Thursday, December 29, 2022

2023 Southern Scuffle Preview = 165 lbs


Of all the outstanding tournaments taking place this weekend, this is the premier weight class.  We are talking THREE NCAA DI champions here. Between the three, a combined record of 196-9. It's a very real possibility that this year's NCAA DI champ might not win the Scuffle.  This also includes two returning Scuffle champions, with 5 returning place-winners in all.  T to the O to the U to the G to the H!! Tough!! 

Keegan O'Toole

Until proven otherwise, Keegan O'Toole is #1.  The 2022 NCAA champion has a career record of 52-1 as he enters the Southern Scuffle having also won last year's tournament.  Among his victories a 6-5 decision over Shane Griffith, a 15-8 decision over Mikey Caliendo, a 13-4 major over Brevin Cassella & a 2:49 fall over Will Formato. 

Shane Griffith

Hot on O'Toole's tail will be 2021 NCAA champion Shane Griffith. The Cardinal who single handedly saved the Cardinal wrestling program from the avarice of Bernard Muir, is coming here to reclaim his place as both the #1 wrestler in the nation & a Southern Scuffle champion (champ in 20' & 3rd in 19').  He owns both a 3-2 decision & a 9-1 major over R.J. Mosley. 

David Carr
Iowa State 

 We're not done yet.... We also have another 2021 NCAA champion competing here in David Carr.  The Cyclone carries a 75-2 career record as he looks to upend both Griffith & O'Toole for a Southern Scuffle title.  Among his victories he has beaten Wyatt Sheets of Oklahoma State every time he's stepped on the mat with him. 14-6, 8-4, 5-2, 6-4 & 12-3 scores.  He also owns an 11-1 major over Tyler Brennan. 

Mikey Caliendo
North Dakota State 

I'm gonna wager to say that gold, silver & bronze are up for grabs, & finishing 4th here will be the top goal for everyone else in the bracket. Among the strongest of candidates, Mikey Caliendo of North Dakota State.  Among his victories of note an 11-10 decision as well as a 5-2 decision over Andrew Sparks. 

Andrew Sparks

He's already got the Sparks, just needs to start the fire.  The Golden Gopher if very capable of landing in the 4th place spot this tournament.  Owns a 5-4 victory over Wyatt Sheets. 

Wyatt Sheets
Oklahoma State 

If Forrest Gump were a real person & he were a collegiate wrestling fan, I'd say that Wyatt Sheets is likely to be his favorite wrestler. Like a box of chocolates, when it comes to Wyatt Sheets, you just never know what you're gonna get. My initial reaction is that no is gonna come close to the top three in this weight class but a little voice in the back of my head won't keep it's mouth shut. You give me Sheets on his best day, & I'll give you a guy that will give anyone a match.  He was 3rd here in 2020. 

Will Formato
Appalachian State 

You say For-Matt-toe  I say For-Mate-oh, let's call the whole thing...a very tough wrestler from Appalachian State.  Will Formato was 4th here last season & will contender for spot on the award stand once again.  With wins over Brennan (8-6 s.v.) & Hunter Mays (6-1) what will really be interesting is to see how his feud with Mosley develops.  He has defeated the Runnin' Bulldog four times 2-1 t.b., 3-2, 5-3 & 2-1 but he's also lost a couple of times to him as well. 

R.J. Mosley
Gardner Webb 

The Bulldog was 7th at last year's championships & will be a contender for medal number two this tournament. As alluded to earlier, he has quite the feud going on with Formato. In their back and forth, he's defeated the Mountaineer 5-2 & 9-4. 

Among the unranked? 

Tyler Brennan
Little Rock 

Everything about Tyler Brennan making the top 8 this Southern Scuffle would be positive. Positive for our most "southern" DI wrestling team. Positive for the state of Texas (Brennan is from Texas). Positive for southern wrestling altogether.  The Trojan has been R12 twice thus far in previous Scuffles. 

Brevin Cassella

Looking for a top 12/8 spot here at the Scuffle will be the always tough Brevin Cassella. 

Cooper Noehre 

Among the young talent here at the Scuffle who could very well end up top 8, look towards Cooper Noehre. 

Hunter Mays

Another tough freshman, this one a true freshman who could do very well this tournament is Hunter Mays. The Bronco owns a 6-5 decision over Noehre. 

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