started his career at Lehigh but wrestled unattached in 2022 before transferring to Illinois in 2023.

Season/Career Record: 18-2/48-10

NCAA Resume: Second Nationals after being eliminated in the blood round last March, when he went 5-3 as a No. 9 seed.

Regular-season Notes: Defeated Ohio State’s Rocco Welsh, 2-1, on Jan. 12.

9. Rocco Welsh, Ohio State, Fr., Waynesburg, Pa.

Note: Was a two-time PIAA and Ironman champ from Waynesburg Central High.

Season/Career Record: 15-3/15-3

NCAA Resume: First Nationals

Regular-season Notes: Scored bonus points in 10 of his victories.

10. Peyton Mocco, Missouri, Sr., West Allis, Wisc.

Note: Won two Wisconsin state titles.

Season/Career Record: 10-3/89-31

NCAA Resume: Fifth Nationals, starting with the cancelled 2020 NCAAs at 165. After that, the Tiger moved up to 174, where he reached the R16 and R12 rounds in consecutive years before claiming his first AA honor (8th) last March. His overall record is 8-7. 

Regular-season Notes: Eight of his wins were with bonus points.

Others to watch

• Cal Poly’s Adam Kemp is the son of Wisconsin’s legendary wrestler Lee Kemp. Adam, who started his career at Fresno State, before transferring to Cal Poly, also qualified for the 2022 NCAAs (going 1-2). The Mustang was 13-3 before the Pac-12, including a win over Missouri’s Peyton Mocco.

• Columbia senior Lennox Wolak first came in 2020 but did not qualify for a Nationals until last March when went 1-2 in Tulsa.  

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