Monday, November 13, 2023

Grand View Open Recap & Review (2023-2024)


One of the toughest in-season NAIA tournaments, that also features NCAA Division I talent, the Grand View Open did not disappoint.  Great action & intriguing stories happened at every weight! 

Cyclone Freshman Starts of Varsity Career With A Bang,  As Viking Makes Epic Long Awaited Return

As well as the Temecula Valley, California native performed this tournament, it is hard to believe that Ethan Perryman is the number two man in the Cyclone lineup. He won the Grand View Open with a 7-4 victory over NAIA national champion Hunter Sparks in the quarterfinals, taking out Aden Reeves of Grand View 18-9 in the finals. 

Speaking of Reeves, it has been 18 months since he last competed. Unfortunately the Viking has had some setbacks due to injury.  He showed absolutely no mat rust whatsoever against fellow NAIA competition.  He took it to NAIA 3rd place finisher Trevor Marsman 16-9 in the quarter-finals, before ultimately finishing as the runner-up. 

Believe it or not, Marsman would then be eliminated from competition when he dropped a 9-3 match to Reeves' teammate Gabe Gonzales in the match to place.  3rd in the NAIA nation last season & fails to place at the GVU Open. When I said this was an incredibly tough NAIA in-season tournament, I meant it!  Gonzales would finish in 5th place after dropping a consolation-semi to Sparks 7-3.  Sparks would finish in 3rd. 

Carson Taylor Wins Another GVU Open Title Among DI Competition 

A GVU Open champ last season, Carson Taylor would repeat at champion again as the Viking took out Iowa State's Garrett Grice 4-1 in the finals. 

What You Would Expect From A DI Wrestler On A Top DI Team

We have different levels of collegiate wrestling for a reason & while there are exceptions to the rule as Carson Taylor proved at 133 lbs, the rule often trumps the exception.  Zach Redding demonstrated as he took out last year's GVU Open Champion Logan Wagner of Marian with a 20-4 technical fall in the finals.  Wagner himself looked very tough getting to the finals, including sticking Amado Castellon of Grand View in 1:07 in the semi-finals. 

A Little Bit Of Everything At 149 lbs 

Like Redding did at 141 lbs, Casey Swiderski demonstrated the vast difference that is often between NCAA DI & the other Divisions of Collegiate wrestling.  The Cyclone racked up the score with a 27-10 tech over NJCAA champion Matt Sarbo in the semi-finals, before taking out Grand View 3rd place NAIA finisher Blake Gonzalez 10-2 in the finals. 

Sarbo did come back to take 3rd place in epic fashion though.  The Triton scored a very impressive 6:08 fall over Chase Zollman of Missouri Valley in the consolation final.  Zollman a former Wyoming Cowboy, was an NCAA DI qualifier in 2021. 

Northern Iowa Sophomore Pulls Off Upset On Way to GVU Open Title 

R.J. Weston of Northern Iowa pulled off an impressive upset over Jason Kraisser, nearly majoring the Cyclone 10-4.  It was all smooth sailing from then on out, as the Panther would then take out Tanner "I'll never run out of eligibility" Abbas in the finals 11-1.  Abbas, like teammate Reeves, has been out of commission for a while. Against fellow NAIA competition, also like Reeves, you can't tell he's missed anything at all.  It's not always easy to evaluate when you see DI Vs NAIA, but I've been watching collegiate wrestling long enough to where guys stand in their own division.  Abbas will be a top 8 NAIA this season, if not a contender for the national title. 

Cyclones Crown Another Champ As Texas Wesleyan Has A Finalist

Connor Euton showed his skills this past weekend by taking the GVU Open Title at 165 lbs with a win over Texas Wesleyan's Braedon Baller. 

 Northern Light Shines Bright At 174 lbs 

In my estimation Montana State Northern's Nakoda Siegel won the toughest bracket of the Grand View Open.  What a tremendous run for the Northern Light senior, who won a weight class that featured three NCAA DI wrestlers & some top talent in the NAIA.  Siegel started off with a 7-2 decision over Caleb Swalla of Grand View in round two. He then knocked off another Viking, Alex Reynolds 4-2 in the semi-finals.  Finished off his day with a 4-1 sudden victory over Iowa State's Carter Schmidt in the finals. 

#1 DI Takes Down #2 NAIA in 184 Finals 

Parker Keckeisen of Northern Iowa who will be contending for an NCAA DI title in March defeated Isaiah Luellen of Grand View, who himself will be contending for an NAIA title in March.  The final score was 16-5 in favor of the Panther. 

John Gunderson Shows The Depth of the Panther Room At 197

John Gunderson won the 197 lbs championship with a 3:20 fall over Grand View's Garavas Kouekabakilaho.  The bracket also featured NAIA ranked wrestlers Malachai Karbo of Baker who finished in 3rd place & Jay Smith of Eastern Oregon who finished in 6th. 

Greg Hagan Repeats as Champion

The GVU Open had exactly two '22 champs repeat & both of them were from Grand View. Carson Taylor as mentioned at 133, and Greg Hagan at HWT.  The biggest Viking had a bit of a scare as K.C. Buday of Providence took him into overtime.  Yet Hagan was able to do the same as he did in last year's finals & defeat the Argo once again with a 4-1 decision. 

*What really threw me off here was seeing Joshua Isaac of Missouri Valley in the bracket. I quadruple checked last season & was 99.999% sure his collegiate career was a said and done thing.  Yet here he was competing attached for Mo Valley.  Even more surprising is that he failed to place.  Nevertheless very happy to see the two time NAIA All American back for another season & there's still plenty of wrestling left.  He's not the only really good wrestler to not make the top 6 in this great season opener. 

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