Monday, January 23, 2023

JT#1's Notes, Thoughts & Observations for Week 13 of the 22'-23' Collegiate Wrestling Season

 Week 13 said & done. A lucky week for some and an unlucky week others. A lot of good, close duals. Let's take a look at what all went down. 

Giroux Wins NYS Open With Win of DI Opponent 

R.I.T. hosted the New York State Open this weekend & in my estimation their key performance came out of Colby Giroux. The senior who is studying to be a P.A. with an emphasis on sign language & deaf cultural studies wrestled an excellent tournament defeating Army's Cole Karpinski 6-3 in the finals. 

Missouri Valley College Invitational Proves To Be Fun & Exciting

A lot of great things happened at the Missouri Valley College Invitational & I'll get to all of them here soon. Here's the first thing I'll say & all small college coaches take note.  There's absolutely no reason that a tournament like this shouldn't be acknowledged on your websites when looking through your rosters. You put down if a wrestler places at the NAIA's (Or D3's or NJCAA's or ect) but you wouldn't put down that he/she placed at the Missouri Valley Invite? (Or any other major in-season tournament).  These types of accomplishments most certainly should be listed. There is no excuse for them not to be.  When I or anyone else goes to your team's website, results like this should be listed. 

Sample of What I'm Speaking of.  When I go to look up Hunter Sparks of Eastern Oregon Next Season There should be Note of his Mo Valley Invite Accomplishments. 

Missouri Invite = Sparks was a runner-up in 2022 as a sophomore & won the tournament last year as  a junior. 

These type of tournaments need to start being acknowledged on media pages. If you want more coverage for your team & your wrestlers this is an absolute must.  Conference tournaments, Regions, the important in-season tournaments.  All of these placings need to be on your media
 pages.  (BTW I know some of you already do this & it is greatly appreciated) 

Speaking of which, Sparks looked great this tournament. I really thought that Isaac Crowell of Southeastern would win the tournament & Sparks stepped it up big time. Nearly majored Trevor Marsman of Cornerstone 9-2 in the finals. 

Ruffridge Wins Second Mo Valley Title As Nickel Has To MFF To 8th Place 

I was happy to see Shea Ruffridge win his second Missouri Valley Invitational but I was sad to see Bryce Nickel of Cumberlands has to MFF down to 8th place.  Glad to see that he made the award stand for the third time at this tournament, but wasn't happy seeing that he got injured. Hopefully nothing to serious and back at it again soon. 

Hawaii Native Wins Missouri Valley Invitational 

I was impressed with Menlo's Rysan Leong this tournament. Not only did he win the 165 lbs weight class, he did so in fashion. He defeated Grand View's Dillon Ulrey 4-0 in the semi-finals & then upended last year's runner-up Elliott Rodgers of Marian 7-3 in the finals.  Not sure how many native Hawaiians have won the Mo Valley Invite, but it can't be that many. Always a fan of seeing non-traditional wrestling states have some success. This was pretty cool. 

Alex Reynolds Vs Nakoda Siegel Best Finals of Mo Valley Invite 

Opinions vary but I feel the best match of the finals of the Missouri Valley Invitational happened at 174 between Alex Reynolds of Grand View & Nakoda Siegel of Montana State Northern. Wouldn't at all be surprised to see these two meet up again at the NAIA national tournament. Ironically enough, Reynolds defeated Siegel for 3rd place here last season too. The score of that one was 8-6.  Great feud. 

J.D. Perez Defeats All American To Win Missouri Valley Invitational 

J.D. Perez of Ottawa wrestled an excellent tournament, defeating last year's Mo Valley runner-up & NAIA All American Sam Osho 10-5 in the finals. Very impressive performance. 

HWT Proves To Be Most Fun of Weight Classes at Missouri Valley Invite 

Again, opinions vary but I found HWT the most fun to follow for the Missouri Valley Invitational.  Last Year's runner-up Gabe Jacobs was able to trade in silver for gold as he had three first period pins in route to the finals before stopping Grand View's Tommy Mommer 2-1 in the finals. Missouri Valley's Josh Isaac sure will be one to miss when he graduates later this year. What he can do on the mat Vs what you'd think he could do is quite the juxtaposition. For his size and his weight, it's unbelievable how well he moves out there on the mat. Some of the risk he takes cost him at times, but other times they pay off. He had three falls himself in route to a 3rd place finish. (He was 4th last season).  

Lot's of Great Wrestling At Middle Atlantic Conference Tournament 

Jared Kuhns Avenges Ugly Loss To Win Second MAC Title

After seeing York's (PA) Jared Kuhns get nearly teched by Luke Hoerle of of Stevens 18-5, I didn't think there was anyway that he'd be able to beat him.  Boy did he prove me wrong. He avenged his loss & took home his second MAC title with a 4-3 win over Hoerle in the finals. 

Stevens Steals Show At MAC 

As they were predicted to, the Ducks of Stevens dominated the Middle Atlantic Conference tournament.  Kyle Slendorn won title #3 without much problem. Hunter Gutierrez after finishing as the MAC-runner up in '20 & '22 won a title defeating teammate Pasquale Vizzoni in the finals.  Stefan Major won title #2 with a good match against King's Kade Kravits in the finals.  Frank Medina, a runner-up last season, avenged a 7-4 loss to Alvernia's Isaac Kassis 3-1 to win his first MAC title. 

Dan Eckley Upsets His Way to MAC Finals 

Huge, huge 54 second fall for U.R. Dan Eckley of Delware Valley over #17 Cam Farrow of York (PA).  A runner-up last season, Eckley had to once again settle for silver as he then dropped a 5-3 decision to Cameron Butka in the finals. 

Another Big Upset at 197 lbs in the MAC! 

Eckley wasn't the only one to score a huge upset at 197 lbs.  Joe Embleton of Messiah with an even bigger upset, as he pinned #9 Gable Krebs in 3:00.  Embleton ended up in 4th place as he lost to Farrow in the Consolation finals. 

With a Silver & a Bronze, Fulmer Finally Nabs His Gold 

2nd in '20 & 3rd in '22, Lycoming's John Fulmer finally nabbed a MAC Gold Medal winning pretty loaded HWT weight class. He had to defeat 2020 MAC champion  Palmer Rodenhaber of Alvernia in the finals & he also finished ahead of two time MAC champion Michael Dooley of Stevens. 

Slap The Mat Referee! It's Spencer Lee! 

Holy cow. A 4:38 fall over Eric Barnett of Wisconsin and a 38 second fall of Liam Cronin of Nebraska. If Lee wins title #4, I don't know how you could even begin to rank him anything less than #2 when talking about our DI four timers. Sanderson's 159-0 record trumps about anything, I'll give you that, but nothing else does. Not if Lee pins his way through the rest of the season & he wins the Gorriaran at the NCAA's along with his fourth title.  Dake different weight classes, irrelevant to collegiate accomplishments international accomplishments, anything else you want to add, no.  I'm saying this prematurely, and so be it if I end up wrong. Lee wins his fourth title & he does so in the dominating fashion I think he will, then he's the second best DI four timer of all time. I can just hear the "COVID-19" arguments as I type this.  Are they really legitimate in Lee's case? Are they really? No, they're not. He would have won a title in 2020 if he would have been allowed to. 

As to the rest of Iowa, whatever ignition source Lee is drinking, be it gasoline, kerosene or propane, Lee needs to share it with the rest of the Hawkeyes. They looked great against Nebraska. I was even impressed with how well Brands wrestled Labriola.  Seemed to lose a bit of that fire when they wrestled Wisconsin though.  

And that's no offense to Wisconsin. I know the good things that Coach Bono is doing there.  Dow's 1:24 fall over Abe Assad was huge for the Badgers.  Then Hillger finally being able to keep it close with Cassioppi was huge too. 

Michael Beard On a Rampage 

What stuck out to me most in looking over Lehigh's results was how Michael Beard scored two impressive technical falls this weekend. 20-4 over Cole Urbas of Pennsylvania & 21-6 over Jake Koser of Navy. 

Daniel Bucknavich With Huge Win over '22 MAC (This one is the Mid American Conference) Runner-up 

After going 5-11 last season, Cleveland State's Daniel Bucknavich is having himself a pretty respectable season. Currently 15-6, he defeated last year's Mid-American Conference runner-up Isaac Reid of Lock Haven 6-1. 

Parris' win over Kervliet Makes HWT More Interesting 

Many were saying that this was Mason Parris' first win over Greg Kerkvliet. No, it was not. The Wolverine has defeated Kerkvliet before, it's simply that this is his first win over the Nittany Lion in the last four meetings. The record is now Mason Parris 2, Greg Kerkvliet 3.  With Gable Steveson out of the picture, the HWT class has proven to be anything but concrete. It's really hard to determine who will win the BIG 10's, let alone the NCAA's. IMO, it's the most fun DI HWT has been in a really, really long time. 

Baylor "Don't Over Look Me" Fernandes 

Throughout Facebook, Twitter & other forms of Social media saw a lot of talk about a lot of subjects in wrestling. Didn't see anyone mention how well Baylor Fernandes of Northern Colorado wrestled this weekend. He deserves the recognition. Defeated Oklahoma State All American Wyatt Sheets 7-3 and then had a nice 2-1 win over Tyler Brennan of Little Rock. 

Kase Mauger & Ty Smith With Upsets for Utah Valley 

Not sure if he's made quota yet, but Ty Smith must how howled upon the blue moon before the Wolverines took on the Jackrabbits. Huge 7-6 win over All American Clay Carlson.  Teammate Kase Mauger looked really good too, sticking Tanner Jordan in 3:50. 

Sotelo Proves That He Was No Fluke 

I believe many dismissed Diego Sotelo's 3rd place finish at the Midlands as a result of how he got there. After a fall over Ryan Miller of Penn in the R12, he had two MFF's to his third place finish. I think he showed it was not by accident, as he proved himself with an impressive 1-0 victory over Brett Ungar of Cornell. 

Cael Valencia With Nice Win 

I knew he'd do this. I predicted it at the beginning of the season & I've predicted it a few times since. Cael Valencia will wrestle poorly for a long period of time, and then whammo, he'll start wrestling well.  Is his 6-3 win over '22 PAC-12 champion Tyler Eischens of Stanford a preview of things to come, or was it simply an upset to break up the monotony?  Love to see him break out and really take a run the way that Zahid did or even to the level of Anthony.  It's performances like these that prove he has it within him, it's simply a matter of figuring out why it doesn't happen more often. 

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