By Pete Candito and Marc Candito
It’s always interesting to look at the brackets for lower seeds or unseeded wrestlers who have a good chance at placing top 8 for All-American status. So we have taken a look at each weight for wrestlers seeded lower than 8th who we believe have a good shot at placing in Omaha later this week. These wrestlers have either placed before or gone deep into the national tournament. Tournament tested wrestlers can often defeat those who are higher seeds but do not have the tournament experience. So watch out! These guys are not to be taken too lightly come tournament time.
Brad Pataky, Penn State dark horse from the round of 16 last year.
#10 seed Chris Notte of Oklahoma State is not to be taken lightly and could wrestle through #7 seed Nicholson in the 2nd round.
Steve Bell MD ret. 6th is the 9th seed.
Scott Sentes, CMU 7th at 125 last year but 11th seeded up a weight this year.
Chris Drouin, AZ State – 6th last year is unseeded…if he gets by his 1st round match against Alex Krom, MD the 8th seed who defeated Drouin in the 5th place match last year.
Chris Diaz, Va. Tech one round away last year and 11th seed this year.
Torsten Gillespie, Edinboro unseeded and a dark horse to place.
Trenton Washington from Northern Iowa also unseeded and national tournament tested last year when he defeated the then #10 seed Michael Thorn (seeded 3rd at 141 this year).
Matt Moley, Bloomsburg is seeded 9th but took 6th last year.
John Bonilla-Bowman, Hofstra was a round away last year with only one returning place winner on his side of the bracket. First match against Adam Hall from Boise State – the 2 seed – who was also a round away last year. Steven Brown from CMU was a round away at 149 last year and he is the 12th seed.
Paul Gillespie of Hofstra was a round away last year and is unseeded.
#9 seed Andrew Rendos of Bucknell was 5th last year.
Josh Patterson of Binghamton is the 11th seed dropping down from 184 where he was an All-American last year. Patterson beat Kirk Smith in the placing round last year…Smith is the #1 seed at 184 this year.
Mike Pucillo, Ohio State is the #10 seed and took 2nd last year. In the first round he meets unseeded Mike Miller from CMU (2nd at 174 last year) in the first round! Look for the winner of this match to be an All-American this year.
The #10 seed Jesse Strawn, ODU was a round away from placing last year and can improve on that to grab an All-American spot this year.
Returning champ Mark Ellis of Missouri is the #9 seed this year so you have to look at him as a possible place winner. When was the last time a defending national champ lost 10 matches the following year. Is it the national tournament that will motivate Ellis to try to live up to last year’s performance? Chris Birchler, Edinboro is unseeded but was a round away from placing in 2009 so keep an eye on him. Birchler is in the bottom bracket and there is only 1 returning All-American in that semifinal bracket.