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10 Freshmen to Watch this Season

12/06/2017, 3:00pm EST
By Michael Willis

125: #6 Taylor Lamont, Utah Valley

Taylor LaMont was off to a great start this season with a 12-2 record only dropping matches to #8 Sean Fausz and #9 Louie Hayes, who was featured in 10 Wrestlers off to Unexpectedly Hot Starts. Last weekend LaMont had a monster performance knocking off #11 Drew Mattin, returning NCAA finalist #3 Ethan Lizak, former All-American #17 Connor Schram, and returning All-American #7 Sean Russell on his way to a Cliff Keen Las Vegas Open Title.

133: #6 Austin DeSanto, Drexel

Similarly to LaMont at 125, true freshman Austin Desanto was off to a very respectable start only dropping a tightly contested match to #19 Ian Parker. At the CKLV, Desanto put on a show beating #14 Denis Gustafson, #10 Dom Forys, and mauling at the time #2 (now #7) Stevan Micic 22-10. He took 4th place, dropping two matches to returning All-American, #5 Jack Mueller.

141: #3 Yianni Diakhomihalis, Cornell 

The only other true freshman on this list, Yianni Diakomihalis, has yet to lose a match this season. Before the CKLV, he was 10-0 with wins over stud PSU redshirt, Nick Lee, and #7 Josh Alber. Now, he’s 15-0, picking wins up over #12 Nick Zanetta, returning 2 time All-American and National finalist, #4 Bryce Meredith, and another win over #7 Alber.

149: #13 Ryan Deakin, Northwestern

After winning a Jr. World Silver Medal in Tampere, Finland this summer, Deakin has opened his season with a 10-2 start. His only losses come to 2x NCAA Champ #1 Zain Retherford, and a tight 4-3 decision to former All-American #3 Justin Oliver. His only ranked win so far is #19 Zander Wick, but look for that to change when he gets the opportunity to wrestle more ranked wrestlers.

157: #11 Hayden Hidlay NC State

Hidlay is 6-0 with a 12-1 thumping of #19 Justin Thomas, as well as a 16-5 beat down of Larry Early, who has bounced in and out of the rankings. Hidlay was 20-3 in his redshirt season last year, and will be looking to place high on the podium in March.

165: #6 Evan Wick, Wisconsin 

Before CKLV, Wick was 10-1 only losing to #3 at the time Logan Massa, while claiming victories over #16 Jake Wentzel, and #18 Lorenza De La Riva twice. At CKLV, Wick avenged his loss to now #4 Massa, and beat #9 Nick Wanzek. He fell in the finals to #3 David McFadden who pinned him during a scramble.

174: Daniel Bullard NC State

Daniel Bullard is another unranked wrestler, who has the potential to do some damage this year. While his resume isn’t as impressive as his teammate Hidlay, he has still been solid, putting together a 6-1 record. His only loss was an 8-6 decision to #10 Yoanse Mejias.

184: #6 Taylor Venz, Nebraska

Venz started the season 6-0, but hadn’t faced any ranked opponents. At the CKLV he defeated returning All-American #9 Drew Foster, #15 Jordan Ellingwood, #8 Ricky Robertson, and #7 Zack Zavatsky. His only loss was to 2 time All-American and former National Champion, Myles Martin.

197: #16 Nathan Traxler, Stanford

Traxler has a 12-6 record, but his 6 losses have all come to ranked wrestlers. It’s usually tough going for freshman upper weights, but Traxler has been doing quite well for himself. He has wins over, #20 Rocco Caywood, #17 Jacob Holschlag, and Daniel Chaid, who has been in and out of the rankings.

285: #9 Jordan Wood, Lehigh

Wood has the least impressive record of any of the wrestlers on this list coming in at 4-3. However all of his losses have come to wrestlers ranked in the top 8. Which if the rankings hold true, would mean wrestlers earning All-American honors. He’s knocked off #10 Thomas Haines and Brett Dempsey, who has been in and out of the rankings.


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