Wednesday, December 13, 2023

44th Midwest Classic Preview (Sat-Sun 12-16/17-2023) 165 lbs


I would call this a weight class of position.  Where does everyone stand? Where are we at now & where do we head into second semester after NCAA Division II's toughest In-season tournament is a said and done thing?  I've eluded to it earlier & once again we talk about the wolves on top of the mountain and the wolves climbing the mountain? Who truly is the hungrier? We have guys who look to continue to hold their status, while others look to make theirs.  Establish or reestablish, that is 165 lbs Midwest Classic. 

Chase Luensman
Upper Iowa

Chase Luensman is one of the most interesting wrestlers in all of collegiate wrestling, let along NCAA Division II. He's the underdog story, the Cinderella who might come to the party barefoot, but is most likely to leave with a glass slipper. Many may point out how the 2023 NCAA DII champ has had a few setbacks this year. I'll point out how that isn't anything new for the Peacock. He didn't win Super Region V last season. Matter of fact the guy who beat him during Regions, didn't even qualify for DII nationals himself.  Luensman isn't the type to reassure you of anything. He's the type that makes you question, makes you wonder, and then goes out there and does it anyway.  He was 2nd in these championships last year & amongst the competition he owns both a 6-2 as well as an 8-4 victory over John Ridle & a 10-5 decision over Aaden Valdez. 

David Hunsberger

Lander sorta surprised a lot of people this season by taking the preseason #1 ranking as a team. Can't say I was necessarily expecting it, but I can't say it completely threw me off guard either. The Bearcats have a good team this year. A very good team & they'll more than prove that here at the Midwest Classic.  David Hunsberger was 4th in the DII nation last season & he'd love to do two monumental things this weekend. Win the Midwest Classic title & knock off the defending NCAA DII champ while doing it. 

Dillon Walker

An NCAA DII All American in 2022, Dillon Walker finished one match shy of another medal this past season, although he did take 8th at last year's Midwest Classic. This year he's down a weight class, and thus far wrestling very well. A title contender in his own right, he owns a 1:48 fall over Brady Schuh & a 2-0 decision over Sevi Gaza. 

Aaden Valdez
Adams State

The Grizzly hasn't faced any of the competition yet, but as we have discussed in previous post, that isn't always a bad thing.  One match shy of being an NCAA DII All American last year, it goes without saying that he will contend for a medal here in Indianapolis. 

Braydon Huber

Here's a guy I'm really anxious to watch this weekend. Braydon Huber is a three time NCAA DII qualifier & he was 8th in the DII nation in 2021.  A match away from his second All American honor in 2022, he fell unfortunate example to just how cruel, unforgiving and heartbreaking this sport can be, when he fell short of qualification this past season.  You know how I feel about comeback stories. About wrestlers and redemption. I unabashedly admit my love for these types of occurrences.  Huber could very well be one this weekend. 

Hunter Jump
Central Oklahoma

Jump is a classic example of just how much talent & depth there is in the Broncho wrestling room at any given time.  He was behind TreVaughn Craig & Ty Lucas last season & now this year he's gathered up some huge wins already as he heads into the Midwest Classic with a #8 ranking.  4-1 s.v. over John Ridle, he also owns a 5-2 decision over Cole Ritter. 

John Ridle
Central Missouri

5th here at the Midwest Classic last season & 4th in the DII nation, John Ridle looks to once again earn a medal at DII's toughest in-season tournament.  Among the competition he owns a 4-2 decision over Cole Ritter & a 6-4 decision over Dillon Keane. 

Owen Zablocki

Much like Jump was for the Broncho's last season, Owen Zablocki was one of the best backups in the nation last year for Jack Eitljeorge.  Now he's varsity, he's ranked & he's looking to earn himself a top 8 showing at the toughest DII tournament of the regular season, held in his home gym, on his home mats.  A 12-6 decision over Cory Peterson, along with both a 4-2 & 3-2 decision over Sevi Garza for the Greyhound. 

Cory Peterson

Here's another comeback story, this one due to what I hate the most about collegiate wrestling...injury.  Two time NCAA DII All American Cory Peterson was having himself a great '22-'23 season last year. He entered the Midwest Classic having been the previous year's runner-up and he sustains a season ending injury in the quarterfinals. I can't tell you how much I hated seeing that.  Made me sick to my stomach.  I can tell you though, how much I love seeing him back and seeing him get another opportunity.  Wins over David Hunsburger (5-4), Hunter Jump (4-2), Brady Schuh (11-3) & Cole Ritter (15-4) thus far for the Bearcat. 

Brady Schuh

Among those fighting for a top 8 showing here in Indianapolis will be the Rangers Brady Schuh. He thus far owns a 1-1 tiebreaker victory over Cory Peterson. 

Dalton Gimbor

An NCAA DII qualifier last year for the Golden Bears, Dalton Gimbor thus far owns a 7-5 t.b. win over Sevi Garza & a 9-4 decision over Dillon Keane as he will fight for a spot on the award stand here at the Classic. 

Sevi Garza

Been a bit of a rough start for Sevi Garza who went 24-10 last season & now stands at 2-6. Yet despite not being where he wants to be with his record, he does still own a 7-5 decision over Dalton Gimbor. Plenty of wrestlers have turned it around  and if you're gonna make the hokey pokey, the Midwest Classic is most certainly a place to do it. He'll be among those challenging for a spot in the top 8. 

Dillon Keane

An NCAA DII qualifier in 2022 for the Mountain Cats, Dillon Keane fell short of a second qualification last season when he finished 5th at the Region last season.  He also came up a little short of a medal at last year's Midwest Classic, finishing one match shy. This year, he doesn't want to come up short of anything, and he wants to collect both a MWC medal as well as a second NCAA DII qualification. He certainly has the talent & skills to accomplish both. 

Cole Ritter

4th at last year's Midwest Classic, I am surprised that Cole Ritter isn't within the rankings. No bother, he's certainly good enough to be within the rankings and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he were to prove that here at the Classic. 

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