Sunday, January 30, 2022

JT#1's Notes, Thoughts & Observations for Week 13 of Collegiate Wrestling (Jan 24th-30th, 2022)

 What a CRAZY week of collegiate wrestling.  We still have the whole month of February to get through before the post season and I am telling you right here, right now that between upsets and parity that the conference tournaments are going to be an absolute mess. I'm talking chaos. I'm talking pandemonium. In NCAA Division I only 33 wrestlers per weight class qualify for the NCAA championships & mark my word there are a lot more than 33 wrestlers per weight class eligible for a qualification. There will be A LOT of really good wrestlers staying home this season. More than there has ever been.  Seeding for conference tournaments is going to be an absolute nightmare and when it comes time to do the at large bids (Wildcards as some still refer to them as) you might as well get a straight jacket and a dose of Excedrin cause you're gonna need it. 

First and foremost, Get better soon A.J. Ferarri! My heart just sank and I went into a small depression for a while when I learned of the news that he had been in a car accident. At this point, yes, we want him back on the mat, but what's most important is that he's ok and that he's gonna make it. I was so happy to hear that he was up and walking soon there after. I do hope he's able to continue his wrestling career and get back to 100%, but if he doesn't and his wrestling days are over, he's still a champ. So happy to have him still around & hope to hear more and more of his recovery and that his health is doing well. 

Angel Rivera replaces Gary Kessel as most disliked official 

I'm not much for being negative. I don't care much for it and I'd much rather be positive, but let's face it. As of right now referee Angel Rivera is not a well liked man. The way he calls matches is not favorable with many fans. In my lifetime I never thought I'd see a referee complained about more than Gary Kessel was years ago, but Rivera seems to have surpassed him. I've been watching wrestling since 1991 & I have never seen a a greater disapproval on a collaborative scale than what I do for Rivera. Is it fair criticism? Is it unfair? I haven't seen enough of him to make a personal call. What I do know is that I have seen his name come up a lot this weekend and there hasn't been much praise. 

I'm not done discussing wrestling officials yet.  There's something that needs to be said & something that needs to be done about the strictness of wrestling officials. I concur that we don't need wrestlers and/or coaches acting like hooligans after a win. Taunting & showboating is uncalled for, but come on this is NCAA wrestling. This isn't INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.  These are young men, not pod people.  A little celebration after a huge win should be tolerated. It was absolute B.S. that Jaron Smith got docked after his win over Pat Brucki.  

There was nothing disrespectful or inappropriate about his post match celebration at all.  It was a huge win for him & considering that his career has been hampered by injuries, he deserved to feel good about it.  Instead of acting like Donald Sutherland at the end of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, freaking out about someone showing a little emotion, let's use a little common sense.  There is a level that is appropriate and no that level isn't 100, but it isn't 0 either. 

I said there were a lot of upsets this weekend & Binghamton's Brevin Cassella was one to pull off a few of them. Not only did he defeat Columbia's #21 Josh Ogunsanya, he throttled him 9-0 major decision.  He also had a very nice 4-1 victory over Val Park of Navy. 

There's been a lot of talk about Stevan Micic of Michigan this weekend. After suffering another loss to a lower ranked opponent, fans are questioning what's wrong with him? Why isn't he looking like he did earlier in his career?  Maybe it's the fact that his last collegiate season was 2018-2019 & the lay off concentrating on international competition has taken a toll on him. Training for international competitions is different than the grind of a collegiate season. There is no denying that and maybe that's what it is.  A well known wrestling personality tweeted earlier today that perhaps the body isn't meant to wrestle collegiately for this long.  You know what I think it is?  He's at 141 lbs.  We can romanticize about technique and strategy until the cows come home, but there's a big difference between 133 lbs and 141 lbs.  That difference is size and strength.  There's a reason why most guys in wrestling could enter and do well in body building competitions & it isn't so that they'll draw attention to the pretty blondes sitting in the stands. It's because they know the importance of being as physically strong as they can be. That's what I think it is.  Watch his matches back when he was at 133 and watch his matches at 141. He's trying to do the same techniques & maneuvers that he used at 133 & they aren't working at 141. It's that simple. He doesn't have the size and the power to get these moves to work at the same % that they did at 133.  Against Cole Matthews he went for a move that he was able to weasel out against 133 lbs opponents and it didn't work.  Against Jake Bergeland of Minnesota, similar story.  We all have our opinions and to some this is a time off thing, to others it is an age thing. To JT#1 it is a size and strength thing. 

For the rest of his collegiate career Gable Steveson will never be challenged again will he? I don't know if in my life I'll ever seen a wrestler more guaranteed than Steveson. At this point, I don't ever seen anyone ever scoring a legit offensive point against him again. I can see Steveson trying to show off, slip on something and give up a takedown that way or a reversal. Yet give up a legit takedown? No, that won't be happening.  In professional wrestling the only reason Andre The Giant ever lost was because Andre the Giant wanted to lose. Steveson's WWE career will look much the same way. This guy's career hasn't even begun yet and he's already a legend.  

Quite the experience for Iowa State & Northern Iowa against both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. I was not expecting both the Cyclones and the Panthers to upset the Cowboys. That came as quite a shock.  What was even more shocking to me was that Lance Runyon pinned Dustin Plott at 4:59 and then Anthony Mantanona turned around and defeated Runyon 9-6. Plott majored Mantanona 10-2 earlier this season. Parity anyone? 

I'll be honest with you.  After losing 7 matches in a row, I was beginning to wonder if maybe 2021-2022 just wasn't Ty Smith's season. Sometimes people have bad years. You never want to see anyone go through one, but they're a part of sports. They happen.  I was all but certain this would be one for Smith and then he turns around and pulls off a huge 2-1 upset over Allan Hart of Missouri.  Go figure! Nice win! 

I knew this was gonna be good, as did everyone else.  I knew that there would be a few close ones that PSU took and I knew there would be a few close ones that Iowa took.  I knew there would be surprises. RBY Vs DeSanto ended up being close than I thought it was gonna be.  I knew Lee & Eierman would be good. I feel Eierman got a little ahead of himself. Too overzealous. I think he'll be patient next time. Max Murin looked sharp out there against Bartlett and Marinelli stepped it up a huge notch getting the major to keep Iowa in the match against Berge.  Starocci kept his cool with 15,000 screaming against him to pull off a high pressure situation tiebreaker. Both Brooks & Dean stepped it up for the Nittany Lions with decisive decisions over Assad and Warner.  I was not expecting Cassioppi to win by the margin he did. 7-2 was a much wider gap than the 3-2, 4-3 match I was picturing.  

Central Michigan's Johnny Lovett finally figured out Ohio's Jordan Slivka. After being unable to defeat the Bobcat in matches' past he pulled off a 9-5 decision today.  I imagine this is far from permanent though. The two will meet again this season & more times throughout their careers. I imagine it'll be a back and forth feud from this point on. 

As always I could say more and I'm always open to discussing more.  Onward to Week 14! 

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