The Forerunner for a title here is 6th place NCAA DII All American Shawn Streck. The former Purdue Boilermaker has had success at the major DI tournaments of The Midlands and CKLV. Among his wins, some dominating results. A 14-4 major over Cole Gray, a 15-3 major over Juan Edmonds-Holmes & a 15-5 major over Ryan Herman. Truth to be known, if the Broncos were to wrestle Braden Morgan instead of Streck, he himself is a threat to place top 8.
Jared Campbell can most certainly challenge Shawn Streck for a title. Although he hasn't been to the NCAA DII tournament since 2020, he recently had an extremely impressive 7-1 victory over DI qualifier Michael Wolfgram of West Virginia. Against the field he's proven himself to be a pinner. A 2:33 fall over Hunter Harnish, a 4:27 fall over Laron Parks & a 32 second fall over Nico Ramirez. He also owns a 5-2 decision over Kiegan Yuhas.
Currently 7-0 on the season, Isaiah Vance owns a 12-5 victory over Cole Gray.
A dominating force at 197 who took 3rd place NCAA DII All American honors last season, Zach Ryg will test his skills against some of the best competition HWT has to offer this weekend.
A match away from being an NCAA DII All American last season, Juan Edmonds-Holmes owns a 3-1 victory over Devon Rice. He will look for a top 8 showing at the Midwest Classic this weekend.
If the seedings reflect the rankings, of all returning Midwest Classic champions, Ian Kuehl will have the toughest journey back to the road paved with gold. A match shy of earning DII All American honors last season, he is 3-0 against Ryan Herman with 11-4, 7-3 & 7-4 victories. He's defeated Cole Gray 7-2 & he's pinned Laron Parks twice (4:39 and 5:16).
Currently 16-0 on the season, Lloyd Rogers his having himself a great start to the 22'-23' season. Along with a 12-4 major over Mason Mustain, he also owns a 5-4 decision over Ryan Herman & a 1-0 decision over Keigan Yuhas. As said with Shawn Streck, it should also be noted that Rogers' backup Jason Guadarrama is a wrestler who in his own right would contend for place-winner status this weekend.
Today and tomorrow Nico Ramirez has the opportunity to in many ways demonstrate what DIII can do in a DII world. He had an outstanding career for Southern Virginia, earning back to back 5th place All American honors at the 2021 & 2022 NCAA DIII championships. This weekend he gets to see what he can do as a DII wrestler.
One of the leaner and lankier HWT's among a field of some giants, Cole Gray took an impressive 4th place finish here last season. It'll be even more impressive if he can duplicate or even outdo that finish this season.
Matt Long is an interesting case. In the past three seasons he's had only 9 matches & 7 of them have been against non-DII competition. On the plus side he owns a 1:06 fall over Laron Parks & he's a huge, big & strong heavyweight.
Notre Dame (OH)
Representing the real Notre Dame, NCAA DII qualifier Laron Parks will be in the hunt for a top 8 showing at the Midwest Classic this weekend. Among his notable victories a 3:55 fall over Keigan Yahs and a 4-2 victory over Lloyd Reynolds.
Here's what sticks out to me most about Mason Watt this tournament. He owns a fall over Sam Deseriere who was a multiple time Midwest Classic place-winner. Maybe that says a lot, maybe it doesn't. What it does say is that Watt is capable of big wins.
Among those in the hunt for a top 8 finish this weekend, count in Ryan Herman.
As to the unranked?
Two time NCAA DII qualifier, Cade Ridley is without a doubt a threat to a top 8 finish if he competes today. Thing is, he hasn't competed since the 2020-2021 season. Doubt he magically shows up today, but in the weird world of collegiate wrestling, stranger things have happened. He owns a 4-0 victory over Devon Rice.
Here's another wrestler who would challenge for a top 12/8 finish today if he enters the tournament. 13-5 on the season last year & a match away from a Midwest Classic medal, we have yet to see Gabe Garranza compete this season.
Mason Mustain is a freshman with a losing record. He's also a freshman with a 3-1 win over Cole Gray. Young, hungry and eager the four time Ohio state qualifier could very well pull off more upsets this weekend.
An effective legger at 197, I am anxious to see if he will be able to throw in the legs & be as dominant on top with guys (who can be up to) nearly 100 lbs bigger. Thus far Hunter Harnish owns a 6:34 fall over Keigan Yuhas.
Devon Rice is a wrestler I feel stands a very good shot at a top 12, if not a top 8 performance this weekend. Thus far on his resume a 2-1 victory over last year's champ Ian Kuehl & a 3-1 s.v. over Juan Edmonds-Holmes.
The oiler finished one match shy of earning Midwest Classic placement last season and will look for similar success this tournament.
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