Kendall Coleman's entire career he's always been "right there" but not "quite there." Even as a freshman year's ago against the higher ranked competition he seemed to always lose by a point or two. Taking so and so into overtime or someone else into a tiebreaker. Now he is the highest ranked wrestler going into a tournament & he could likely be the *1 seed. Can the Boilermaker hold off two returning Scuffle champs & a 3rd placer in order to walk out champion? Against the competition he owns an 8-6 s.v. over Jared Franek & a 7-2 decision over Lincoln Heck.
North Dakota State
One of the best wrestlers in the nation yet to All American, Jared Franek enters the Southern Scuffle a returning champion from last season. He was also 7th in 2020. The biggest advantage the Bison has against the competition is that he knows how to win hard fought, close matches. He owns a 2-1 tiebreaker over Brayton Lee as well as 4-2, 6-4 & a 2-1 tiebreaker over Jarrett Jacques.
Here's the guy to look out for at 157 lbs. The Cowboy may be one of the most inconsistent wrestlers in the nation, but he is also the only wrestler this Scuffle who will be going for this fourth medal. A runner-up in 2020, he won Scuffle titles back to back in 18' & 19'. As he already owns a 2-0 victory over Lee, it is a high probability that we could see him in another final.
As he continues to shake off the rust from a nasty injury last season, we have yet to see Brayton Lee at his best. That could very well change this tournament. The Golden Gopher knows how to win & once he's 100% again, he'll remind us of that. Among his victories of note, a 6-4 s.v. over Franek, both a 2-1 & 3-2 victory over Coleman and both a 4-1 & 6-3 victory over Jarrett Jacques. I'd call him a title contender.
Jarrett Jacques has towed the line for quite some time & there is little to no reason why he can't come into this Scuffle & be the weight class's hope for a darkhorse champion. He'd have to pull off some major upsets in the quarters, semis & finals, but the Tiger is very capable of it. He's defeated Franek 5-2 in the past. He also owns a 6-2 victory over Michael North & he finished 3rd here last season.
It's hard for me not to take a shot at Bernard Muir, when yet again here is a talent on the Cardinal wrestling team likely to bring home a medal from one of our toughest in-season tournaments. Daniel Cardenas will be among some incredibly stiff competition, but he can find a place on the award stand. No doubt about it.
There have been a lot of positive steps at Maryland & in my praise of the program, let me go a step further. A lot of programs improve from a recruiting point of view. They start getting better & better recruits & that's how they build their teams. Maryland is doing that, but they are also building and improving upon the talent they already have. Now that's something to point out. Michael North was 5-16 last season. 5-16!! The year before that he was 0-5!! This year he's 7-1, & he's found himself ranked with the top twenty. Talk about a turn around! Not only that, but he's a legit contender for a top 8 showing at the Southern Scuffle. Coach Clemsen sure got a lot of grief & criticism when things weren't going all that great in Terrapin country. Now that they are, may JT#1 given recognition.
Here's a guy that could very well pull off a few upsets this tournament. Jason Kraisser was 7th here in 2020, & could very well end up with medal number two by tournament's end.
The young Mountaineer has already pulled off a few upsets this season & he earned himself an 8th place finish at CKLV when he wasn't expected to place. He could very well do the same thing here at the Scuffle.
Lincoln Heck probably won't go into this tournament with a high seed, but wrestling on his home mats in front of his home crowd, one thing is for certain. You know in every match that he's in, he'll go out there and give em...well...Heck!!