Brief Weight Class Outlook
Parody could be the name of the game this year at 165lbs, as this weight class returns some experienced heavy hitters that could all contend for the Crown come March.
Leading the charge is returning 2x NCAA All-American, Kyle Hatch of Wabash. Hatch placed 8th at 157lbs in 2018 before moving up to 165lbs and placing 6th in 2019. Prior to the cancellation, Hatch entered the 2020 NCAA Championships as the #1-Seeded wrestler at the weight class. He did not compete in the NWCA event last winter.
Looking to challenge Hatch is fellow 2x NCAA All-American, Braden Birt of Millikin University. Birt placed 7th at 149lbs in 2018, 6th at 157lbs in 2019, and was the #2-Seeded wrestler at 165lbs in 2020. Birt also won the 2021 NWCA National Title in March and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. Is this the year that Hatch and Birt square off on the big stage on Saturday night?
Mike Ross, a 2020 transfer from Wartburg College to Johnson & Wales, is another returning All-American, placing 8th in 2018 at 165lbs for the Knights.
Seven other National Qualifiers return from 2020, as well as seven of the eight 2021 NWCA All-Americans. Each looking for their place on the podium in 2022.
Kyle Hatch - Wabash College - 2x NCAA All-American (6th, 8th), 3x NCAA National Qualifier (2020, 2019, 2018)
Braden Birt - Millikin University - 2x NCAA All-American (6th, 7th), 3x NCAA National Qualifier (2020, 2019, 2018), 2021 NWCA National Champion (165lbs)
Mike Ross - Johnson & Wales - 2018 All-American (8th, 165lbs)
Zane Mulder - Wartburg College - 2021 NWCA National Runner-Up (165lbs)
Phil Rogers - US Coast Guard Academy - 2021 NWCA All-American (3rd, 165lbs), 2020 National Qualifier, 2020 Northeast Regional Champion
Dominick Reyes - Johns Hopkins - 2x NCAA National Qualifier (2020, 2018)
Luke Reicosky - John Carroll University - 2020 National Qualifier, 2020 Central Regional Third Place
Charlie Grygas - Oswego State - 2020 National Qualifier, 2020 Mideast Regional Third Place
Wrestlers To Keep An Eye On In ‘21-’22
Gabe Fiser - Loras College - 2021 NWCA All-American (4th, 165lbs)
Casey Allen - Cornell College - 2021 NWCA All-American (5th, 165lbs)
Alex Turley - Averett University - 2021 NWCA All-American (7th, 165lbs)
Ryker Kurimsky - Coe College - 2021 NWCA All-American (8th, 165lbs)
2021 NWCA Nationals Placers
Braden Birt - Millikin University
Zane Mulder - Wartburg College
Phil Rogers - US Coast Guard Academy
Gabe Fiser - Loras College
Casey Allen - Cornell College
Rafael Roman - North Central College
Alex Turley - Averett University
Ryker Kuriminski - Coe College
Two notable wrestlers headline a transfer class from 2020, but who will see action in NCAA competition for the first time in 2021-22.
Zane Mulder - Wartburg College - Transfer from Iowa State University. Mulder placed 2nd at the 2021 NWCA Nationals in his first national appearance for the Knights
Mike Ross - Johnson & Wales - Transfer from Wartburg College. Ross returns home to his New England Roots. He finished 8th in 2018, before departing in 2020, where he did not compete.
Notable Roster Omissions
Antwon Pugh - Wartburg College/Mount Union College - Pugh was the National Champion at 157lbs in 2019, before moving up to 165lbs where he was seeded 2nd at the NCAA Championships. After completing his undergraduate career at Mount Union, Pugh transferred to Wartburg College to finish out his eligibility. He is not on the Wartburg roster and rumor has it that he will no longer compete due to personal reasons.
Zack Lawrence - Springfield College - The 2020 Northeast Regional Finalist and National Qualifier is not listed on the Pride’s roster. It appears he is no longer enrolled at the institution.
Dempsey King - Rochester Institute of Technology - It appears King has graduated and moved on from wrestling
Mitchell Hertel - UW-La Crosse - Eligible for graduation, Hertel seems to have taken the next steps in his life and is not on the UW-LAX roster as of yet.
Rafael Roman - North Central College - After coming up just short of qualifying in 2020, Roman capped off his wrestling career with an All-American finish at the 2021 NWCA event. He has hung up his shoes on a high note.