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Session V Notes: Championship match order; Familial ties; Which teams and conferences earned the most All-Americans

by Andy Elder, Special to

Photo of Iowa's Spencer Lee courtesy of Larry Slater.

As day dawns on the Thursday morning of each NCAA Championship, all 33 wrestlers at each weight walk into the arena with the thought that they can be an All-American.
The reality is that only eight wrestlers at each weight achieve that status, and most of the time they are from among the top 12 or 14 seeds at each weight.
Oklahoma State redshirt junior Wyatt Sheets showed that earning All-America honors is possible for any seed, even No. 33.
Sheets won a 157-pound pigtail bout, 8-2, over Lehigh’s Luca Frinzi, but that meant he had a first-round bout with No. 1 seed Ryan Deakin of Northwestern. Deakin won, 10-3 to drop Sheets into the consolation bracket.
Once there, though, Sheets got on a roll, winning 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 to get into a Round of 12 bout with Penn State’s Brady Berge. The Nittany Lion, though, had to medically forfeit after suffering a left knee injury in the semifinals. That meant Sheets had earned All-America status.
Hidlay brothers’ dream delayed for now
North Carolina State brothers Hayden and Trent Hidlay have dreamed for a long time of winning championships on the same mat on the same night.
At Mifflin County High School in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, Hayden won a PIAA title, but Trent finished as a runner-up. The two had hoped to pull off the feat in St. Louis.
Trent, a second-seeded 184-pounder, took another step toward the goal of a national title as he edged Rutgers’ John Poznanski 2-1 in a tiebreaker period. He’ll face Penn State’s top-seeded Aaron Brooks in the finals.
Hidlay, known for his exuberant celebrations, was unusually subdued after his tight win. He admitted Hayden’s loss dampened his emotions.
“It’s tough. I feel heartbroken for him,” Trent said. “It’s tough. We wanted to be in the finals together. It’s part of the sport. He’s a champion and the way he responds will show a lot about him. He’s going to get ready and come back for third.”
Hayden, seeded second, could never get his offense going in a 6-4 157-pound semifinal loss to Iowa No. 3 seed David Carr.
Hidlay did earn the distinction of becoming the first four-time All-American in the history of the North Carolina State program. It’s a distinction he’ll own forever, but it probably pales in comparison to the dream of a national title.

Son of a legend makes the 157-pound final

Iowa State redshirt sophomore David Carr has long lived in the shadow of his father, Nate Carr, but he’s starting to make a name of his own.
Nate, who was one of 16 children, won a Pennsylvania state title at Erie Tech High School in Erie. He then headed to the Midwest for his collegiate career at Iowa State. He won three national titles at 150 pounds.
In 1983, he earned a spot on the World Championship team and he won the World Cup and Pan American championships in 1986. He was a bronze medalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
David, who was a UWW Junior World Champion in 2019, is a two-time All-American and will face Rider’s Jesse Dellavecchia in an attempt to win his first NCAA championship.
Finals order
Tomorrow night’s NCAA finals kick off at 133 pounds with Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix squaring off with Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young. They will conclude at 125 pounds with Iowa’s Spencer Lee taking on Arizona State’s Brandon Courtney.

Some fun facts

* Dellavecchia pinned No. 1 seed Ryan Deakin of Northwestern in 3:17. He is the first finalist in Rider’s history. Dellavecchia, a sixth-year senior, transferred to Rider from Binghamton after the 2017 season.
* Austin O’Connor, who will wrestle Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso in the 149-pound final, is the first Tar Heel finalist since 1996. Justin Harty lost to Wisconsin’s Jeff Walter, 3-2, in the 275-pound finals in 1996. O’Connor is bidding to become the fourth NCAA champion in program history, joining T.J. Jaworsky (1993, 1994, 1995), Rob Koll (1988) and C.D. Mock (1982).
* Pitt’s Jake Wentzel (165) and Nino Bonaccorsi (197) each advanced to the finals. It’s the first time the Panthers have had two finalists since 1963. The last time Pitt had two champions in the same year was 1957. If one of them wins a title, it will be in the same arena in the same city as the Panthers’ last title, won by Keith Gavin in 2008.
* Utah Valley had two semifinalists — 125-pounder Taylor LaMont and 174-pounder Demetrius Romero — for the first time in school history. Each of them missed out on being their school’s first finalist, but the two will share the honor of producing multiple All-Americans in the same season for the first time.

Semifinalists by school

(5) Iowa 125, 133, 141, 174, 285
(4) Penn State 133, 141, 174, 184
(3) NC State 141, 157, 184
(3) Oklahoma State 133, 149, 197
(2) Iowa State 157, 285
(2) Michigan 197, 285
(2) Ohio State 149, 165
(2) Pitt 165, 197
(2) Rutgers 141, 184
(2) Utah Valley 125, 174,
Central Michigan 125
Arizona State 125
Virginia Tech 133,
Missouri 149,
North Carolina 149
Northwestern 157,
Rider 157,
Stanford 165,
Bucknell 165,
Cal Poly 174
Northern Iowa 184
Oklahoma 197
Minnesota 285

Finalists by School

(4) Penn State 133, 141, 174, 184
(3) Iowa 125, 141, 174
(2) Oklahoma State 133, 197
(2) Pitt 165, 197
Arizona State 125
Ohio State 149
North Carolina 149
Rider 157
Iowa State 157
Stanford 165
NC State 184
Minnesota 285
Michigan 285
All-Americans by team
7 - Iowa
6 – Oklahoma State, Penn State
5 – Arizona State,
4 – Michigan, NC State
3 – Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio State, Northwestern, Virginia Tech, Rutgers
2 – Pittsburgh, Nebraska, Iowa State, North Carolina, Stanford, Illinois, Utah Valley, Wisconsin,
1 – Rider, Northern Iowa, Oklahoma, Central Michigan, South Dakota State, Wyoming, Northern Illinois, Cal Poly, Virginia, Bucknell, Fresno State, West Virginia, Appalachian State, Binghamton,
Note: 34 different teams have at least one All-American

All-Americans by conference

35 – Big Ten
16 – Big 12
11 – ACC
8 – Pac-12
7 – MAC
2 – EIWA
1 - SoCon