Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Navy Classic Open Preview (11-20-2021)

 While not as loaded as in year's past the Navy Classic will still have some great wrestling take place this weekend.  Plenty of opportunity for those who have yet to make their mark this season to do so in this tournament. 


Allen easily takes the cake here as the #1 seed and as long as he wrestles smart, he should win a title competing on his own mats. He owns a 5-1 victory over Heil, a 10-7 victory over Ferri and he is the highest ranked of the competition. Ferri will most likely be seed #2 and if he makes the semis looks to have a tough match with Heil who should be seed #3.  The Golden Flash is 1-1 with the Viking thus far, winning a 7-4 decision and dropping an 8-6 decision. Heil himself owns a 1:18 fall over Werner, who in his own right could be the monkey wrench in this bracket.  So far this season he hasn't been the bolt of lightning that I thought he might.  His inconsistency always makes his outcome difficult to predict. He's lost to Ferri 12-1, but he's also defeated him 5-3 & 9-5.  Then the bracket also includes Fallon, who upset Pat McCormick of Virginia a while as well as Lujan who looked very good in a 6-5 decision over Pittsburgh's Colton Camacho.  


Foley won this tournament a few seasons ago and it looks like history is going to repeat itself. I don't even see him being remotely challenged.  As to who will be his finals opponent? The clear favorite is Guillen, who owns a 2:23 fall over Rhone and is the only other wrestler ranked in the bracket.  With that said I think the opportunity for upset and to go from unranked to ranked presents itself for the rest of the field. Anxious to see who places where. 


Miller will be the #1 seed here as he continues to prove himself at 141 lbs after being 133 the past two seasons.  What should be a barnburner of a semi-final between Willochell and Santos will determine his finals opponent. Earlier this season Willochell defeated Santos 12-10 sudden victory in a match full of plenty of action.  Newell and Hagan should both place within the top 6. 


Hagan was the runner-up here two seasons ago and is the clear favorite to win this year.  He is 4-0 Vs Komara owning a 2:44 over the Golden Flash as well as 6-0, 4-3 and 5-4 decisions.  Komara owns a 2:29 fall over Robinson, which will put him at the higher seed over the Viking.  However, Omania could get the higher seed over Komara.  In my opinion, we're looking at three of the best unranked wrestlers in the country.  For any of them to upset Hagan would be great for their season. 


This is the weight class to pay attention to and watch.  A lot of interesting things could happen in this bracket.  My guess would be that Saldate takes the #1 seed, but trust me, he'll be more than challenged. Cerniglia and Barton , who I'll guess to be seeds #2 & #3 pose threat, but the buck does NOT stop there. Both Slivka and Casto are inconsistent as well as prone to lose when they shouldn't, BUT they can also both be down right dangerous when they want to be. I also wouldn't dare overlook Showers or Patten in any of these potential matchups and Carida will fight amongst the rest for a top 6 showing himself. 


Hartman is the #1 seed and clear favorite to win this bracket, but I say not only can Tucker challenge him, but he will. Tucker is a top twenty wrestler in the nation right now, that has the unlocked potential to be a top 8.  He needs a victory like this and what better place to start than the Navy Classic? For the record, he won this tournament two seasons ago.  As to the rest of the bracket it'll be interesting to see how it shapes up.  You have six wrestlers fighting for the remaining four spots on the award stand.  Who I'm most interested in seeing is Pappas. Thus far this season he's wrestled like absolute crap. Yet two seasons ago, he took 5th here.  One of those wrestlers who will wrestle well once you've written him off and that is not lost on me. 


A question I've been asking the last three weeks is where is Jacob Oliver?  I'm hoping that this weekend he makes like Andy Griffith in his rendition of Romeo and Juliet showing up at the Navy Classic saying, "I'm right cheer!"  If he does end up wrestling here, I predict a final with Ferree who recently upset Appalachian State's Thomas Flitz 6-5. 


The final on paper here is Malczewski Vs Key, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Nassar in the finals here or to even see him win it.  The last he and Malczewski met, he dropped a tight 4-2 decision.  As to places 4th, 5th, and 6th, I think we have a war for the last three slots on the award stand.  Key's backup Johns has wrestled fairly well this season, who already owns a 4:03 fall over Patrick.  Ducca and McCracken are always tough. Deacetis has impressed so far this season with an 8-0 victor over George Mason's Kyle Davis and an 8-3 decision over Clarion's Max Wohlabaugh.  Thus far freshman Lehman is undefeated and Brown could find himself within the top six as well. 


Caffey who was the runner-up here a couple of seasons ago should be the #1 seed with challenge from both Koser and teammate Vasbinder who should meet in the semi-finals.  Smith looks to finish in 4th place, and with both a fall and tech fall loss to Koser as well as a loss by fall to Caffey, I cannot see him placing higher than that.  Matter of fact, Mousaw of VMI could very well challenge him for that spot. 


I think The Citadel has a champion here in McAleavey.  The last he wrestled Spaulding he took care of him in a 13-5 major decision.  I would think Spaulding would be the #2 seed, seeing that he is 3-0 Vs Earnest with 6-2, 3-0 and 3-2 decisions. Rebottaro works into this equation somewhere as well. 


The thing I love about a tournament like this, is that it gives way for overlooked wrestlers from the smaller schools in the smaller conferences to prove themselves.  On paper you can always be disrespected and ignored, but what you do on the mat can never be denied. Plenty of opportunity presents itself here for the Cleveland States, the Citadels, ect.  We WILL see upsets, take it to the bank.  

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