Tuesday, December 13, 2022

43rd Midwest Classic Preview (Dec 17th-18th) 149 lbs


Another tough weight class, this time we're looking at 11 of the top 20 ranked wrestlers. This includes 9 NCAA DII qualifiers & 4 All Americans.  5 returning Midwest Classic place-winners.  

Jacob Ealy 

Currently 11-0 on the season, I would imagine that two time NCAA DII All American Jacob Ealy, who was 5th here last season will take the top seed. While I think he will be challenged, he has two victories over Derek Lapaglia 3-2 & 2-0. He's also defeated both Nick Young (13-2 & 8-5) and Demetri Teddlie (11-2 & 12-0) twice & he has a 5-3 victory over Brik Filippo as well as a 16-0 technical fall over Mike Zacur. 

Derek Lapaglia
Central Missouri 

8th in the nation last season, Derek Lapaglia with 6th here, right behind Jacob Ealy. As mentioned he's had trouble with the Mountain Cat thus far dropping two close decisions to him. It's hard to beat a good wrestler three times in a row & it'll be interesting to see what happens between Lapaglia & Ealy should they meet a third time this tournament.  As to notable wins against the competition, Lapaglia owns a 3:58 fall over Jake Piccirilli & a 7-4 decision over Jason Hanenberg. 

Nick Young

A three time NCAA qualifier, Nick Young was an All American in 2021, coming up one match short of earning AA #2 last season. He was also 6th at the Midwest Classic last year, up at 157. It'll be interesting to see how to fares at this lower weight class. 

Jalen Spuhler

Currently 16-3 on the season, Jalen Spuhler will test his skills and his current ranking against a field of NCAA DII qualifiers, All Americans & returning Midwest Classic place-winners. He thus far owns a 4-3 victory over Wyatt Turnquist. 

Wyatt Turnquist
Northern State

If Wyatt Turnquist has to upset his way to the Midwest Classic finals, that shouldn't be too difficult a task for the wolf.  He already owns victories over those ranked above him including a 7-2 decision over Derek Lapaglia & an 8-4 decision over Jalen Spuhler.  He also has a 7-2 decision over Jake Piccirilli & a 6-4 decision over Brik Filippo.  He was 4th here last season. 

Brik Filippo
Central Oklahoma

Now here's a guy to look out for.  Considering that other than a recently loss to Wyatt Turnquist, his only other losses are to Division I talent, I question why Brik Filippo's current ranking is as low as it is. Nevertheless, despite rankings, here's a guy that could very well win this tournament. 5th in DII & a runner-up here last year (8th in 2019 as well), he is the only wrestler entering this tournament who has a win over Jacob Ealy.  He also owns two 2-1 victories over Derek Lapaglia as well as a 6-4 decision over Jack Tangen. 

Jake Piccirilli

An NCAA qualifier last season, Jake Piccirilli will contend for a top 8 showing here at the Midwest Classic. He owns a 10-3 decision over Demetri Teddlie. 

Jason Hanenberg
Western Colorado 

R12 in both the NCAA DII & the Midwest Classic last season, you know good and well that Jason Hanenberg will be looking for a top 8 finish.  He has both a 7-4 victory over Wyatt Turnquist & a 3-0 victory over Demetri Teddlie. 

Dallas Wilson
Mount Olive 

Dallas Wilson has yet to face any of the top competition he'll see here, but at the moment overall he is 15-1, including 10-0 on the season. It'll be interesting to see how he shapes up against those he'll face. 

Jack Tangen

Another contender for a spot in the top 8 will be Jack Tangen, who owns a 6:11 fall over Demetri Teddlie. 

Demetri Teddlie

It'll take some upsets and pulling off some wins of vengeance, put the Louisiana native who was also an NCAA qualifier last season is among those who will fight for a medal here at the Midwest Classic.  He does own a 10-6 victory over Jake Piccirilli. 

Tommy Nichols
American International 

While he hasn't faced any of the top competition that he'll face here, Tommy Nichols current ranking indicates that he will contend for a top 8 spot here at the Midwest Classic. 

Matt Zuckerman

Exact same boat as Nichols. 

Matt Kaufmann
Notre Dame (OH) 

Love to see the real Notre Dame have some success at this tournament & if they are going to put anyone on the award stand or close to it, Matt Kaufmann is one of those guys.  Like Matt Zuckerman & Tommy Nichols he has yet to face the competition. That can sometimes work against you and other times work in your favor. We'll see. 

As to the unranked grapplers who could possibly make a splash? 

Luke Wymer

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Luke Wymer end up in the R12 match battling it out for a spot on the award stand. The 2021 NCAA Division II qualifier is pretty tough. 

Mike Zacur

Mike Zacur is another unranked wrestler that I could possibly see coming in here and pulling off a few upsets to a top 12, possibly top 8 finish.  Among his wins, a 9-5 decision over Luke Wymer. 

Josh Blatt

Here I may be doing some wishful thinking, but I love seeing guys make comebacks. Josh Blatt went 23-3 during the 2019-2020 season earning NCAA DII qualification.  It's been a rocky road for him since. Would love to see him totally redeem himself this tournament & that is of course if he even enters the tournament. 

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