Saturday, December 16, 2023

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


As we take a look at our final weight class a couple of short hours before NCAA DII's toughest in-season tournament of the year begins, we see one of our more wide open weight classes. A lot of back and forth, some parity & wrestlers being much more capable than what their current ranking may suggest.  Over the past five days, I've heard a lot of wrestling fans refer to The Midwest Classic as "December Nationals" or another like reference.  Indeed it is. Make sure to check out this fantastic tournament. It it one of the best happenings in all of collegiate wrestling this weekend. 

Cale Gray

You know competing in their home on their mats, the Greyhounds want to crown some Midwest Classic champions. Cale Gray is one of their top hopes.  4th in the D2 nation last season, he was also 4th here in Indianapolis.  He hopes to bring home the gold this year.  Among his victories a 3:30 fall over Juan Edmond Holmes, a 1-0 decision over Braden Morgan & an 8-1 decision over Trent Strong. He also owns both a 5:30 fall as well as a 2-0 decision over Devon Rice. 

Juan Edmond-Holmes

I've talked a lot in the previous nine previews for this tournament how Lander comes into this tournament with the #1 ranking as a team & what they will need to do in order to keep that #1 ranking. A title from Juan Edmond-Holmes would certainly help.  Thus far the Bearcat has a 4:22 fall over LaRon Parks & three victories over Devon Rice (2-1, 3-1, 6:50 fall). 

LaRon Parks
Notre Dame (OH)

I've talked in previous weights how the Falcons have some good shots at place-winners, but here is where The Real Notre Dame has an opportunity to crown a champion.  Season after season LaRon Parks has steadily improved & what a jump it'd give his career to walk out of here Midwest Classic champ.  Reason to believe? A 7:00 fall over Cale Gray.  He also Owns a 4-2 decision over Lloyd Reynolds & a 2-1 tiebreaker over Ryan Herman.  Three wins, 5-4, 3-1 & 3-1 s.v. over Clayton Ours.  He was 7th in these championships last season. 

Mason Watt
Chadron State

R12 in the D2 nation last season, Mason Watt comes in here looking to earn a top finish for the Eagles. Against the competition, he owns a 4:14 fall over Devon Rice. 

Daulton Mayer
Thomas More

You know Thomas More will not be eligible for the post-season as they are still making their transition. Their real opportunity to showcase their skills and their talents, as I have mentioned before will be here in Indianapolis.  It'd take some upsets & a lot of really good wrestling, but what a statement it'd be for the Saints if Daulton Mayer were to win a Midwest Classic title.  5th in the NAIA nation last season, thus far he is 13-0 in D2 competition.  He's pinned Clayton Ours twice in the first period. 

Isaiah Vance

Isaiah Vance was 4th in the Midwest Classic last season & no doubt about it, he plans on having just as good, if not better of a finish this tournament.  An NCAA DII qualifier for the Mountain Cats last season, he owns both a 12-5 decision over Cale Gray & a 2:21 fall over Lloyd Reynolds. 

Devon Rice

Rice was an NCAA DII qualifier for Newberry last season & he owns a very impressive 3-1 s.v. over Juan Edmond-Holmes. He will look to do very well here in Indianapolis. 

Tyler Doyle
Colorado Mesa

Tyler Doyle will be among those looking to prove themselves here in Indianapolis by fighting for a top 8 finish. 

Luke Tweeton

An NCAA DII qualifier for the Marauders last season, Luke Tweeton has thus far been able to say one step ahead of Jacob Dykes every time he's stepped on the mat with him.  Thus far he owns 7-1, 4-2, & 3-1 tiebreaker decisions over the Mustang.  I imagine if Tweeton is to do very well here at the Midwest Classic that Mary will be on Twitter "Tweeton" about it. 

Jacob Dykes
Southwest Minnesota State

The Mustang finished one match shy of placing at last year's Midwest Classic & no doubt about it, he wants to go from at top 12 finish to a top 8 finish this tournament.  A 13-3 major over Jordan Baumler, he owns both a 4-3 decision as well as a 10-1 major decision over Lloyd Reynolds. 

Braden Morgan
Central Oklahoma

To my understanding, last year's Midwest Classic Champion as well as NCAA DII champion, Shawn Streck will eventually be back. However as for right now, the Broncho's starter is Braden Morgan. I talk a lot about in many of my articles, just how tough some of these lineups truly are. People talk about how difficult it is in NCAA DII wrestling to qualify for nationals or place at a tournament such as this.  In reality, it's extremely difficult just to make a lineup. I mean look at how talented Braden Morgan is. Look at how good he is.  He's a contender to place top 8 in the toughest tournament of the regular season.  That's saying something.  When Streck returns, he goes back to being a backup.  I have to illustrate this because I think people need to know how good the wrestling is here at the DII level.  Morgan thus far against who he'll see here owns a 6:55 fall over Lloyd Reynolds. 

Jordan Baumler
Upper Iowa

Speaking of extremely tough backups.  Last season Zach Ryg took 5th place Midwest Classic honors for the Peacocks.  With Ryg now farming, Baumler has stepped into the spot & looks to do well for Iowa's only town with a college, but without a high school.  He owns a 3-1 decision over Devon Rice & a 5-2 decision over Jacob Dykes. 

Lloyd Reynolds

Rankings what they are, results be what they are....I still wouldn't dare count out Lloyd Reynolds.  There must be something in the water up in Parkside, Wisconsin because it seems I end up saying these types of things about a lot of Rangers.  They're the last man standing types, often doing much better than a ranking or a seed would dare indicate.  6th in these championships last season, Reynolds has the victories to prove it. 3-1 over Tyler Doyle, he was 3-1 s.v. over Luke Tweeton.  Both a 5:00 fall as well as a 5-4 decision over Ryan Herman, he owns a 6-5 decision over Clayton Ours & a 2-1 decision over Hunter Harnish. 

Trent Strong
Central Missouri

Pardon the pun, but Trent Strong looks to look strong & finish strong here at the Midwest classic.  Thus far has a 3-2 decision over Ryan Herman. 

Ryan Herman

I've talked a lot in these previews how this is the kind of tournament where you could really turn things around for yourself.  On the lower half of the rankings or even unranked, you come in here to the Midwest Classic & have yourself one hell of a tournament, suddenly you're back on top again.  Case in point? Well, that could very well end up being the case for Ryan Herman.  He was R12 at last year's Classic & there's no reason to think he couldn't finish just as good or better this season.  A 6-4 s.v. over Gray speaks for itself & he also owns a fall over Tyler Doyle. 

Clayton Ours

The unranked who could potentially place top 8 in this tournament? One of those answers I believe in Clayton Ours.  Although the Dragon is inconsistent at times, when he breathes fire, it can get extremely hot.  He was 8th here last year for example.  He also owns a 3-1 decision over Jacob Dykes. 

Hunter Harnish

Here's another unranked wrestler that could make some serious noise here in Indianapolis.  Hunter Harnish, another R12 competitor from last season.  Owns a 2:08 fall over Clayton Ours. 


And that's a wrap! I hope you have enjoyed my previews for the Midwest Classic. I hope it has encouraged you to check out the tournament & know who to look for and why.  As I said, there's always a ton of great collegiate wrestling weekend after weekend, but as far as this weekend?  This tournament is gonna be hard to beat.  It's extremely competitive & as I've said many times, it is in so many ways like another national tournament.  In many ways, regardless of who may not like me saying it, it's actually tougher. 


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