USA Wrestling Ferrari is Rookie of...

Ferrari is Rookie of the Year, Sentes Rookie Coach of Year as Amateur Wrestling News releases All-Rookie Team

By Amateur Wrestling News | May 04, 2021, 7:32 p.m. (ET)

AJ Ferrari of Oklahoma State raising hands in victory; Scott Sentes of Campbell yelling as he coaches the teamAJ Ferrari photo courtesy of Oklahoma State Athletics; Scott Sentes photo courtesy of Campbell Athletics.

Stories from Amateur Wrestling News May 15, 2021 edition

A.J. Ferrari - 2021 Amateur Wrestling News Rookie of the Year

How appropriate that in a season peppered with so many firsts, our Rookie of the Year underwent on an individual level a multitude of firsts himself, many of them because he was a true freshman with no college experience. All 10 post title-bout interviews of this year’s NCAA champions can be viewed on YouTube. Guess who has the most views?

A.J. Ferrari, by a lot. His has close to 50K hits already. Even the Spencer Lee and Gable Steveson interviews don’t come close to the amount of views Ferrari has. But then, nobody in college wrestling is as entertaining off the mat as Oklahoma State’s freshman star.

“He talks a big game and he shows a big game,” said Cowboy head coach John Smith about his most recent NCAA champ.

Smith is correct. Ferrari’s entertaining on the mat, too. This past March, he became Oklahoma State’s first NCAA champion since Dean Heil won his second title in 2017. Ferrari is just the third true freshman in Oklahoma State history to win an NCAA title. The other two were Pat Smith (1990) and Dick Hutton (1947), though Hutton’s was post-WWII and he was 23 at the time.

A.J. was a high school senior 11 months ago.

What a feat winning a DI national title is for a teenager, though there are a few folks who probably weren’t surprised with Ferrari’s accomplishment. His father Albert, and A.J. himself. Also Cowboy assistant coach Chris Perry.

“He’s just in my ear, you know, always telling me ‘you’re gonna do this,’” said Ferrari about Perry.

Ferrari won a pair of Texas state titles competing for coach Jerry Best at Allen High School, which is where Bo Nickal wrestled before heading to Penn State. Ferrari later competed in New Jersey, splitting his final two high school years between Bergen Catholic and Blair Academy. He was a Walsh Jesuit Ironman champ while a sophomore at Allen High.

Ferrari entered the Big 12 Championships with one loss, a 3-2 dual meet defeat to West Virginia’s Noah Adams. Adams’ first loss in two seasons was against Wyoming’s Stephen Buchanan, and that’s who Ferrari had in the conference finals. Added to the drama was the team title. Oklahoma was leading the team race, and Oklahoma State needed their freshman 197 pounder to win in order to at least tie for the team trophy.

The Cowboy won 13-8, and came close to securing a major decision, which would have given Oklahoma State the title outright, but in his last-ditch effort to score that deciding takedown, he gave up two-points to Buchanan.

Confidence is contagious.

One of the biggest upsets at this 2021 NCAA Tournament was Ferrari’s semifinal defeat of Michigan’s Myles Amine. Amine, the Big Ten champ, entered the NCAAs undefeated for the season, a three-time All American and as the top seed. Ferrari, the No. 4 seed, took him down halfway into the first period, accumulated over a minute of riding time before releasing him, and led the bout until the end. It was an incredible performance, perfect, inspired, masterful.

Ferrari moves quickly like a lightweight, and out-shot Amine. He worked the mat’s edge, the clock, and the officials. He began the third period on top, and rode Amine til the end, with an amazing nine restarts from both the left and the right.

It was a glorious performance.

It was entertainment.

Congratulations to A.J. Ferrari, Amateur Wresting News’ 2021 ‘true’ Rookie of the Year.

Amateur Wrestling News has named Campbell University’s Scott Sentes as the Rookie Coach of the Year.

After helping Campbell’s wrestling program to unprecedented heights as the assistant coach to Cary Kolat, he was named head coach in March, 2020, succeeding Kolat, now at the U.S. Naval Academy. Since arriving at Campbell in 2016-17 as assistant, Sentes has helped the Camels to three SoCon team championships, plus back to back dual titles.

The Ft. Myers, FL native has coached 19 total NCAA qualifiers, 13 All-SoCon and 12 league champions. Also the 2020 SoCon Wrestler of the Year (Noah Gonser) and the program’s first All-American in 2017, Nathan Kraisser. Sentes has also coached two league Freshmen of the Year, Austin Kraisser in 2017 and Korbin Meink in 2018.

In his first season as Campbell assistant (2016-17), Sentes helped guide the Camels to their first-ever league championship, with seven medalists and a pair of champions in the Southern Conference. A then school record five Camels traveled to Nationals, including All-American Nathan Kraisser.

Campbell took NWCA Div. I Academic Team honors for the third-straight year in 2019. The Camels finished 13th with a 3.28 team GPA, a top-25 academic finish for the fifth time in CU history. Campbell was ninth in 2017-18. The Camels enjoyed their best-ever season in 2019-20, with school records of six NCAA qualifiers plus five league champions. Going 11-2 overall and a perfect 7-0 in SoCon competition. The Camels enjoyed their 1st-ever NWCA Top 25 Dual finish with 19th place.

In Scotty’s first year at the helm this season, CU finished 22nd in duals and set more records with seven qualifiers, five Top 22 seeds including two Top 15. Josh Heil (149) and Austin Murphy (174) reached the NCAA Rd of 12.

Sentes had arrived in Buies Creek, NC after spending three years as the head assistant coach at Cal Poly. He initiated Cal Poly's first outdoor wrestling match in 2013 which started a nationwide trend.

In high school, Sentes was a FL 2,1,1,1,1 with a 213-3 record and won his last 140 bouts. Adding a senior nationals title in 2008.A two-time All-American and four-time NCAA at Central Michigan, Scotty earned a B.S. degree in English. For the Chippewa Nation he placed fourth in the NCAA at 133 pounds as a junior in 2011 and seventh at 125 as a freshman in 2009. He was MAC 1,3,1,3 and retired 108-33. He was an active clinician, who founded and was head coach of Team Anaconda Blood; he also coached National Team Florida, which prepared wrestlers for national competition during the HS offseason.

2021 AWN All-Rookie Team

125
1. Sam Latona/Virginia Tech (14-3)
2. Trevor Mastrogiovanni/Okla. State (15-6)
3. Dylan Ragusin/Michigan (8-5)

133
1. Lucas Byrd/Illinois (17-4)
2. Chris Cannon/Northwestern (12-4)
3. Malyke Hines/Lehigh (8-3)

141
1. Dylan D’Emelio/Ohio State (10-8)
2. McKenzie Bell/Rider (7-5)
3. Marcos Polanco/Minnesota (6-9)

149
1. Kyle Parco/Fresno State (19-4)
2. Jaden Abas/Stanford (13-4)
3. Legend Lamar/Cal Poly (13-3)

157
1. Cade DeVos/South Dakota State (14-11)
2. Chase Saldate/Michigan State (8-7)
3. Connor Brady/Virginia Tech (7-7)

165
1. Keegan O’Toole/Missouri (19-1)
2. Cameron Amine/Michigan (14-4)
3. Peyton Hall/West Virginia (16-6)

174
1. Carter Starocci/Penn State (13-2)
2. Dustin Plott/Oklahoma State (15-6)
3. Ben Pasiuk/Army West Point (7-2)

184
1. Parker Keckeisen/Northern Iowa (20-1)
2. John Poznanski/Rutgers (11-4)
3. David Key/Navy (12-3)

197
1. A.J. Ferrari/Oklahoma State (20-1)
2. Rocky Elam/Missouri (17-2)
3. Michael Beard/Penn State (10-5)

285
1. Cohlton Schultz/Arizona State (17-2)
2. Greg Kerkvliet/Penn State (10-4)
3. Wyatt Hendrickson/Air Force (16-5)