Just like that, the penultimate week of the regular season is in the books. I don’t know about you, but this season seems like it’s flown by to me. I wrote quite a bit later down, so I’m gonna skip straight to the awards here. For Freshman of the Week, we went with the fairly obvious Joey Zargo for his comeback, sudden-victory win over #4 Dylan Duncan. Duncan got an escape to start the third up 3-0, with riding time over a minute, but he clearly doesn’t have his conditioning back yet and Zargo took advantage, scoring three takedowns and getting riding time down to just under a minute to force sudden victory. He scored the winning takedown just twelve seconds into the frame to get Wisconsin on the board, and they’d go on to win the dual 32-10. For upset, DJ Shannon got one back for the Illini at 174 pounds when the third-year freshman won just his fourth Big Ten dual match, pinning #26 Andrew McNally, a three-time national qualifier. Shannon entered the dual 3-7 in his Big Ten dual career and 13-17 overall. It was his first pin over a D1 opponent, and his second collegiate pin overall.
For outstanding wrestler, #11 Rayvon Foley of Michigan State defeated two top-ten opponents in dominant fashion, beating #9 Chris Cannon 6-2 and #7 Dylan Ragusin 7-2. The junior 133-pounder is on a five-match win streak, outscoring opponents 31-6 in that stretch. He goes from a likely six-seed to a four-seed at Big Tens, which is the difference between a quarterfinal match against one of the guys he just beat, or Illinois’s phenomenal all-American, sixth-ranked Lucas Byrd.
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#8 Ohio State 24, #14 Minnesota Gophers 14
WSR: Well goddamnit. Minnesota needed to have everything go perfectly to have a shot to win, and that was pretty clearly not what happened. It seems like we’re in the middle of the annual Patrick McKee swoon, with the loss to Heinselman being the 5th of his last 7 matches. Jake Gliva continues to be serviceable but not spectacular at 133, but that probably won’t mean much the rest of the year. Jake Bergeland getting a rather quick and disappointing 3rd period fall meant that we had no margin for error the rest of the way, and Michael Blockhus only giving up a decision to Sasso was probably the best result we could have hoped for at 149. ON THE OTHER HAND...Brayton Lee going down awkwardly and grabbing his wrist 17 seconds into the match is pretty much the worst thing that could have happened for the night and the season. We only have 2 guys we can count on night in and night out to go out there and get results, and one of them is now sidelined for a unknown amount of time. Yay!
The rest of the meet went really well for the Gophers, even with all of the air getting sucked out of the Pav. Cael Carlson and Bailee O’Reilly wrestled well against a pair of top 10 opponents, both coming up just short. And Isaiah Salazar and Michial Foy went out and won. Both of those guys have been decent all year, and it was nice to see them end the year at home with wins. Salazar nearly pinning Rocky Jordan was particularly nice.
And then there was the finale. If I was a better person, I’d feel a bit bad for Tate Orndorff. But I’m not, and that was amazing. I feel like 19-4 tech falls are more of a 125 Spencer Lee-type thing than a HWT thing, but that is a thing that happened. At one point after his first takedown, Steveson decided to go for a tilt and a pin. Didn’t really get close, but also got back points. When Orndorff successfully struggled his way back to being flat on his stomach, Steveson looked up at the crowd and appeared to wink. For a brief fleeting moment, I really thought he was going to try for 15-0. Sadly, that was not to be. Steveson let his toy up and just destroyed him in the process of taking him back down and trying to get a pin in his last appearance at home in front of Gopher fans. It was something you’d expect to see against some backup freshman, not a top 20 senior. The almost-perfect ending to Steveson’s home career was capped off with a bit of a show for the fans, including a flip that I’m still confounded by. We’re the same weight, Gable. Why can’t I do that too?
Minnesota isn’t a contender for much of anything this year in the B1Gs and NCAAs, especially if Lee’s out for an extended period of time. But having little moments of joy is better than nothing.
#3 Michigan Wolverines 37, Indiana Hoo-dey 3
Atinat: Yeah, that was unsurprising. Suriano kicked things off in a strong way, pinning Jacob Moran in the third period. Ragusin and Micic both won regular decisions over ranked foes, but Kanen Storr was upset by Graham Rooks 4-1 to put the Hoosiers on the board for the only time. Lewan and Amine both won by just one-point decisions, but Massa and Amine both got tech falls to follow. Pat Brucki went into sudden victory but did prevail over Nick Willham, and Mason Parris made quick work of Jacob Bullock, pinning him in two minutes and 25 seconds.
Northwestern Wildcats 24, #15 Michigan State 16
Atinat: Michigan State kept this closer than I expected, with the dual technically winnable until heavyweight. I predicted 24-10, but a pin from Caleb Fish over David Ferrante and Rayvon Foley getting the big win over Chris Cannon gave Michigan State six more points than I expected, and Ryan Deakin made a big statement in pinning Chase Saldate to makeup three points for Northwestern. There weren’t really other matches of note, as everything else went according to script. As I said in the previews, this may look like an upset on paper, but Northwestern matched up really, really well for this.
#13 Wisconsin Badgers 32, Illinois Fightless Illini 10
Kind of...: That was pretty fun! The match started at 133 so UW was going to be trailing after #6 Lucas Byrd did his thing. 4-0 Illini after a 16-5 MD. But at 141, Joseph Zargo came up with a huge upset of #4 Dylan Duncan, winning 8-6 on a quick takedown in SV. To be fair, Duncan is clearly not in top form yet. Still, great win for the frosh, and big boost to his at-large profile. From there, with one exception, UW pretty much dominated. #7 Austin Gomez pinned #29 Christian Kanzler in less than a minute at 149; #29 Garrett Model notched a workmanlike 5-1 win over Joe Roberts at 157; and, at 165, #6 Dean Hamiti rolled to an 11-1 MD win over #29 Danny Braunagel. Small hiccup at 174 as D.J. Shannon pinned #26 Andrew McNally to cut the lead to 16-10, but UW closed things out by winning the last four bouts. #27 Chris Weiler grabbed a convincing 8-2 decision over #21 Zach Braunagel at 184; #22 Braxton Amos overpowered Matt Wroblewski 10-0 at 197; #11 Trent Hillger earned an impressive 10-2 MD over #16 Luke Luffman in the shaved bear battle; and at 125 Eric Barnett finished things out with a second period pin of back Dane Durlacher.
If you’re scoring at home, you know that means it should be 33-10. The Badgers were docked a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the Barnett match. I have no ideal what Barnett was aggravated about, but he was definitely animated about something. Anyway...really good win for UW.
#16 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 31, Maryland Terrapinned 13
Atinat: Well, it happened. Maryland wrestled on the Big Ten Network as something other than giant-food. They got three individual victories, with NCAA pin-leader (yet STILL unranked) King Sandoval getting another six against Joey Olivieri, Dom Solis getting a major decision, and Kyle Cochran handing Poznanski yet another loss. Rutgers got a major decision from Robert Kanniard, tech falls from Shawver, Rivera, and Clark, and a fall from Greg Bulsak. Despite apparent dominance from the Scarlet Knights, they have to walk away feeling less-than-perfect. This was the most Maryland has scored against a Big Ten opponent this year, in this their final conference dual. Poznanski is still a head-scratcher, losing his four match in his last five. Maryland should feel pretty happy with the three wins they got, and it does feel like they took a half-step forward this year despite the lopsided results. Uh-oh, I said good things about Maryland. Uhh... Old Bay is overrated and southern seafood beats east coast seafood.
#2 Iowa Hawkeyes 23, #11 Oklahoma State 9
Atinat: This event... honestly was kind of a mixed bag. We got to Arlington Friday night, hit up a Whataburger, was fairly unimpressed but it was like 9:30 at night so maybe it's just not stoner food, and then hit the bed pretty quickly (spent 16 hours on the road). Saturday morning was too early to go to the event, so we looked up what to do in Dallas/Ft Worth and after mini golf got vetoed, we decided to go to the Ft Worth Zoo, which was pretty cool. I mean, it was like 45 degrees so lots of the animals were inside, and I did NOT see an armadillo, which was disappointing, but I did get to see a hawk (and lots of other stuff).
We got to the ballpark early enough to go to Texas Live! (their ballpark village) and get some really good bbq. I mean, I’m sure it’s not the best bbq in Texas or anything, but it was really good for being next to a baseball stadium. Side note, I also got to go to two really good bbq joints in KC, which pretty much justifies the trip on its own. Food was kind of the only attraction at Texas Live!, so after that we just chatted up fans of OSU and I got me a DFW Iowa Club t-shirt that looks pretty cool. There is a bull-riding thing or something that was closed before the event but according to the scantily-clad cowgirls, open afterwards.
OSU fans were cool people (if terrible drivers); we sat by a bunch of them (crowd mix was about 50/50) and with the exception of Daton Fix's family, most were chatty. We bonded over our shared hatred of Penn State and our cheering on the USA freestyle teams, who mostly stream-rolled their replacement foes. There were 12,044 fans in attendance, which is a lot for most schools but fewer than an average Carver dual. The view was pretty far away, and from what I heard, our seats were better than the more expensive ones. It was by no means a perfect event, but it was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I went (even if I won't go to another like it for a while).
Oh yeah, and there was college wrestling! Jesse Ybarra kicked things off for the Hawkeyes, facing #7 Trevor Mastrogiovanni. Ybarra had the first two takedowns to take a 4-2 lead into the third. Confusingly, both wrestlers chose neutral to start the second and third periods. Mastrogiovanni had two takedowns in the final minute, riding out Ybarra for a 6-5 victory. Ybarra massively impressed me here, showing no fear until he shut down in the third period. Then, it was a standard story: wrestlers who wrestle not to lose, usually lose. Unless you're Sammy Sasso. Or RBY. Or... okay, unless you're really good. DeSanto dominated pace against Fix, but Fix chose his shots well and finished on both, winning 5-3. DeSanto honestly looked too aggressive here, wrestling like he did against RBY but against someone more capable of exploiting it, in my opinion. The final three of the front half had a theme: favored Iowa wrestlers converted on shots, rode tough, and won decision matches. Eierman won 6-1 (and spent three minutes on top trying to cradle his for), Murin won 5-2 and showed stuff on top I hadn't seen before from him, and Young won 4-1, also riding out a considerable amount of time.
Marinelli scored an early takedown against Travis Wittlake, but really shut down after that, winning a 3-2 decision to match his last bout with Wittlake. Kemerer controlled Dustin Plott but couldn't find bonus points, winning a 6-1 decision. Abe Assad looked bad against Dakota Geer, earning an escape with four seconds left just to avoid a major decision and lose 9-2. Warner brought the fight early to the Cowboys' 197 backup, majoring him, and after a few tough scrambles in the opening minutes, Cassioppi was able to do the same to the shark bait at heavyweight. The
Hawkeyes looked dominate in wins, but surprisingly non-competitive in the two losses involving starters. This dual did go according to plan, though, with the higher-ranked wrestler winning all ten times.
Where would you rather have a dual
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Rodeo arena? idk something else, use the comments
Unfortunately, coach John Smith revealed on his radio show Monday that defending-national champion AJ Ferrari will not return to the Cowboy lineup, as he will undergo surgery to repair injuries maintained during a car accident earlier in the season. The Hawkeyes will go to Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers in their final dual.
#12 Nebraska Cornhuskers 23, Illinois 11
HWAHSQB: For the second year in a row, a call reversal hosed Dylan Duncan against Chad Red. The reversal was the correct call and even though after the reversal, it was still 0-0, it put 1:14 back on the clock and with Duncan’s conditioning being questionable after coming back from injury, he didn’t need to wrestle extra time against a very tough opponent. Red took advantage of the extra time and caught Duncan riding too high on top and managed a reversal and back points and it ended 7-1.
Byrd and Danny Braunagel got majors for Illinois and Zac Braunagel also scored an upset over #9 ranked Taylor Venz.
Nebraska scored a single bonus point as Mikey Labriola scored a late takedown and rideout for an 11-3 victory. Despite the lack of bonus, Nebraska took 7 matches for the comfortable victory.
#3 Michigan 24, #15 Michigan State 13
Atinat: Michigan went out on
Super Bowl Senior Sunday and took it to their in-state rivals, winning seven of ten bouts and scoring three bonus points thanks to a Suriano major and Massa tech fall. Rayvon Foley was able to defeat Dylan Ragusin in the first ranked match of the day, but Michigan won the other two with Will Lewan defeating Chase Saldate and Myles Amine riding a big third period to dispatch Layne Malcewzski. Cam Caffey got a major decision over Bobby Striggow, and senior Zachery Nemec made his dual debut only to get pinned in the first period by Brad Wilton to close things out. With two of the three losses coming from backups, Michigan was clearly superior here and is in a good place to go into the postseason. They’ll finish their regular season on the road at Central Michigan, while the Spartans get the Chippewas at home.
Northwestern 22, Northern Illinois 12
Atinat: Yeah, things went as expected here. Northwestern won the first four and the final two, getting bonus points from a Yahya Thomas major decision and a Chris Cannon pin, bouncing back from his loss earlier in the weekend. Both of NIU’s ranked wrestlers beat their unranked foes, and the Huskies won a pair of unranked bouts at 157 and 174. The Wildcats won their fourth straight as a team, advancing to 6-4 on the year. They will close the regular season against Purdue.
#8 Ohio State 34, Indiana 3
Atinat: In the only ranked bout of the night, #20 Dylan D’Emilio majored #32 Cayden Rooks 10-2. Indiana’s other ranked wrestler, 133-pound Brock Hudkins, handled his unranked opponent, but the Hoosiers got it handed to them elsewhere. They gave up majors at 125, 141, 165, 174, and a pin at 184 in Kaleb Romero’s first match in nearly a month. They didn’t give up bonus points to Sammy Sasso or Tate Orndorff, so that’s a plus, I guess.