2023 NCAA Preview: 174 lbs.

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Northeast 1Cooper FlemingCastleton
Northeast 2Mike RossJohnson & Wales
Northeast 3Marco GaitaWesleyan
Mideast 1Charlie GrygasOswego
Mideast 2Anson DewarMuhlenberg
Mideast 3Ganon SmithElizabethtown
Southeast 1Stefan MajorStevens
Southeast 2Colby MorrisWaynesburg
Southeast 3Alex TurleyAverett
Central 1Luke HopkinsBaldwin Wallace
Central 2Derick DuvallAdrian
Central 3Raymond ArebaloWabash
Lower Midwest 1Zane MulderWartburg
Lower Midwest 2LJ RichardsonCoe
Lower Midwest 3Jacob SherzerCornell
Upper Midwest 1Jared StrickerUW-Eau Claire
Upper Midwest 2Seth BrossardUW-La Crosse
Upper Midwest 3Seth GoetzingerAugsburg

Seven wrestlers return at this weight and two others are up from qualifying at 165 last year, making half the bracket returning 2022 qualifiers. Tops among these is returning NCAA runner-up Mike Ross of Johnson & Wales. Ross is 10-1 in a half season of work. His one loss came to Augsburg’s Seth Goetzinger in the National Duals final when he reversed Ross to his back and picked up a late fall while trailing. He outscored his regional opponents 48-0 in three matches before forfeiting the finals. He has earned the top ranking primarily with a 6-2 win over Zane Mulder of Wartburg in the National Duals semis. He also defeated Mulder 10-8 in last year’s national semifinal.

Mulder went on to place 4th in the national tournament last year after a runner-up finish in the 2021 NWCA tournament. Now in his third season at Wartburg since transferring from Iowa State, Mulder is 22-1, losing only to Ross, and has defeated five of the other wrestlers in the bracket including Brossard, Hopkins, Arebalo, Richardson, and Goetzinger. Second in the Lower Midwest is LJ Richardson of Coe. His only win over a wrestler in the field was against the third place finisher Jacob Sherzer who has not yet defeated a qualified wrestler, though he will get a chance to remedy that shortly.

Two qualifiers return from the Southeast region. Stefan Major of Stevens finished 7th last year as the third returning All-American at the weight after Ross and Mulder. He has dropped matches to Brossard and Stricker but comes in as the Southeast champ. Alex Turley of Averett qualified at 165 last year, finished 7th at the 2021 NWCA tournament, and now has a chance to aim for the podium at 174 lbs. He has taken an untraditional route to college wrestling as a 28 year old junior. Region runner-up Colby Morris took his first DIII loss of the season to Major in the regional final.

In the Upper Midwest, region champ Jared Stricker is 38-2 this season, losing only to Fleming and Brossard. He won Wheaton and the WIAC, and has wins over four other in the field. Seth Brossard of UW-La Crosse decided to sit out the regional final rather than face Stricker for the second time this season. His only losses this year are to Mulder, and he has defeated six wrestlers in the field. Both Stricker and Brossard were in the tournament last season. Stricker fell in the All-American round at this wight while Brossard finished in 7th place at 165.