2024 NCAA Preview: 174 lbs.

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Returning 2023 All-Americans in Bold

Northeast 1Jason GeyerNYU
Northeast 2Joe ChapmanCoast Guard
Northeast 3Jayden CurleyRoger Williams
Mideast 1Jackson GrayIthaca
Mideast 2Charlie GrygasOswego
Mideast 3Ganon SmithElizabethtown
Southeast 1Stefan MajorStevens
Southeast 2Khalil MitchellAverett
Southeast 3Xavier PrestonRoanoke
Central 1Aiden AshburnJohn Carroll
Central 2Blake WilliamsAdrian
Central 3Carter LloydBaldwin Wallace
Lower Midwest 1Zeb GnidaLoras
Lower Midwest 2Zane MulderWartburg
Lower Midwest 3Dejon GlasterMillikin
Upper Midwest 1Jared StrickerUW-Eau Claire
Upper Midwest 2Seth GoetzingerAugsburg
Upper Midwest 3Christian KomitasAurora

Zane Mulder returns for Wartburg to defend his 2023 NCAA title at this weight. He was undefeated this season until the Lower Midwest final where Zeb Gnida of Loras got his first win over Mulder in three tries this year, scrambling for the winning takedown with four seconds left. Mulder will now be seeded behind his finals opponent from last year, Jared Stricker of UW-Eau Claire. Stricker has only lost to Division I opponents and is 38-2 on the season. Despite the loss to Gnida, the most likely scenario has Mulder and Stricker facing off again in the finals this Saturday night, though unexpected results are the norm at this event.

The 4th, 5th, and 7th place finishers also return from last year’s bracket. Charlie Grygas of Oswego was fourth and has qualified for the third time in his career. Last month, he became the all-time wins leader at Oswego. He has a few losses this year, including one to Roanoke’s Xavier Preston, the third place finisher in the Southeast. Stefan Major was 5th last year and 7th the year before. He has wins over five other qualifiers but also losses to four DIII wrestlers who did not qualify. Seth Goetzinger was 7th last year in his first trip to the tournament. His only DIII losses are to Mulder and Stricker.

Aiden Ashburn of John Carroll was 10-10 as a freshman last year and entered the regional with a16-15 record. He proceeded to upset the #1 and #4 seeds on his way to the finals where he received a forfeit and will enter the tournament as a regional champion. Blake Williams of Adrian forfeited to Ashburn but will wrestle again at the national tournament though down a weight from last year. Ganon Smith of Elizabethtown finished third to qualify for the second year in a row. He did not get to compete last year due to an injury, so this will be his first national competition.

It is worth returning to Zeb Gnida and his upset win over Mulder in the regional final. Coming into this season, the senior had a career record of 16-9. This year, he is 21-3 and a regional champion. As noted earlier, two of his losses are to Mulder who he finally defeated in the regional. Other regional champs include Jason Geyer of NYU who is 22-1, and Jackson Gray of Ithaca, who finished 8th and 4th in the last two regional tournaments and will make his first NCAA appearance on Friday morning.

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