We got a little BIG 10 Vs BIG 12 action this Friday as the #11 Wolverines of Michigan take on the #16 Cowboys of Oklahoma State. This particular dual is taking place in Arlington, Texas, home of the UT-Arlington Mavericks. It'd be nice to think that maybe holding a dual with two of our most storied programs (if you disagree with Michigan being one, let me say they've been around forever & with stats/facts they ARE the best team in DI wrestling overall yet to win an NCAA DI team title) that there might be a chance of seeing DI wrestling in Texas again. I'd even like to think with nearby Texas Wesleyan only a half hour away, maybe the Patriots of Arlington Baptist, an NAIA institution are considering fielding a team.
The dual takes place at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball team. Capacity sits 40,300. It'd be a dream come true for someone who wants to see collegiate wrestling continue to grow in Texas, if we were able to fill that stadium for the dual. Hell, I'd be ecstatic with half at around 20,000. Even a 1/4 at a little of 10,000 would make me happy. I'd like to think that is realistic. Not sure if it is.
Stillwater to Arlington is a touch of four hours away, so I can see those die hard Cowboy fans who might want to make a weekend out of it maybe making the trek. I think we can rely on some of them to anyway. For the most part though, I think who does attend will be from Texas. Anxious to see what the final draw is.
Now for a look at the matches.....
|#20 Jack Medley Vs U.R. Reece Witcraft|
I'm not sure if Trevor Mastrogiovanni is hurt or if Reece Witcraft recently won a wrestle-off or what exactly the deal is, but to my understanding for this dual, Witcraft will be the starter. 14-4 at 133 lbs, Witcraft was an NCAA qualifier back in 2020. This will be his first match at 125 lbs this season. I wouldn't let the #20 Vs U.R. fool you, this will be a good match. Medley favored, I wouldn't rule out an upset.
|#12 Dylan Ragusin Vs #2 Daton Fix|
Dylan Ragusin is an extremely tough wrestler who will contend for All American honors by season's end, but Daton Fix is in a league of his own. Matter of fact, at 133 lbs it is fairly safe to say that there is Roman Bravo Young & Daton Fix, and then there is everybody else. I'm not completely ruling out the idea that someone could get hot and pull off the miracle upset, but I am saying the probability is low. Seeing the same two guys in the NCAA finals three years in a row is a rarity, but I do think we'll see it. Ragusin will give him a fight, but Fix will have an answer to anything and everything that he tries.
|#25 Cole Mattin Vs #22 Carter Young |
This will be fun contest between two talents at the heaviest of the lightweight classes. Both Cole Mattin & Carter Young have had their ups and downs this season. Ironically enough, Mattin started off the season hot, but has since gotten cold. Beginning of the season saw victories over Mosha Schwartz of Northern Colorado, Shannon Hanna of Campbell and Lachlan McNeil of North Carolina. Yet lately, he's been in a bit of a slump having dropped his last three matches. Young's season has been completely the opposite. 9-8 thus far on the season, one of his best showings thus far was this past weekend where he majored Northern Iowa's Cael Happel & then used a strong ride to shut out Iowa State's Casey Swiderski 3-0. Mental edge is so important at this level of wrestling & you gotta think with recent results, the edge goes to Young. With that said, you don't become a DI wrestler unless you know how to overcome adversity & get yourself to where you need to be mentally. Young may very well continue his hot streak, but it's also plausible that Mattin reignites his.
|#21 Chance Lamer Vs #20 Victor Voinovich|
As a fan of collegiate wrestling, you have got to be looking forward to this match. Chad Lamer needs to go into this match realizing that it'll be full throttle the entire seven minutes. Victor Voinovich has a gas take that reads full at all times. Let me put it this way, if he were a vehicle instead of a collegiate wrestler, he'd put all the economy cars to shame. You'd be able to drive from N.Y. to L.A. on one tank of gas, because that's how good the mileage would be. When I say the Cowboy has a gas tank, I mean he has a gas tank!! Conditioning is only one factor of a match though. Many other factors to take into consideration here. I'd say technique wise these guys are pretty even & I'm not sure who will win in terms of power & strength. This is a toss-up match that could go either way.
|#10 Will Lewan Vs #14 Kaden Gfeller |
Here's another match I'd call a toss-up. Straight forward, ranking gives the edge to Will Lewan but off and on again Kaden Gfeller is one you can never count out in a match. Lamer is 10-3 with two of his losses being to NCAA finalist contenders Austin Gomez of Iowa State & Kyle Parco of Arizona State. His 13-2 loss to Jackson Arrington of North Carolina State sticks out, particularly due to the score. On the same hand though, he owns a technical fall over Northern Iowa's Colin Realbuto. Go figure that Realbuto then defeated Arrington! Welcome to collegiate wrestling right??
Gfeller, 13-4 had a heck of a time with team Stanford at the Southern Scuffle & he recently dropped an overtime match to Derek Holschlag of Northern Iowa. On the plus side, he's defeated Brayton Lee of Minnesota & Cesar Alvan of Columbia. Taking all of this information into account, it leaves you with nothing more than a wild guess.
|#5 Cam Amine Vs #24 Wyatt Sheets|
The thing I love about this dual is that you have so many alike wrestlers who compare going head to head. On paper, this is my favorite match & I would suspect that it'll live up to expectation on the mat. Both Cam Amine & Wyatt Sheets are what I like to call "under the lights" competitors. They thrive for big match moments where the opportunity to be the hero of the dual presents itself. When Amine is hot, he's hard to stop. Yet the same thing can be said for Sheets! When he gets on a hot streak, he's hard to stop. Amine is more consistent, which gives him the edge but in a dual of this magnitude I wouldn't overrule Sheets.
|#28 Max Maylor Vs #6 Dustin Plott|
As I look over this dual meet, I have to say that in many ways this could end in an Oklahoma State victory. There's literally no reason at all to think that the Cowboys couldn't upset the Wolverines in this dual. As far as I'm concerned the only shoe-in victory Michigan has in this dual is HWT. Oklahoma State on the other hand I would say has 133, 197 & this match at 174 already in the bag. The Wolverines may be favored in some of the other matches, but as far as I'm concerned, the other seven matches are tossups. Okie State pulls off a few upsets here and there, and suddenly they've won the meet.
Do I feel that Plott could possibly get the major here? Yes, but I wouldn't necessarily count on it. I can't see Maylor upsetting Plott, but I can see him keeping the match close & respectable.
|#9 Matt Finesilver Vs #11 Travis Wittlake|
The "something to prove" match. Finesilver, a senior who has yet to make All American goes into this match looking to add a top quality win to his resume, which in turn will help him to get a higher seed come tournament time. Wittlake, who was a title contender a couple of years ago at 165 lbs, an opportunity to continue to show that he can be a force at 184. This match is very important, both from a team perspective and from an individual perspective.
|#1 Mason Parris Vs #24 Konner Doucet|
As said, Oklahoma State heavily favored at 133, 174 & 197, we could be going into this HWT match with Michigan not only needing a win, but a bonus point victory in order to secure the dual. Luckily for them, they have a man very capable of getting those bonus points. Konner Doucet is going to want to keep this to a decision, but the rankings aren't putting the #1 next to Mason Parris's name just for the Hell of it. He's #1 for a reason right now & he'll show the lone star state exactly why.