Friday, December 30, 2022

2023 Southern Scuffle Preview = 197 lbs


Another super tough weight class with two returning champions among 10 ranked wrestlers, four of which are in the top 10.  

Rocky Elam

The number one wrestler in the nation goes into the Southern Scuffle looking to win a second title after dominating his way through last year's bracket. While not a shoe-in, there's plenty of reason to think the Tiger will secure another gold.  He's kept himself one step ahead of Yonger Bastida in both 1-0 & 5-4 decisions.  He shut out Louie DePrez 4-0 & he owns both an 8-1 as well as a 14-6 decision over Owen Pentz.  He also has a 4-1 win over Michial Foy. 

Ethan Laird

Currently 9-0 on the season, the Bronco has made a habit out of knocking off the competition. Having already defeated last year's NCAA champ, Max Dean of Penn State, he looks to try and do the same to Elam.  Laird was 3rd at the Scuffle in 2020. 

Yonger Bastida
Iowa State 

Hot on the tails of both Elam & Laird will be Yonger Bastida. The Cyclone has defeated Elam twice by scores of 4-3 & 8-6 s.v. as his losses to the Tiger have only been by one point.  Bastida also owns a 9-6 victory over Pentz. 

Jaxon Smith

It's amazing to me the mistakes that people catch Vs the mistakes that people don't catch. I originally wrong Jaxon Smith at HWT & Jaron Smith at 197.  Mental error on my part & I'll give myself a little bit of grace here. Jaron competed at 197 for a LONG time, both have the last name Smith & both have similar first names.  So with that out of the way, Jaxon Smith is Still a place-winner candidate here at 197. 

Louie DePrez

3rd in 2019 & a champion in 2020, I'd keep an eye on Louie DePrez this tournament. We're gonna have some lower seeded wrestlers take home championships & DePrez might very well be among them.  An 8-3 decision over Nick Stemmet, he's defeated Owen Pentz by scores of 8-1 & 8-5. He's also defeated Trey Rogers twice, once sticking the Pride in 1:47 & a 5-1 victory. 

Nick Stemmet

Love to see Stanford putting guys on the award stand & Nick Stemmet may very well be yet another one for the Cardinal.  He was one match shy of a medal last season. 

Luke Surber
Oklahoma State

The Cowboys come into the Scuffle looking to take home the team championship & every performance is a part of it. A hope for a top 8 finish, Luke Surber. 

Owen Pentz
North Dakota State 

Here's another guy that seems to be able to hook you up into pinning combinations from about any position. Oh what fun it'd be if he were to meet up with Smith somewhere along the tournament. Pentz sorta sounds like "pins" and pins is exactly what this Bison often does. A 4:07 fall as well as a 4-3 victory over Foy, I'd say Pentz posses a problem for anyone that he wrestles. With him you gotta stay off your back an entire seven minutes.  Easier said than done. 

Michial Foy

The Golden Gopher has looked very good throughout numerous times in his career. The key is to string a series of good wins all together.  Among the competition here, he owns a 7-4 victory over Surber. 

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