Monday, December 25, 2023

Midlands Preview (Fri Dec 29th-Sat Dec 30th) = 149 lbs

Kyle Parco
Arizona State

149 lbs will be one of the tougher brackets here at the Midlands championships & our top candidate for a champion is three time All American Kyle Parco.  The Sun Devil took runner-up honors last season & doesn't look to be denied this weekend.  Among his victories a 4-1 decision over Chance Lamer & an 8-2 decision over Caleb Tyus. 

Chance Lamer
Cal Poly 

If you've been following me long, you know I'm a big fan of what's happening in San Luis Obispo.  The state of California has been in desperate need for upgrades concerning collegiate wrestling, and Cal Poly has more than put in the effort. Good things are happening for Mustang wrestling.  What a treat it would be if some of them were to come in here & have a great Midlands.  Chance Lamer most certainly has his work cut out for him, but he is among the green & gold with the potential. 

Joe Zargo

The two time NCAA DI qualifier has accomplished quite a bit thus far in his career as a Badger, yet he has yet to bring home a Midlands medal. I say there's a good chance that all changes this weekend.  Among wins in relation to these championships? A 14-3 major decision over Jaivon Jones. 

Corbyn Munson
   Central Michigan  

In many regards collegiate wrestling can be compared to the stock market. Your stock goes up, your stock goes down.  You wanna talk someone who could very well shoot up in the market?  That someone is Corbyn Munson.  Already a 5:32 fall over Zargo & a 14-6 major over Lamer, there's no reason at all to think that the Chippewa couldn't come in here & propel himself up that rankings ladder.  For the record he also has a 3-1 decision over Jones & an 8-3 decision over Tyus. 

Terry Douglas
Cleveland State 

My job here is to try and determine who our top 8 will be by the end of end of the tournament.  Theoretically to even go as far as the top 12, trying to imagine those bloodround matches in my mind.  This weight class is quite challenging.  I feel very confident that Parco, Lamer, Zargo & Munson will take up half of the spots on the award stand, but the other half I feel is quite a bit more open. There's a ton of unranked talent in this bracket & I suppose seeds and where you're placed within the bracket will make quite a difference. Getting a good draw, even for the romanticized among us who don't like to admit it, does indeed make difference.   Among the talent in contention?  Cleveland State's Terry Douglas.  The Viking owns a very impressive 9-4 win over Kaden Cassidy. 

Caleb Tyus

Coach Spates is looking at bringing home some place-winners this tournament & among them, Caleb Tyus.  He had a great tournament here last year, placing 4th & it's a strong possibility he could have another good showing this weekend. 

Jaivon Jones
Northern Illinois

One match shy of earning a medal here at 141 lbs last year, Jaivon Jones enters the Midlands championships with a 4-1 victory on his resume over Tyus. 

Kaden Cassidy
George Mason

Taking a redshirt last season, Kaden Cassidy fell a bit short of an NCAA qualification two years ago.  Now he's back & he's looking to be among the top 33 by year's end. A lot goes into earning an allocation come conference qualifiers & I would think taking a respectable finish here at the Midlands would help when looking at criteria. He will be among those looking to place top 8. 

Ty Watters
West Virginia

The two time Pennsylvania state champ is thus far having himself a pretty respectable true freshman year for the Mountaineers. It'd really be statement to add a Midlands medal to his resume this early into his collegiate career.  Thus far owns a 4-1 s.v. over Derek Raike. 

Derek Raike

Speaking of Derek Raike, the redshirt freshman is doing pretty good so far this season. Went 3-2 at CKLV & he'll look to have a better performance here. Owns a 17-7 major over Michael Gioffre. 

Eligh Rivera

This weight class has a ton of young talent looking to garner their first major accomplishments in their collegiate careers.  Eligh Rivera is among the many rookies in this weight class looking to nab a top 8 finish here at the Midlands. 

Michael Gioffre

Another young Cavalier, like his brother, Michael Gioffre is looking to earn a top 8 Midlands finish this weekend. 

Aiden Vandenbush

Aiden Vandenbush currently stands at 3-8 on the season, but here's the deal.  Last year he wrestled very well at the Midlands, taking 7th place competing at 157 lbs.  I would think down a weight class, he'd be able to duplicate the performance.  Don't know, there is a lot of talent in this bracket, both from a ranking perspective & from newcomer perspective.  It'll be fun to see if he can make top eight again this weekend. 

As to the Non-DI talent? 

#8 In NCAA DII           #6 In NCAA DIII
Ryan Moore                      Zach Sato
  Thomas More               UW-Eau Claire

You're looking at a really tough road for the non-DI talent to make top 8 here at the Midlands, but if there are any wrestlers in this bracket capable of doing so, here they are.  Thomas More's Ryan Moore & UW-Eau Claire's Zach Sato.  I said earlier that Thomas More being in the position of not being eligible for the post-season, there greatest opportunity to shine was gonna be the Midwest Classic. Indeed Ryan More shined there, taking 5th place honors. With that said, I spoke too soon. If he were to manage to sneak his way onto the award stand here, obviously earning a top 8 finish at the Midlands would be every bit as prestigious.  Sato would have to have a fantastic draw & even then wrestle the tournament of his life.   If you read my series, "Non-DI talent at the Midlands" you know there have been non DI guys who have shined in years past.  It's an extremely difficult thing to do, but it isn't impossible. 

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