Here we are a couple of weeks after a great NCAA season. Many fans start thinking about the line-ups of their favorite team for 2015-16 season. For the best wrestlers on the NCAA level there is a decision to make if they qualify for an Olympic Red Shirt: to take a redshirt or not? With the likelihood of wrestling staying in the Olympic past its 2-cycle trail the pressure to make a team is slightly lessened for some wrestlers. What are the qualifications for an Olympic redshirt? There are four ways to qualify for an Olympic redshirt year. A wrestler needs to only meet one of the following criteria:
1. Past National Team members (Top 3 from the World or Olympic Team Trials)
2. Top 8 at the 2015 Senior World Team Trials
3. Top 3 at the 2015 NCAA Wrestling Championship or NCAA
Champion from a previous year AND top 2 from the 2015 University National Championships (must accomplish both)
4. Previous Junior or University World Medalist
So, lots of NCAA wrestlers clearly qualify but my guess is that only one or two take the shot. In my estimation Penn State’s Nico Megaludis and Nick Gwiazdowski may have the best shot of the bunch. However others like Kyle Snyder, Zain Retherford and Chance Marsteller have all competed very successfully at the highest levels in the world at junior levels.
That said, the NCAA team races look so close next year that I can’t imagine many top 10 team coaches being excited about one of their studs being out of the lineup, unless they are reloading for a year like Penn State did this year.