Last year Oregon State shocked the country by producing four All-Americans. That's more than Minnesota, Virginia Tech, OK State, and Wisconsin.
Can they reproduce that success or was it a one-time thrill? Here's the harsh truth. . .
Who's Returning & Leaving?
Let's start with the bad news. . . Devan Turner (8th - 133), Grant Willits (4th - 141), Cory Crooks (NQ - 149), Hunter Willits (7th - 157), and Gary Traub (Qualifier - 285) are all leaving.
The real kick-in-the-butt is that the Willits twins have an extra year of eligibility, but they decided not to use it. It's a shame since Hunter had that big upset win over David Carr.
On the bright side All-American Brandon Kaylor (8th - 125) and NCAA qualifiers Matthew Olguin (165) and Trey Munoz (184) are returning. Additionally, Aaron Olmos is back at 174 and working to move past the PAC-12 to the big stage.
Yikes, that's a big hit. So what's in the pipeline?
At 133, 4X OR State Champ Gabe Whisenhunt is Oregon State's best bet as a top 50 recruit of 2022. But I'm not sold they'll start a true freshman. Having been the only guy to wrestle a tournament at 141, RSFR Hunter Eveland seems the likely option for the weight.
Tristan Lara was the 149 lbs starter in 2021, and I expect to see his return again this season. Unfortunately, nobody at 157 has qualified for NCAAs, but upperclassmen Isaiah Crosby and Lane Stigall have the most matches under their belts.
At 197 there are actually two NCAA qualifiers: Ryan Reyes and JJ Dixon. I give Reyes the edge since he beat Dixon at Reno TOC last year. Finally at heavyweight, Junior Hayden Still seems the best option.
2023 Lineup Preview
Here's how I expect the team to look in 2023:
- 125. Brandon Kaylor (8th)
- 133. Gabe Whisenhunt
- 141. Hunter Eveland
- 149. Tristan Lara
- 157. Isaiah Crosby / Lane Stigall
- 165. Matthew Olguin (NQ)
- 174. Aaron Olmos
- 184. Trey Munoz (NQ)
- 197. Ryan Reyes / JJ Dixon
- 285. Hayden Still
What to Expect
Oof. I'm not going to lie, I was excited to write this email until I realized how much talent Oregon State lost.
Grant and Hunter Willits were top 5 guys at their weights and without them the team will suffer (though I don't blame them for wanting to move on). With them ORST is a top 10 team, without them though. . .
Oregon State may crack the top 25. They'll find duals against Arizona State, Stanford, and Cal Poly tough in the PAC-12. It may sound harsh, but it's a reality with such a young team. Hopefully this season is a time to reload for the future.
Are you disappointed to hear this?
Josiah Hritsko Wrestling Fan & Founder of Fanco Wrestling
Wrestling Fan & Founder of Fanco Wrestling
P.S. Thanks to Mike, Darwin Kysor, and Mitch Coleman for requesting this preview.