2023 NCAA Preview: 285 lbs.

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Northeast 1Jake PeaveySouthern Maine
Northeast 2Carl DiGiorgioCoast Guard
Northeast 3Evan AndersonNYU
Mideast 1Peter WersingerTCNJ
Mideast 2Nate DeGroffRIT
Mideast 3Joe YanisBrockport
Southeast 1Michael DooleyStevens
Southeast 2Brandon WilliamsGreensboro
Southeast 3Rayshawn DixonFerrum
Central 1Jack HeldtWabash
Central 2Donovan KingOlivet
Central 3Matthew WertsBaldwin Wallace
Lower Midwest 1Kaleb ReevesCoe
Lower Midwest 2Darryl AielloDubuque
Lower Midwest 3Daniel SkoldAugustana
Upper Midwest 1Tyler KimAugsburg
Upper Midwest 2Michael DouglasUW-La Crosse
Upper Midwest 3Cole FibranzChicago

Just one weight class had the potential for a #1 vs #2 matchup at the regional this year. Returning 285 runner-up Donovan King of Olivet faced off in the Central region final against returning 197 runner-up Jack Heldt of Wabash. Both had not lost in DIII this year before this matchup. Heldt used a pair of takedowns and tough riding to prevail 5-2 and take over the #1 spot. That win was on the second decision win for Heldt this season to go along with 30 falls so far. King has 18 of his own and will work toward a rematch in Roanoke.

Kaleb Reeves of Coe and Tyler Kim of Augsburg are the top returning finishers after King. They have not met this season, but Reeves pinned Kim in the 3rd place match in 2022. Reeves has only lost to King this year, while Kim lost to Ferrum’s Rayshawn Dixon. Both won their respective regional tournaments. Dixon dropped his quarterfinal match in the Southeast but came back for third. Michael Dooley from Stevens, the champ in the Southeast, has qualified for the NCAA tournament at his third weight after making it at 184 in 2019 and 197 in 2020.

There are not as many returning qualifiers at 285 as in some other weights, but Northeast champ Jake Peavey of Southern Maine is one of them. He was a match away from placing last season. One reason for fewer returning qualifiers is the fact that the 6th-10th ranked wrestlers coming into the regional weekend did not qualify for the tournament.

Heavyweight can be unpredictable sometimes. Last year, the undefeated number one seed went 0-2. The 7th seed made the finals after pinning the 2nd seed in the quarters, the 3rd seed failed to place, and the 5th seed won the tournament. Will the fact that five ranked wrestlers failed to qualify make the tournament unpredictable or will it mean that the top five ranked wrestlers will cruise through the bracket? Fortunately, we only have to wait until tomorrow to begin finding out.