The season is dwindling down. We're already said & done for the NJCAA qualifiers as we'll soon be moving into NAIA, DIII & DII qualifiers. One more week of duals for DI & soon it'll even be time for DI qualifiers. As it is every wrestling season, it's hard for me to come to terms with the fact that we're nearing the end. In many ways it feels like it has only just begun, when in reality it is almost over.
I gotta start my recap of week 16 off with a rant. I gotta shoot off the hip for a second. Agree, disagree or feel indifferent I gotta bone to pick. I gotta an itch to scratch. Here ya go....
|Michigan Vs Iowa Dual Leaves Bitter Taste in JT#1's Mouth|
There's so much about this dual that boils my blood. I'm not even sure where to start. Do I have a right to be annoyed and irritated by how ignorant some wrestling fans are in regards to lineups? I say I do & here's why. Here's why I'm bothered. At the gym the other day after a hard chest workout I'm sitting in the steam room as I over hear a conversation three other gentlemen are having regarding collegiate basketball.
"Hey did you see the game between (TEAM) & (TEAM)?"
"Yeah, (TEAM) just beat the crud outta (TEAM)"
"Yeah, but remember (TEAM) was missing their three best players"
"Yeah that's true..."
And it's not like this is an isolated incident either. I don't follow basketball or football like I do wrestling, but I follow it enough to know that fans are knowledgeable enough to know when a team is not at full capacity. A football team is missing a star quarterback, or two of their best running backs, that is acknowledged and accounted for. Why is this done for basketball and football but NOT for wrestling?
Michigan was missing 60% of their starters for the dual against Iowa. Granted, Iowa was also missing one of their starters, but come on. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. I'm gonna hold my ground that Michigan COULD HAVE given Iowa a match, had it been 10 for 10 on the starting lineup.
Lines such as.....
I don't get why Iowa couldn't wrestle like that all year
Why can't Warner wrestle like that more often?
Well Sir Isaac H Newton people!!! I would surely hope that a guy that took 2nd in the nation last year WOULD beat the ever livin' s-h-i-t out of a guy who is 5-11!!!! The #2 team in the nation SHOULD be killing a team that is 60% backups. I don't remember hearing football fans asking, Why Can't Iowa Play Against Ohio State The Way They Played Against Louisiana-Monroe??
I get, ok. I truly do. Gotta heal up and be at 100% for the BIG 10's. If I were a Coach, I'd do the same thing. I cannot argue with the decision, but MOTHER OF PEARL, this is why we need a national duals!! Michigan could have gone in here and potentially upset #2 Iowa, but it was of no consequence to them. None whatsoever. Why? Cause when it really comes down to it, duals don't mean anything. Michigan having it on their season that they beat Iowa, doesn't really mean anything.
It reminds me of so many discontinued teams I came across during my research for Gone, Lost & Forgotten. I'd come across a team like Drake. The Athletic Director at the time in 1993 gave one of the reasons for axing the program, "Non competitive." Non-Competitive? They were 23-3 in duals that season. 23-3, but who gives a shit right? They weren't one of the top teams at the NCAA tournament. Apparently the ONLY part of a 6 month season that matters.
It's not just Michigan either. I saw a ton of backups & worse yet, I even saw quite a few forfeits. Forfeits at the Division I level. There were two in the Purdue Vs Northwestern dual. I ask myself what is the solution to this? Should there be a longer period of time in between the end of the regular season and the post season? Some teams already ARE not wrestling this upcoming week & waiting until conference to compete again.
Should scheduling be changed around. I'll hear a ton of excuses and a ton of "yeah but's" but yeah but yourself. Michigan Vs Iowa should have been a great dual. It should have been a dual where the Wolverines came in looking to dethrone the Hawkeyes and the Hawkeyes said, "bring it on" in a fierce battle of two BIG 10 powerhouses. I'm not changing my mind about this. This is what we should have gotten, but instead we get to see Michigan JV Vs Iowa...AND. I. AM. NOT. HAPPY. ABOUT. IT.
Is the season too long? Injuries and health are the issue here in a lot of ways. Maybe if we cut the season down & had less matches, this wouldn't be as much of an issue.
I need to stop on this before I give myself an ulcer....
|Some Exciting Results at CCIWA|
The CCIW (College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin) provided some exciting wrestling this weekend. A couple of different things stood out to me. First off I was absolutely flabbergasted at how Julian Valtierrez of North Central just manhandled Tommy Russell of Millikin 10-0. The last two times these two had met it was all Russell. Russell defeated Valtierrez 7-5 & also pinned him in 1:22. This time though it was all Valtierrez. Talk about a turn around. He just dominated the 2022 All American.
It wasn't the only turn around either....
Dejon Glaster of Millikin won a CCIW championship by defeating 2021 All American Cole Cervantes of North Central 9-7 s.v. The last time the two had met, Cervantes pinned Glaster in 6:15.
|Washington & Lee 1977, 1978, 1979 and now 2023 ODAC Champions!!|
In case you are unaware, The Old Dominion Athletic Conference stopped sponsoring wrestling after the 1979-1980 season. They didn't start sponsoring wrestling again until this season. How cool it was to see Washington & Lee pick up where they left off from! Man what a rewarding moment as a wrestling fan.
On an individual level, lot's of awesome moments.
Hai Siu of Averett winning his fourth Conference title overall & his first ODAC title.
I personally was very impressed with Matt Majoy of Washington & Lee winning the ODAC title at HWT. He had to avenge two losses in order to bring home the gold. A 3-1 victory over Brandon Williams of Greensboro in the semi-finals who had pinned him earlier 6:44. Then he defeated a redhot RayShawn Dixon of Ferrum who's been on a winning streak 3-2. Dixon defeated Majoy earlier this season 6-3.
|Luc Valdez Finally Adds WIAC Gold To His Collection|
It was bronze in 2021 & silver in 2022 & now it is finally WIAC gold for Luc Valdez of UW-Oshkosh!
|That Goes Double for Burford!!|
Like Valdez, Burford has WIAC bronze & silver in his collection & now he adds Gold! Won a tough 149 lbs bracket, with a solid 6-2 victory over Tyler Goebel of UW-La Crosse.
|Blake West Upsets DeAugustino!|
What a huge win for the Husky redshirt freshman. A 7-2 decision in overtime over the All American Wildcat!
|Bolen Figures Out Kane|
There's a lot to be said about the Virginia Tech Vs North Carolina dual. Last season Hunter Bolen had such trouble with Gavin Kane. Kane gave him such fits. I wondered this season if Bolen would figure him out & it's apparent that he did. A 6-0 decision for the Hokie. A lot of people were on social media commenting on how smooth & solid Austin O'Connor looked in his dominating 11-3 major over Bryce Andonian. Agree, but what is being overlooked here is Lachlan McNeil's dominating 12-3 victory over Tom Crook. I was really thinking this was gonna be a barnburner between two of the nation's best freshman at 141 & it was all McNeil.
|Kai Orine Throws A Monkey Wrench into ACC 133 lbs|
Just when I started to make some sense out of the ACC concerning 133 lbs, Kai Orine goes ahead and upsets Mickey Phillippi of Pittsburgh 2-1 tiebreaker. The other thing that really stood out to be was how Ed Scott threw Dazjon Casto around like a ragdoll. Wasn't expecting that 19-3 technical fall. The Triple H Pedigree by Isaac Trumble wasn't enough to put away Nino Bonaccorsi, as he Hulked up like Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III to win a 6-4 tiebreaker. What a class act & great display of sportsmanship on Bonaccorsi's part taking it upon himself to say he knew that no ill intent was at play & for him to say good things about both his opponent & the Wolfpack.
|Mikey Caliendo & Frank Caliendo Really ARE Related!|
I realize I made a joke about this back in August, but I came to find out today that the two really ARE related! Found out earlier that they're cousins. How cool would it be to see Frank at the BIG 12's and/or NCAA's cheering on his cousin! I love finding out neat little things like this.
|Mosha Schwartz Taking Names This Week!|
What a great week for Northern Colorado's Mosha Schwartz! Man did he look good! A 6-2 victory over Dylan Drogemueller of North Dakota State & an 8-2 victory over South Dakota State All American Clay Carlson.
|Thumbs Up To Coach Schwab & Coach Dresser For Making UNI Vs ISU Dual A Fun Feud|
The build up & the hype, the Cyclone Vs Panther dual was treated like a big deal & it should have been, because it is. We have three (should be four!!! Talking to you DRAKE!!) great teams in the state of Iowa. No reason why Panther Vs Cyclone shouldn't be a huge deal in the way that Cyclone Vs Hawkeye is. I think it was. Crowd may not have been as big, from what I could see & hear in the highlights I watched, it looked like they were on fire. Lot's of good action. I was really thinking that this time Kyle Biscoglia would come out the winner Vs Zach Redding, but Redding overcame him again. This time 4-2. Happel holding on to a tough 4-3 decision over Swiderski. Gaitan upsetting Runyon 9-5. It was clear that both teams took this dual very seriously. I appreciated that.
|Kaden Gfeller Gets Even|
After going 2-1-1 at the Southern Scuffle, Kaden Gfeller ended up finishing 4th this year. The reason why? One of which was Charlie Darracott of Stanford. Gfeller avenged that loss with a comfortable 9-5 decision as the Cowboys defeated Stanford in dual action.
As always, so much more that could be said, but I'll end here for now.
Onward to week 17, which will be full of more great wrestling.