33 Homegrown Illinois Wrestlers to compete at NCAAs

There are 77 NCAA schools that sponsor DI Wrestling and are eligible to compete in the National Championship. All 77 programs support approximately 2,400 Wrestling student-athletes across the country. Of those student-athletes a total of 330 wrestlers will compete at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Of those 330 spots, 266 of them are determined via automatic qualification. Wrestlers can earn automatic qualification to the championships based on their place finish at their respective qualifying tournaments: B1G TEN, BIG 12, PAC 12, MAC, ACC, EIWA. The remaining 64 spots are selected at-large by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee.

 

Below you will find a list of all the wrestlers, with Illinois wrestling roots, competing at this year’s NCAA Championships. It is an accomplishment just to wrestle at this prestigious tournament, and all of these student/athletes deserve a round of applause. So, while you root for your favorite school or wrestler during the NCAAs next week, don’t forget to cheer on our homegrown boys too. They may need a little hometown cookin’ in St. Louis.

 

125

 

Dylan Ragusin, Michigan – a two-time IHSA State Champion, from Montini H.S.

Placed 7th at the B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 7-3. This will be Ragusin’s first NCAA Championship. Ragusin has had enormous success as a true freshman. He has the skills to make a deep run at NCAAs.

 

Noah Surtin, Missouri – a IHSA State Champion, from Edwardsville H.S.

Placed 2nd at the MAC Championships to qualify for nationals with a record of 8-4. This will be Surtin’s first NCAA tournament. Surtin had an impressive run to the MAC finals, he will look to continue that success at NCAAs.

 

133

 

Louis Hayes, Virginia – a IHSA State Champion, from Carl Sandburg H.S.

Placed 3rd at ACCs to qualify for nationals with a record of 10-4. This will be Hayes’ second NCAA tournament, although he is a 3-time NCAA Qualifier (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). His last time at NCAAs he lost in the blood round, just missing the podium. This will be his last attempt to join that select club of All-Americans.

Anthony Madrigal, Oklahoma – a two-time IHSA State Runner-Up, from Oak Park River Forest H.S.

Placed 2nd at the BIG 12s to qualify for the nationals with a record of 6-9. This will be Madrigal’s first NCAA Championships, although he is a two-time qualifier (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). After a tough season Madrigal rallied at Big 12s pulling two upsets to make the finals. He will need to continue to ignore the seeds and wrestle his match at NCAAs.

 

Michael Mcgee, Arizona State – a two-time IHSA State Champion, from Plainfield East H.S.

Placed 3rd at PAC 12s to receive an at-large bid to nationals with a record of 8-1. This will be Mcgees third trip to the NCAA Championships. His last time at NCAAs, Mcgee lost in the round of 12, this year the goal is to end standing on the podium.

 

Jacob Rundell, Purdue – a IHSA State Champion, from Oak Park River Forest H.S.

Placed 6th at B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 6-7. A true freshman, this will be Rundell’s first NCAA Championships. Rundell is fundamentally sound, if you make a mistake he will capitalize on it. Opponents better not overlook this freshman, or they may find themselves exiting the tournament earlier than expected.

 

Jared VanVleet, Air Force – a IHSA State Champion, from Stillman Valley H.S.

Did not place at BIG 12s to receive an at-large bid to nationals. This will be Vanvleet’s first trip to the NCAA National Championships. After a disappointing Big 12 tournament, the committee felt VanVleet did enough during the shortened regular season to grant him an at-large bid. VanVleet is capable of beating top-ranked guys, it has yet to be seen if he can string together enough big wins to land on the podium.

 

141

 

Dylan Duncan, Illinois – a two-time IHSA State Champion, from Montini H.S.

Placed 7th at the B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 7-4. Duncan is a three-time NCAA qualifier, but has yet to place at NCAAs. This will be his final attempt at becoming an All-American.

 

Real Woods, Stanford – a three-time IHSA State Champion, from Montini H.S.

Placed 2nd at the PAC 12s to receive an at-large bid to nationals with a record of 4-1. This will be Wood’s first NCAA Championships, although he qualified a year ago (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). After battling COVID, and not competing the majority of the season, Woods entered the Pac 12 tournament 0-0. While he found himself in the finals, he did not look like himself, and was a shell of the wrestler who we saw on the mat last season. Now, Woods finds himself in a unique situation. He has two weeks to get back into wrestling shape, for what could be Stanford’s final wrestling tournament ever.

 

149

 

Anthony Cheloni, Northern Illinois – a IHSA place winner, from Marmion Academy

Placed 3rd at the MAC Championships to qualify for nationals with a record of 10-3. This will be Cheloni’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. Cheloni has put together a successful season, and will look to continue his winning ways at NCAAs.

 

Austin O’Connor, North Carolina – a four-time IHSA State Champion, from St. Rita H.S.

Placed 1st at ACCs to qualify for nationals with a record of 8-0. This will be O’Connor’s third NCAA tournament, although he has only wrestled in one (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). He made the most of his first trip to NCAAs by placing 3rd in 2019 and becoming an All-American. Ranked in the top two all season, O’Connor will be in the hunt for a National Title, and we can’t wait to see him perform.

 

PJ Ogunsanya, Army West Point – a  IHSA place winner, from Oak Park River Forest H.S.

Placed 1st at the EIWA Championships to qualify for nationals with a record of 9-0. This will be Ogunsanya’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. Ogunsanya dominated the EIWA tournament, and will look to continue his hot streak and undefeated record at NCAAs.

 

Yahya Thomas, Northwestern – a IHSA  place winner, from Mt. Carmel H.S.

Placed 8th at B1G TENs to receive an  at-large bid to nationals with a record of 8-5. This will be Thomas’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. After an up and down year, Thomas continued to show his inconsistency at Big Tens. He will need a better effort at NCAAs if he plans on making it to the podium.

 

157

 

Kendall Coleman, Purdue – a three-time IHSA place winner, from Mt. Carmel H.S.

Placed 5th at the B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 11-3. This will be Coleman’s first trip to the NCAA Championships, although he did qualify last season (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Coleman made the B1G TEN finals last season at 157. He is a dangerous man in this bracket. His speed, quickness, and athletic ability easily make him a contender at NCAAs.

 

Markus Hartman, Army West Point – a IHSA State Champion, from Barrington H.S.

Hartman did not compete at the EIWA conference tournament and received an at-large bid with a record of 5-2. This will be Hartman’s first trip to the NCAA Championships, although he did qualify for NCAAs last season (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). If Hartman is healthy, he will be a tough out. He is a leg-rider, who presents a world of problems for any wrestler he gets on top off at NCAAs.

 

Holden Heller, Hofstra – a IHSA State place winner, from Deerfield H.S.

Placed 1st at the EIWA Championships to qualify for nationals with a record of 8-0. This will be Heller’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. Heller looked good en route to his first EIWA conference title. He will need to continue putting up championship efforts in his campaign for a medal at NCAAs.

 

Will Lewan, Michigan – a IHSA State Champion, from Montini H.S.

Placed 8th at the B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 7-3. This will be Lewan’s first trip to the NCAA Championships, although he did qualify for NCAAs last season (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Lewan ws injured at the B1G TEN conference tournament, and withdrew via medical forfeit after securing his spot at NCAAs. Hopefully, the former Cadet World Champion, can recover in-time to put up a performance worthy of the podium at NCAAs.

 

165

 

Dan Braunagel, Illinois – A two-time IHSA State Champion, from Althoff Catholic H.S.

Placed 9th at B1G TENs to earn an at-large bid to nationals with a record of 7-2. This will be Braunagel’s first trip to the NCAA Championships, although he did qualify for NCAAs last season (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Braunagel was undefeated going into the conference tournament where he was seeded second, but was upset in the quarterfinals, then upset again in the wrestlebacks. Braunagel will look to right the ship and get back to his winning ways at NCAAs.

 

Alex Cramer, Central Michigan – a IHSA State Champion, from Grayslake H.S.

Placed 3rd at the MAC Championships to receive an at-large bid with a record of 7-4. This will be Cramer’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. Cramer transferred from Old Dominion, after they cut their wrestling program. He is a strong wrestler, who could make a run at NCAAs.

 

David Ferrante, Northwestern A two-time IHSA State Champion, from Huntley H.S.

Placed 7th at B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 4-8. This is Ferrante’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. Ferrante, a true freshman, struggled through his first B1G TEN season. However, he appeared to find his stride at the conference tournament going 3-3. We hope he can rally at NCAAs, like he did at B1G TENs.

 

Jake Keating, Virginia – IHSA State place winner, from Naperville Central H.S.

Placed 2nd at the ACCs to qualify for nationals with a record of 10-3. This will be Keating’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. Keating has had a solid season and looks to continue to stack wins this year at NCAAs.

 

Jake Tucker, Michigan State – A IHSA State Champion, from Mt. Carmel H.S.

Placed 6th at B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 5-7. This will be Tucker’s first trip to the NCAA Championships, although he did qualify for NCAAs last season (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Tucker came out of nowhere to upset the number 2 seed at B1G TENs and punch his ticket. He will need to pull more of the same at NCAAs if he hopes to place.

 

174

 

Donnell Washington, Indiana – IHSAA Runner-Up, IHSA place winner from Portage H.S.

Placed 6th at the B1G TEN to qualify for nationals with a record of 9-5. This will be Washington’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. Washington was a long-time Harvey Twister and competed one year for Mt Carmel, so we count him as an Illinois product. Washington has had a successful freshman season logging wins over several ranked opponents. He will be in the conversation to medal at NCAAs.

 

184

Zach Braunagel, Illinois –  A two-time IHSA State Champion, from Althoff Catholic H.S.

Placed 9th at B1G TENs to receive an at-large bid to nationals with a record of 6-6. This will be Braunagel’s first trip to the NCAA Championships, although he did qualify for NCAAs last season (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). After an 0-2 performance at B1G TENs, Brangel will try and recapture that winning attitude come NCAAS.

 

Devin Kane, North Carolina – a two-time Georgia State Champion, from Cambridge H.S.

Placed 3rd at the ACCs to qualify for nationals with a record of 8-3. Not many people know that Devin Kane started his high school career wrestling at Metea Valley H.S., before moving to Georgia. This will be Kane’s second trip to the NCAA Championships. Last time at NCAAs he made it to the round of 12 going 4-2.  In his final season wrestling for the Tar Heels, Kane will look to go out as an All-American at this year’s NCAAs.

 

197

 

Cameron Caffey, Michigan State –  A IHSA State Champion, from Carbondale H.S. Caffey

Placed 4th at the B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 8-4. Caffey is a three-time NCAA qualifier, although he has only competed once  (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Caffey has put in the work, and is a top contender to All-American this year at NCAAs.

 

Kordell Norfleet, Arizona State – a two-time IHSA State Champion, from Marian Catholic H.S.

Placed 1st at the PAC 12s to qualify for nationals with a record of 9-0. This will be Norfleet’s third trip to the NCAA Championship, although it will only be his second time competing (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Norfleet is a three-time PAC 12 Champion, and he is looking to cement himself as one of ASU’s greats with a National Title at NCAAs.

Eric Schultz, Nebraska – A IHSA State Champion, from Tinley Park, H.S.

Placed 2nd at B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 10-1. Schultz is a four-time NCAA Qualifier, although he has only competed twice at NCAAs (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Schultz held the number 1 ranking all season until being upset by Amine (Mich) in the B1G TEN Finals. Schultz will have to avenge that loss if he plans on taking home a bracket board from NCAAs.

 

Nick Stemmet, Stanford – a IHSA State Champion, from Yorkville H.S.

Placed 3rd at PAC 12s to qualify for nationals with a record of 7-2. This will be Stemmet’s first trip to the NCAA Championships. Stemmet, a true freshman, will be looking to put his name on the map at NCAAs.

 

Jacob Warner, Iowa  –  A three-time IHSA State Champion, from Washington H.S

Placed 3rd at the B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 8-2. This will be Warner’s third time qualifying for the NCAAs although he has only wrestled once (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Warner will be in the hunt for a National Title, not only for himself, but for the Hawkeyes as well.

 

285

 

Tony Cassioppi, Iowa  – A two-time Illinois State Champion, from Hononegah H.S.

Placed 3rd at B1G TENs to qualify for nationals with a record of 8-2. This will be Cassioppi’s first trip to the NCAA Championships, although he did qualify last season (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Cassioppi will try and help Iowa win a team title, with a top- three finish at NCAAs.

Luke Luffman, Illinois – A three-time State Champion, from Urbana H.S

Placed 8th at the B1G TENs to receive an at-large bid with a record of 8-5. This will be Luffman’s first trip to the NCAA Championships, although he did qualify last season (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Luffman will have  to wrestle better at NCAAs than he did at B1G TENs if he plans on taking home any hardware.

 

Nathan Traxler, Stanford – a two-time IHSA State Champion, from Marmion Academy

Placed 2nd at the  PAC 12s to qualify for nationals with a record of 6-2. Traxler is a four-time NCAA Qualifier, although he has only competed twice (2020 NCAAs cancelled due to COVID). Traxler is up a weight from 197 lbs. a year ago, and appears to be handling the move just fine. He will try and end his career with an exclamation point, as an All-American in St. Louis.

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