Monday, January 30, 2023

JT#1's Notes, Thoughts & Observations for Week #14 of the '22-'23 College Wrestling Season


Focus and Attention 

10,000 things going on in the world of collegiate wrestling as usual, but this is where nearly all of the attention & focus were. Everyone, everywhere was glued to the #1 Penn State Vs #2 Iowa dual. So much is revealed about the abnormal psychology of the wrestling community in regards to a match like this.  For one I couldn't believe the number of people who believed that if Spencer Lee bumped up to 133 lbs that he could honestly get bonus points against Roman Bravo Young. There is mentally challenged, and then there is mentally defeated. I love Lee & think he'll go down as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, but there is no way he was ever going to major RBY.  We're talking a two time national champion, who hasn't lost a match since the 2019-2020 season. We're also talking 8 lbs of muscle from 125 to 133 too. The idea of Lee getting bonus points against him is preposterous.  Secondly of all, in all of the matches of Penn State's varsity Vs Iowa's varsity, I thought Iowa despite the loss, looked pretty good. It amazed me how many wrote of how Penn State put a whoopin' on the Hawkeyes. Yes, the Nittany Lions won & wrestled (as they almost always do) extremely well, but I wouldn't call three one point victories, one two point victory & one three point victory "handing someone their ass."  Even RBY's fall of Brody Teske was a pretty close match up until the fall. It was a good dual between our nation's two top teams. Penn State went in prepared & won 4 of the 7 tossup matches. RBY stepped it up for the team by getting the fall & Aaron Brooks took advantage of getting to beat up on a reserve.  I still feel Iowa went in & fought hard as they won 3 of the 7 tossup matches. The actuality of the dual was 7/10, nearly 8/10 matches being hard fought & competitive. That's reality.  Where anyone gets off saying that "Iowa sucks" is nothing more than a reflection of a sport that excepts nothing other than the very best. 

Speaking to the matches individually??? 

You gotta take your hat off to Marco Vespa. The sophomore has only one win to his name thus far & he went out and gave it everything to keep himself from getting pinned by Lee. That shows dedication and commitment to your team. He knew that there was a chance that the dual could be close & how important it was to give up 5 instead of 6.  

Already commented on the RBY Vs Teske match

Woods used experience to overcome Bartlett & I was really impressed with both Murin & Kennedy.  Both wrestled very smart matches against extremely tough opponents.  I was surprised by how close Brands was able to keep it with Starocci. Starocci's offense is so good, I figured he'd be able to penetrate Brands' defense & get in a couple of scores.  Haines wrestled a smart match against Siebrecht. Dean did what he had to do against Warner & Kerkvliet for the second time was able to overcome Cassioppi.  They say wrestling is a lot like chess & this dual was proof of that. 

There was other great wrestling that took place this weekend!  A lot of it! I tried to keep up with as much of it as I could.  

Pete Willson Invitational Proves Itself To Be Top In-Season DIII Tournament 

This was definitely a week  to pay attention to DIII wrestling as the Pete Willson Invite proved itself to be an awesome tournament. 

Ty Bisek Wins a Tough 133 lbs bracket As Andrew Perelka Becomes A Four Time Pete Willson Place-Winner 

#7 Ty Bisek stepped it up a notch with a huge 7-2 victory over last year's NCAA DIII finalist, Andrew Perelka in the finals. Bisek was one match shy of NCAA qualification last year with a 4th place finish at Regionals. This win over Perelka says that he's not only looking to make the tournament this year, but he's looking to contend for a national title. As to Perelka, he made history, becoming the only wrestler this tournament to become a four time place-winner.  His finishes were 4th-2nd-3rd-2nd. 

Ethan Harsted Keeps 141 lbs Pete Willson Title At Home

The sole champion for the Thunder, Harstead had to defeat two tough opponents in route to his title. First it was a 3-1 s.v. over 2021 All American Bradley Rosen of North Central & then it was a 2-1 victory over #10 Jake Dado of Ozarks in the finals. 

RayShawn Dixon Continues to Impress at Pete Willson Invitational

Going into this tournament I was perplexed of how Ferrum's RayShawn Dixon wasn't listed in the rankings. Now 24-1 on the season, with a Pete Willson title to his resume, he has to be ranked. A 7-4 win over #15 Ka'Ron Lewis of Ozarks, following it up by defeating Cole Fibranz of Chicago 8-6 in the finals. Impressive performance for the Panther. 

Centenary Rookie Wins Ken Oberman Memorial 

Another DIII tournament that took place this weekend was the Ken Oberman Memorial. What stood out to me most was Jack Thode of Centenary getting a fall over Jared Kuhns of York (PA) in the 125 lbs finals. Time of the fall was 6:41. 

Drake Ayala Competes at 133 lbs For Flash Flanagan Open 

I'm probably reading way too much into this, but I was surprised to see Drake Ayala at 133 lbs for the Flash Flanagan open. I would imagine it was probably nothing more than allowing him to get away from the strain of the weight cut for a while, but I can't help but wonder if there is more to it. While I personally feel that both Brody Teske & Cullan Schriever are quality 133 lbs'ers, I know that the black & gold give the word "expectation" a whole new meaning. Are they testing him out at 133 lbs? I have said for quite some time now & continue to imagine that Ayala is the replacement for Lee next season, but maybe the ink isn't as dried on the contract as I thought. Maybe there's a chance we could see him at 133 next year & see someone else at 125. 

Nick Stonecheck Upsets '22 MAC Champion 

In the dual Vs Rider, Nick Stonecheck had a very nice victory over 2022 MAC champion Quinn Kinner. Stonecheck won a 6-4 decision. 

The Ups and Downs Of Columbia 

The results of collegiate wrestling can be quite perplexing at times.  Lehigh not all that long ago gave Cornell a tough go in a 18-15 loss.  Then Columbia wrestled a great dual defeating Lehigh 18-17. I really thought the Lions would then give the Big Red a run for their money, but the final dual score was 30-3 in favor of Cornell.  Granted, there were a few matches in the Cornell dual that could have as easily gone Columbia's way that didn't. Babin lost a tight 2-1 match to Ungar, Kazimir lost a tight 5-4 match with Cornella & Alvan lost in overtime against Handlovic.  You turn those matches around & now the dual is 21-12. 

Sam Wolf Once Again Howls At The Moon 

The way Air Force's Sam Wolf wrestled against Demetrius Romero of Utah Valley, maybe we should start referring to him as Sam Werewolf. He was on a terror. Injured and all, he defeated the All American 5-3. Great win for Wolf.  Also want to point out in this dual that Dylan Martinez looked sharp too. Defeated a tough Isaiah Delgado 3-2.  The other comment about Air For wrestling from this weekend, is how easily Wyatt Hendrickson tech'd South Dakota State's A.J. Nevills. I was NOT expecting that at all. Nevills had a 5-2 win over '22 NCAA runner-up Cohlton Schultz earlier this year. I was expecting a closer confrontation, but Hendrickson just took it to him. 

Alirez Continues to Gun For National Title 

I said earlier this year that Andrew Alirez has potential to become Northern Colorado's first NCAA DI champion & week after week he makes me more and more of a believer. Clay Carlson is no slouch & Alirez nearly majored him in a 10-3 effort. 

Truly Good True Freshman 

I was very impressed with Jesse Mendez's performance this weekend. The Buckeye defeated a very tough Dylan Ragusin of Michigan & then majored Michigan State's RayVon Foley. 

Deadly But Silent 

The obsession and fixation with Penn State Vs Iowa, led to many not even being aware that Oklahoma's John Wiley scored the biggest upset of the weekend. The current redshirt made the most of a dual he got to participate in by defeating Iowa State's Paniro Johnson 6-4. I was expecting this win to blow up all over wrestling Twitter & wrestling Facebook, but ironically little to nothing was said about it. 

Liam Cronin The #2 Man At 125? 

The position still currently belongs to Princeton's Patrick Glory, but anymore the way Liam Cronin is wrestling, I think he'll give the Tiger all he can handle when it comes time to decide who makes the national finals Vs Lee. Cronin with a very impressive 7-3 win over Eric Barnett of Wisconsin. This makes the third huge win for Cronin, as he's also defeated Michael DeAugustino of Northwestern and Pat Mckee of Minnesota. 

Coach Mark Manning Gets 300th Dual Victory 

Speaking of Nebraska wrestling, I was very excited to see Mark Manning get his 300th dual meet victory.  Coach Manning is one of my absolute favorites in collegiate wrestling & I loved seeing him get this honor. 

There's Only One Wyatt Sheets 

As always there is so much more I could talk about, but I don't wanna get carried away.  Therefore I'll end by speaking on Wyatt Sheets, who has plenty of competition, but could still make a case as collegiate wrestling's most unpredictable wrestler. Many point to how the Cowboy used what I would call a flying cowcatcher or perhaps a rolling snake to pin Northern Iowa's Austin Yant at 6:24.  I was also impressed with how well he wrestled David Carr of Iowa State. It's not the first time he's kept it close with the Cyclone, but in 6 total meetings, it is one of the best matches he's given him.  Sheets is the kind of guy we could very well see in the BIG 12 finals. Then again, he's also the kind of guy that might fight for a place in the 7th place match. With him, you never know what you're going to get.

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