INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA has released updated standings for the 2022 NCAA Wrestling Awards that will be awarded in March at the respective Division I, II and III Wrestling Championships. Most Division I teams have this upcoming weekend off preparing for conference tournaments after concluding the regular season last weekend, while NCAA regional championships take place this weekend in Divisions II and III to determine which wrestlers will qualify for the 2022 NCAA Divisions II and III Championships.
The inaugural NCAA Wrestling Awards were presented at the 2012 wrestling championships. The three awards, given in each division, honor the Most Dominant Wrestler as well as the student-athletes that have accumulated the most falls and the most technical falls throughout the course of the regular and postseasons.
For results to be counted for the awards they must come against opponents in the same division (i.e. Division II vs. Division II). Ties in the falls and tech falls categories are broken based on the aggregate time.
This week features the unveiling of standings for the Most Dominant Wrestler award, which features a 16-match minimum to qualify for the standings. Ultimately, 17 matches and qualifying for the national tournament will be the final minimums required for this award.
In Division I, Air Force heavyweight Wyatt Hendrickson continues to hold a dominant lead for Most Dominant Wrestler with an average of 5.47 team points per match behind his 19-0 D-I record with 13 falls, tied for the most in the division. The national leader in tech falls, Sebastian Rivera of Rutgers, is second with a 4.91 average, while two-time national champion Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell is third with a 4.63 average.
A national champion in 2019, Matt Malcom of Nebraska-Kearney leads the Most Dominant standings in Division II with 4.88 team points per match, which is a significant lead over second place Dalton Abney of Central Oklahoma at 4.50, while St. Cloud State 141-pounder Joey Bianchini is third at 4.31.
RIT 157-pounder Kaidon Winters leads in the race for Division III Most Dominant with 5.57 team points per match but is followed closely by the tandem of Millikin 165-pounder Braden Birt and Coe heavyweight Kaleb Reeves who are both averaging 5.48 team points per match.
The Most Dominant Wrestler standings are calculated by adding the total number of team points awarded through match results and dividing that number by the total number of matches wrestled. Points per match are awarded as follows.
- Fall, forfeit, injury default or DQ = 6 points (-6 points for a loss)
- Tech falls = 5 points (-5 points for a loss)
- Major decision = 4 points (-4 points for a loss)
- Decision = 3 points (-3 points for a loss)
King Sandoval of Maryland and Hendrickson of Air Force continue to pace Division I in falls with 13 on the season. Sandoval had a 31-second fall against Columbia on Friday as his nearly eight-minute advantage in aggregate time (25:09 to 33:03) gives him the tiebreaker over Hendrickson.
UIndy 149-pounder Logan Bailey notched another fall and now has the sole lead in Division II with 12 falls, one more than Tiffin’s Nicholas Mason and two more than Augustus Dalton of Colorado Mesa.
Division III has a new leader in falls as Washington & Lee 165-pounder Joe Salerno has reached 19 falls and holds a 1:03 aggregate time advantage over Michael Gonyea of Castleton’s 19 falls. Salerno and Gonyea hold a two-fall lead over the next group which is led by the top two wrestlers in the Most Dominant standings of Birt and Winters.
Rutgers’ Rivera defeated Princeton 20-3 on Friday to earn his 13th tech fall of the season and move six ahead of Iowa’s Austin DeSanto. DeSanto earned his 7th tech fall of the season on Sunday with a 22-7 win against Nebraska.
Nebraska-Kearney teammates Austin Eldridge and Malcom continue to lead the way in Division II tech falls. Eldridge holds the overall lead with 12, while Malcom has 10. Glenville State 184-pounder Cole Houser has also moved into double figures with 10 as he earned a pair of tech falls against Davis & Elkins on Friday.
Johnson & Wales 174-pounder Michael Ross had a dominant start to the season and recently added a 20th technical fall to his new Division III record since the implementation of the awards, moving two ahead of the 18 from Stephen Jarrell of Johnson & Wales in 2017. Augsburg 157-pounder Tyler Shilson is having an excellent season in his own right with his 14 tech falls in second putting him significantly ahead of third-place Cooper Pontelandolfo of NYU in third with 11.