The graduating class of 2020 was dealt a tough hand missing their final opportunity to compete in a NCAA tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While their folkstyle careers might have abruptly concluded, many wrestlers will still continue to compete at the Senior level. The majority of these wrestlers will transition to freestyle. However, there will be a few that decide to go the Greco-Roman route. Below are five wrestlers that I personally would like to see go Greco.
Joseph is the most credentialed folkstyle wrestler on this list as a three-time NCAA finalist and two-time champion for Penn State. He is also the least credentialed Greco wrestler featured. A 2012 Fargo Cadet runner-up, Joseph has consistently been competing in freestyle throughout his career. His most recent foray was at the 2019 Bill Farrell Memorial, where he made the semifinals.
Joseph going Greco seems more like a pipedream than a realistic possibility. However, in college he was known for his upper body prowess. While he wouldn’t be able to hit his signature inside trip anymore, I still see Joseph as being someone who could transition quickly to the new style.
McKee has proven his Greco chops on the age group level. He’s a five-time Fargo All-American in Greco including two Cadet titles (2012, 2013) and two Junior titles (2015, 2016). A 2019 All-American for Minnesota, McKee is in a great place to train Greco with one of the country’s premier clubs, the Minnesota Storm.
However, McKee has already had a substantial amount of success in freestyle. He is a 2017 Junior World silver medalist and has also competed on Cadet and U23 World Teams. While I think McKee and his killer head pinch could make for an excellent Senior level Greco wrestler, it would probably be hard for him to forego freestyle.
Early finished his college career at Old Dominion right as they announced the cancelation of their wrestling program. A 2019 NCAA All-American, Early was a 2013 Fargo Cadet champion. He also placed in the 2012 Cadet bracket and the 2014 Junior bracket.
Given that Early hails from Illinois, a state known for their Greco track record, hopefully we see him try his hand at the Senior level.
A three-time NCAA qualifier for Stanford, Townsell missed the opportunity to qualify as a senior due to injury. If he’s healthy, Townsell would be an intriguing candidate to go Greco given that he made the 2019 U23 World Team in freestyle.
However, Townsell was a 2013 Fargo Cadet champion, a 2015 Junior champion and a 2016 Junior runner-up in Greco-Roman. He also placed fifth at the 2017 Junior Pan Am Championships. Townsell and Larry Early both attended Oak Park and River Forest High School, the alma mater of Greco-Roman stars Ellis Coleman and Kamal Bey. It would be cool to see even more of an influx of OPRF wrestlers on the Senior circuit.
Bastian is the only member of this list that has actually been on a Greco-Roman World Team. He competed at the 2013 Cadet World Championships in Zrenjanin, Serbia. He is also a 2012 Fargo Cadet champion, a 2011 Cadet runner-up and a 2013 Junior All-American.
At Utah Valley, Bastian was a three-time NCAA qualifier. Given that UVU also has Greco stud Taylor LaMont in the room, maybe we see Bastian stick around and continue to compete in Greco as well.