After this tournament is over, take the bracket for 197 lbs, frame it, send it to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma & HANG.IT.ON.THE.WALL. Whoever wins this bracket, hands down, no arguments, cannot be disputed, deserves to win the O.W. of the Midwest Classic. This will go down as one of the most loaded, toughest brackets to ever take place in NCAA Division II wrestling.
We are talking....
16 of the top 20 wrestlers in NCAA DII wrestling, plus another who was ranked at 184! This includes 8, yes 8 of the top 10!! Both last year's NCAA DII champion & runner up AND both the Midwest Classic champion & runner-up will be in this bracket. 9 NCAA DII qualifiers & 5 All Americans. 7, yes, 7 returning Midwest Classic Place-winners.
The man to beat here ladies and gentlemen is last year's NCAA DII champion as well as last year's Midwest Classic champion Dalton Abney. Like a wild bronco that cannot be rode, it seems that Dalton Abney cannot be scored upon. He has allowed absolutely no offensive points against any of the competition. Closest to him here is Derek Blubaugh & he's shut him out in two 6-0 decisions, a 4-0 decision and a 1:01 fall. A 5-0 victory over Walker Uhl, he's defeated Cole Huss 4-1, Jordan Williams 6-0, Chase Stegall 11-1, Matt Kaylor 9-1 & Dakoda Rodgers via fall 1:47. He's also defeated Tereus Henry twice in a 3-0 decision & a 6:41 fall. If by some miracle he gets beat, there ought to be a protest if anyone other than who wins this bracket gets O.W.
Close your eyes and imagine that somehow, someway Derek Blubaugh pulls it off & upsets Dalton Abney. Can you picture it? The Indianapolis crowd would go absolutely bananas. It'd be like when Hulk Hogan slammed Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III or when that soccer announcer yelled "Goallllllll!!!!" for five minutes straight. The place would come unglued & the roof would come off the building. Is that realistic? Probably not. Matter of fact in defending his silver medal, he's gonna have to watch his own back as he heads back to the finals. Walker Uhl has given him a 6-4 match, Luke McGonigal has given him a 2-0 match, Matt Kaylor has given him a 4-2 match & Chase Stegall even took him into sudden victory in a 8-6 match. Although he's beaten Tereus Henry 8-0 major, he also barely squeaked past him 5-4 another time. Cole Huss also gave him a close 3-0 match.
4th in the NCAA DII nation last year, Cole Huss will be one of the many looking to steal the finals spot away from Derek Blubaugh. He owns a 9-4 victory over Matt Kaylor.
Fort Hays State
15-1 thus far on the season, Tereus Henry is a man on a mission. He was One match shy of placing here last season and doesn't look to miss out on the award stand again. A 7-3 victory over Hunter Tobiasson, a 7-1 victory over Walker Uhl, he defeated Eli Hinojosa 7-3. He also owns an 8-5 victory over Matt Kaylor & a 10-7 victory over Chase Stegall. Against Anderson Salisbury, he's won two s.v. decisions by scores of 3-1 & 5-3.
Colorado School of Mines
It must be all of the wandering around and exploring of mines because when Anderson Salisbury enters a tournament, he usually finds his way onto the award stand. The two time NCAA DII All American (8th in 2021 & 7th last year) is also a two time Midwest Classic place-winner. 4th in 2019, he was 7th this past season. Among his victories a 4-3 decision over Joel Leise.
Two time NCAA DII qualifier, Luke McGonigal was 5th here a year ago competing at 184 lbs. Thus far he's looked pretty good at 197, with a 5-1 win over Walker Uhl. He also owns a 4-2 victory over Joel Leise.
A match away from earning NCAA DII All American honors last season, Walker Uhl earned an 8th place finish at the Midwest Classic. As he goes for medal #2, he has victories over Jordan Williams, Crue Cooper, Dakoda Rodgers and Chase Stegall.
An NCAA DII qualifier last season, Chase Stegall owns three victories over Brooks Schrimsher by scores of 10-0, 7-2 & 6-2.
Redemption is a word that comes to mind when looking at Matt Kaylor entering this season's Midwest Classic. The NCAA DII qualifier was 7th here last year & will have to overcome some previous losses in order to make it back on the award stand. Upsets are in order, but no problem, he's a Marauder. If he has to steal a spot (upset a higher seed) he has to steal a spot.
Another warrior in the hunt in the Hunger Games...I mean 197 Midwest Classic bracket is Mountain Cat Dakoda Rodgers. He owns a 6-4 win over Jordan Williams.
A transfer of Millersville, Andrew Yacovetti moves up to test the world of 197, after spending the first four years of his career at 174. Thus far he's undefeated with a 7-0 record.
An NJCAA All American last season for Indian Hills, Khris Walton will test his skills against the best of the best in NCAA Division II this weekend.
If this weight class isn't already nuts, here's another contender for a top 12/8 showing. Eli Hinojosa who owns a 4:26 fall over Hunter Tobiasson.
|#16 (at 184)|
I am no insider. I am nothing more than a fan, an amateur historian & a self-proclaimed wrestling aficionado. Perhaps there is information out there that I am not privy to. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Hunter Tobiasson is ranked at 184. He's competed at 197. THIS season, he's competed at 197. He was 5th at last year's Midwest Classic, at 197. So I'm treating him as if he'll be 197. If not, sorry. He owns a 14-11 win over Eli Hinojosa, a 5-2 victory over Tereus Henry and an 8-1 decision over Matt Kaylor.
A native Alabaman wrestling for a school in Arkansas. By Gawd does he have to get through an unbelievable amount of talent in order to do so, but I know I for one would love to see some southern representation among the place-winners here at the Midwest Classic. Brooks Schrimsher enters with an 11-1 record.
Ranked #20 in the DII nation, Crue Cooper owns a 2:47 fall over Chase Stegall.
Now for the unranked....
At this point for anyone who isn't ranked to sneak onto the award stand & walk home with a top 8 finish is wishful thinking. I think what it really amounts to is a fight to be top 12. In so many weight classes winning a R12 match is key to proving yourself. Here I believe it will be getting to the R12 match that will be proving yourself.
He's currently unranked & he hasn't wrestled a match yet this season. I believe he's still on the roster & he still has eligibility left, so I'm not sure what the case it. A three time NCAA DII qualifier who was 7th in nation last season, surely he'd be ranked right? I'm gonna guess that he will not be competing here but just in case... A 5-1 win over Walker Uhl, a 4:47 fall over Tereus Henry & three victories over Dakoda Rodgers via 3-0, 7-2 & 10-0 scores. He enters, he's a threat, period.
Inconsistent, here's a guy that could possibly get hot this tournament. I mean hell, upsets are what these tournaments are all about right? He already owns a 10-6 victory over Crue Cooper.