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197 lb. NCAA Championship Preview

By Eric Olanowski, 03/14/17, 8:00AM EDT


Photo: Tony Rotundo (

Eric Olanowski

Eric Olanowski


St. Louis, MO - The favorite at 197 lbs. is two-time NCAA Champion, J'den Cox (Missouri). Cox comes into St. Louis with a career record of 126-5 and is currently undefeated on the season, with a 23-0 record. 

In my opinion, this weight class has three tiers. J'den Cox in tier one, (2) Brett Pfarr (Minnesota), (3)Kollin Moore (Ohio State) and (4) Jared Haught (Virginia Tech) are tier two, and tier three is the remaining field. 

This season, Cox has wrestled each of the other top four seeded guys, winning all of those matches by two points. 

In the semi-finals (top side), if all seeds hold true, J'den Cox will take on (4) Jared Haught for a spot in the Saturday night's finals. These two wrestle in late November during the Missouri vs. Virginia Tech dual. J'den Cox was victorious in that bout by a score of 2-0.  Since that loss, Haught is 20-1, with his only loss coming at  the hands up Brett Pfarr at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite. Haught has went on to win an ACC title and is currently on an eighteen match win streak. 

On the bottom side, we could potentially see a Big Ten finals rematch with (3) Kollin Moore (Ohio State) vs. (2) Brett Pfarr (Minnestoa). Moore was 0-2 vs. Pfarr before the Big Ten finals but was able to knock off Pfarr in a match where we saw TWENTY-SIX points put on the board. 

An early upset? 

Brett Harner (Princeton) over (7) Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska)! 

Studebaker, a round of twelve guy last season comes in with a 27-8 record. Last season, Harner became the ninth wrestler in Princeton history to become an All-American, taking eighth place. Harner is currently 14-8 on the season. 

 These guys have wrestled three times, with two of those times going to overtime. In those three matches, Studebaker has came out on top in two-thirds of the time. 

Although Harner is rumored to be hurt, he does still have the ability to shake up the bottom half of this bracket by knocking off Aaron Studebaker. 

Quick Note:

Pay attention to Sean Scott (NIU) and Kevin Beazley. Both of these guys have very winnable matches in round two. If they are able to win in round two, even with a loss in the quarters, they'd have a date with the blood round with an opportunity to win one more match an become an NCAA All-American. 

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