Sixteen Michigan natives punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships by earning automatic bids over the weekend. Additionally, six other wrestlers for CMU, Michigan, and MSU all qualified as well, giving Michigan wrestling fans plenty to watch for in two weeks.
The bulk of qualifiers came from the Big Ten Conference, which accounted for ten of the sixteen. Myles Amine turned in the best performance, advancing to the finals at 174 pounds where he fell to No. 1 Mark Hall, 3-2. It was the second straight Big Ten final for Amine.
From 157-174 the 3rd place spots were all held by former Michigan preps, with Alec Pantaleo, Logan Massa, and Devin Skatzka all battling back from semifinals losses to top-ranked opponents to finish strong and help boost their seed at nationals.
First-time qualifiers coming out of the Big Ten included former 3x state champs, Devin Schroder, Kanen Storr, and Trent Hillger, and former 2x state champ Tyler Morland. Pantaleo and Steve Bleise qualified for their 4th NCAA tourneys.
Max Dean was the lone Michigander to win a conference tourney over the weekend, taking the 184 pound title at the EIWA Championships for Cornell. Dean knocked off 5th-ranked Ryan Preisch of Lehigh, 3-0, in the finals.
At the MAC Championships, a pair of first-time qualifiers earned berths to NCAA's in Logan Parks, who was 3rd at 157, and true freshman Colton McKiernan, the runner-up at 285. McKiernan had an incredible run to the finals after entering the tournament as the six seed. He fell to CMU's Matt Stencel in the finals. Stencel won his second MAC title in as many chances, and was joined in the finals by teammate Drew Hildebrandt, who took 2nd at 125.
Justin Oliver advanced to his fourth NCAA tournament after a 3rd-place showing at the ACC's for NC State. Brandon Whitman was 4th at 197 for UNC, earning his first bid as a true freshman for the Tar Heels.
At-large bids will be released in a couple of days, where the remaining 44 slots will be given across ten weight classes. As far as who sits in good spots to receive them, Noah Gonser and Nate Limmex are both in a good position at 133 and 141, given the landscape of who is hoping for a bid. Both were in the final coaches ranking and RPI polls.
184 has four spots available with Cameron Caffey, Jelani Embree, and Jordan Atienza all sitting on the bubble. The likelihood that all three get bids is almost zero, but Caffey is in the best position of the group.
Malik Amine would be the next with a shot to get a bid at 149. Although he was not in the final RPI ratings, he's the 2nd highest ranked wrestler (coaches poll) of the group remaining. Plus there are five wild card spots at the weight.
125 - Rayvon Foley (Michigan State/Pioneer)
125 - Devin Schroder (Purdue/GRCC)
141 - Kanen Storr (Michigan/Leslie)
141 - Ian Parker (Iowa State/St. Johns)
149 - Justin Oliver (NC State/Davison)
157 - Alec Pantaleo (Michigan/Canton)
157 - Steve Bleise (Minnesota/Chelsea)
157 - Logan Parks (CMU/Southgate Anderson)
165 - Logan Massa (Michigan/St. Johns)
165 - Tyler Morland (Northwestern/DCC)
174 - Devin Skatzka (Minnesota/Richmond)
174 - Myles Amine (Michigan/DCC)
184 - Max Dean (Cornell/Lowell)
197 - Brandon Whitman (UNC/Dundee)
285 - Trent Hillger (Wisconsin/Lake Fenton)
285 - Colton McKiernan (SIUE/Richmond)
125 - Drew Mattin (Michigan)
125 - Drew Hildebrandt (CMU)
133 - Stevan Micic (Michigan)
174 - Drew Hughes (MSU)
285 - Mason Parris (Michigan)
285 - Matt Stencel (CMU)