The final rankings of the season have been released for the National Collegiate Wrestling Association post-season, as the Builders boast one of their strongest fields in recent memory. Two builders have taken over the #1 spot after the National Duals, and several more have moved up.
Sophomore Colton Messick is currently riding a two-month win streak of 14 straight bouts and leads the team with wins at 23, and win percentage at 79%. The Newport News native, who fell short of All-American status last season is now the man to beat after defeating previous #1 Jacob Toledo of UCF. Hot on his heels is Middle Tennessee State Senior Byron Smith who defeated Messick in the National Qualifier last season, and currently has only one loss on the season. Smith will likely have to go through Builder Freshman Trey Boyd if he wants a chance to knock of Messick. Boyd has yet to lose a bout since dropping to 125 lbs and is currently ranked 9th. He will look to upset Smith to set up a potential Builder vs Builder conference final.
At 133 lbs, Sophomore Anthony Monahan (currently ranked 9th) will look to turn his season around with a strong performance at Conference and Nationals. The 2017 All-American had a similar start last year, but put it together in the post season making his way to the National Semi-Finals. As Monahan looks to repeat as All-American, fellow builder Kolin Johnson is currently ranked 5th after bumping up from 125 lbs. Anthony and Kolin are two of the only three top-ten wrestlers in the Mid-Atlantic Conference, including 7th ranked Noah Gilbert of Queens Charlotte. Anthony or Kolin will likely have to go through Gilbert for another potential teammate vs teammate final.
At 141 lbs, Shalek Colon is riding high after his big win at the National Duals where he defeated 2017 National Champion Justus Griffith of UCF, who is still ranked #1 at 133 lbs. The sophomore from Chesapeake, VA will look to redeem himself after falling at Nationals last season, which he was one win shy of All-American. Shalek will have another tough road to get on the podium this season as three of the top six wrestlers in the country will be in his conference bracket, but after his win over Griffith he has proven he can be a contender. Not to be overlooked, freshman Tyler Allen is steadily creeping in under the radar at 141. Tyler's only NCWA losses since dropping to 141 have come to the #1 ranked Tyler Sage and teammate Colon, as he wrestled up in his last several bouts to 149 and 157 selflessly putting the success of the team ahead of his own.
Junior Ty Boyd will look to become the first three time All American since Builder HWT Ian Jones this March. Boyd is currently ranked 9th at 149 lbs after an illness-ridden season. A healthy Boyd can certainly be a force, being one of only three returning All-Americans in his weight. Boyd managed to reach the podium in 7th his freshman season at 125 lbs, and 5th last year at 133. His toughest test at Conference will likely be 4th ranked Chad Cantrell of Liberty who is 10-9 on the season.
Chad Simmons is on a bit of a tear of his own. The ever-improving junior who never even qualified for the State Championships in high school, now takes over the #1 spot in the nation after dropping to 157 lbs last weekend to a wide-open weight class. The returning All-American leads the team with 16 bonus point victories, including nine pins and a team-high four technical falls.
Unranked Jeff Driscoll is already a 2x National qualifier, placing 4th at conference last season. Driscoll recently redeemed that 3rd place loss last weekend, as the 165 pounder bumped up to major-decision Connor Wrann of JMU at 174 lbs. Jeff will have to string strong performances together for a shot to stand on the podium in March.
Virginia Beach native Jeremy Mosely is currently ranked 14th at 174 lbs after an up-and-down season. The State Champion for Kempsville High School bumped up from 149 lbs last season and will look to upset in March. Dan Henson has had a disappointing start to his senior campaign, but not to be overlooked is the fact that he is a 3x National qualifier and has won bouts at each of those National Tournaments. Both Mosely and Henson can potentially set up a great seed for the Texas, as there are only two other top-twenty ranked wrestler in the MAC conference.
Wes Sorey stumbled a bit in the final rankings after a few upset losses in 2018, dropping from #5 to #11. With those losses, Sorey is still third on the team with 20 wins and has yet to finish outside of the top three in any tournament this season and should be considered a serious contender for All-American status. He is second on the roster with win percentage, at 77%
Previously unranked Freshman Ross Graham skyrocketed up the rankings, moving up to #2 at 197 lbs with several big wins at the National Duals. The "Prince of Poquoson" has only lost to one NCWA opponent this season in December and currently has had bonus point victories in 13 of his 16 wins, including 9 pins and 3 technical falls. Bonus points will be the keys to victory for the Builders in March.
At 235 lbs, sophomore Zach Sintobin will look for redemption in Texas after failing to place last March. The Clarion, PA native is ranked 8th and has pinned HWT All-American Dominick Johnson of Liberty, and defeated defending NCWA Champion Stevan Webb of UConn this season.
Finally the big man for the Builders, Shakeem Lassiter will have one last go for a shot at the podium. The 3x National qualifier is looking at his best chance to place in his four seasons coming in ranked 13th. Lassiters only NCWA losses have come to the #1 and #5 ranked wrestlers this season, but has 5 of the top 20 wrestlers in his conference. The two-sport heavyweight will look to unload some of his recently added offense at conference, where a big performance could potentially land him a high seed at the National Tournament.
After a disappointing finish at the National Duals, the Builders still managed to climb the team rankings to #4 behind #1 Liberty, #2 Central Florida, and #3 Emmanuel. Individual matchups and a high percentage of bonus points could potentially lead to the best finish for Apprentice since placing 2nd in 2010.
-Courtesy of Assistant Coach Will Harcum
For the full list of NCWA Individual Rankings click here.
UP NEXT: The wrestling team will travel to State College, PA to compete in the USCAA Invitational. Apprentice has not won the event since 2014 after winning the first three straight, however they are heavily favored to win this season.