It’s that time! The Big Ten Wrestling Championships begin at 10AM GTZ on Saturday and continue through 3:30PM Sunday. Will we have a new conference champion, or will the Hawkeyes find their stride and get their third conference title in a row? You can check out previews below.
The entirety of the championships will be on the Big Ten Network or BTN+, with BTN picking up session one at 10AM, semifinals at 7:30PM, and the championships at 3:30PM on Sunday. All wrestleback action will be on BTN+, as will individual mat coverage for session one.
EDIT: Going into Sunday, here’s what we’ve got.
125: Suriano v Barnett for first, Ayala v Shawver for seventh, and Schroder, McKee, Heinselman, and DeAugustino alive for third. Qualifying ten, so Hildebrandt v Moran and Lujan v Cardani for those last two spots in a non-team scoring 9th place bracket
133: RBY v DeSanto for first, Gliva v Ramos for seventh, and Ragusin, Cannon, Byrd, and Foley alive for third. Hudkins v Burwick and Serrano v Olivieri for the last two auto-bids.
141: Lee v Eierman for first, Filius v Tal Shahar for seventh, and Bergeland, D’Emilio, Micic, and Rivera alive for third (but Rivera likely to med forfeit)
149: Sasso v Gomez for first, Bartlett v Storr for seventh, Murin, Van Brill, Blockhus and Lovett alive for third
157: Deakin v Lewan for first, Saldate v Model for seventh, Robb, Young, Coleman, and Berge alive for third
165: Amine v Marinelli for first, Carlson v Fish for seventh, Kharchla, Ferrante, Wilson, and Hamiti alive for third
174: Starocci v Massa for first, O’Neill v Solis for seventh, Kemerer, Fisher, Smith, and Labriola alive for third (but Kemerer likely to med forfeit).
184: Brooks v Amine for first, Salazar v Assad for seventh, Venz, Braunagel, Cochran, and Romero alive for third. There are 12 auto-bids here, so our ninth place bracket is kinda wild. Jessen beat Washington and Weiler beat Lyon, but Washington and Lyon will wrestle for 13th, presumably for a true 12th-place bout. There’s a similar situation going on at 174, where they’re wrestling out to 9th place despite only 8 auto-bids.
197: Schultz v Dean for first, Bulsak v Hoffman for seventh, Brucki, Penola, Warner, and Caffey alive for third. 11 auto-bids, Amos v Foy and Smith v Davison with the losers battling for 11th place.
285: Steveson v Cassioppi for first, Lance v Orndorff for seventh, Parris, Luffman, Davison, and Kerkvliet alive for third. 9 auto-bids, so Hillger v Schrader and Woulfe v Bullock in the ninth-place semifinals.
- Michigan Wolverines, 116 points (5 finalists, 5 alive in consis)
- Penn State Nittany Lions, 111.5 points (5 finalists, 3 alive in consis)
- Iowa Hawkeyes, 109 points (4 finalists, 6 alive in consis)
- Ohio State, 72; 5. Northwestern, 70.5; 6. Nebraska, 65; 7. Wisconsin, 58.5; 8. Minnesota, 55.5; 9. Rutgers, 37; 10. Purdue, 34.5; 11. Michigan State, 33; 12. Illinois, 26.5; 13. Maryland, 14.5; 14. Indiana, 4
Hey, Indiana is out of point-scorers, so Maryland confirmed not-last! Way to go, Terps! Really fun team race at the top. Michigan has five finalists, but only Suriano is favored. That said, only Lewan doesn’t have a chance. Penn State is favored in four of five, but not a sure win (or loss) anywhere. I’d bet they win three, though. Iowa’s four include one favorite (Marinelli), two toss-up underdogs, and one Gable-food. The backsides are worth considering, where Michigan has four consi-semi guys and one in a seventh-place match, Penn State has two consi-semis and one seventh, and Iowa has four consi-semis and two sevenths.
Putting a prediction to paper here, you’ve got to like Penn State’s chances with potentially five individual champions. If they do win three, whichever one they lose will determine who has the better chance at finishing first. If one of the Iowa guys at 133 or 141 get the win, Marinelli beats Amine, and the Hawkeyes do work in the consis, they could win this. If you’re Michigan, you need a win from Suriano and one of the Amines, plus some good back-side wrestling. I’m gonna say Penn State one, Iowa two, Michigan three, reverting to chalk despite Michigan’s strong day one.
HWAHSQB: Adding on to the bad news for Indiana, how does it feel for Moran to be going for a 9th-10th qualifying spot and he draws the #2 seed?? That’s tough. In Poeta’s first year at Illinois, he possibly will only have three NCAA qualifiers, which would be the fewest in at least the last 30 years. Illinois had 9 starters returning this year and 6 of those 9 are having decidedly worse seasons than last year. That’s not a great start to the Poeta era. Brooks-Amine is the clear choice for must-see match tomorrow, although every Steveson match also qualifies. Not only are those guys both great competitors, but it could have major team implications. Eierman just looked a little slow with the big knee brace. He’s always fun, but I don’t think he challenges Lee in that condition. Michigan won the day today, but Northwestern probably exceeded expectations even more than the Wolverines. Only one finalist for the Wildcats, but six guys alive in the consis and two more potential qualifiers.
We have two fantasy options for you nerds out there. The first is a pretty standard pick’em, rewarding three points for correct champions, two for runners-up, and one for third-place finishers at each weight. The tie-breaker, though I really doubt it’ll be necessary, is total points for your team champion. Get at it!
(sorry, it’s all closed now)