Let’s Take a Look at What the UCO Lineup Will Look Like This Season
With COVID changing the way we operate in just about everything, the college wrestling season has been pressed back to January and though we’d normally already be into the wrestling season, I’m taking a sneak peek at what we may see this season from the rosters on some of the in-state teams. And I thought I would start things out with Division 2 Central Oklahoma.
125-Last year this spot was shared a bit between Tanner Cole, Studd Morris, and the now graduated Cody Karstetter, who finished out the season at 133. Cole manned the starting spot much of the season and finished fourth at the postseason regional. Cole, a Junior out of Edmond, OK is expected to hold the spot again this season and in preseason rankings is projected to finish as an All-American this year at fifth according to FloWrestling.
Two newcomers to the roster at 125 are junior Paxton Rosen, a transfer from D1 Campbell, and Garrett Steidley, a freshman out of Tuttle.
133-At 133 last year the Bronchos’ postseason starter was Senior Cody Karstetter. Splitting some time with him and competing in a total of 19 matches was Noah McQuigg. McQuigg, now a senior out of Tuttle, OK who finished 10-9 last season, may be the favorite to take over the starting job at 133 but does have a few competitors for the spot.
Gage Gomez, Thaddeus Long, and Logan Farrell, are all listed on the UCO roster at 133 and all coming off redshirt seasons. All three have the resume to compete to start. Long and Farrell are both freshmen with solid high school careers and redshirt seasons. Gomez is a redshirt Junior who started for two years at Barton community college before coming to UCO and was an All-American as a freshman.
In a normal year, this would be a fun weight to follow in the early season open tournaments to see how things are shaping up and who would win the job. Since we do not have those this season, we’ll likely have to wait to see who comes out as the starter, but on paper I think it comes down to Gomez and McQuigg.
141-There is plenty of depth at 141 as UCO lists SEVEN 141’s on their roster! Zac Creeden, Von Gray, Nate Keim, Leyton Manley, Garrett Messimore, Ryder Ramsey, and Peter Rolle.
Nate Keim was the starter last year and finished 4th at regionals last year. He’s projected to return to the starting job and is ranked #13 at the weight according to FloWrestling
149-Another weight with a returning starter in Brik Filippo. Filippo went 19-9 last season and finished third at regionals, qualifying for the NCAA tournament before it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Fillipo comes in as preseason #8 according to Flo and projected to finish as an All-American. There are four other wrestlers listed at 149 for UCO including highly touted freshman Gabe Johnson, who was nationally ranked out of high school.
157-The returning starter at 157 is 2020 regional runner up Ty Lucas. Expectations are pretty high for Lucas coming off a 19-8 record and coming into the season with a #2 preseason rank according to Flo.
True freshman Reggie Redus and Brady Dearmond are also listed at 157.
165-The Bronchos will be replacing Zach Moore here and all signs point to Dayton Garrett. Garrett spent some time in the starting role last season before an injury and then surgery derailed it. He had a solid record of 16-6 and if fully recovered from the injury, fans could expect a lot here as he has proven the talent is there. If still hobbled, it may be a bit different situation. Flo expects him to be a significant player on the national level, he ranks #9 in their preseason ranking.
174-Flo’s projection for the starter here is Tre’Vaughn Craig. Craig went 17-8 last year, finished fourth at regionals, and ranks #10 in the preseason ranking. Interestingly, there should be a battle in the room for this spot as JUCO National Champion Wyatt Jordan will look to return to the lineup at 174 after missing last season. This will be a wrestle-off worth following that may not be fully decided until into the season.
184-It’s Heath Gray’s world and everyone else is living in it. This dude is an absolute hammer and the best D2 wrestler in the entire country. Barring injury, he should dominate his way to an individual title and hopefully score a lot of bonus in the process. The only thing that could stop him last year was one loss to D1 All-American Dakota Geer at 197 and COVID, which derailed what was almost certain to be an NCAA title for Gray.
Barrett Haemker, Eric Simpson, and J.T. Stambeck are three freshmen listed at 184 that should help provide the Chos with some depth.
197-Dalton Abney was another regional runner up for UCO last season and comes in at preseason #3 for the Bronchos as just a sophomore. It is a good room at 197 with Jaylon Chiles, Kalin Winkler, and David Wright, who are all more than formidable wrestlers behind Abney.
285-UCO went from somewhat thin at HWT last year to very deep this season. Last year the Bronchos only had two heavyweights on the roster. This year that has jumped to five with a few new faces entering the fray.
Christian Arriola was the starter last season here and finished with an 11-8 record. He’ll have NAIA All-American transfer Gage Johnson, and Braden Morgan, prized recruit and RS freshman who has moved up from 197 both vying with him for the spot this year. This is another weight that would be great to follow in early season tournaments, but one fans may not get to see as much on as they normally would, due to COVID-19 and the shortened season. It will be interesting to see who comes out as the starter.
There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and what the D2 wrestling season will look like but UCO comes in as the #2 preseason team in D2 and whatever season they have this year should be fun to follow for Broncho fans. According to a November release from UCO they are slated to start their season with a Bronze-Blue dual on Dec. 9.