The d3wrestle.com Freshman of the Year award is given to the top Division III wrestler who competed in high school in the previous season. For 2018 the Freshman of the Year is Brett Kaliner of Stevens Institute of Technology. Kaliner came to the Ducks from West Chester Rustin High School in Pennsylvania where he was a two time AAA state qualifier. His state weight class last year received a lot of attention as the finals featured Austin DeSanto (now at Drexel) stopping Spencer Lee (2018 NCAA DI champion for Iowa) in his bid to become a four time Pennsylvania state champion.
Kaliner earned the award by making it all the way to the NCAA finals in his first year of college competition. He finished as the runner-up at 141 lbs. in Cleveland a few weeks ago. He is the first wrestler for Stevens to ever make the NCAA finals, and he helped lead the Ducks to a 4th place finish and their first ever team trophy. He finished the season with a 35-3 record and was the champion at the Centennial Conference Championships and the Mideast Region. He also won the York New Standard Invitational and placed 3rd at the Ithaca Invitational and 4th at the Cornell Matman Invitational. He was named the Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year and was the Centennial Conference Wrestler of the Week for December 3rd. He is the second consecutive Stevens wrestler to be named Freshman of the Year, as teammate Troy Stanich won the award in 2017.
The 2017-2018 d3wrestle.com All-Freshman team is listed below. The team is made up of wrestlers who are listed on their respective rosters with freshman eligibility and placed in the top eight at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Brock Rathbun, Wartburg, 133 – NCAA Champion
Brett Kaliner, Stevens, 141 – NCAA Runner-Up
Jimmy McAuliffe, Elmhurst, 141 – 7th NCAA Championships
Austin Bethel, Wabash, 149 – 3rd NCAA Championships
Bradan Birt, Millikin, 149 – 7th NCAA Championships
Kevin Edwards, Messiah, 157 – 6th NCAA Championships
Kyle Hatch, Wabash, 157 – 8th NCAA Championships
Mike Ross, Wartburg, 165 – 8th NCAA Championships
Previous Freshman of the Year Winners
2017 – Troy Stanich, Stevens
2016 – Angus Arthur, Adrian
2015 – Matthew Grossmann, Wilkes
2014 – Riley Lefever, Wabash
2013 – Josh Thomson, Messiah
2012 – Nate Giorgio, Coast Guard
2011 – Chris Burdge, Centenary
2010 – Kyle Kwiat, Ohio Northern