Back in 2008, I wrote my annual report breaking down the best wrestlers who didn't qualify for the NCAA championships. This ended up being the final year of the old qualification system based on historical data. The allocation process was based on the number of wrestlers who reached the Round of 12 in a five-year window. There were no national at-large bids and the conferences determined wildcard selections on post-tournament coaches meetings, often times getting heated. It might have been wrestling's most political spot.

With the current system seemingly being “worked” with top wrestlers avoiding losses in tournaments by pulling out via medical forfeit, there's been chatter about how to fix the problem.

Let's also remember, the old system was terrible.

Smaller conferences left good wrestlers home to try to play the system to try to gain future qualifiers rather than reward the wrestlers who had good seasons that year. One example I cite often is from 2007, when the old CAA opted to take FOUR wrestlers at 174 pounds to try to capitalize on the weight dominated that year by Ben Askren. The depth (or perceived lack there-of) of the weight was viewed as optimal to get more wrestlers into the Round of 12 and help the CAA gain future bids.

What was the end result? Those four wrestlers – Rider's Doug Umbehauer, Binghamton's Josh Patterson, Drexel's Nick Kozar and Hofstra's Alton Lucas – collectively didn't win a match. To their defense, Lucas placed in 2008, while Umbehauer and Patterson both placed in 2009. Left home in 2007 was returning qualifier Ryan Williams of Old Dominion, who would eventually make the NCAA finals, also in 2009. He finished third in the CAA behind All-Americans Charles Griffin of Hofstra and Don Fisch of Rider. Not like he was third in a bad weight or anything.

There are numerous examples of the rigidity of the old system penalizing one bad day, which does still exist in some degree in the smaller conferences, but mainly for the fringe qualifiers. There's also plenty of examples historically with wacky wildcard selections. One of the more interesting situations happened here in 2008, with returning NCAA finalist Craig Henning not placing in the top eight in the Big Ten tournament and failing to qualify, while a sub-.500 wrestler, Caleb Flores of Northern Iowa, got a wildcard out of his conference, or in that instance, the West Region. I do feel bad using him for this example repeatedly though. The details on Henning are below as well as a comparative wildcard choice passed over in favor of Flores.

Upon reading this again, the transitional period reared its head with eventual All-American Ben Kjar unable to compete as Utah Valley completed its SEVEN-YEAR transition from a junior college to a Division I institution. Kjar and ODU's Kaylen Baxter led Division I in wins that year – and neither were in the tournament.

So here's that old story, which I found from a sports blog site called ArmchairGM, where I used to cross-promote features InterMat features.

The rankings used were InterMat's. This was originally published March 15, 2008.

Staying Home: Top wrestlers not qualifying for the 2008 NCAA Division I Championships

Life's not fair, and apparently, neither is the qualifying process for the NCAA Championships from the smaller conferences. With the Big 12 clamoring for more bids, smaller conferences also want the NCAA to remove the cap to give them more bids to the nationals. Each year, quality wrestlers are sitting in the stands or back in their dorms and apartments wondering what else they had to do over the course of a season to get that wild card. Was it because of a bad weekend they're sitting home? Is their school in a transitional year? Here are the top wrestlers in 2007-08 that won't be heading to the Division I championships … for one reason or another. In all, 15 ranked wrestlers heading into the conference championships failed to qualify.

125 pounds
Andrew Novak, Eastern Michigan

He’s not going to raise any eyebrows with a 17-16 record, but Novak is the sentimental pick to earn any award with the word “hosed” in it. Novak beat #18 Luke Smith in the MAC Championship semifinals, earning the right to wrestle Kent State’s Nic Bedelyon for the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament. Well, Novak’s win wasn’t enough as he was passed over for one of the nine wildcards to St. Louis … but Smith was chosen over him, so why even wrestle the tournament? Novak’s best win of the season was against Division I wins leader Ben Kjar of Utah Valley State.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 17-16
MAC Finish: 2nd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (1): Luke Smith (Central Michigan)

Drew Forshey, North Carolina
The 2005 ACC Champion was poised for a return trip to the NCAAs last year and he was thwarted by an opening round loss at the ACC Tournament. This year, Forshey forged his way back into the finals, only to fall to Virginia sophomore Ross Gitomer. In a conference with only four wild cards, Forshey didn’t have any real bad losses – save a November loss to Central Michigan reserve Matt Steintrager – but Forshey he was also out the last month of the season after defaulting out of his Feb. 2 match with Drexel’s Steve Mytych.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 15-8
ACC Finish: 2nd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Dave Tomasette (Hofstra); Tony Mustari (Northern Colorado)

Brendan Byrne, Maryland
Byrne finished third in the ACC behind Ross Gitomer and Drew Forshey. At 19-12 and a third place finish in conference, it was pretty clear Byrne’s sophomore season was done after he lost to former Blair Academy teammate Gitomer. He spent a part of the early season nationally ranked.
Feb. 26 Rank; NR
Record: 19-12
ACC Place: 3rd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (5): Steve Mytych (Drexel) twice; Nic Bedelyon (Kent State), Brandon Kinney (Columbia), Ross Gitomer (Virginia)

Ben Altman, Davidson
Altman, a sophomore from Delaware with a big-win attitude and was in the Top 10 statistically in major decisions across Division I. He finished second behind UT-Chattanooga’s Javier Maldonado and didn’t pick up one of the five wildcards from the Southern Conference.
Feb. 26 Rank: NR
Record: 23-12
SoCon Place: 2nd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (1): Jonathan Bittinger (Duquesne).

Ben Kjar, Utah Valley
Kjar led Division I in wins this season, but he and his Wolverine teammates are still ineligible for the post-season until the 2009-10 season. Nevertheless, Utah Valley remains a charter member of the Western Wrestling Conference and Kjar remains one of the toughest guns in the west. A former Junior Freestyle National Champion, Kjar will likely have two chances to reach the NCAA tournament in his final two years.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 39-9
West Region Place: DNC
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Marcos Orozco (UC Davis), Mike Rodriguez (Cornell)

133 pounds
Sean Clair, Eastern Michigan

After reeling off 26 victories in his first 29 matches, Eastern Michigan sophomore Sean Clair couldn’t have picked a worse time to have a bad stretch of matches. Clair ended the season by losing four of his last five, including a damaging loss to Ohio’s Quentin Keyes in the opening round of the MAC Championship in overtime. Clair had a chance to get back and battle for a wildcard, but again lost in overtime, this time to returning qualifier Conor Beebe of Central Michigan.
Feb. 26 Rank: #15
Record: 27-7
MAC Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (5): Christian Smith (Liberty), Rick Deubel (Edinboro), Seth Ciasulli (Lehigh), Terreyl Williams (Appalachian State), Conor Beebe (Central Michigan).

Eric Albright, Virginia
Two-time NCAA qualifier Eric Albright was upset in the opening round of the ACC Tournament by N.C. State’s Darius Little, effectively ending his chance at improving on last year’s solid run at the NCAA Championships. Albright finished third and has wins over five NCAA qualifiers, including #2 Mike Grey of Cornell. With only four wildcards in the ACC and the slew of upsets that took place in College Park, Albright will have to play a waiting game, as he’s the second alternate from the conference.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 26-6
ACC Place: 3rd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (5): Mike Grey (Cornell); Billy Ashnault (Lock Haven), Seth Ciasulli (Lehigh), Terreyl Williams (Appalachian State), Steve Bell (Maryland).

141 pounds
Joe Caramanica, N.C. State

After moving down from 149 pounds, where he has qualified for the last two NCAA Championships, Joe Caramanica suffered a knee injury at the worst possible time and ultimately fell to fourth at the ACC tournament, hardly good enough to merit a wild card in the 14-bid conference. While his performance before the tournament was absolutely worthy of a bid, an upset loss to Virginia Nick Nelson sent him to the consolation bracket in the ACC championship and then a loss to North Carolina’s Nick Stabile was the final blow. He was 23-2 heading into the post-season.
Feb. 26 Rank:#9
Record: 24-4
ACC Place: 4th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (6): Zack Bailey (Oklahoma), Dan LeClere (Iowa), Torsten Gillespie (Edinboro), Ryan Williams (Old Dominion), Germane Lindsey (Ohio), John Kohler (Maryland),

Eric Kruger, Central Michigan
With the MAC only bringing 19 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, it’s inevitable the conference tournament will have some upsets. The nature of the six-team bracket and true-second format will give wrestlers a second-chance to qualify, but not if they can’t get there first. Kruger was upset by Pat McLemore of Northern Illinois in the championship bracket at the MAC tournament and then was knocked to fourth by Ohio true freshman Germane Lindsey. Kruger, a redshirt junior, will have a chance to compete next season, but he won’t be joining the rest of his Chippewa teammates on the mats in St. Louis. He had a solid season, but is a victim of the upset bug that seems to love messing with MAC wrestlers.
Feb. 26 Rank:#13
Record: 24-9
MAC Place: 4th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (7): Jon Kohler (Maryland), Nexi Delgado (UC Davis), Chris Drouin (Arizona State), Nick Gallick (Iowa State), J Jaggers (Ohio State), Cody Cleveland (UT-Chattanooga), Germane Lindsey (Ohio)

Ryan Prater, Illinois
The true freshman stepped in for the injured Troy Tirapelle and looked poised to make the NCAA Championships in one of the toughest weights in the country in one of the deepest weights in the Big Ten. Well, an upset in the championship bracket sent second-seeded Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin to Prater’s draw down low and a fall ended his hopes at a top-eight finish and a potential wildcard berth. The rigors of the Big Ten schedule might have been his undoing down the stretch.
Feb. 26 Rank:#15
Record: 20-11
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (5): C.J. Ettelson (Northern Iowa), Drew Lashaway (Kent State), Ryan Williams (Old Dominion), Tim Harner (Liberty), Kyle Ruschell (Wisconsin),

Kyle Borshoff, American
Starting off the season 12-6, Borshoff got on a roll at mid-season. Heading into the EIWA tournament, he’d won 10 straight matches, but he was upended by three foes in the conference tournament and was left with a sixth-place finish. He went 15-1 in dual meets this season and was ranked for a two-week stretch during February.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 24-9
EIWA Place: 6th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (3): Drew Headlee (Pittsburgh), Ryan Williams (Old Dominion), Steve Adamcsik (Rutgers)

Elijah Nacita, Cal State-Bakersfield
Talented freshman came into the Pac-10 Championships as the third seed and wilted. Nacita won 13 of his last 14 heading into the conference tournament before a loss to Arizona State's Drouin in the Pac-10 tournament. Then came another loss to Teddy Astorga of Cal State-Fullerton. Nacita won the California Collegiate Championship and Menlo Opens and finished fourth in Reno.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 26-10
Pac-10 Place: 7th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Chris Drouin (Arizona State), Nexi Delgado (UC Davis).

149 pounds
Kaylen Baxter, Old Dominion

The upset bug bit Alaska native Kaylen Baxter both ways at the CAA Tournament and prevented him from qualifying for the second straight year. Baxter was upended by Hofstra’s Mitch Smith in the CAA quarterfinals, but it wasn’t his upset which kept him out of the tournament – it was Binghamton’s Kyle Fried’s first-round loss. Fried has won four matches over Baxter in the last two seasons and as the two seeded wrestlers met in the consolation rounds, only one would move on to qualify. The win went to Fried in overtime and Baxter’s solid season ended short of a medal. With 38 wins during the regular season, Baxter was second in the nation in wins in Division I and ranked for much of the season.
Feb 26 Rank: NR
Record: 39-11
CAA Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (5): Jake Patacsil (Purdue), David Jauregui (West Virginia), Daryl Cocozzo (Edinboro), Spencer Manley (Navy), Matt Fittery (Lock Haven)

Jeremy Doyle, Cal State-Bakersfield
Roadrunners senior Jeremy Doyle seemed to hit stride in late December after placing eighth in the Southern Scuffle and beating two future NCAA qualifiers along the way. Perhaps the strain of 45 matches took its toll on Doyle, who lost to Cal Poly’s Eric Maldonado twice in the Pac-10 tournament, an opponent he’d beaten by major decision a month earlier. Doyle also won the California Collegiates.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 31-14
Pac-10 Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (3): Brandon Carter (Central Michigan), Daryl Cocozzo (Edinboro), Eric Medina (Maryland)

D.J. Meagher, Cornell
After being thrust into the starting lineup at 149 pounds early in the season, the New Hampshire native quickly acclimated himself to Division I wrestling, but while he had two wins over NCAA qualifiers during the year, his nine losses were all to qualifiers. He fell victim to a deep weight class in the EIWA and probably would have gotten a wildcard had he finished fifth, but a 4-1 loss to Constantino ended that chance.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 21-9
EIWA Place: 6th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Anthony Constantino (Columbia), Bryce Saddoris (Navy)

157 pounds
Craig Henning, Wisconsin

The most notable wrestler in the nation not to qualify was easily Craig Henning. Last year’s NCAA runner-up was upended by fourth-seeded C.P. Schlatter of Minnesota in the Big Ten quarterfinals, then inexplicably lost in the consolation round to Purdue’s Nick Bertucci 8-3 in a tiebreaker. That loss meant Henning would not place in the top eight and couldn’t be placed on the board for a wildcard. Tough way for the talented senior to end his career after coming close to winning the NCAA championship a year ago.
Feb. 26 Rank:#5
Record: 22-5
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (8): Jordan Leen (Cornell), Jason Johnstone (Ohio State), Cyler Sanderson (Iowa State), Ryan Morningstar (Iowa), Jeff Marsh (Michigan), Matt Kocher (Pittsburgh), Michael Chandler (Missouri), Tyler Sherfey (Boise State).

Nate Patterson, Binghamton
Three real solid wins to go along with 27 overall made Patterson a potential wildcard selection, but ultimately the depth of the CAA won out. Patterson had an early win over Jonny Bonilla-Bowman, but fell to him in the dual and he couldn’t repeat his upset over returning All-American Ryan Hluschak of Drexel in the CAA semifinals. A strong third, but not tough enough of a weight to take three.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 27-12
CAA Place: 3rd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (3): Jonny Bonilla-Bowman (Hofstra), Ryan Hluschak (Drexel), Chris Stout (American)

Chad Terry, Oklahoma
After emerging as the starter at 157 pounds, Terry spent the last few weeks of the season ranked in the Top 20. With all five wrestlers in the Big 12 ranked during the season, Terry ended up being the odd man out, along with Chris Oliver, in the Big 12 qualifier. Terry will have two more years to get to the show, but his record will show a win over only one NCAA qualifier – Chattanooga’s Seth Garvin.
Feb. 26 Rank:#17
Record: 18-7
Big 12 Place: 5th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (1): Seth Garvin (UT-Chattanooga).

Chris Oliver, Nebraska
Started the season 13-2 and then went on a slide starting at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. Over the last month and a half of the season, he would win just two matches (post-National Duals) and was saddled with some terrible losses, including a loss to Rider’s Rob Morrison and an embarrassing 33-17 four-point technical fall against Hofstra’s Jonny Bonilla-Bowman. On the bright side, he did finish the season with a win.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 16-12
Big 12 Place: 4th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (3): Dave Nakasone (Lehigh), Tyson Reiner (Northern Iowa), Newly McSpadden (Oklahoma State).

165 pounds
Tyler Safratowich, Minnesota

With seven qualifiers a weight in the Big Ten and two additional wildcards, returning NCAA qualifier Tyler Safratowich didn’t have to overperform to again qualify, but he did have to perform. Unfortunately, he chose the one time in the tournament where he had to have a win and came up short in an upset loss to Jake Donar of Wisconsin in the seventh-place match at the Big Ten tournament. Ranked 11th, Safratowich was beaten by Matt Coughlin of Indiana and then sent to the 7th-place match by Penn State’s Dave Rella. The Donar fall was the death knell. Although Safratowich was a high probability for a wildcard selection, 149-pounder Kurt Kinser of Indiana and 125-pounder Mark McKnight of Penn State were the selections.
Feb. 26 Rank:#11
Record: 28-10
Big Ten Place: 8th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (8): Ryan Patrovich (Hofstra) twice, Donnie Jones (West Virginia), Steve Brown (Central Michigan), Jake Dieffenbach (Oklahoma State), Jake Donar (Wisconsin), Luke Manuel (Purdue).

Colt Sponseller, Ohio State
The true freshman opened up the season 15-0 before being handed his first loss of the year by three-time All-American Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan. Sponseller would fall in the final dual meet of the year to Tyler Safratowich of Minnesota and head into the Big Ten Tournament 16-2. He then lost to Roger Smith-Bergsrud of Illinois and Luke Manuel of Purdue and failed to place. Half of his wins this season are over NCAA qualifiers).
Feb. 26 Rank:#12
Record: 16-4
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (8): Jake Donar (Wisconsin), Byron Sigmon (UNC Greensboro), Kurt Gross (Kent State), Donnie Jones (West Virginia), Brandon Carter (Central Michigan), Dave Rella (Penn State), Matt Coughlin (Indiana), Jarrod King (Edinboro).

Addison Nuding, Duke
Won 29 matches this year for Duke including Virginia’s Michael Chaires, but fell to fourth in the ACC tournament. Lost to Chaires in the ACCs as well as Virginia Tech’s Matt Epperly.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 29-10
ACC Place: 4th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Chad Porter (Liberty), Byron Sigmon (UNC Greensboro)

Michael Chaires, Virginia
Had a stellar freshman campaign, winning 32 of 41 matches in his first year in Charlottesville. Reached the finals of the Southern Scuffle, finished fifth at the Penn State Open and won the Virginia Intercollegiate State Championship. Seven losses came to NCAA qualifiers. Chaires wasn’t the only one stunned by Matt Epperly in the ACC Championships, but in a situation where only 14 bids are at stake, Chaires will have to wait until next year.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 32-9
ACC Place: 3rd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (3): Dave Rella (Penn State), Kurt Swartz (Boise State), Matt Epperly (Virginia Tech).

Max Dean, Oklahoma
A three-time NCAA qualifier at Indiana, Dean used his final year of eligibility as a graduate student at Oklahoma. Ranked off and on during the season, Dean finished 5th in the Big 12, losing to three nationally-ranked wrestlers … actually, three Top 10 wrestlers. With only one “bad” loss on the season, Dean had a beef with not getting in, which would have made him a four-time NCAA qualifier.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 19-10
Big 12 Place: 5th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Pat Pitsch (Arizona State), Jon Reader (Iowa State)

174 pounds
Dave Erwin, Penn State

After starting the year 16-1 and winning tournament titles at Michigan State, Mat Town and the Penn State Open, redshirt sophomore Dave Erwin had settled nicely into the 174-pound weight class. Then came the Big Ten tournament and an upset loss to Indiana’s Trevor Perry, an opponent Erwin had defeated twice already this season. Erwin was bounced from the tournament by Illinois’ John Dergo. All 10 of Erwin’s losses this season are to NCAA qualifiers.
Feb. 26 Rank:#16
Record: 23-10
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (5): Trevor Perry (Indiana) twice, Alex Caruso (Lehigh), Steve Anceravage (Cornell), Aron Scott (Iowa State).

Nick Corpe, Purdue
An up-and-down season which saw Purdue’s Nick Corpe win more than he lost, the Boilermaker junior lost momentum heading into the Big Ten Tournament and was knocked out by Wisconsin’s Dan Clum and didn’t place.
Feb. 26 Rank:#17
Record: 24-13
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (4): Charlie Pienaar (Eastern Michigan), Ethan Headlee (Pittsburgh), Chris Henrich (Virginia), Gabe Dretsch (Minnesota)

Justin Herbert, Franklin & Marshall
The F&M junior had a chance to qualify on his home mats in Lancaster at the EIWA Championships, but it was Bucknell’s Shane Riccio that prevented him from A) making the semifinals and B) qualifying. Herbert, who was in the top ten in the nation in falls this season, had beaten Riccio earlier in the year and had started the year winning 19 of his first 20 matches.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 27-5
EIWA Place: 6th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Shane Riccio (Bucknell), Aaron Kelly (Liberty).

184 pounds
Josh Arnone, Cornell

A shoulder injury kept the returning All-American out of the Cornell lineup until January and even then, Arnone saw limited success. After reaching the EIWA semis, he defaulted out of the tournament after an injury against Penn’s Lior Zamir.
Feb. 26 Rank:#17
Record: 8-2
EIWA Place: 6th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (1): Matt Gevelinger (Brown).

Eric Chine, Kent State
The upset loss to Eastern Michigan’s Charlie Pienaar sealed the fate of Eric Chine. The nationally-ranked Flash had a very good season, but as stated earlier, the MAC upsets will keep some good kids home … and Chine is one of those good kids. Chine placed in every tournament he wrestled this season.
Feb. 26 Rank:#20
Record: 32-12
MAC Place: 3rd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (5): Scott Ferguson (Army), Jesse Strawn (Old Dominion), Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro), Lior Zamir (Penn), Charlie Pienaar (Eastern Michigan).

Mickey Moran, Buffalo
A few solid wins and 32 on the season are nothing to sneeze at. Moran had a good career at Buffalo.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 32-10
MAC Place: 4th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Scott Ferguson (Navy), Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro)

John Barone, Duke
Despite not qualifying for the tournament, Barone set the single-season win mark at Duke with 35 and did pick up some quality wins along the way, but not all of the quality wins were against NCAA qualifiers. The depth of the ACC at 184 left Barone home, with two qualifiers and as many as three wrestlers ranked in conference at any one time. Best win of the year came over Indiana’s Marc Bennett, who actually didn’t qualify.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 35-8
ACC Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers: None

Josh Haines, Maryland
Ranked for much of the year, Haines, an injury-prone junior, ended up 16-9 on the season. Some good wins, some ugly losses. A concussion ended his season at the ACC tournament after losing to N.C. State’s Ryan Goodman, a two-sport competitor for the Wolfpack.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 16-9.
ACC Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (3): Austin Trotman (Appalachian State), Tyrel Todd (Michigan), Doug Umbehauer (Rider).

Marc Bennett, Indiana
An 11-10 record is hardly a record one might consider a near-miss, but 2006 qualifier Mark Bennett was in the Big Ten. He’s got some bad losses and some decent wins, but came up just short. He was ranked for a short time during the season.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 11-10
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers: Josh Edmondson (UT-Chattanooga), A.J. Kissel (Purdue), Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin)

Tyler Sorenson, South Dakota State
The only real reason here is Sorensen finished 12-2, third in the West Region and had a regular season win over regional champ Andy O’Laughlin of Northern Iowa. So Sorenson takes third, is ten wins over .500 and doesn’t qualify, while the region takes 9-15 Caleb Flores at 125 pounds. The bid would have at least given the Jackrabbits an NCAA qualifier.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 12-2
West Region Place: 3rd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Andy O’Laughlin (Northern Iowa), Jacob Devlin (Air Force).

197 pounds
Joe Williams, Michigan State

This might be hard to believe, but as one of the most highly-touted big men to come out of California in 2003, Michigan State’s Joe Williams never qualified for the NCAA Championship. As a freshman, Williams suffered season-ending injury, and the last two seasons he didn’t make it out. This year, was much of the same as Williams couldn’t break through the conference tournament to reach the NCAAs. Ranked 15th and moving up to a new weight class, Williams was solid in the early season. His record might have been slightly better had he not wrestled Northwestern’s Mike Tamillow repeatedly. Tamillow beat Williams four times this season.
Feb. 26 Rank:#15
Record: 24-13
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (4): Joe Fagiano (Indiana) twice, Justin Bronson (Minnesota), Logan Brown (Purdue),

Anthony Biondo, Michigan
Ranked for much of the season after solid performances at the Northeast Duals and Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, the rugged Big Ten schedule took its toll on the freshman. Biondo lost eight of his last nine matches to close out the season.
Feb. 26 Rank:#19
Record: 23-13
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (2): Daren Burns (UNC Greensboro), Andrew Anderson (Northern Iowa)

Brent Jones, Virginia
One of the most dangerous wrestlers in the nation at 197 pounds, Jones has been prone to pick up falls in bunches, it’s been his style since middle school (seriously). He was solid until going 6-5 in the last 11 matches of the season. He lost a semifinal to Dennis Drury of North Carolina, but still held a chance at a wildcard until falling 15-14 to D.J. Bruce of Virginia Tech in the third-place match, effectively ending his shot at making the tournament.
Feb. 26 Rank: #20
Record: 32-12
ACC Place: 4th
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (6): Richard Starks (Army), Joe Rovelli (Hofstra), Pat Bradshaw (Edinboro), Cayle Byers (George Mason), Thomas Shovlin (Penn), Daren Burns (UNC Greensboro),

Dennis Drury, North Carolina
Second in the conference after picking off Brent Jones in the semifinals, Drury is the first alternate from the ACC after picking up three victories over NCAA qualifiers this season.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 17-8
ACC Place: 2nd
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (3): Pat Bradshaw (Edinboro), Joe Fagiano (Indiana), Thomas Shovlin (Penn),

285 pounds
Wade Sauer, Cal State-Fullerton

The returning All-American from Fullerton and All-Star Classic participant was injured in his last match of the season against Northern Colorado’s Reece Hopkin and was a scratch from the Pac-10 Tournament. Sauer, a junior, will return next season. Was ranked in the top five at the time of his injury.
Record: 26-4
Pac-10 Place: DNC
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (8): Ed Prendergast (Navy), Travis Gardner (Oregon State), Patrick Walker (Liberty), Charlie Alexander (Oregon), Dustin Rogers (West Virginia), Ryan Flores (Columbia), Nick Smith (Boise State)

Zach Hammond, Cornell
The Cornell junior broke his elbow in a late-season match with Penn’s Trey McLean and was unable to compete in the post-season. Was ranked in the Top 12 in the nation at the time of his injury.
Record: 18-6
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (7): Trey McLean (Penn), Kyle Massey (Wisconsin), Zach Sheaffer (Pittsburgh), Jermail Porter (Kent State) twice, Ben Berhow (Minnesota),

John Laboranti, Penn State
Seven of John Laboranti’s losses came at or after the National Duals in what amounts to the Big Ten schedule eating up another quality wrestler. The Virginia Tech transfer opened up 15-1 while splitting starting time with Stephan Tighe but did win three opens – Michigan State, Mat Town and Penn State. Spent time this season ranked and was upset by Minnesota’s Ben Berhow in the consolations of the Big Ten Tournament to end his season.
Feb. 26 Rank:NR
Record: 22-9
Big Ten Place: DNP
Wins over NCAA Qualifiers (4): Rashard Goff (Cleveland State), Nate Thobaben (Army), Jon May (Nebraska), Nathan Everhart (Indiana),

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