2012 Champion: Matt McDonough, Iowa
The Contenders: McDonough; Jesse Delgado, Illinois; Nico Megaludis, Penn State; Alan Waters, Missouri
McDonough will try to win his third title two weeks after he threw his second place Big Ten trophy in the trash after losing the conference title to Delgado. The Illinois grappler is dangerous; he knocked off Megaludis before bouncing McDonough for the second time this season. Although he was knocked out prematurely by Delgado last season, you cant sleep on Waters, who is the top seed after ripping off a 29-0 record this season for the Tigers. The bracket shakes out favorable for Megaludis, who is on the opposite side from both Delgado and McDonough and wouldnt meet Waters until the semis.
2012 Champion: Logan Stieber, Ohio State
The Conteders: Stieber; Tony Ramos, Iowa; A.J. Schopp, Edinboro.
Penn States Jordan Conaway makes his first tournament appearance and has a favorable matchup right out of the gate as he beat Rutgers Vincent Dellafave earlier this season. But this bracket is loaded with heavy hitters, among them two of the four returning semifinalists from last season in Stieber and Ramos, two grapplers who could steamroll their ways through the field en route to a No. 1 vs. No. 2 finals matchup, respectively. Schopp just missed out on All-America honors last season and could make more noise this year.
2012 Champion: Kellen Russell, Michigan
The Contenders: Michael Mangrum, Oklahoma State; Hunter Stieber, Ohio State; Kendric Maple, Oklahoma; Mitchell Port, Edinboro
With Russell and Iowas Montell Marion gone, this weight class is a little more wide open as the Michigan and Iowa seniors tangled in the finals last season. Now Maple and Stieber, who lost in respective semifinal bouts last season, could be in line for a battle. Mangrum and Port have other intentions, however. Maple is the No. 2 seed after finishing fourth last season. Port has made strides this season and will be looking to earn his first All-America nod. As the No. 4 seed, Port has a favorable path to the semis where he could run into Stieber.
2012 Champion: Frank Molinaro, Penn State
The Contenders: Jordan Oliver, Oklahoma State; Jason Chamberlain, Boise State; Donald Vinson, Binghamton; Cole VonOhlen, Air Force; Steve Santos, Columbia; Dylan Ness, Minnesota
Oliver bumped up this season after finishing as the runner up at 133 last season. Two weight classes might be a big bump for many, but Oliver is a beast and went 33-0 this season to earn the top seed. Chamberlain David Taylors training partner in their youth Vinson, Santos and VonOhlen all have just one loss on the season and could make deep runs. Ness was the runner up last season and wrestled a beat up Molinaro tough in the finals. Penn States Andrew Alton has the ability, but does he have the gas tank after missing large portions of the regular season?
2012 Champion: Kyle Dake, Cornell
The Contenders: Jason Welch, Northwestern; Derek St. John, Iowa; Dylan Alton, Penn State; James Green, Nebraska
Alton wrestled a fantastic tournament last season and Penn State coaches are hoping hes rounding the corner just in time for nationals. Hes endured tight battles with St. John in the past and although he has to wrestle a pigtail bout to start off, Alton wouldnt meet Welch until the quarters. Even then, Alton has beaten the top-seeded Wildcat on the big stage before, upending him for third last season. St. Johns reputation and NCAA record (he was runner-up last season) make him an opponent no one wants to see early. Green entered the title conversation with an eye-opening win over St. John in the Big Ten tournament.
2012 Champion: David Taylor, Penn State
The Contenders: Dake; Taylor
Dake, Taylor. Taylor, Dake. It is the most anticipated matchup in recent wrestling memory and both will have to win four matches over opponents who may feel slighted by the NCAAs decision to move the 165-pound finale to the end of the program in order to stage a main event of main events. Maybe Peter Yates, the No. 3 seed out of Virgina Tech, or Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma State could make some noise but itll depend on them upsetting one of the two favorites in the semis. Both Taylor and Dake tend to wrestle their best bouts when the spotlights are on, however, as evidenced by Dakes three NCAA titles and Taylors one plus his pin fest last season.
2012 Champion: Ed Ruth, Penn State
The Contenders: Chris Per
ry, Oklahoma State; Matt Brown, Penn State; Mike Evans, Iowa; Robert Kokesh, Nebraska; Logan Storley, Minnesota
Perry has been the favorite, spending nearly all season atop the weight classs national rankings. But Brown stepped up and avenged a lackluster end to his regular season with a dominating Big Ten tournament. Brown thrives in the tournament atmosphere and is mature beyond his class standing. Evans is a crafty veteran who has beaten top talent in the past and Kokesh has potential to end matches quickly with his pinning prowess. Dont sleep on Storley, who made it to the semis last season winning tight bouts before running into the wall that is Ruth.
2012 Champion: Steve Bosak, Cornell
The Contenders: Ruth; Bosak; Robert Hamlin, Lehigh; Ben Bennett, Central Michigan
Can anyone put an end to the Ed Ruth Show? If someone can you have to figure itd be the defending champ, Bosak, who missed the first few weeks of the season as he recovered from a serious staph infection. Bennett is the No. 2 seed and is undefeated on the year but hes on the opposite end of the bracket. If Bosak is the man to knock off Ruth, hell have to do it in the semis.
2012 Champion: Cam Simez, Cornell
The Contenders: Quentin Wright, Penn State; Dustin Kilgore, Kent State; Matt Wilps, Pittsburgh; Alfonso Hernandez, Wyoming
Wright is wrestling at the highest level of his career in time for his curtain call. He has a good shot of going out on top. He knows how to manage his emotions and harness his energy during grueling tournaments and as the No. 2 seed, has a favorable road through the bracket. Kilgore, the top seed, is 39-0 and an impressively built. Wilps gave Wright two tough bouts this season, winning an exhibition match in the preseason and losing via a figure-four pin late in the dual-meet season.
Hernandez is another experienced comer and looked good last season before he ran into Simaz in the quarters.
2012 Champion: Tony Nelson, Minnesota
The Contenders: Nelson; Dom Bradley, Missouri; Bobby Telford, Iowa; Alan Gelogaev, Oklahoma State
Nelson is the reigning champion but he won the weight last season as Bradley and Gelogaev were out. Bradley returns after taking an Olympic redshirt season and hes the No. 1 seed, boasting a 35-1 record on the season. Gelogaev will finally get a chance to return to the NCAA tournament where he finished seventh in 2011. He missed the last two tournaments with season-ending injuries. Telford is back after he was beaten by Lehighs Zach Rey in the quar
ters last season.
By Travis Johnson