NCAA Wrestling Seniors

NCAA+Wrestling+Seniors

Allen Catour, Writer

The NCAA just recently announced that while spring sports will receive an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus, winter sports will not. The reason being that the winter sports completed most of their seasons. This decision mostly affects seniors in winter sports. They now don’t get the opportunity to finish their college careers and achieve goals they’ve worked hard to accomplish. To remember some of the seniors in wrestling, I’d like to say a few things about each wrestler.

Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State-125): Piccininni was a two time All-American for the Cowboys during his career. He most likely would’ve placed again this year. He finished his season by becoming the ninth Oklahoma State wrestler to win four Big 12 titles. Piccininni’s most memorable match of his career was when he pinned returning NCAA champion Spencer Lee in front of a sold-out crowd at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Jack Mueller (Virginia-125): Mueller bounced between weight classes, but mainly was at 125 his whole career. His best finish at the national tournament was last season when he ended up reaching the finals. He dominated the number one seed, Sebastian Rivera, in the semifinals, finishing with over five minutes of riding time and an 8-2 win. Mueller ended up losing to Iowa’s Spencer Lee in the finals to take second place.

Seth Gross ( Wisconsin-133): Gross started his career at Iowa, but transferred to South Dakota State after getting into some legal trouble. He was a national champion in 2018 before sitting out his entire senior season due to injury. After being granted a medical redshirt, he again transferred, this time to Wisconsin to be with his coaches who left SDSU. Gross was looking to win his second NCAA title this season.

Luke Pletcher (Ohio State-141): This was supposed to be the year for Pletcher. After bumping up a weight class, the senior was dominant the whole year. Known for keeping matches close, he was scoring bonus points left and right. His only loss this season came to Penn State’s Nick Lee, which he avenged in the Big Ten finals. Pletcher was seeded first headed into the national championships and was looking for his first title.

Pat Lugo (Iowa-149): After being an All-American last year, many people didn’t know he Lugo would look this season. He shocked the nation when he comfortably beat number one ranked Austin O’ Connor of North Carolina in the finals of the Midlands Tournament. He lost to Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso during the year but was able to beat him in the Big Ten finals. Lugo was seeded number one and had momentum heading into his final shot at the NCAA’s.

Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State-165): Joseph won back-to-back national titles in his freshman and sophomore season. He beat Isaiah Martinez of Illinois both years and even pinned Martinez for his first title. Joseph then started another rivalry with Iowa’s Alex Marinelli. The two of gone back and forth these past two seasons. This year was probably going to see the two battle it out for an NCAA title on the line.

Mark Hall (Penn State-174): Hall was a national champion in 2017 for the Nittany Lions. His rivalry with Zahid Valencia of Arizona State was one of the best in college. Valencia prevented Hall from an NCAA title in his sophomore and junior year. This year, Hall was 1-1 with Michael Kemerer from Iowa, losing to him during the year but winning in the Big Ten finals. The rubber match was likely to happen in the finals this year.

Michael Kemerer (Iowa-174): Kemerer was a two time All-American at 157 pounds before sitting out an entire year due to injury. He returned to the mat this season, but this time at 174. Kemerer looked like his old self, dominating the competition. He took out Mark Hall during the highly anticipated Iowa-Penn State dual. Kemerer was ready to make the finals and avenge his recent loss to Hall.

Kollin Moore (Ohio State-197): Moore was always at the top of the competition his whole career. The three-time All-American was an NCAA finalist last season before losing to Penn State’s Bo Nickal. This season, Moore was dominant all season as he went undefeated during the year. The senior Buckeye was looking to cash in and end his career on top of the podium.

Wrestling fans will surely miss all of the seniors listed above and many others. Without them, this season wouldn’t have been the way it was. Good luck to them as they move to the next stage in their lives.