An NCAA Division III champion & a North Central Invitational Champion last year, we have yet to see Baldwin Wallace's Jacob DeCatur in action for the 22'-23' season. If he does show up here, he is the heavy favorite to once again win a title. A likely finals opponent will be Derek Steele of Augsburg who placed 3rd here last season after dropping an 8-2 decision to DeCatur in the semi-finals. The question here is, who will take 3rd? I can see a good battle between North Central's Christian Guzman & Davenport's Daniel Poupore. Guzman a freshman out of Miami, Florida has had a pretty good rookie season thus far. I would also look to Anthony Zamora of Wheaton to place within the top 6.
Regardless of how this ends up being seeded, if all of the top dawgs show up, we are going to see some outstanding wrestling. Look forward to a great semi-finals, a great finals & a great consolation final. I imagine last year's 133 lbs champion Robbie Precin will be the *1 seed, as he's also the returning NCAA DIII champion & he hasn't lost a match since losing in the NCAA DIII finals in 2021. He may not always win by much as he only defeated Jaden Hinton Baldwin Wallace 5-4 & Andrew Perelka of John Carroll 6-4. Yet be it by one or two points, the point is, he wins. Perelka due to both ranking & the fact that he has a 6:09 fall over Hinton, I would imagine would be our *2 seed. Cade Willis of Augsburg is a returning North Central Invitational champion at 141 lbs, compared to Hinton's 3rd place showing last season. Yet Hinton is one spot above him in the rankings. It'll be interesting to see what trumps what when it comes to seeding.
Augsburg's Charlie Stuhl was a runner-up here last season, but it'll be a heck of a rocky road to make it back to the finals if both Javen Estrada of North Central & Jake Burford of UW-Whitewater show up in the bracket. Look for John Carroll's Liam Helon to also be a place-winner.
One of the potential matches I am looking forward to most at this tournament is the probable final between two of last year's champions Tyler Shilson of Augsburg & Mike Petrella of Baldwin Wallace. Shilson won a title at 157, while Petrella won his title down at 149. I believe the potential consolation final between Alex Villar of North Central & Patrick McGraw of John Carroll ought to be pretty good as well.
Another potential good final will be between UW-Whitewater's Ryan Vedner & North Central's Cole Cervantes. I would think that Augsburg's Matt Rogge will be the top contender for a 3rd place showing as Baldwin Wallace's Donovan Palmer & Eureka's Andrew Sims duke it out for to see who places higher on the award stand.
Some of these weight classes I feel fairly confident who we'll see in the finals. This particular weight class isn't one of them. Here, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see some upsets. Seth Goetzinger of Augsburg is the favorite to be a *1 seed, but he'll have challenge from Luke Silver of Aurora who earned runner-up status here last season. Daniel Devera of John Carroll is likely to give Silva potential fits in a likely semi-final & without a doubt Joey Jens of North Central on his home mats will be looking to knock off those above him. Thus far he's wrestled Devera to a 3-2 match & he's given Silva both 5-2 & 5-3 matches. Let's also factor in Ryan Riser of UW-Whitewater who also comes in here looking for an upset or two. The last he and Jens met, Jens took an 11-5 decision.
UW-Whitewater NCAA DIII champion Jaritt Shinhoster looks to be a shoe-in for a title here, although I can see last year's North Central Invitational champion Lucas Salmon of Baldwin Wallace giving him a match in the finals. That is of course if Salmon can make it back to the finals with what is likely to be a challenge from Bentley Schwanebeck Ostermann of Augsburg in the semi-finals. Among our top six place-winners look for Peyton Geigner of home team North Central to fill one of the spots.
Our likely champion here will be Doug Byrne of Baldwin Wallace who took runner-up honors here last season. Of course a lot will depend on seeding but the battle for 2nd will be an all out war between three talented wrestlers. Jackson Punzel of Wheaton, Andrew Demos of North Central and Parker Venz of Augsburg.
On Paper it seems likely we're to see a rematch of last year's final between Tyler Kim of Augsburg & Robby Bates of North Central. Kim won the match via major decision 8-0. However, I wouldn't dismiss Baldwin Wallace's Jarod Miller quite yet. He was 3rd here last season & while he dropped a 5-0 match to Bates, he recently took Kim into the tiebreakers dropping a 7-6 decision. What a world of good it'd do for his ranking as well as his confidence if he were to upset Bates, Kim or even both.