Monday, June 4, 2018

2018-2019 NCAA Wrestling Wish List

As the collegiate baseball season begins to dwindle down I come to the realization that it'll be a long five months before anything I care too much about will be happening in the world of collegiate sports. Have the whole summer and all of the fall before the grapplers of the WCWA, NCWA, CACC, NJCAA, NAIA, and NCAA take to the mat.  I guess that gives me a lot of time to think.

Every year I come up with a wish list.  10 things that I want to see happen during the season.  Last year I went 2-10. This year I hope to go at least 3-9.  We'll see what happens.  In countdown order, here is what I wish to see this season.

10. Attend Duals and Tournaments
I hope to attend a lot of duals and tournaments this season.

Image result for Ben Thornton

9. Ben Thornton of Purdue has a standout senior season 

Always a fan of the underdog under the radar, the fiery, always give it Hell Thornton has grown to be a favorite of mine.  Numerous times last season, including finishing round of twelve at CKLV and Midlands, Thornton came within one match shy of placing at two of the nations most prestigious tournaments. Hope to see him medal at both, as well as have a great BIG 10 and NCAA run this season.


8. History is made 

I have no idea if this is officially a  potential record in the making or not.  What I do know is that their are eight wrestlers who made All American for universities that they no longer compete for.  Therefore a potential for eight wrestlers to be All Americans at two different schools.  The history lover in me, is excited.

Joey McKenna already did it.  After a third place finish as a freshman in 2016 for Stanford, he had a disappointing tournament in 2017 that saw him not place. Transferring to Ohio State as a junior, he found himself once again, and had a repeat third place finish.  He'll go for his third All American honor and first NCAA title this season.

Ryan Milhof took 7th place honors for Oklahoma in 2016 and will try and earn a second All American honor this season for Arizona State.

Sean Russell a 7th place finisher in 2017, leaves Edinboro for Minnesota in route to capture his second All American honor.

Zeke Moisey, who finished 2nd in 2015 and 8th in 2018, will go for his third All American honor while wrestling for Nebraska this season.

Conor Schram who took 8th in 2016 for Stanford has been granted a sixth year of eligibility, where he will try and make the award stand for Lehigh this season.

Justin Oliver who took 7th in 2016, and has missed the award stand by one match the past two seasons, will try to make it one final time. This time for North Carolina State.

Sa'Derian Perry earned an 8th place finish this past year for the Eastern Michigan Eagles, and would be more than happy to earn another three All American finishes for the Eagles. However the school could care less about him, or better put Scott Wetherbee could care less about him. Idiotic, selfish, and cruel decisions, based on false information and outright lies has led to the elimination of four sports at EMU, one of which includes wrestling. Therefore Perry has no decision but to continue his wrestling career elsewhere.  He'll go for his second of what could potentially be four All American honors at Old Dominion.

Image result for Tommy Thorn Minnesota

7. The Tommy Thorn Redemption 

Some of my favorite memories in collegiate wrestling the past seasons have come via the Thorn brothers of Minnesota. Mike and David were both a treat to watch and thus far, so has been Tommy.  The end of his junior season was quite the disappointment but I have faith that he'll come back better than ever for his final season as a Gopher. It'll be interesting to see how he does at 149 lbs.

6. Fresno State Crowns an All American

A wish from last year that I didn't get that I'll ask again for this season. Not sure who it'll be but right now my confidence is in one of three Bulldogs. Khristian Olivas, Greg Gaxiola or A.J. Nevills.  None are shoe-ins but all three have shown potential. I would also add Emillio Saavedra to the list as well, but as of right now his name is not on the roster.


5. Air Force Takes Flight at the NCAA's 

It's going on 17 years since the Falcons impressive run at the 2002 NCAA championships in Albany, New York and its about time they had another one.  The scene is set similar.  In 2002 you had seniors Scott Frohardt and Terry Parham at 149 and 174 lbs respectively.  Both had their best seasons yet, with Frohardt taking 8th place as the #12 seed and Parham taking 7th unseeded.  2019 seniors, Isaac Jimenez at 133 lbs and Alex Mossing at 157 lbs have the potential to repeat history.  Jimenez showed what he could do at the Southern Scuffle last season, knocking off two time All American Scotty Parker of Lehigh in route to an 8th place finish.  Mossing showed off his capabilities with a 5th place finish at RENO, which included an impressive win over All American Paul Fox of Stanford.  Add in potential from Anthony McLaughlin as well as Alex Loupanchanski and Air Force could tie, maybe even break school records.

Image result for Colston Diblasi Wrestling

4. Colston DiBlasi becomes George Mason's First Division I All American 

While I'm glad my time as a member of the wrestling media has come to an official end, there are things that I'll miss about it. One of those things was getting to know individuals who are as much champions off the mat as they are on it. One of those guys for me is Colston DiBlasi.  I covered a lot of Iowa State wrestling during the 2016-2017 season and DiBlasi was one of my favorites to watch as well as interview.  With his unorthodox style, free spirit attitude and put the fun in wrestling mentality, I think getting out of Ames during the intense coaching changes was the smartest move that he could have made. George Mason provides him an environment to be himself and I'm excited to see what he can do as a Patriot. 

Image result for Dante Rodriguez Iowa State

3. Dante Rodriguez has made a full recovery and is back 100% 

While the coaching changes in Ames aren't for everyone, I do think they will be for some of the Cyclones. Obviously for Jarrett Degen, but I think another wrestler who will embrace the changes is Dante Rodriguez.  Rodriguez's career has been plagued by a series of injuries, but if he can get healthy, I'd love to see what Brent Metcalf and Psycho Miko Zadick can do with him. D-Rod is a go getter and furthermore a pinner.  He's got his strength, stamina and confidence back he'll thrown a monkey wrench into the whole thing.

Image result for Anthony Ashnault Rutgers

2.  Anthony Ashnault becomes Rutgers First Four Time All American 

Another wish from last year.   I'm curious as well as anxious to see where Ashnault's health is this season.  If anyone deserves to be the Scarlet Knights first four time All American, it's him. He has to earn it, and there is no doubt in my mind he'd have already earned it, if it weren't for injuries. I only hope that do or don't, he's at 100%.  He's at least earned that much.

Image result for David Bolyard

1. David Bolyard finds a new home 

Did I mention how much of a piece of crap I think Scott Wetherbee is? If not, I think Scott Wetherbee is a huge piece of crap.  What David Bolyard has done at Eastern Michigan should be celebrated and rewarded. Instead, it is punished in the ultimate way through elimination. He's proven himself in a multitude of ways. He's a phenomenal coach and I'd love to see him at a variety of places continuing to hone his craft as a head coach.  Where is he going to end up?  I'd like to see him in Little Rock.  I'd love to see UALR start off strong and can think of few others who would get the Trojans on the right track immediately. I'd love to see Bolyard go to any struggling program and build them the way the did the Eagles. The guy deserves to be in a place where his work ethic and positive attributes in creating great men on and off the mat will be rewarded.  It's a shame that EMU doesn't realize what a tremendous talent they lost.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

4 Year Collegiate Varsity Opportunities by Sport (As of May 2018)

1. Men's Basketball - 347
2. Women's Basketball - 345
3. Women's Cross Country - 344
4. Women's Outdoor Track - 334
5. Women's Volleyball - 330
6. Women's Soccer - 329
7. Women's Indoor Track&Field-325
8. Women's Tennis - 315
9. Men's Cross Country - 311
10. Men's Golf - 297
11. Men's Baseball - 295
12. Women's Softball - 291
13. Men's Outdoor Track&Field-281
14. Women's Golf - 263
15. Men's Indoor Track&Field - 260
16. Men's Tennis - 253
17. Football - 251
18. Men's Soccer - 203
19. Women's Swimming & Diving - 194
20. Men's Swimming & Diving - 133
21. Women's Lacrosse - 111
22. Women's Rowing - 89
23. Women's Field Hockey - 79
24. Men's Wrestling - 76
25. Men's Lacrosse - 70
26. Women's Gymnastics - 61
27. Men's Ice Hockey - 60
28. Women's Beach Volleyball - 52
29. Women's Ice Hockey - 36
T30. Women's Bowling and Women's Waterpolo - 34
31. Women's Fencing - 26
32. Women's Rifle - 24
T33. Men's Fencing, Men's Volleyball, and Men's Waterpolo - 21
34. Men's Rifle - 18
35. Men's Gymnastics - 15
36. Women's Skiing - 12
37. Men's Skiing - 11

1. Women's Basketball - 319
2. Men's Basketball - 318
3. Women's Cross Country - 307
4. Women's Volleyball - 306
5. Women's Softball - 296
6. Men's Cross Country - 280
7. Men's Baseball - 270
8. Women's Soccer - 268
9. Women's Outdoor Track&Field - 246
10. Women's Tennis -226
11 Men's Golf - 233
12. Men's Soccer - 217
13 Men's Outdoor Track&Field - 215
14. Women's Indoor Track&Field - 195
15 Women's Golf - 192
16. Men's Indoor Track&Field - 173
T17. Men's Football and Men's Tennis - 169
18. Women's Lacrosse - 107
19. Women's Swimming & Diving - 104
20. Men's Swimming & Diving - 75
21. Men's Lacrosse - 67
22. Men's Wrestling - 61
23. Women's Field Hockey - 33
24. Women's Bowling - 30
25. Men's Volleyball - 25
26. Women's Rowing - 16
27. Women's Waterpolo - 10
28. Women's Beach Volleyball - 9
T29 Women's Gymnastics, Men's Ice Hockey, Men's Water Polo, Women's Skiing - 7
30.Men's Skiing - 6
31. Women's Ice Hockey - 5
32. Women's Fencing - 4
T33. Men's Rifle & Women's Rifle - 3
34. Men's Fencing - 2
35. Men's Gymnastics - 0

1. Women's Basketball - 439
2. Women's Soccer - 438
3. Women's Volleyball - 433
4. Men's Basketball- 424
5. Women's Cross Country - 420
6. Men's Soccer - 415
7. Women's Softball - 414
8. Men's Cross Country - 399
9. Men's Baseball - 385
10. Women's Tennis - 372
11. Men's Tennis - 328
12. Women's Outdoor Track&Field - 318
13. Men's Outdoor Track&Field - 311
14. Men's Golf - 299
15. Women's Indoor Track&Field - 283
16. Women's Lacrosse - 280
17. Men's Indoor Track&Field - 276
18. Women's Swimming & Diving - 250
19. Men's Football - 249
20. Men's Lacrosse - 234
21. Men's Swimming & Diving - 223
22. Women's Golf - 212
23. Women's Field Hockey - 164
24. Men's Wrestling - 101
25. Men's Volleyball - 82
26. Men's Ice Hockey - 77
27. Women's Ice Hockey - 59
28. Women's Rowing - 41
29. Women's Water Polo - 17
T30. Men's Skiing & Women's Skiing - 16
T31. Women's Fencing, Women's Gymnastics, Men's Water Polo - 15
T32. Women's Bowling, Men's Fencing - 12
T33. Women's  Beach Volleyball, Women's Rifle, Men's Rifle - 3
34. Men's Gymnastics - 1

1. Women's Basketball - 230 (92 DI & 138 DII)
2. Men's Basketball - 228 (93 DI & 135 DII)
3. Women's Volleyball- 219
4. Women's Cross Country - 213
5. Men's Cross Country - 205
T6. Women's Soccer and Men's Soccer - 197
7. Women's Softball - 194
8. Men's Baseball - 186
9. Women's Indoor Track&Field - 180
10. Men's Golf - 173
11. Women's Golf - 156
12. Men's Indoor Track&Field - 150
13. Men's Outdoor Track&Field - 135
14. Women's Outdoor Track&Field - 130
15. Women's Tennis - 112
16. Men's Tennis - 103
17. Men's Football - 88
18. Men's Wrestling - 58
19. Cheer&Dance - 50
20.  Women's Lacrosse - 36
21. Men's Volleyball- 34
22. Men's Lacrosse - 32
23. Women's Swimming & Diving - 31
24. Men's Swimming & Diving - 26
25. Bowling - N/A

1. Women's Basketball - 1,333
2. Men's Basketball - 1,317
3. Women's Volleyball - 1,288
4. Women's Cross Country - 1,284
5. Women's Soccer - 1,232
T6. Men's Cross Country & Women's Softball - 1,195
7. Men's Baseball - 1,136
8. Women's Outdoor Track&Field - 1,033
9. Men's Soccer - 1,032
10. Women's Tennis - 1,025
11. Men's Golf - 1,002
12. Women's Indoor Track&Field - 983
13. Men's Outdoor Track&Field - 937
14. Men's Indoor Track&Field - 859
15. Men's Tennis - 853
16. Women's Golf - 823
17. Men's Football - 757
18. Women's Swimming & Diving - 579
19. Women's Lacrosse - 534
20. Men's Swimming & Diving- 457
21. Men's Lacrosse - 403
22. Men's Wrestling - 326
23. Women's Field Hockey - 276
24. Men's Volleyball- 162
25. Women's Rowing - 146
T26. Women's Gymnastics & Men's Ice Hockey - 144
27. Women's Ice Hockey - 94
28. Women's Bowling - 76
29. Women's Beach Volleyball - 64
30. Women's Cheer & Dance - 50
31. Women's Fencing - 45
32. Women's Waterpolo - 44
T33. Men's Fencing and Women's Skiing - 35
34. Men's Skiing - 33
35. Men's Gymnastics - 31
36. Women's Rifle - 30
37. Men's Rifle - 24
38. Men's Waterpolo - 21




Monday, March 26, 2018

Why UALR should host their 2020 Conference Championships

What we do know is that The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will have a Division I varsity wrestling team in the 2019-2020 season.   What we don't know is what conference UALR will belong to.  Rumors speculate the Southern Conference, along with the eight other teams in the conference might be the new how for the Trojans, although their is also talk about UALR becoming the 13th member of the BIG 12.

What we wrestling fans are used to seeing is instances like the horrific news we recently received about the Eagles of Eastern Michigan dropping their wrestling program. We've seen so many of our beloved programs get the ax over the past 50 years that we've almost become cynical if not at least accustomed to it.  The addition of UALR as well as Presbyterian College to Division I, is borderline surreal but very welcomed.

And that's why UALR whether they're in the Southern Conference or in the BIG 12 should host the 2020 conference championships.

We often like to look at wrestling from the inside out, but in terms of growing wrestling's popularity this is a case where we need to look at it from the outside in. College athletics has all become a business. It's about putting butts in seats. If we know right now that UALR is going to host the 2020 Southern Conference or BIG 12 (depending on where they end up) there is no reason at all why we shouldn't fill all 5,600 seats of the Jack Stephen's Center in Little Rock.  In all sense of reality, no reason why we couldn't fill all 7,150 seats of Barton Coliseum.  Be fun to be overly optimistic and think we could even get all 18,000 seats of the Verizon Arena filled.

We want UALR to feel that they made the right decision to add wrestling to their varsity sports. We want other schools to look at what UALR and Presbyterian College are doing and feel that they too should add wrestling to their varsity sports.

I say a good move in doing this is to have UALR host their conference championships, and fill those seats.  Show the school, the athletic director, the president, the administration, and UALR itself that they made the right decision.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2018-2019 Pre ACC Notes

Going for 4 

Sean Fausz 2nd-2nd-1st
Zack Zavatsky 1st-1st-2nd

Going for 3

Solomon Chishko 2nd-1st-DNP
Jack Mueller 3rd-2nd
Taleb Rahmani 2nd-4th

2018-2019 Pre BIG 12 Notes

Going for 4

Seth Gross 2nd-1st-1st
Chandler Rogers 2nd-2nd-1st
Preston Weigel 1st-1st-3rd

Going for 3 

Zeke Moisey 2nd-WC-2nd
Joe Smith 1st-1st-

2018-2019 Pre BIG 10 Notes

Going for 4 

Anthony Ashnault 4th-1st-1st
Alec Pantaleo 4th-6th-1st
Elijah Oliver 5th-6th-8th
Micha Jordan  3rd-2nd-2nd
Jason Nolf 2nd-1st-5th/6th
Bo Nickal 1st-3rd-1st
Myles Martin 3rd-2nd-2nd

Going for 3 

Tommy Thorn 4th-6th-WC
Sam Stoll 8th-WC-4th
Stevan Micic 3rd-1st
Luke Pletcher 4th-2nd
Logan Massa 2nd-5th
Vincenzo Joseph 3rd-2nd

Going for 2

Drew Hughes 5th

2018-2019 Pre EIWA Notes

Going for 4

Tom Sleigh 5th-7th-2nd
Mike D'Angelo 7th-3rd-2nd

Going for 3

Nick Gil 6th-NV-4th
Jeramy Sweany 6th-DNP-3rd
Matt Kolodzik 1st-1st