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College Conference Tournament Previews

By MI Grappler, 03/03/22, 11:00AM EST


The college postseason is here. Conference tournaments start this weekend with bids to the NCAA tournament on the line. The NCAA tournament is back in Detroit for the first time since 2005. We take a look here at the conference tournament for Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, and other Michigan natives. Note: pre-seeds and tournament entries are subject to change, as this is just a preview of potential seeds and entries.

Each conference is allotted a certain number of automatic qualifiers at each weight class. (Example: The Big Ten Conference has 10 automatic qualifiers at 125lbs, so the top-10 wrestlers at the B1G championships automatically qualify for NCAAs). After automatic bids, every weight has 4 or 5 wild card spots to fill the 33-man NCAA bracket.

Big Ten Conference

Details: March 5th and 6th in Lincoln, Nebraska. Watch on Big Ten Network

125 (10 Allocations)
#1 Nick Suriano (Michigan)
#5 Devin Schroder (Grand Rapids CC HS, Purdue)
#11 Tristan Lujan (Michigan State)

133 (10 Allocations)
#4 Rayvon Foley (Ann Arbor Pioneer HS, Michigan State)
#5 Dylan Ragusin (Michigan)

141 (7 Allocations)
#6 Stevan Micic (Michigan)
#12 Matt Santos (Swan Valley HS, Michigan State)

149 (7 Allocations)
#11 Kanen Storr (Leslie HS, Michigan)
#13 Peyton Omania (Michigan State)

157 (7 Allocations)
#3 Will Lewan (Michigan)
#6 Chase Saldate (Michigan State)
#11 Derek Gilcher (Detroit CC HS, Indiana)

165 (7 Allocations)
#4 Cam Amine (Detroit CC HS, Michigan)
#5 Caleb Fish (Eaton Rapids HS, Michigan State)

174 (8 Allocations)
#2 Logan Massa (St. Johns HS, Michigan)
#14 Nate Jiminez (Michigan State)

184 (12 Allocations)
#2 Myles Amine (Detroit CC HS, Michigan)
#6 Layne Malczewski (Dakota HS, Michigan State)

197 (11 Allocations)
#2 Max Dean (Lowell HS, Penn State)
#3 Cameron Caffey (Michigan State)
#5 Patrick Brucki (Michigan)

285 (9 Allocations)
#4 Mason Parris (Michigan)
#7 Trent Hillger (Lake Fenton HS, Wisconsin)
#13 Brad Wilton (Mason HS, Michigan State)

B1G Analysis: The nation’s premier conference is as tough as it’s ever been this year. If the seeds were to hold true, Michigan would have 9 automatic qualifiers based on the allocations (Suriano, Ragusin, Micic, Lewan, C. Amine, Massa, M. Amine, Brucki, Parris). Michigan State is projected to have 5 automatic bids (Foley, Saldate, Fish, Malczewski, Caffey). Tristan Lujan is another wrestler to watch for the Spartans. He is pre-seeded 11th at 125lbs with only 10 automatic bids at the weight. He is someone who could steal a spot on the podium. For the Wolverines, Kanen Storr is a 3x NCAA qualifier that is definitely a threat to steal someone’s qualifying spot.

Grand Rapids CC High School graduate Devin Schroder is a safe bet to qualify at 125lbs for Purdue. He is a 3x NCAA qualifier and a B1G runner-up. Max Dean (Lowell HS, Penn State) and Trent Hillger (Lake Fenton HS, Wisconsin) are All Americans at 197 and 285, respectively, and will punch their tickets to the NCAA tournament once again.

Mid-American Conference

Details: March 4th and 5th in Athens, Ohio. Watch on ESPN+

125 (1 Allocation)
#2 Brock Bergelin (CMU)

133 (1 Allocation)
#8 Vince Perez (CMU)

141 (3 Allocations)
#1 Dresden Simon (CMU)
Ben Freeman (Walled Lake Central HS, Buffalo)

149 (5 Allocations)
#5 Corbyn Munson (CMU)

157 (2 Allocations)
#1 Johnny Lovett (CMU)
#7 Anthony Gibson (Westland John Glenn HS, Northern Illinois)

165 (3 Allocations)
#4 Tracy Hubbard (CMU)

174 (2 Allocations)
#3 Bret Fedewa (CMU)
#5 Jay Nivison (Buffalo, Davison HS)

184 (2 Allocations)
Ben Cushman (CMU)

197 (1 Allocation)
#1 Will Feldkamp (Clarion, Dexter HS)
#2 Aaron Bolo (CMU)

285 (2 Allocations)
#1 Matt Stencel (CMU
#3 Colton McKiernan (Richmond HS, SIUE)

MAC Analysis: Central Michigan is the heavy favorite to win the MAC tournament this year after finishing the dual season undefeated. Based on seeds, the Chippewas are expected to have 4 NCAA qualifiers (Simon, Munson, Lovett, and Stencel). Bergelin is another guy to watch, as he has been in and out of the rankings this year. Tracy Hubbard, Bret Fedewa, and Aaron Bolo are all seeded just outside of qualifying spots, so they all can qualify with a solid tournament.

Ben Freeman (Buffalo), Anthony Gibson (Northern Illinois), Jay Nivison (Buffalo), Will Feldkamp (Clarion), and Colton McKiernan (SIUE) are other Michigan natives to enter the conference tournament. Will Feldkamp recently entered the national rankings and enters the tournament as the #1 seed.

Big 12 Conference

Details: March 5th and 6th in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Watch on ESPN+

141 (7 Allocations)
#1 Ian Parker (St. Johns HS, Iowa State)

149 (4 Allocations)
#4 Josh Edmond (Detroit CC, Missouri)

Big 12 Analysis: Only 2 Michigan natives here, but they are great ones. Ian Parker enters the tournament seeded 1st and is already a 3x NCAA qualifier. Josh Edmond enters as the 4-seed with 4 qualifying spots at the weight. Edmond is putting together a solid freshman campaign for Missouri. We expect both guys to qualify for the NCAA tournament here.

EIWA Championships

Details: March 5th and 6th in Ithaca, New York. Watch on Flowrestling

125 (4 Allocations)
Reese Fry (Manchester HS, Brown)

133 (2 Allocations)
#4 Dom LaJoie (Gaylord HS, Cornell)

157 (5 Allocations)
James Johnston (Davison HS, Long Island)

184 (3 Allocations)
#5 Neil Antrassian (Bedford HS, Penn)

EIWA Analysis: There are 4 projected wrestlers from Michigan at the EIWA championships. The best bets to qualify for the NCAA tournament are Dom LaJoie (Gaylord HS, Cornell) and Neil Antrassian (Bedford HS, Penn). LaJoie has been in and out of the rankings throughout the year, and Antrassian has held pretty consistently around #32 in the nation. Even without finishing in a qualifying spot, LaJoie and Antrassian have the potential to receive a wild card bid with a solid conference tournament. Fry and Johnston would need to finish within a qualifying spot to reach the NCAA tournament.

Southern Conference

Details: March 5th in Boone, North Carolina. Watch on Rokfin

125 (2 Allocations)
#6 Benny Gomez (Holt HS, Presbyterian)

285 (2 Allocations)
#1 Taye Ghadiali (Warren Fitzgerald HS, Campbell)

SoCon Analysis: Taye Ghadiali enters as the top-seeded heavyweight in the conference and will look to qualify for the NCAA tournament again. Ghadiali was a state champ for Warren Fitzgerald HS before entering the college scene at Campbell University. Benny Gomez, a former stand out for Holt HS, enters as the 6th seed and will have some work to do to reach the finals and qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Atlantic Coast Conference

Details: March 6th in Charlottesville, Virginia. Watch on ESPN+

285 (3 Allocations)
#6 Brandon Whitman (Dundee HS, North Carolina)

ACC Analysis: Whitman is the only Michigan native to enter the ACC tournament. The Dundee grad and 4x MHSAA state champion qualified for the NCAA tournament in his freshman season. Whitman is the 6-seed, so with only 3 automatic qualifying spots, he will have to have a good showing at the ACC tournament by knocking off a few ranked guys.