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NCAA Bracket Breakdown

By NYWN, 03/21/19, 10:45AM EDT


Gunning out; Chalifoux in for NCAA's


#2 Nicholas Piccininni (Oklahoma St, Ward Melville-11)
#8 Vitali Arujau (Cornell, Syosset-8)
#33 Trey Chalifoux (Army)

#2 Nick Piccininni comes into Pittsburgh unblemished on the year with a 30-0 record, and most notably a win by pin over #3 Spencer Lee (Iowa) who is the returning NCAA Champion at 125 lbs. Considered by everyone a title contender, Piccininni could run the table this weekend. Piccininni's road to the finals looks like:

R32- vs. #31 Bryce West (NIU)
R16- vs. #15 Sean Fausz (NCST) or #18 Devin Schroder (PUR)
QF- vs. #7 Pat Glory (PRIN) or #10 Brent Fleetwood (NDSU)
SF- #3 Spencer Lee (IOWA)
F- #1 Sebastian Rivera (NW)

#8 Vitali Arujau has a record of 26-2 on the year. One loss is at 133 to teammates Chaz Tucker while the other is a 10-8 loss to #7 Pat Glory (Princeton). Arujau is considered one of few people who can upset #1 Sebastian Rivera (Northwestern) and a darkhorse to place in the top 4. Arujau's road to the finals most likely looks like:

R32- vs. #25 Rico Montoya (UNCO)
R16- vs. #9 RayVon Foley (MSU)
QF- vs. #1 Sebastian Rivera (NW)
SF- vs. #4 Ronnnie Bresser (ORST) or #5 Jack Mueller (UVA)
F- vs. #2 Nicholas Piccininni (OKST) or #3 Spencer Lee (IOWA)

Chalifoux got an at-large selection after Zeke Moisey was unable to go and comes in as the #33 seed. He has a winnable first match and then a long road back.
R64- vs. #32 Willy Girard (BLOOM)
R32- vs. #1 Sebastian Rivera (NW)
C32- vs. #16 Drew Mattin (MICH) or #17 Devin Schroder (PUR)

How cool would it be for an all New York final under the lights in Pittsburgh? The only place this could be better would be if it were Madison Square Garden!


#9 Chaz Tucker (Cornell)
#25 Derek Spann (Buffalo, Adirondack-3)
#33 Zack Trampe (Binghamton)

Unfortunately the only considerable All-American contender is #9 Chaz Tucker of Cornell. Other than Tucker, both Spann and Trampe could make runs through the backside of their brackets.

Chaz Tucker comes into Pittsburgh with a record of 27-4, his losses coming to Ethan Lizak, Luke Pletcher, Montorie Bridges, and John Erneste. All of these losses were tightly contested, and Tucker has a chance to avenge his loss to Erneste in the round of 16. Tucker is easily considered an All-American threat, however, is out of the realm by many as a title contender. Tucker's road to getting on the podium looks like:

R32- vs. #24 DJ Fehlman (LH)
R16- vs. #8 John Erneste (MIZZ)
QF- vs. #1 Daton Fix (OKST)
R12- vs. #11 Tariq Wilson (NCST) or #14 Korbin Myers (VT)

If Tucker loses in the R16 to Erneste, he would have to battle on the backside and most likely wrestle Ethan Lizak (MINN) who he lost to 7-0 earlier this year to get on the podium,

Zack Trampe could win his first round match, but is considered a huge underdog to #1 Daton Fix. To battle back on the backside he would have to pull a string of upsets, beginning with either #17 Sean Nickell (CSUB) or #16 Matt Schmitt (WVU), then #18 Gary Wayne Harding (UNC), and #10 Roman Bravo-Young (PSU) to make the round of 12.

Derek Spann is also considered an underdog in his first match to John Erneste and would have to string wins together along the backside against #24 DJ Fehlman, #10 Roman Bravo-Young, and either #16 Matt Schmitt or #18 Gary Wayne Harding to make the round of 12.


#1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell, Hilton-5)
#18 Bryan Lantry (Buffalo, Wayne-5)
#27 Anthony Sparacio (Binghamton)
#29 Corey Shie (Army)

Similarly here, there is only 1 All-American threat in Pittsburgh - #1 Yianni Diakomihalis. Lantry, Sparacio, and Shie are all capable of wrestling back, though.

Yianni D comes in as the defending national champ, and additonally, an unblemished record. He's a favorite to the run the table in Pittsburgh and will have to wrestle a few familiar faces in Kanen Storr (who Yianni wrestled in high school), Jaydin Eierman, and either Joey McKenna or Nick Lee. His path does look much more favorable than last year where he had to wrestle 2X defending national champ Dean Heil, Jaydin Eierman, and Bryce Meredith.

R32- #32 Chris Sandoval (UNCO) or #33 Pete Lipari (RUT)
R16- #16 Chad Red (NEB) or #17 Ian Parker (ISU)
QF- vs. #8 Kanen Storr (MICH) or #9 Dom Demas (OU)
SF- vs. #4 Josh Alber (UNI) or #5 Jaydin Eierman (MIZZ)
F- vs. #2 Joey McKenna or #3 Nick Lee (PSU)

Bryan Lantry is the next best threat to All-American. He's unlikely to pull the upset in Round 1 and should be wrestling back through what is somewhat favorable / doable.

R32- vs. #15 Kaid Brock (OKST)
C32- vs. #31 Grant Willits (ORST)
C32- vs. #16 Chad Red (NEB) or #17 Ian Parker (ISU)
C16- vs. #8 Kanen Storr (MICH) or #9 Dom Demas (OU)
R12- vs. #11 Tristan Moran or #6 Mike Carr (ILL)

#6 Mike Carr hasn't been wrestling like himself, so Sparacio could possibly pull an upset in the round of 32. Shie is also unlikely to win his first round match as he has #4 Josh Alber. They would both have to wrestle back in a gauntlet consisting of Sa'Derian Perry, Tristan Moran, Cam Kelly, and more.


#30 Parker Kropman (Drexel, Penfield-5)

Kropman is the only New York native to qualify at this weight and he earned the #30 seed. He has a record of 10-8 on the year, and has to wrestle #3 Mitch Finesilver (DUKE) out of the gate which isn't favorable. To make things even less favorable, assuming he falls in the first round, he'll have to wrestle the pigtail consolation match to stay in the tournament.

R32- vs. #3 Mitch Finesilver (DUKE)
C64- vs. #32 Tanner Smith (UTC) or #3 Malik Amine (MICH)
C32- vs. #14 Requir van der Merwe (STAN) or #19 Cole Martin (WISC)
C32- vs. #13 Anthony Artalona (PENN)
C16- vs. #12 Brady Berge (PSU)
R12- vs.#7 Kaden Gfeller (OKST)

This route is unfavorable for Kropman, but it's March and anything can happen.


#20 Luke Weiland (Army)
#27 Dan Reed (Columbia)
#29 Alex Smythe (Buffalo, Eden-6)

157 is deep this year and unfortunately it looks like all three are a stretch to All-American. Weiland could pull an upset first round over #13 Jacques (MIZZ), but would then draw into #4 Alec Pantaleo (MICH). It looks like Weiland and Smythe will meet on the backside in the first round of consolations, and the winner will have Parriott / Hartman.

R32- #20 Luke Weiland vs. #13 Jarrett Jacques (MIZZ)
C32- #20 Luke Weiland vs. #29 Alex Smythe
C32- #20 Luke Weiland vs. #14 Zach Hartman (BUCK) or #19 Griffin Parriott (PUR)

R32- #27 Dan Reed vs. #6 Kaleb Young (IOWA)
C32- #27 Dan Reed vs. #22 Zac Carson (OHIO)
C32- #27 Dan Reed vs. #12 Taleb Rahmani (PITT)

R32- #29 Alex Smythe vs. #4 Alec Pantaleo (MICH)
C32- #29 Alex Smythe vs. #20 Luke Weiland


#14 Jesse Dellavecchia (Rider, East Islip-11)
#24 Cael McCormick (Army)
#27 Troy Keller (Buffalo, North Tonawanda-6)

165 is an absolutely loaded bracket, and any route you take will be difficult to secure All-American status. Dellavecchia is most likely to All-American, but even his route is difficult as well. Although a #24 seed, McCormick's draw isn't terrible and he has the possibility of making the quarterfinals. Keller has 2017 All-American Logan Massa first round and it's unlikely for him to pull off that win.

Dellavecchia should get past Skidgel first round, but has a tough task in Shields. His bracket to AA status goes as:
R32- vs. #19 Tanner Skidgel (NAVY)
R16- vs. #3 Josh Shields (ASU)
C32- vs. #20 Tyler Marinelli (GWU)
C16- vs. #11 Bryce Steiert (UNI)
R12- vs. #8 Mekhi Lewis (VT)

McCormick is unfavorable in his first match, but both the R32 and R16 matches are winnable.
R32- vs. #9 Demetrius Romero (UVU)
C32- vs. #25 Cam Coy (UVA)
C32- vs. #10 Branson Ashworth (WYO)
C16- vs. #33 Joe Smith (OSU)
R12- vs. #4 Evan Wick (WISC) or #5 Chance Marstellar (LH)

Troy Keller's path doesn't look too favorable.
R32- vs. #6 Logan Massa (MICH)
C32- vs. #22 Bryce Martin (IU)
C32- vs. #21 Te'Shan Campbell (OHST)
C16- vs. #13 Andrew Fogarty (NDSU)


#16 Brandon Womack (Cornell)
#22 Ben Harvey (Army)
#27 Vincent DePrez (Binghamton, Hilton-5)

Although not seeded high, both Womack and Harvey have the potential to pull some upsets and make the podium in Pittsburgh. Harvey made the round of 12 a season ago and Womack has been looking sharp. DePrez has #6 McFadden in round 1 and his path back looks pretty rough.

Womack should win his first match, but has #1 Hall second round, and then a long road back.
R32- vs. #17 Neal Richards (VMI)
R12- vs. #1 Mark Hall (PSU)
C32- vs. #18 Andrew Morgan (CAMP)
C16- vs. #9 Devin Skatzka (MINN)
R12- vs. #6 David McFadden (VT)

Ben Harvey wrestles another Indiana native first round in Dylan Lydy, and although seeds say different, this is a very winnable match for Harvey.
R32- vs. #11 Dylan Lydy (PUR)
R16- vs. #6 David McFadden (VT)
C32- vs. #21 Marcus Coleman (ISU)
C16- vs. #14 Kimbal Bastian (UVU)
R12- vs. #8 Taylor Lujan (UNI)

DePrez has the odds stacked him first round against #6 McFadden.
R32- vs. #6 David McFadden (VT)
C32- vs. #11 Dylan Lydy (PUR) or #22 Ben Harvey (ARMY)


#2 Shakur Rasheed (PSU, Longwood-11)
#5 Max Dean (Cornell)
#11 Lou DePrez (Binghamton, Hilton-5)
#28 Noah Stewart (Army)
#31 Kevin Parker (Princeton, Shenendehowa-2)

3 All-American contenders (and possibly a national champ) highlight this weight class along with a lot of New York vs. New York matchups in the first round. This should be interesting, but I'm sure we all wish they were a bit separated so they could hit later on. Rasheed can win the national title this year, and there's no reason to think Max Dean couldn't pull an upset or two and make the finals at 184. Lou DePrez is considered a heavy sleeper at the weight and many think he can All-American.

Rasheed should win his first couple matches and then runs into some hammers.
R32- vs. #31 Kevin Parker
R16- vs. #15 Chip Ness (UNC)
QF- vs. #7 Nick Reenan (NCST) or #10 Sammy Colbray (ISU)
SF- vs. #3 Zach Zavatsky (VT) or #6 Drew Foster (UNI)
F- vs. #1 Myles Martin (OHST)

Max Dean is always tough and should make the quarterfinals before three very tough matches against game opponents.
R32- vs. #28 Noah Stewart
R16- vs. #12 Cash Wilcke (IOWA)
QF- vs. #4 Emery Parker (ILL) or #13 Nino Bonaccorsi (PITT)
SF- vs. #1 Myles Martin (OHST)
F- vs. #2 Shakur Rasheed or #3 Zach Zavatsky (VT)

DePrez has 5 losses on the year and is gonna hit game opponents in the second round. Lou can always keep things close, and against Foster and Zavatsky he could pull upsets and make the semifinals.
R32- vs. #22 Mason Reinhardt (WISC)
R16- vs. #6 Drew Foster (UNI)
QF- vs. #3 Zach Zavatsky (VT)
SF- vs. #2 Shakur Rasheed

Noah Stewart is unlikely to win his first match against Dean, but could pull some upsets along the backside.
R32- vs. #5 Max Dean
C32- vs. #22 Nick Gravina (RUT)
C32- vs. #6 Drew Foster (UNI) or #11 Lou DePrez

Kevin Parker snuck in as the 31 seed, but it's unlikely to see him All-American.
R32- vs. #2 Shakur Rasheed
C32- vs. #18 Tate Samuelson (WYO)
C32- vs. #16 Corey Hazel (LH)
C16- vs. #8 Ryan Preisch (LEH)


#9 Ben Honis (Cornell, JD/CBA-3)
#12 Rocco Caywood (Army)
#21 Thomas Lane (Cal Poly, Garden City-8)
#31 Brett Perry (Buffalo, John Jay East Fishkill-1)

Two All-American contenders here at 184. Caywood slipped up at EIWA's but for the majority of the year has been floating at #7 and #8 across all rankings. Honis has been solid this year and has just four losses. He could make the quarterfinals in an unlikely favorable matchup with #1 Nickal. Lane and Caywood square off in round one and Brett Perry has a difficult first match in #2 Moore. 

Honis has a favorable path to AA status.
R32- vs. #24 Jake Jakobsen (LEH)
R16- vs. #8 Nathan Traxler (STAN)
QF- vs. #1 Bo Nickal (PSU)
R12- vs. #11 Christian Brunner (PUR)

Caywood has the potential to upset Warner, and then be in a good match with Brucki.
R32- vs. #21 Thomas Lane
R16- vs. #5 Jacob Warner (IOWA)
C32- vs. #22 Sawyer Root (CIT)
C16- vs. #13 Malik McDonald (NCST)
R12- vs. #7 Jay Aiello (UVA)

Lane has a matchup with Caywood first round, then a long road back to AA status, which is met by a slew of tough matches.
R32- vs. #12 Rocco Caywood
C32- vs. #28 Drew Phipps (BUCK)
C32- vs. #11 Christian Brunner (PUR)

Perry has an unfavorable first round match with #2 Kollin Moore, and then a trio of tough matches against top 20 guys.
R32- vs. #2 Kollin Moore (OHST)
C32- vs. #15 Randall Diabe (APP) or #18 Jake Woodley (OU)
C32- vs. #16 Josh Hokit (FS) or #17 Stephen Louiseau (DREX)
R16- vs. #8 Nathan Traxler (STAN) or #9 Ben Honis (CORN)


#10 Youssif Hemida (Maryland, Mamaroneck-1)
#23 Jeramy Sweany (Cornell)

Jake Gunning isn't able to go for Buffalo, so he's now out of the tournament and the brackets have been redrawn. This now has Hemida and Sweany competing in round 1. Hemida, although a 10 seed, is a returning AA and after beating #7 Hillger at Big 10's looks to be in the same form to AA again.

Hemida should make the quarterfinals where he would meet #2 Anthony Cassar, then drop to the Round of 12.
R32- vs. #23 Jeramy Sweany (CORN)
R16- vs. #7 Trent Hillger (WISC)
QF- vs. #2 Anthony Cassar (PSU)
R12- vs. #5 Mason Parris or #12 Conan Jennings (NW)

Sweany should fall first round but is always competing hard, and could make the round of 12, although the odds are against him.
R32- vs. #10 Youssif Hemida 
C32- vs. #26 Ian Butterbrodt (BRWN)
C32- vs. #8 Demetrius Thomas (PITT) or #9 Matt Stencel (CMU)