Thursday, December 15, 2022

Midwest Classic Preview (Dec 17th-18th) 165 lbs


165 lbs for the Midwest Classic might as well be the NCAA Division II national tournament. We are talking 15 of the top 20 ranked wrestlers in NCAA Division II wrestling, 7 of them in the top 10! This includes 10 NCAA DII qualifiers & 6 All Americans.  7, I repeat 7 wrestlers in this bracket have earned Midwest Classic medals in the past.  These wrestlers know one another well, with many close matches, back & forth feuds and some parity.  Don't be surprised at all if NCAA DII rankings have to go through a complete overhaul after this tournament! 

Shane Gantz 

Currently 16-0 on the season, returning NCAA DII finalist & Midwest Classic champion, Shane Gantz looks to defend his title.  Thus far he's been able to stay a nose hair ahead of Corey Peterson in three close matches 4-2 s.v., 5-3 & 3-1. Split with Braydon Huber, he owns a 2-1 victory over the Marauder.  He also owns a 10-4 victory over Jack Eiteljorge & two victories over Hunter Mullin 10-3 & 3-1 s.v.  

Cory Peterson

Two time NCAA DII All American Cory Peterson who was 4th in 2021 & 3rd in 2022, is still due to COVID-19, technically only a sophomore by eligibility standards.  A runner-up to Gantz last season, he will be going for his second Midwest Classic medal.  Against the field he owns both a 3-1 & 10-3 victory over Jack Eiteljeorge. A 2-1 victory over Tyler Lucas. A 9-1 major decision over Drew Wiechers. A 12-6 victory over Cale Hoskinson.  He's defeated Will Kuster twice by a score of 11-8 & pinning him at the 1:03 mark. 

Drew Wiechers 

Call it irony, Drew Wiechers finished 5th at both last year's Midwest Classic as well as the NCAA DII tournament. Among his victories of note, a 8-2 decision of Dillon Keane & a 10-8 decision over Guy DeLeonardis. 

John Ridle
Central Missouri 

4th in NCAA Division II last season, John Ridle will be among the warriors competing for a title here at the Midwest Classic.  Thus far he's been able to stay one step ahead of Tyler Lucas in three matches with 3-0, 2-0 & 3-1 victories over the Bronco.  He also owns both a 12-7 & a 7-6 victory over Jace Fisher. 

Jack Eiteljorge 

You know good and well as he was 4th here a year ago, Jack Eiteljorge wants to keep one of the 10 individual titles that will be won right here in Indianapolis.  A 5-3 win over Guy Leonardis, he owns a 12-5 decision over Will Kuster & a 19-4 technical fall over Will Kuster. He's also defeated Cory Peterson twice by scores of 3-1 & 8-6.  

Braydon Huber

The top six wrestlers in NCAA Division II & all six of them will be competing in the Midwest Classic this weekend. It blows your mind doesn't it? I know it does mine.  Three time NCAA DII qualifier Braydon Huber was R12 last season after finishing 8th last season.  5th here last season at 157 lbs, what sticks out most about the Marauder is a 7-5 victory that he owns over Shane Gantz. 

Dillon Keane

An NCAA DII qualifier last season, Dillon Keane will be looking for his first Midwest Classic medal.  A 7-1 victory over Drew Wiechers, he's also defeated the Eagle 9-7 tiebreaker.  Other wins include a 17-4 major over Rashaan Vereen & an 8-0 major over Jacob Potok. 

Chase Luensman
Upper Iowa 

A two time NCAA DII qualifier, Chase Luensman missed out on qualification #3 last season. Seems these types of wrestlers come in to tournaments like these with something to prove. Plenty of opportunity for the Peacock to pull off a few upsets in route to a high finish. He owns an 8-4 decision over John Ridle. 

Will Kuster

It'll take some upsets, but another wrestler more than capable of a top 8 finish is Will Kuster.  He owns a 5-4 victory over Tyler Lucas. 

Tyler Lucas
Central Oklahoma 

This dude's wrestling is as wild as his hair. If you're looking for one of those "outta nowhere" champs, you may want to take a moment to consider Tyler Lucas. A three time NCAA DII qualifier, 5th in 2021, he was R12 last season. It should also be noted that he was a Midwest Classic runner-up in 2019.  All of his losses against competition ranked higher than him have been painstakingly close.  He owns victories over Jace Fisher (7-4) & Chase Luensman (7-3). If you want to place bets on lowest seeded champions, here is where I'd lay my $$ down. 

Jace Fisher

8th at 157 lbs here last season, Jace Fisher is currently 15-3 on the season. 

David Hunsberger

The freshman is 12-1 thus far on the season. A 10-5 decision over Guy DeLeonardis, it'll be interesting to see how the youngest fares against a field of poised experience. 

Guy DeLeonardis
Glenville State

A transfer of Millersville, the Midwest Classic will give Guy DeLeonardis a grand opportunity to shine for his new found home. Thus far he owns a 5-4 victory over Cale Hoskinson. 

Cale Hoskinson 
Notre Dame 

Competing for the real Notre Dame (can you tell by now I have a strong animosity against the Fighting Irish?) Cale Hoskinson will fight for a top 12/possibly top 8 finish here at the Midwest Classic. He owns an 8-6 victory over Guy Leonardis. 

Jacob Potok
Lake Erie 

His record may not indicate, but among his wins, enough to have earned him a top 20 ranking. It'll take some upsets & wrestling very well, but Jacob Potok could very well find himself in the R12 match. 

Rahsaan Vereen 

Xi, I'm not sure if the Gods are crazy or not, but I think I must be. I'd have to be to think someone unranked might turn out a top 12 finish this tournament as loaded as this bracket is. Yet I will give a beggar's chance to NCAA qualifier Rahsaan Vereen.  I could see him sneaking into the R12 match. 

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