#12 Rutgers Scarlet Knights, #17 Wisconsin Badgers vs Hofstra, #18 North Carolina
Kind of...: (all rankings from time of meet) Rutgers looked excellent, defeating Hofstra 35-6 and UNC 28-9, and winning 15 of 20 matches overall. There weren’t any significant upsets either way. Sebastian Rivera, Sammy Alvarez, and Connor O’Neill registered falls vs. Hofstra and Michael VanBrill added a TF. Against UNC, Rivera won by forfeit, John Poznanski had a fall, and Van Brill had a majority decision. Rutgers looks like a sleeper for a top 10 national finish.
Wisconsin also won both duals but was more up-and-down. The Badgers led off by beating UNC in an exciting 20-16 match. UW got a majority decision out of #6 Eric Barnett to lead things off, and were buoyed by a minor upset by #19 Austin Gomez over #16 Zack Sherman. However, #15 Clay Lautt returned the favored at 174, defeating #8 Andrew McNally to put the Tar Heels up 13-11. After #23 Gavin Kane upset #14 Chris Weiler at 184, UNC lead 16-11 with two matches to go. However #16 Braxton Amos knocked off #26 Max Shaw to cut the lead to 16-14, and #5 Trent Hillger won by fall to close out the soring.
UW add a 38-12 win over Hoftstra that featured bonus points galore, but also some cause for concern. Barnett and Ethan Rotondo led off with pins and frosh Joey Zargo added an MD at 141. After Gomez’s tech fall at 149, UW was up 21-0 after only four matches, and pretty much coasted from there, team-wise. Dean Hamiti won 16-0 by TF at 165 and looks like the real deal, even as true frosh. 165 is a relatively thin weight in the B1G this year, and I could see Hamiti finishing in the top four if he keeps this up.
On the other hand, #14 Chris Weiler finished a disappointing 0-2 day by losing to #30 Charles Small, and highly touted rsFR Braxton Amos (#16, 197) was upset by #29 Trey Rogers in sudden victory. Amos’s loss may well have been a conditioning issue. He was in control for the first six minutes, and is still getting used to 197, so its not time to ring the alarm bells yet. However, the Badgers brought in Hayden Copass this year, the top-ranked HWT in the class of ‘21, so if Amos grows out of 197 there will be some unfortunate redundancy on the roster. Still, UW is markedly improved from last year, and excitement should continue to build.
#1 Iowa Hawkeyes 36, Army West Point 7
Atinat: After Oregon State cancelled late, Iowa was able to grab Army West Point from nearby Ames to fill in a day later. The willingness of Army to pull ten guys out of an open tournament, just a day after another dual, on less than 48 hours notice, is greatly appreciated by myself as a fan, certainly the athletes, and by the administration, who Brands announced after the dual is working on scheduling a road dual at West Point in the future. He also said that Cal Baptist, also in Ames for the Cyclone Open, was willing to do battle in Carver, and he’s working on making that happen as well.
Niceties aside, Iowa handled business against the unranked Black Knights, winning 36-7 thanks in part to three pinfalls. Jesse Ybarra made his Carver debut a successful one, winning 3-1 in sudden victory. Ybarra looked overly cautious, and this match contained very few shots until the sudden victory period. He set up well offensively, but failed to pull the trigger, often backing out of shots. That is going to have to improve on Sunday in Ames. Cobe Siebrecht wasn’t as fortunate, getting majored by #22 PJ Ogunsanya 11-3. Siebrecht certainly was not afraid of his opponent, but was simply outmatched by the senior. Nelson Brands was able to major his unranked opponent 18-5, and though it was against a backup, Brands looked very good here. Down a weight from last year, he looks quicker and more aggressive thus far. Iowa’s other loss came at 197, where Zach Glazier was unable to convert a few opportunities early and faded late to #20 JT Brown, falling 4-1. Kaleb Young won the marquee match of this dual, outclassing #29 Markus Hartman 4-1. Hartman is a good wrestler, who I watched place third in Midlands in 2019 (losing to Young in sudden victory), so it was nice to see Young bounce back from a defeat with such vigor.
The Hawkeyes got a tech fall from Austin DeSanto over Dominic Carone, and pins from Eierman, Marinelli, and Cassioppi over #26 Corey Shie, Christian Hunt, and Brandon Phillips, respectively. The Eierman pin is in the video below, and frankly was a thing of beauty to watch. Eierman is a special wrestler to watch live, and here, after two periods of Shie refusing to bite at the bait, Eierman simply throws his own leg into the takedown, setting up for a cradle fall. The Hawkeyes also had several wrestlers compete at the Cyclone Open on Sunday, getting titles from Drake Ayala (125/freshman division), Wyatt Henson (141/freshman), Patrick Kennedy (165/open division), and Aaron Costello (heavyweight/open).
#15 Minnesota Gophers 27, #23 South Dakota State 13
Atinat: Minnesota handled western foe South Dakota State 27-13, slightly exceeding my prediction. The dual started at 165, and it started on the wrong foot with #18 Tanner Cook pinning #22 Andrew Sparks. #17 Cade DeVos extended the early lead for the Jackrabbits, beating #25 Jared Krattiger 6-1. Isaiah Salazar majored his foe to cut the deficit to 5, and then the Gophers scored a major upset with Michial Foy routing #6 Tanner Sloan by a score of 9-3. Unfortunately, I don’t have BTN+, and BTN didn’t upload that match to YouTube, so I have no idea how it happened. Gable ended the heavyweights with a tech fall of AJ Nevills, putting Minnesota up 12-9 at the break.
Pat McKee majored SDSU’s THIRD Tanner, Tanner Jordan, 13-1, and Gliva kept the bonus train moving with a 10-2 major decision over Trayton Anderson. #7 Clay Carlson would give the Jackrabbits their final victory, beating #27 Jake Bergeland 12-3. Michael Blockhus got a win over #29 Zach Price 13-7, and Brayton Lee majored Kenny O’Neil 13-5 to finish the Gophers’ victory.
Both McKee and Blockhus rebounded from bad losses against Oklahoma State, and really only Andrew Sparks had a poor result. Minnesota’s stock should rise slightly as a result, though their ranking was unchanged because no one ahead of them lost.
Cliff Keen Invitational, Friday and Saturday on FloWrestling
Kind of...: Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Purdue are all participating. That COULD be a lot of good wrestling assuming they send most of their respective starting lineups. Add in Cornell, Stanford, Cal Poly, Utah Valley, Oklahoma, and Princeton, and you’ve got 12 of the top 25 teams in the country.
The pre-seeds have been released. 5 ranked wrestlers at 125 (including #2 Pat Glory), 6 at 133 (with NW’s #6 Chris Cannon the #1 seed); 6 at 141; 9 (!) at 141 (including #1 Yiannis Diakomihalis AND #2 Sammy Sasso!!); 9 at 157 (including #2 Ryan Deakin of NW); 7 at 165 (including #2 Evan Wick); 9 at 174 (with #3 Mikey Labriola of Nebraska as the top seed); 8 at 184 (plus unseeded Kaleb Romero who is bumping up from 174); 11 (!!!) at 197; and 8 at HWT (though Gable Steveson is not listed)
I DO have a Flo subscription, so let’s do it this way: don’t worry about a preview for now, but show up Friday and Saturday for coverage/conversation in the comments, especially Session 1, starting at 11:00 CST on Friday, the semis (noon CST on Saturday) and the finals (starting at 5:00 CST on Saturday).
Michigan State at Lock Haven, Thursday 6PM, and at Bucknell, Friday 6PM on ESPN+
Atinat: I put these two together because they’re pretty similar: small schools, not a lot of ranked wrestlers, and you probably don’t care. Let’s just list all the ranked wrestlers from all three schools. #33 Luke Werner, Lock Haven, 125 pounds. #10 Rayvon Foley, Michigan State, 133 pounds. #23 Darren Miller, Bucknell, 141 pounds. #33 Peyton Omania, Michigan State, 149 pounds. #22 Chase Saldate, Michigan State; and #33 Ben Barton, Lock Haven, 157 pounds. #8 Zach Hartman, Bucknell, 165 pounds. #27 Layne Malczewski, Michigan State, 184 pounds. #20 Cam Caffey, Michigan State, 197 pounds.
So, if you weren’t counting, that’s nine ranked wrestlers across three schools and ten weight classes. Michigan State boasts the most with five, but really, is that something to boast about? They should be heavily favored in both duals, but Bucknell should put up more of a fight. Let’s say 25-9 over Lock Haven, 23-10 over Bucknell. I did choose those score fairly randomly.
#2 Penn State Nittany Lions at Penn, Friday at 6PM on ESPN+
Atinat: Unlike their Sunday matchup previewed below, this is not expected to be much of a test for the Nittany Lions. The Quakers are probably favored in the unranked 125 bout, and maybe again with #21 Doug Zapf at 157, but provide only speed bumps in their other weights.
Honestly, Penn doesn’t looked to be a bad team on paper. They have ranked wrestlers at six weights, it’s just that Penn State is really good, and five of those six will have higher ranked opponents. At 133, #12 Michael Colaiocco draws top-ranked Roman Bravo-Young, and likewise does #28 Carmen Ferrante get top-ranked Nick Lee at 141 pounds. Their third ranked wrestler, #23 Anthony Artalona, gets maybe the closest matchup with #20 Beau Bartlett meeting him at 149 pounds. #33 Lucas Revano will have #32 Creighton Edsell, a sophomore who’s filled in for Joe Lee at 165 pounds. Lee is listed at 157 this year, but has not seen the mat. Penn’s final ranked wrestler comes at 174 pounds, where #21 Nick Incontrera has the Nittany Lions’ third top-ranked, defending national champion in Carter Starocci.
Penn technically could win four matches. However, even if they somehow managed a fifth, there is no way they could keep pace with their cross-state not-rivals. I’ll give them three wins, and a respectable 32-9 loss.
#12 Rutgers at American University, Friday at 6:30PM on ESPN+
HWAHSQB: Last week, PSU beat up on the Army. Now, Rutgers will beat up on Americans. Where is your sense of patriotism east coast B1G teams? This one will be a laugher. The Scarlet Knights will be favored in 9 bouts and probably most of them won’t be close. 165# is the one match where the (googles American University mascot) Eagles (probably should’ve seen that one coming) will have a good chance for a win. If it isn’t 39-3 or better, Rutgers needs to up their game.
Maryland Terrapins hosts Drexel, Duke on Saturday at 11AM on BTN+
Kind of...: I don’t mean to treat Maryland like a dog that is up for adoption, but they’ve struggled, A LOT, recently, and I am curious to check their progress. This meet will be interesting. Wrestlestat (which you should take with a grain of salt) has Maryland #47 and Drexel #51, and predicts a 21-15 Maryland victory. I will definitely look to see how Kyle Cochran (184) and Jaron Smith (197) do for the Terps. They strike me as Maryland’s likeliest (which is to say, not all that likely) NCAA qualifiers.
#2 Penn State hosts #21 Lehigh, Sunday at 1PM on BTN+
HWAHSQB: Penn State takes on a ranked and respectable Lehigh team this Sunday. This won’t be a competitive dual, but Lehigh won’t get shutout either. For the record, Lehigh’s respectable 21st ranking is lower than 11 B1G squads. Lehigh will be favored in two matches. At 157, PSU’s Barraclough will likely yield bonus points to LU’s #10 ranked Josh Humphreys. Barraclough was majored 9-0 his first time out against Army’s Hartman, who Humphreys beat comfortably last year. So, PSU fans, riddle me this. Why can Cael Sanderson recruit national champ contenders at every weight except they can’t even get a decent 125#er? Eleven B1G teams found a ranked little guy this year, but what gives? When you have a good 125, they can’t stay healthy. It’s bizarre. Anyway, back to business, Lehigh’s best chance for a win comes at 125, where last years EIWA champ, Jaret Lane, takes on something called a Baylor Shunk. Easily the match of the day is at shaved bear, where #10 Jordan Wood of Lehigh takes on #4 Greg Kerkvielet. Kerkvielet majored Wood last time they met, but Wood is pretty good and will take his shot. All the other matches will be dominated by the Nittany Lions, who will win by...a lot. Let’s call it 34-6.
#1 Iowa at #25 Iowa State, Sunday at 6PM on ESPN+
Atinat: This should be fun. The Coliseum is an electric environment, and Iowa State always wrestles up to Iowa. This year, they come in 25th, with seven ranked wrestlers. As with the last two duals, the issue to watch for Iowa is who wrestles. The probables for the Hawks are the same as last week, with Lee and Murin absent, and alternates listed at 174, 184, and 197. Jesse Ybarra will get his second match at 125, and Cobe Siebrecht will get his third at 149. Both Kemerer and Brands are listed at 174, with Wilson and Assad listed at 184, and Warner and Glazier at 197.
Iowa State may open the dual up with their first win at 125 since 2004, the same year that the Cyclones last beat Iowa. Sophomore Kysen Terukina is ranked 21st by Intermat, and will test freshman Jesse Ybarra. The Hawks will look to strike back with third-ranked Austin DeSanto facing unranked Ramazan Attasauov. At 141, second-ranked Jaydin Eierman will see either #19 Zach Redding or three-time national qualifier Ian Parker, who has not wrestled this year. Parker is also listed alongside #22 Jarrett Degen at 149 pounds, to face Siebrecht.
The marquee matchup comes at 157 pounds, where #8 Kaleb Young will see defending national champion David Carr. Carr defeated Young 6-1 in 2019. Iowa State has only unranked wrestlers at 165 and 174 for Marinelli and either Brands or Kemerer, respectively, but then #14 Marcus Coleman will test either Myles WIlson or Abe Assad (both are listed on the probables, but Tom Brands basically said Tuesday that it'll be Wilson). #24 Yonger Bastida is listed at 197 to see either Zach Glazier or Jacob Warner, and then Sam Schuyler is the Cyclone’s heavyweight for “#7” Tony Cassioppi.
The Hawkeyes should be heavily favored at 133, 165, 174, and 285, and could be at 141 and 197 depending on who goes for either side. 184 is a tossup, and the Cyclones are favored at 125, 149, and 157. I’ll say the Hawks take this one 29-13.