Monday, December 25, 2023

Midlands Preview (Fri Dec 29th-Sat Dec 30th) = 141 lbs


C.J. Composto

Off of a redshirt, All American C.J. Composto is currently looking for a defining moment to really set himself apart this season. Winning a Midlands title would be a great start in doing so & heading into the tournament, he will be the favorite. 

Jordan Titus
West Virginia 

Right behind Composto in the rankings, looking to earn a Midlands title himself will be West Virginia's Jordan Titus.  The sophomore comes into the tournament with an 11-0 record looking to remain undefeated by tournament's end.  Owns both a 9-3 as well as a 5-1 decision over Dylan Layton. He also owns an 11-4 win over Jack Gioffre. 

Danny Pucino

Another guy looking to get his hand raised in the final match at 141 lbs this tournament is Illinois' Danny Pucino.  He has yet to qualify for the NCAA championships, although he has wins over many NCAA qualifiers.  He was 7th here last season & he owns both an 8-6 as well as a 6-2 decision over Frankie Tal-Shahar. 

Frankie Tal-Shahar

Competing on his own mats, in front of his home crowd, I think it's only fair to count Frankie Tal-Shahar among the title candidates here at 141 lbs. Currently redshirting, it'd be one heck of a statement for the Wildcat to add a Midlands title to his resume.  Owns a 5-1 decision over Titus. 

Emilio Ysaguirre
Arizona State

Here's another redshirt that everyone ought to be paying close attention to this tournament.  If Emilio Ysaguirre wrestles anything like he did in the dual Vs Nebraska last season, we could very well be looking at our 141 lbs Midlands champion. The real question is though, can he put together five good wins in a row? 

Nathan Higley
George Mason

As far as Midlands title contenders are concerned?  One more.   I thought Nathan Higley had some real nice moments last year as a freshman at 149 lbs.  He had a good MAC tournament & he was also 8th in last year's Midlands championships.  Now he's competing at 141 lbs.  On the one hand, he hasn't faced anyone of real significance yet. His schedule has been fairly light. Still, currently undefeated is currently undefeated.  How's he gonna do against more formidable opponents? Where exactly does he fit in among some of the tougher wrestlers at 141? We'll see here at the Midlands. 

Dylan Layton
Cleveland State

Dylan Layton was one match shy of earning a top 8 finish here at the Midlands last season & doesn't plan on leaving Chicago with anything less by the time the Vikings pack up & head east to Cleveland. 

Jack Gioffre

I spoke earlier in previous previews that Virginia has a lot of young talent on their squad and it'll be on full display here at the Midlands.  Among those looking for a top 8 finish here in Chicago, count Jack Gioffre among them. 

Jordan Hamdan
Michigan State

As inconsistent as Jordan Hamdan has been throughout his career thus far, two things ring true as we head into the Midlands.  Hamdan has pulled off some impressive wins.  Secondly, you win your first two matches, suddenly you're in the quarter-finals & you're only one match away from a top 8 finish. I think it's plausible to think that Hamdan could find himself in such a position. 

Michael Jaffe

Here's the reality of Michael Jaffe.  Be it injuries, illness, or whatever the reason, his collegiate career hasn't turned out the way that it should have.  For all I know, maybe his career is already said and done.  After all, he hasn't wrestled a match since March of 2022.  So what you're really seeing is JT#1 admittingly holding on to the "what should have been" potential far longer than I should. I'll admit that.  But "gal darn it" as Stuart Smalley would say, the guy is still on the roster & he still has this year left.  It's unrealistic in many regards, but guys have made such comebacks in years past.  Jaffe at his best gave Composto a 6-5 match & Jaffe at his best is top 8 material for this Midlands. 

#8 in NCAA Division III
Bradley Rosen
North Central 

Probably really stretching the realms now, but I'm often asked in situations like these if there are any non-DI wrestlers with potential to shine. I think if anyone of our non-DI talent shows up to wrestle at 141 lbs, it'll be Bradley Rosen. A match from D3 All American honors last season, the Cardinal wants to earn that medal that eluded him last season.  Earning W's over DI opponents may very well be the confidence boost that he needs to get over the hump.  He'll have plenty of opportunity here in Chicago. 

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