|Yianni Diakomihalis Joins Rare Group of Four Timers|
My heart slowed down a few beats as we got ready for the 149 lbs final. After watching what happened to Baterdene Boldmaa of Doane & after the travesty of what happened to Spencer Lee of Iowa, "guarantee" was the last thing going through my mind as Diakomihalis stepped out on to the mat. For one, he had already been upended earlier in the season by Austin Gomez of Wisconsin. Secondly he was going against a very worth opponent in Sammy Sasso of Ohio State. 7 minutes at times can go by extraordinarily quick, but in this case the minutes seemed to turn to hours. I felt a since of relief when the match ended and the score was in favor of Diakomihalis. There were three wrestlers this season who were going for their fourth national title. I don't think anyone would have ever thought that only one of them would achieve it. A congrats to Diakomihalis. He deserved it.
|Sasso Will Enter '24 as one of the Best Yet to Win An NCAA Title|
Now a two time NCAA finalist, Sammy Sasso of Ohio State has to be one of the best if not the best wrestler in the nation going into '23-'24 yet to win an NCAA title. It'll be anything but a shoe-in for him & be every bit as challenging as it ever has been.
|Shayne Van Ness Dominates Through The BackSide|
I said this about Beau Bartlett at 141 lbs & now I'll say it about Shayne Van Ness. So many look so strongly to PSU's success through the championship side of the bracket, but those in route of the bronze contributed to the team title as well. I was in particularly impressed with SVN. He turned a 3-2 loss to Paniro Johnson of Iowa State into a 14-8 victory & he had impressive wins over both Caleb Henson of Virginia Tech & Kyle Parco of Arizona State.
|YES!!!!!! YES!!!! YES!!!!|
I was completely distraught when Micky Phillippi of Pittsburgh lost in the R12 to finish out his collegiate career R12-R12-R12-R12 at the NCAA's. I kept thinking to myself, "Dear gawd, don't you do it too Murin." There's so much more to this sport than what you do or don't do in the last three days of it, but even then I so badly wanted to see him finally make the award stand. He didn't matters any keeping the score so friggin' close, but when that buzzer finally sounded, he had 3 points and his opponent had two. I've seen a lot of satisfying moments in the sport of wrestling now that I've been watching it for 30 years. I don't know if any have topped this one yet. You watch a guy lose three times in a row in the bloodround & then finally on his fourth try, FINALLY he wins, it's hard to top that. I do think he was good enough to have came back & taken 3rd, but I was just happier than a pig in shit that he got to stand on the award stand. Very gratifying moment for me as a wrestling fan.
|I repeat, THERE ARE MORE THAN THREE DAYS|
I have followed Yahya's father on Twitter for quite some time. I know the disappointment felt when he came up one match short of his second All American honor. Yet, look at what all he DID do this season & frankly over the entire course of his career. This season alone included 3rd place at CKLV & winning a Midlands title. The Midlands title included a 4-3 victory over three time All American Kyle Parco. Yeah, the last three days of the season didn't go for him the way he wanted, but many other days of the season did. I may die on that hill alone, but there I shall stand.
|Two Of The Top Contenders in '24...one went 2-2 & the other 1-2 in '23|
I don't know if everyone realizes just how insanely tough 149 lbs was this season. Take into account that Austin Gomez of Wisconsin went 2-2 & Paniro Johnson of Iowa State went 1-2. That should give you some indication. Both of these guys had the talent to be NCAA champs this year & both will contend for the NCAA title next season. I'll back up my statement with the following facts.
Let's take a look at Gomez. Injuries slowed him down quite a bit this season, but still....a 9-3 win over our four timer Diakomihalis. 6-3 over Van Ness & 5-3 over Murin. He'll be one of the roadblocks standing in Sasso's way, no doubt about it.
As will be Johnson. The freshman Cyclone had his first year of varsity hiccups but I imagine they'll all be ironed out by next season. A BIG 12 champion he defeated Gomez 9-4 & also had victories over Murin, Van Ness & Brock Mauller of Missouri. He said he planned on winning an NCAA title & I think he will. He might even next season.