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Wrestling is Back! Previewing Week 1

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Ten Big Ten teams kick off their wrestling season, including one big dual

NCAA Wrestling: NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

OTE Wrestling will be using the Intermat rankings this season. They’re the most accessible for you and me and they miss as much and as little as anyone else’s. We’ll also be using dual rankings as the team rankings until tourney time. You can find them at intermatwrestle.com/rankings/college

Woo boy. Wrestling is back. If you’re a fan of about ten of the fourteen teams in the league, this should be a pleasant disruption from the miserable existence of your other sports teams. The Big Ten enters the season eleven teams in the top 25, and the top wrestler at six of ten weights.

Wisconsin kicked off their season on Monday, and they’ll be joined by nine other Big Ten schools this weekend. Events are not listed chronologically because I hate you.

#19 Wisconsin 30, Buffalo 3

Wisconsin started their season earlier than most, wrestling the Buffalo Bulls in Madison. Nine Badgers won their season debuts, including two of whom who made their first collegiate start. Joseph Zargo (141), a true freshman, defeated Ben Freeman 3-2, and the 2020 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner Braxton Amos (197) had a commanding 8-2 victory over Sam Mitchell. #10 Andrew McNally (174) and #20 Christopher Weiler (184) etched major decisions over their foes, putting up the only bonus points of the day.

The lone loss came at 133 pounds, as Ethan Rotondo lost to #22 Derek Spann 8-4.

#14 North Carolina at #8 Ohio State, Sunday 12PM on BTN+

The premier matchup this week is in Columbus, Ohio, for the Buckeyes hosting the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tar Heels are the #3 team in the ACC, and are coming off a pair of dual victories at the start of this week over Life University and Queen’s University.

There are a few potential top 25 matchups to watch out for. The first would be at 149 pounds, where champion Austin O’Connor vacated the weight and Zach Sherman filled in. Sherman was an all-American at 141 pounds last year, and he could face Sammy Sasso, last year’s runner-up. Then, up from 165 pounds, Ethan Smith comes into the season ranked #4 and will see either #22 Gavin Kane or #17 Clay Lautt for the Tar Heels. Rocky Jordan enters the year listed at 197 pounds and ranked #17, and he could see #23 Max Shaw for North Carolina. He did wrestle at 184 pounds in the wrestle-offs though. Then, all-American Tate Orndorff looks to put finishing touches on for the Buckeyes against #33 Brandon Whitman.

In absence of a probable lineup from either team, I’ve listed North Carolina’s probables from Monday, and Ohio State’s two-deep at each weight from wrestle-offs. If I had to make a prediction here, I’d say something like 20-14 Ohio State.

Ohio State 2-deep: #15 Heinselman/Crews (125), Gonzalez/Koontz (133), Decatur/D’Emilio (141), #1 Sasso/Reeves (149), Hubbard (157), #10 Kharchla/Hepner (165), #4 Smith/Schierl (174), #11 Romero/Jordan (184), #17 Jordan/Hoffman (197), #7 Orndorff/Misita (HWT)

UNC Probables: Moore/Derby (125), #13 Hernandez/Heilmann (133), #14 Clarke/Guida (141), #5 Sherman/Phillips (149), #2 O’Connor (157), Santiago/Mazzara (165), #22 Kane/#17 Lautt*(174), Chaid/Queen (184), #23 Shaw/Lautt (197), #33 Whitman (HWT)

*Lautt is ranked #17 at 184 pounds

Michigan State Open, Saturday

Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern, Illinois, and Wisconsin are all scheduled to make an appearance at the Michigan State Open this Saturday. That said, I have no idea who’s supposed to wrestle for those schools. So here’s who’s ranked! I’ll try to post the semifinals matchups in the comments when those get decided.

125: #11 Eric Barnett (Wisconsin), #13 Rayvon Foley (Michigan State), #14 Michael DeAugustino (Northwestern), #25 Jack Medley (Michigan), #32 Justin Cardani

133: #3 Stevan Micic (Michigan), #6 Lucas Byrd (Illinois), #8 Chris Cannon (Northwestern), #18 Kyle Burwick (Wisconsin)

141: #5 Dylan Duncan (Illinois), #24 Drew Mattin (Michigan)

149: #3 Yahya Thomas (Northwestern), #16 Mike Carr (Illinois), #18 Kanen Storr (Michigan), #19 Austin Gomez (Wisconsin)

157: #3 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern), #16 Will Lewan (Michigan), #23 Chase Saldate (Michigan State)

165: #11 Cameron Amine (Michigan), #21 Jake Tucker (Michigan State), #22 Danny Braunagel (Illinois), #29 David Ferrante (Northwestern)

174: #10 Andrew McNally (Wisconsin), #33 DJ Shannon (Illinois)

184: #2 Myles Amine (Michigan), #20 Chris Weiler (Wisconsin), #22 Zac Braunagel (Illinois), #24 Layne Malczewski (Michigan State)

197: #7 Pat Brucki (Michigan), #13 Cam Caffey (Michigan State), #33 Matt Wroblewski (Illinois)

285: #2 Mason Parris (Michigan), #6 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin), #20 Lucas Davison (Northwestern), #25 Luke Luffman (Illinois)

#23 Purdue travels to Drexel, Rider on Saturday

Purdue takes a road trip Saturday, starting in Philadelphia at noon against Drexel, then moving on to Rider at 7PM in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, less than an hour away. You can read about Purdue’s season outlook here, but be hopeful for two wins on Saturday.

Purdue’s seven ranked wrestlers will face a combined six ranked foes across the two teams. From Drexel, #29 Parker Kropman will test #9 Kendall Coleman at 157 pounds. If #21 Max Lyon goes for the Boilermakers, he could see #29 Bryan McLaughlin. At Rider, 133 pounds could see a ranked matchup between #24 Richie Koelher and the Boilermakers’ #33 Matt Ramos. #19 Parker Filius will also be tested at 141 pounds, possibly seeing #22 Quinn Kinner. Senior Matt Correnti, ranked #26, could face #14 Thomas Penola of the Boilermakers at 197 pounds.

Purdue starters: #12 Devin Schroder (125), #33 Matt Ramos (133), #19 Parker Filius (141), Alec White (149), #9 Kendall Coleman (157), #10 Gerrit Nijenhuis (165), Emil Soehnlen (174), #21 Max Lyon (184), #14 Thomas Penola (197), Dorian Keys (HWT)

Rutgers hosts Binghamton, Cleveland State, and NJCU, Sunday 9AM-2PM on BTN+

With all due respect to New Jersey City University, it seems Rutgers chose quantity of opponents over quality to start this non-con season. Still, between Binghampton and Cleveland State, four ranked foes await the Scarlet Knights on Sunday, looking to earn early statement wins. Binghamton’s 174-pounder, Jacob Nolan, is ranked #29 in the country and hopes to face #7 Jackson Turley. Their heavyweight, Joe Doyle, is #28 and should be slightly favored over the unranked McDermott for Rutgers. Cleveland State has a pair of ranked wrestlers at 184 and 197, with #30 DeAndre Nassar and #25 Ben Smith looking for #5 John Poznanski and #15 Greg Bulsak, respectively.

Rutgers starters: #30 Shawver (125), #11 Alvarez (133), #4 Rivera (141), #27 Van Brill (149), #32 Kanniard (157), Clark (165), #7 Turley (174), #5 Poznanski (184), #15 Bulsak (197), McDermott (HWT)

Indiana meets Bellarmine, SIU-Edwardsville in Louisville on Sunday, Maryland to compete in Clarion Open

Indiana will travel to Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, and meet Southern Illinois at Edwardsville there for an afternoon of wrestling. The lone ranked matchup would be #25 Cayden Rooks vs SIU-E’s #28 Saul Ervin at 141 pounds.

Meanwhile, Maryland will compete in the Clarion Open. This event is both difficult to find information for and also totally uninteresting to me. Penn State will probably send some backups.