Every year guys graduate from college wrestling and it is really tough to imagine watching the next season without them, especially if they wear your team's colors. This year's graduating class could rival any year in memory.
I fear this could come off as some oddly placed "Oscars In Memoriam". However, I felt it was worth giving a nod to some amazing guys who made watching wrestling a lot better and certainly left their mark.
Ohio State's Triumvirate
- The big three for Ohio State is going to be near impossible to ever replicate. Kyle Snyder himself is well-documented as Captain America and already has an Olympic Gold Medal and two World Championships in freestyle. Nathan Tomasello is looking for his 2nd NCAA title this weekend and Bo Jordan is also going for his 4th All-American honors. They could be the first set of three teammates to become 4-time All-Americans together. Even greater, when they arrived to Columbus the Buckeyes had not won a Big Ten title since 1952 and had never won an NCAA title. Any sentence here would likely be an understatement to what they have meant to Ohio State's program.
Zain Retherford (Penn State)
- As a true freshman, Zain announced his presence with a win over eventual 4-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber (Ohio State). Since his freshman season, he hasn't lost and been incredibly dominant earning the Hodge Trophy and a spot on the Freestyle World Team in 2017. Retherford is the strongest favorite this weekend to win his bracket which would earn his 3rd straight undefeated season and NCAA title which no doubt puts him up there with one of the best collegiate wrestlers ever to step on the mat.
Isiah Martinez (Illinois)
- IMar was the first freshman to win an NCAA title with an undefeated season since Cael Sanderson. IMar has four Big Ten titles, two NCAA titles, and just two losses in his career heading into his last college tournament. He is the 1-seed this weekend and is already one of the all-time greats.
Dean Heil (Oklahoma State)
- Heil heads into the weekend looking for his 3rd NCAA title after suffering a few losses this season giving him the 6-seed. While this hasn't been the best senior season, he only had one defeat through his sophomore and junior title seasons standing on top of some impressive brackets.
Adam Coon (Michigan)
- The Mitten's big man had a regular season as a true freshman that was absolutely unheard of at heavyweight including beating reigning 2-time NCAA champ Tony Nelson (Minnesota). Coon has been a staple of the top tier of the loaded division and a heck of a way for a program to anchor their lineup for four years. History may make looking back at a bracket that has Coon, Snyder, and Gwiazdowski (NC State) in it as quite significant years from now. A hometown hero, growing up less than an hour from Ann Arbor, and an Aeronautical Engineering graduate student also helps make the big man everything you want to represent your program.
Jacob Kasper (Duke)
- The Kasper might not have the accolades of others on this list, but he has been undoubtedly memorable. The Duke big man who gives great interviews, looks for big moves, is on the fashion forefront, and is a great story. After cutting weight to 184 for his team in his first two seasons, he took a redshirt at the Olympic Training Center with greco-roman, even did some beach wrestling, and came back a heavyweight. He never backs down from a challenge as he is favored to earn his 2nd All-American finish this weekend but if you ask him, he is coming back from his home state with a national championship. The Duke program has gained a ton from having him.