NCAA SEED: 21
Cam Sykora md. #17 Sean Nickell (CSU-Bakersfield) 12-1
Cam Sykora dec. #22 Noah Gonser (Campbell) 6-5
#4 Mickey Phillipi dec. Cam Sykora 6-2
#12 Montorie Bridges (Wyoming) dec. Cam Sykora 6-5
Cam Sykora md. #18 Gary Wayne Harding (North Carolina (9-0)
#16 Matthew Schmitt (West Virginia) dec. Cam Sykora 8-5
#16 Matthew Schmitt (West Virginia) dec. Cam Sykora 9-6
#13 Austin Gomez (Iowa State) dec. Cam Sykora 8-6
#4 Mickey Phillipi dec. Cam Sykora 2-0
The Weight Class
Oklahoma State head coach said in an interview with Flowrestling that 133 might be the best weight class ever. Though I don’t know if I agree with Coach Smith, the point is that achieving All American status at this weight class will be extremely difficult for anyone.
Path to the Podium
The season started with two-time national qualifier Cam Sykora solidly entrenched in the top fifteen wrestlers in the nation, and ended with Sykora needing an at-large bid just to qualify for the national tournament. On the positive side of things, Sykora has NCAA experience and wins over multiple wrestlers ranked ahead of him. Iowa State head coach Kevin Dresser called him one of the best wrestlers in the country from the top position after #13 Cyclone Austin Gomez edged Sykora 8-6 in overtime. In that match, Sykora got behind Gomez 4-0 early before riding out the entirety of the second period and scoring four near fall on a beautiful two-on-one tilt. Sykora lost the match 8-6 in overtime, but the recipe for victory against All American contenders is there. As encouraging as the first part of the season was for Cam, the last month has been the opposite. Sykora was third and fifth at the last two Big 12 championships but finished off the podium at 1-2 last weekend. The 9-6 loss to #17 Matt Schmitt of West Virginia wasn’t that big a deal, but a 7-3 consolation loss to Gary Joint was puzzling given that Sykora handled Joint via 16-0 technical fall back in November. Sykora can absolutely make a nice run in this tournament and find himself in the All American round, but he will need to score from neutral to get there.
Sykora should feel confident with his first round opponent #12 Montorie Bridges of Wyoming. At CKLV, Sykora scored the first takedown but lost 6-5. Expect the match to be tight given the wresters are familiar with one another. A win over Bridges would put Sykora into a Thursday evening match with #5 Luke Pletcher of Ohio State. A loss to Brigdes would pit Sykora against the loser of the the Tariq Wilson (NC State)/Ethan Lizak (Minnesota) round of 16 bout. Both are All Americans and it is probably the most unenviable position on the bracket. A win on the other hand, followed by a loss to Pletcher would mean a likely showdown with Austin Gomez or Micky Phillipi. Sykora has wrestled both and is 0-3, but the results show he is capable of beating either. Waiting in the blood round would be #2 Stevan Micic or #7 Austin DeSanto. The path will not be easy, but Sykora has expressed joy at the opportunity of receiving an at-large bid. Good things will happen if Sykora is on a mission to prove that the last month of the season isn’t who he is.