Monday, November 21, 2022

JT#1's Notes, Thoughts & Observations for Week 4 of The 2022-2023 Collegiate Wrestling Season

 Talk about a juxtaposition. It amazes me as short & sweet as this upcoming week is for collegiate wrestling, this past week had a million things going on.  Let's take a look at what stuck out to me most. 

Wolak Upsets Smith! 

What a win it was for junior Lennox Wolak this weekend when he upset 2021 All American Ethan Smith of Ohio State 8-6.  A huge win the Lion as well as the Columbia wrestling program as a whole. 

Austin Gomez Pulls Off Biggest Upset Since Owings Over Gable in 70'

I got a lot of rebuttal already for stating this soon after it happened, but I'm sticking with my claim. Other arguments made aren't anywhere near as good as this one is.  Yianni Diakomihalis is a three time NCAA champion & the only other loss he has was early on in his freshman season to Jaydin Eierman.  Gomez dominating him 9-3 needs to be seen and treated for the monumental upset that it is.  It's way bigger than Piccininni pinning Lee. I can't believe people are even making the comparison.  At the time Lee had only one championship & even more importantly Lee had lost about a month & a half earlier that season 7-3 to Sebastian Rivera.  Rivera would go on to beat Lee again in the BIG 10 finals, 4-2.  Now if someone pins Lee THIS season, this yes, THAT would surpass Gomez over Diakomihalis.  Others said Caldwell over Metcalf. Again a huge upset, but BELOW this one. Caldwell already had a fall over Metcalf before they went into that match.  Others wanted to say Coon over Snyder, which was a huge upset, but I still say < Gomez over Diakomihalis.  Snyder was an Olympic champ at that time, but he wrestled a quarter of a collegiate season & many, including your's truly said at the beginning of the season in three meetings he would have with Coon that season, he was unlikely to go 3-0 against the Wolverine.  The best argument I heard for a better upset was Everett over Jones at the NCAA championships, but even that I conclude is lower than Gomez over Diakomihalis.  Jones went on to lose a couple of matches later to Evans, & he was also only a sophomore at the time.  Maybe there have been better upsets than Gomez over Diakomihalis but none of the examples fans have argued thus far are any of them.  What this really comes down to is that this upset isn't getting the credit it deserves because Diakomihalis doesn't wrestle for one of the powerhouse, traditional schools. Yes, Cornell is a great wrestling school but it doesn't have the fan base that Iowa or Penn State or Oklahoma State has. I was hoping that with all of the available coverage with the internet & all of the wrestling media out there that we were beyond those primitive ways of seeing it. Guess we're not. We're still in the ages of
"don't know much outside of the team we follow." 

I digress

As we look at this upset, it also should be noted how good Wisconsin looked as a whole. This was NOT the same team that dualed Iowa State.  Hamiti and Ramirez were pretty close the time they met before this & Hamiti just walked all over him 14-4.  Amos controlled a well wrestled 2-0 match against Cardenas.  Hillger who was 1-1 with Fernandes, took control in a 5-2 win.  The Badgers looked good against the Big Red. 

Bonaccorsi a Man on  Mission 

I was expecting the Bonaccorsi Vs Michael Beard match to be really good but Bonaccorsi just took it to him. Looked really good nearly majoring Beard 10-4. If Bonaccorsi wants to make it back to the NCAA finals, his made a huge step in the right direction! 

Unofficial Husker Kyle Burwick Adds Another Title to Resume 

As far as I know, Kyle Burwick still hasn't been officially released from Wisconsin yet. I have yet to hear much more on the situation. What I do know is that he is currently 10-0 as he awaits his destiny.  Won the Youness Hospitality Open, hosted by Nebraska-Kearney. 

Navy Will NOT be short talent at 165 in 23'-24' 

Val Park & Henry Hague Jr will both be done this season as both are seniors, but not to worry for Navy wrestling at 165 lbs.  Jonathan Ley, who is currently at Navy Prep showed this weekend that the Midshipmen will have a very talented freshman on the roster next season.  With a 5-3 win over Maryland's John Martin Best in the semi-finals & a 4-3 victory over Cam Pine of Clarion in the finals, Ley won a Shorty Hitchcock Memorial title. 

Michigan State's 125 Varsity Spot Now Officially Lujan's? 

With Tristan Lujan winning the Navy Classic this weekend, while Gomez medical forfeited out after a quarter-final loss it was certainly seem so. Yet this is NCAA DI wrestling.  All sorts of strange things happen all the time. It's certainly ammunition for the argument, that's for sure. 

Hagan/Komara saga continues 

Lot's of great rivalries in collegiate wrestling, most overlooked, this MAC feud between Ohio's Alec Hagan & Kent State's Kody Komara is a fun one.  Komara seems to have better finishes in many cases, but Hagan improved to 6-1 over all against the Golden Flash. In One of the Navy Classic's more loaded brackets, Hagan defeated Komara 7-1 in the semi-finals before going on to win the championship. Komara came back to take 3rd. 

It's Colder In Ames Than I Thought 

Iowa State just illustrated to me that they're deeper at 133 lbs than what I thought. Zach Redding & Ramazan Attasauov, those two are only sophomores! Think next season a permanent Frost, Evan Frost will be gunning for a varsity spot. The redshirt freshman looked great this weekend winning a Daktronics Open title.  In route He majored Minnesota's Jager Eisch 16-5 before defeating another Golden Gopher Jake Gliva 10-1 in the finals. 

Eddie Ventresca Still One Nose Hair Above Cooper Flynn 

I can't think of a wrestle-off that is closer than that of Eddie Ventresca and Cooper Flynn. The two outstanding talents continue to battle it out for the 125 lbs starting spot, with Ventresca just barely coming out on top each time. This time he defeated Flynn 2-2 on a new criteria we're trying out in collegiate wrestling. It's heartbreaking to know that as good as both of these young men are, one of them by season's end will be sitting in the bleachers cheering the other one on. But hey, this is collegiate wrestling. 

Pappas Back in Town! 

He looked good! Dun uh dun uh dun uh dun! I knew that he could! Dun uh dun uh dun uh dun! Wrestled good, yeah, good....Pappa's gotta brand new team!   Well, I ain't much for James Brown parody's but I was so excited to see Peter Pappas wrestle so well at the Keystone Classic. #6 seed & he makes the finals with a nice win over NCAA qualifier Cody Bond of Appalachian State.  In a match that could have gone either way, gave EIWA champ Anthony Artalona Hell in a 3-1 loss. Pappas is back!! 

Laird Looks Good At Keystone 

Another wrestler that looked really good at The Keystone Classic this weekend was Ethan Laird. Leaner, meaner & ripped, he had a very nice win over four time PAC-12 champion Kordell Norfleet of Arizona State in the finals.  He also pinned Pennsylvania's Cole Urbas of Pennsylvania in the first period. 

Duke Reveals Secret Weapon 

Where in the Hell has Duke been hiding Jonah Nisenbaum the last four years?  I talk about "most improved wrestlers" quite a bit at JT#1 and I don't know if this guy has much competition at this point. 

Let's take a look real quick...

3-21 in 2020.  Yes, 3-21.    In 2021, 1-5.   So first two years of collegiate wrestling a combined record of 4-26.  

Now last year he improved to 16-11 & that in itself was one Hell of a turn around, but what he's doing so far this year is truly amazing, all things considered. 

He's 9-1 at this point.  This weekend he won the Keystone Classic title with some very nice wins along the way.  In the semis he defeated Ben Goldin of Pennsylvania.  Even more impressive he defeated Hunter Catka of Virginia Tech 3-1 in the finals.  You know what happened the last two times he wrestled Catka? Catka tech'd him. 18-1 & 17-0.   

Jonah Nisenbaum ladies and gentleman, The Turn It Around Kid. 

Many Wins Among No Victories 

It takes a lot of courage to set your pride aside as the #1 team in NAIA wrestling & do battle with one of the top 10 teams in NCAA DI wrestling.  The Grand View Vikings may have went 0-10 against the Iowa State Cyclones this weekend, but they still showed in many ways that their wrestlers belong on the mat with DI wrestlers, nearly all ranked within the top twenty. 

Esco Walker could have easily kept his match with Kysen Terukina at 3-2, but he went for the W & ended up losing 5-2. 

Carson Taylor scored the first takedown over Ramazan Attasaouv. Losing a hard fought 7-3 match to the future Russian international star is nothing to be ashamed of. 

Shea Ruffridge I thought looked very good against Casey Swiderski of Iowa State up until the end. Not sure what happened there in the 3rd period, but up until that point looked great against the future multiple time All American.  

Everyone keeps making out like Rodger Daltry screaming, "Paniro Johnson should be the new #1 at 149 lbs!!!" from their chairs.  Well if Paniro Johnson is indeed the #1 in NCAA DI wrestling, Blake Gonzalez took him into sudden victory!! 

Well as always could say more, but have to keep this at a reasonable length. 

Onward to week 5!! 

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