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College Wrestling Conference Weekend Preview

By GA Grappler, 02/25/21, 5:30PM AKST

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Overview

Most conference tournaments are slated to take place this weekend with NCAA qualifying bids on the line. Georgia is expected to have a great representation at the conference tournaments, with 16 Georgia natives predicted to compete.

Each weight class in every conference was given a certain number of automatic qualifiers. If a competitor does not finish within that allocation at the conference tournament, they would need an at-large bid to qualify for the national tournament. However, there are only 6 or 7 at-large bids for every weight class for the entire country, so they are tough to get.

If seeds were to hold, 9 Georgia natives would receive automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.

Note: These are only pre-seeds that are subject to change on competition day.

Weight: 125
Participant: Codi Russell
School: Appalachian State
Conference: SoCon
Seed: 1
Number of Allocations: 1
Outlook: Codi Russell is ranked top-20 nationally and is in a great spot to qualify for the national tournament. We project that he will win the conference. However, even if he were upset, he is the type of guy with a solid resume that would likely receive an at-large bid.

Weight: 125
Participant: Jackson DiSario
School: Stanford
Conference: PAC-12
Seed: 2
Number of Allocations: 2
Outlook: If DiSario's seed holds, he would finish in an automatic qualifying spot. If Disario does reach the finals, he will likely have nationally ranked Brandon Courtney of Arizona State.

Weight: 133
Participant: Todd Carter
School: Gardner-Webb
Conference: SoCon
Seed: 6
Number of Allocations: 1
Outlook: Carter is in a tough spot with only 1 qualifying spot at the weight class. He will likely need to beat the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st seeds in consecutive matches to get an automatic qualifying spot.

Weight: 149
Participant: Denton Spencer
School: Virginia
Conference: ACC
Seed: 5
Number of Allocations: 2
Outlook: Denton Spencer also has his work cut out for him in the ACC tournament. He will have Josh Finesilver of Duke first round. If he gets past Finesilver, he would have Austin O'Connor, who is ranked first nationally. 

Weight: 157
Participant: Justin Ruffin
School: SIUE
Conference: MAC
Seed: 3
Number of Allocations: 4
Outlook: Nationally ranked Ruffin is currently seeded in a qualifying spot. This is an extremely tough weight class in the MAC tournament, with 3 nationally ranked wrestlers. Ruffin will have a tough quarterfinals match against Lovett of CMU. If he wins that, he would have top-10 Jarrett Jacques of Missouri to reach the finals. 

Weight: 157
Participant: Cody Bond
School: Appalachian State
Conference: SoCon
Seed: 2
Number of Allocations: 1
Outlook: Only one qualifying spot here, but Bond is seeded second. If he gets past Wichman of Chattanooga in the semis (Bond won 7-6 in OT earlier in the year), he should have Barton of Campbell in the finals.  Barton won that match in the dual 5-4.

Weight: 165
Participant: William Formato
School: Appalachian State
Conference: SoCon
Seed: 1
Number of Allocations: 1
Outlook: Formato is seeded first, which obviously puts him in a good position to qualify for the national tournament. He already has wins over the 2nd and 3rd seeds from Gardner-Webb and Chattanooga, respectively.

Weight: 165
Participant: Thomas Bullard
School: North Carolina State
Conference: ACC
Seed: 5
Number of Allocations: 3
Outlook: Bullard is in an extremely tough weight class in the ACC tournament. There are 5 guys ranked in the top-20 in the country with only 3 allocations for the weight class. It would not be surprising at all if the ACC gets 2 of the at-large bids for the NCAA tournament here. Bullard will have Kennedy Monday of North Carolina in the quarterfinals. If he gets past Monday, he will have top-seeded Jake Wentzel of Pitt.

Weight: 174
Participant: Daniel Bullard
School: North Carolina State
Conference: ACC
Seed: 1
Number of Allocations: 3
Outlook: Bullard is in a great spot to win the ACC and earn a high seed at the NCAA tournament. Bullard's closest match in the MAC was a 3-1 win over the 3 seed from Virginia.

Weight: 174
Participant: Cole Burke
School: Citadel
Conference: SoCon
Seed: 4
Number of Allocations: 1
Outlook: There is only one qualifying spot at 174. However, this is really anyone's weight class. Burke will have Tarter of Chattanooga in the quarterfinals. If he wins that match, he will have the top seed from Murphy Campbell. Murphy beat Burke 2-0 earlier in the season.

Weight: 184
Participant: Devin Kane
School: North Carolina
Conference: ACC
Seed: 3
Number of Allocations: 3
Outlook: Kane is seeded 3rd with 3 qualifying spots. He will have to get past Baker of Duke (another Georgia native) before wrestling Hidlay of NC State in the semis.  Kane's only match against the rest of the field in the regular season was a 6-3 win over the 5-seed from Virginia.

Weight: 184
Participant: David Key
School: Naval Academy
Conference: EIWA
Seed: 2
Number of Allocations: 6
Outlook: With 6 qualifying spots, Key is in a great position to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Key is undefeated on the season so far, and should carry that momentum into the EIWA tournament. He will likely have Langan of LIU before wrestling Taylor Brown of Army in the semis.

Weight: 184
Participant: Matthew Waddell
School: UTC
Conference: SoCon
Seed: 3
Number of Allocations: 2
Outlook: With only 2 qualifying spots, Waddell will need to make the finals. Waddell is projected to wrestle another Georgia native Jha'Quan Anderson of Gardner-Webb in the semis. The winner of that match will secure a trip to the NCAA tournament.

Weight: 184
Participant: Jha'Quan Anderson
School: Gardner-Webb
Conference: SoCon
Seed: 3
Number of Allocations: 2
Outlook: As we just discussed, if seeds hold, Anderson will wrestle Waddell in a match to reach the SoCon finals. That would be enough to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Caleb Hopkins of Campbell will likely make it to the finals from the other side.

Weight: 184
Participant: Vincent Baker
School: Duke
Conference: ACC
Seed: 6
Number of Allocations: 3
Outlook: Baker has fellow Georgia native Devin Kane in the first match of the tournament. The winner of that match would likely see nationally ranked Trent Hidlay of North Carolina State in the semis. With only 3 allocations, Kane or Baker will have to wrestle back and win the consolation finals match.

Weight: 285
Participant: Quinn Miller
School: Virginia
Conference: ACC
Seed: 2
Number of Allocations: 4
Outlook: Last but not least, we have Quinn Miller at heavyweight. Miller is in a great spot to qualify this season. He is ranked top-20 in the country and has been wrestling well all season. His only loss on the season is a 2-0 decision to the 1-seed Wilson of North Carolina State. These two well likely see each other again in the conference finals.

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