The old adage in every multi-part competition says something about not being able to win right away, but you can lose right away. And that looked particularly true this morning at the B1G Wrestling Championships in Piscataway. Iowa came in as the deserved favorite, Maryland as the first team to get 0 points since Purdue accomplished that strain of perfection in 1969, and everyone else was just jockeying for position and to make sure they got everyone eligible for the NCAAs. Well...ummm...
Standings after Session 1
So Iowa’s in pretty good shape, despite losses by 141 Max Murin, 157 Kaleb Young, and 197 Jacob Warner. They’ve got 7 guys left in the championship side of the brackets and everyone is still eligible to make the NCAAs. The same can’t be said for Minnesota, wisconsin, and Penn State. All of them have had guys who lost out to injury, including potential All-Americans Patrick McKee for the Gophers and Evan Wick for the badgers. Wild cards exist for a reason, and hopefully these guys can get healthy and take advantage of the system. Injuries aside, it was pretty chalk. The good news is that should give us some very entertaining matchups on the Championship side of things going forward.
But without a doubt the biggest story fans have been following is...Maryland? Oh yeah. The Terps have been historically bad this year, and they’re showing it. They’ve started 0-16, and the only thing between them and a perfect tournament are 4 wrestlers who got byes in the consolation bracket: 157 Jahi Jones, 165 Kyle Cochran, 174 Philip Spadafora, and 197 Jaron Smith. If I were a gambling person, I’d say that Smith’s match with Minnesota’s Hunter Ritter is their best chance at getting off the schneid.
One last little thing: I’ve been tooting Nebraska’s horn all season as a team that isn’t going to win any titles but could finish very high as a group because they’re all pretty good. And after one session that seems to be the case. They’re in great shape to finish 3rd, and that’s one hell of an accomplishment any season in the B1Gs.