149: Gabe Johnson 6-5 Brik Filippo
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A Look at the 2021-22 UCO Bronchos

Just this week the NWCA announced their preseason rankings and the UCO Bronchos come in as the #4 team in the country.

UCO at #4 is only seven points behind #1 ST. Cloud State setting up for a tight group of teams at the top and an interesting race to follow as rankings move throughout the season.

UCO has six ranked wrestlers in the NWCA preseason rankings.

  • 125-Paxton Rosen #6
  • 133-Tanner Cole #3
  • 149-Gabe Johnson #11
  • 157-Ty Lucas #5
  • 184-Heath Gray #1
  • 197-Dalton Abney #2

The projected lineup for this season is below

  • 125-Paxton Rosen-Rosen made the NCAA tournament semifinals and looked like he could pull an upset and make the finals before getting pinned late and falling to sixth place.
  • 133-Tanner Cole or TJ Long-Long and Cole shared the job for most of the season before Cole got the go ahead heading into the postseason last year. Either wrestler is of the caliber to finish as a high All-American
  • 141-Nate Keim/Von Gray/Ryder Ramsey-Keim was the starter last season and presumably would be the guy here again this year, but Gray and Ramsey have the talent to contend for the spot.
  • 149-Gabe Johnson/Brik Fillipo-Johnson, who was a true freshman last season, didn’t have the postseason that he probably wanted, but he looked like an All-American most of the regular season. If he can perform at that level as a constant throughout the season, Johnson could give UCO the kind of boost they need to win a team title next year. Don’t rule out Brik Fillipo here. He’s been a starter before and he could contend for the job.
  • 157-Ty Lucas-Fifth place finisher last season
  • 165-Anthony Desvigne/Hunter Jump/Jaryn Curry-Desvgine shared this spot with Daton Garrett last season and I would presume will take it over with Garrett no longer on the roster. Jaryn Curry recently transferred from OU and could contend for the starting spot. Key weight where some development throughout the season and NCAA tournament points could be huge for UCO.
  • 174-Tre’Vaughn Craig/Alex Kaufman/Kalin Winkler-This will be an interesting weight to follow. Kaufman is an Oklahoma State transfer who was an All-American at NEO. Craig is a two-sport athlete who also plays football. Kalin Winkler is a JUCO All-American who has been backing up UCO’s top two guys in Heath Gray and Dalton Abney the last two years. He’s now making the cut to 174. Not sure who will be the starter, but it will be intriguing to see who takes over for Wyatt Jordan, who graduated last season.
  • 184-Heath Gray-Defending NCAA Champion and leader of the program. He’s back for his final year and wants a team title for the Bronchos.
  • 197-Dalton Abney-Abney was the NCAA runner-up last season. He lost in the finals to Ryan Vasbinder. Vasbinder transferred to D1 Michigan State which leaves Abney as the favorite to win the 197 pound title this season
  • 285-Braden Morgan ended up as the starter here at the end of the season, but we saw Christian Arriola and Judson Rowland look like they could get in the mix here as well.

Schedule:

Date           Time     At        Opponent                      Location                        
Nov 14 (Sun)   2 p.m.   Home      UIndy                         EDMOND

Nov 20 (Sat)   9 a.m.   Away      Lindenwood Open               St. Charles, Mo.                                   

Dec 5 (Sun)    9 a.m.   Away      Jet Invite                    Wichita, Kan.                                      

Dec 10 (Fri)   7 p.m.   Home      Drury                         EDMOND

Dec 18 (Sat)   TBD      Away      Midwest Classic               Indianapolis, Ind.                                 

Jan 6 (Thu)    TBD      Neutral   NWCA National Duals           Louisville, Ky.                                    

Jan 15 (Sat)   2 p.m.   Home      McKendree                     EDMOND

Jan 22 (Sat)   TBD      Neutral   Midwest Duals                 Kearney, Neb.

Jan 30 (Sun)   2 p.m.   Home      Central Missouri              EDMOND
Feb 5 (Sat)    6 p.m.   Away      Fort Hays State               Hays, Kan.                                         

Feb 6 (Sun)    TBD      Away      Nebraska Kearney              Kearney, Neb.                                      

Feb 13 (Sun)   2 p.m.   Home      Newman                        EDMOND

Feb 25 (Fri)   TBD      Neutral   NCAA Regional Championships   St. Charles, Mo.                                   

Mar 12 (Sat)   TBD      Neutral   NCAA Championships            St. Louis, Mo.

I’m excited to follow and cover this team this season. It’s a tight group of contenders for the team title and if they stay healthy, and progress at the right weights, they could easily become the favorite heading into March.

*Note-UCO has added a November 10th dual in Edmond vs. OCU to their schedule

What do you think?

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