2011 D1CW Coaches Poll Results
After a one year hiatus the D1CW Coaches Poll is back and better than ever. For those reading for the first time, D1CW has polled Head and Assistant Coaches from every conference in the country and they have responded as to who they think fits into each category below. This year a new wrinkle has been added. D1CW has asked a coach who voted for each category winner why they voted for that particular wrestler. A response has been posted as "Coaches Analysis". Without anymore delay, here it is:
And like last time we have a few ground rules...
-This was limited to only DI Wrestlers
-Current wrestlers only
-Coaches were allowed to vote for their own wrestlers; if applicable
-Coaches were asked not to vote for coaches on their own staff
Best Double Leg Takedown
1. Ed Ruth (Penn State) 29% of the votes
2. Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) 24%
3. Ryan Mango (Stanford) 14%
This category was more wide open with the graduation of 2x NCAA Champ and double leg connoisseur Jordan Burroughs. Ed Ruth showed why he is a worthy successor during his incredible Freshman campaign. Ruth won a Big Ten Championship prior to finishing 3rd in his first NCAA Championship appearance. Aside from his deadly double leg, Ed is also likely to lock up a cradle from any position and is generally a threat to score from any position on the mat.
"His ability to get to the legs and finish is impressive. As an opposing coach or wrestler, it is scary. Good luck stopping that shot when he needs to score"---Big Ten Assistant Coach
Best Variety of Takedowns
1. Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) 37% of the votes
2. David Taylor (Penn State) 23%
3. Quentin Wright (Penn State) 10%
3. Ed Ruth (Penn State) 10%
The Oklahoma State National Champion gets the "Kitchen Sink" honor. The weapons in Jordan Oliver's arsenal include a throw-by, a huge double leg, an ankle pick, a snatch single and countless others. In his Sophomore season, Jordan opened up his offense and was unstoppable winning all 29 matches he wrestled (24 by bonus points).
"What I notice most about Jordan Oliver is that he has a high percentage of attacks to both sides of the body. Not only that, he also attacks at different levels with options to put his opponents feet to back. He is the opposite of one-dimensional." ---Opposing Head Coach
1. Cael Sanderson (Penn State) 35% of the votes
2. Rob Koll (Cornell) 21%
3. Tom Borrelli (Central Michigan) 15%
For years Pennsylvania wrestling fans were left to wonder, "What would happen if we could keep all of our studs at home"? With the arrival of Cael Sanderson in Happy Valley, that thought has almost become a reality. In his two full recruiting classes at Penn State, Sanderson has racked up D1CW's #4 ranked recruiting class in 2011 and #2 in 2010. He also was able to bring along future Freshman NCAA Runner-Up David Taylor after signing at Penn State in the spring of 2009. A National Championship team in 2011 and a return to the mats this summer should only enhance the recruiting for Cael and the Nittany Lions.
"Cael is young and can relate to today's college athlete. Obviously he has all the credentials to impress. Not to mention he is at a program with unlimited resources"---Opposing Head Coach
Most Improved Wrestler
1. Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) 18% of the votes
2. Quentin Wright (Penn State) 14%
3. Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) 10%
It's safe to say that in the Fall of 2008, outside of the Lehigh Wrestling community, expectations were not high for a 174lb wrestler hailing from Vermont. Less than three years later, that Green Mountain State grappler Robert Hamlin has won an EIWA Championship and finished his Sophomore season as an NCAA Runner-Up. Hamlin enters his Junior season as one of the favorites for an NCAA Title at perhaps the nation's deepest weight class.
"Just look at his record, he went from 18-12 to 32-3 while moving up a weight class. It was only a year ago that he was an NCAA Qualifier, and now he is is in the NCAA Finals against someone (Quentin Wright) who he has already beaten. Just watching him you can notice the huge strides that he had made"---An EIWA Assistant Coach
Toughest on Top
1. Kyle Dake (Cornell) 34% of the votes
2. David Taylor (Penn State) 31%
3. Steve Bosak (Cornell) 6%
3. Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) 6%
Kyle Dake aka "Mr 6:17", as in the amount of riding time accumulated in his NCAA Finals match against Frank Molinaro of Penn State. Dake smothered Molinaro and the other four opponents he faced in Philadelphia winning his second NCAA Title. He outscored his opponents 32-1 in those five matches and the lone point scored against him came via penalty.
"Dake shuts great wrestlers out...See the NCAA Tourney!! No one gets out! He's too tough on top!"---Opposing Head Coach
1. Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) 61% of the votes
2. Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) 16%
3. Matt McDonough (Iowa) 10%
Andrew Howe was the runner-up in this category in 2009, the previous time the poll was conducted. Howe has used his rare blend of brute force and sneaky-good technique to finish top-three in the nation (2nd, 1st, 3rd) in each of his first three seasons. 2010-11 saw Andrew battle injuries and miss the entire second half of the regular season. He will likely redshirt in 2011-12 while making a run at the 2012 Olympic Team.
Incoming Freshman Who Will Have the Best Career
1. Morgan McIntosh (Penn State) 52% of the votes
2. Nico Megaludis (Penn State) 12%
3. Logan Storley (Minnesota) 8%
3. Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) 8%
This voting might have been a little bit closer Pre-Fargo 2011. At "Fargo" or Junior Freestyle Nationals, Morgan McIntosh dominated the field at 215, a weight class higher than the 189 he competed at in the high school season. McIntosh did so while only weighing around 205lbs at the most. Morgan, a 3x undefeated California State Champion, is the likely starter at 197lbs for Penn State in the upcoming season.
"Morgan is physically mature enough that physical strength won't prevent him from being able to compete RIGHT AWAY. His training regimen and technical level were approaching the college ranks at the end of his JUNIOR year. Morgan has continually found success at the highest level of interscholastic wrestling, so he won't be overwhelmed as a freshman at next year's Conference and National Tournaments"---Assistant Coach from California
Best Leg Rider
1. Scott Sentes (Central Michigan) 26% of the votes
2. Kyle Dake (Cornell) 22%
3. Frank Molinaro (Penn State) 15%
4. Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) 11%
In a slight upset over 2x NCAA Champ Kyle Dake, the Central Michigan 133lber Scott Sentes was named the top Leg Rider. At first glance it's very evident that the lanky Sentes is probably a leg rider. Scott squeezed the life out of his competition at the 2011 NCAA Tournament, shutting out 4 of his opponents en route to his second All-American finish. 21 of Sentes' 35 victories last season came by bonus points.
"Sentes is very scary once his legs are in. He can change matches with his leg ride and his ability to ride his legs changes the way opponents attack him on his feet. Sentes' teammate Ben Bennett may be more physically devastating with his leg riding, but Sentes ability to scramble and change a match with his legs gives him a small edge in my opinion"---MAC Assistant Coach
1. Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) 50% of the votes
2. Ed Ruth (Penn State) 16%
3. Kyle Dake (Cornell) 9%
"When you think of great athletes, you think of speed and grace and Oliver has plenty of that. He makes difficult techniques seem effortless and executes moves that most people can't do with ease"--Opposing Head Coach
Biggest Gas Tank
1. Matt McDonough (Iowa) 21% of the votes
2. Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) 17%
3. Cam Simaz (Cornell) 12%
It shouldn't be a shocker that an Iowa Hawkeye has been thought to have the "Biggest Gas Tank". 125lber Matt McDonough personifies the "Iowa Style" of constant pressure until his opponent breaks. And they usually break! McDonough has won 64 of his first 67 matches and appeared in two NCAA Championship Finals, winning the title in 2010. Matt is on track to become the Hawkeyes first 4x NCAA Finalist since Lincoln McIlravy in 1997.
"Matt McDonough's gas tank is unbelievable, which is mind-boggling considering how big he is for the weight class. The fact that he competes as hard as he does on the mat, shows you how committed he is to the sport off the mat. It's called a lifestyle; I don't need to spend every day around the kid to know his passion and commitment level is through the roof"--Opposing Assistant Coach
Best Assistant Coach
1. Donny Pritzlaff (Michigan) 26% of the votes
2. Terry Brands (Iowa) 9%
2. Lou Rosselli (Ohio State) 9%
2. Damion Hahn (Cornell) 9%
2. Cody Sanderson (Penn State) 9%
It could be argued that the biggest coaching move of the off-season didn't not involved the hiring of a new Head Coach, it was the Michigan Wolverines bringing Donny Pritzlaff into Ann Arbor. Pritzlaff is coming off a great five year run at his alma mater Wisconsin. In Madison, he was able to help recruit D1CW's #4 ranked class in 2008 followed by another top 20 ranking in 2009. Donny's prized pupil was 3x All-American and 2010 undefeated National Champion Andrew Howe, a wrestler who competes at the same weight class (165). Look for him to help Michigan reel in top recruiting classes in the years to come.
1. Andrew Alton (Penn State) 27% of the votes
2. Quentin Wright (Penn State) 15%
3. Cam Simaz (Cornell) 11%
In his true Freshman season Andrew Alton recorded the fourth highest single season pin total in Penn State history with 18. Six of the 18 falls came under a minute. Alton's 23 bonus point victories ranked him 10th all-time in the Nittany Lions single season list. Although he lost 10 matches and came up one match short of All-American honors, all ten of Andrew's losses came to wrestler's who were All-American's in 2010-11.
"Andrew Alton is a phenomenal pinner because of his constant ability to force opponent's into making huge mistakes, mainly from the neutral position. He not only capitalizes on these mistakes, but does so very commonly with the "big move" or throw that he feels very comfortable hitting, whereas most wrestlers would be comfortable with just a takedown. Alton's split second to hit the big move coupled with his strength, which allows him to hold his opponents on their back makes him a dangerous threat at any time in the match"--Opposing Assistant Coach
Hardest to Takedown
1. Kellen Russell (Michigan) 27% of the votes
2. Kyle Dake (Cornell) 16%
3. Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma) 11%
3. Zach Rey (Lehigh) 11%
After a season away taking a redshirt, Kellen Russell came back better than ever going a perfect 38-0, en route to his first NCAA Championship. Although undefeated, Russell had plenty of close matches. He won five bouts that went to either sudden victory or the tiebreaker criteria. One huge reason why Kellen was able to pull out so many close victories was his defense and underrated scrambling ability.
"Anybody who has watched Russell knows that he is very difficult to score on. He presents a lot of problems for his competitors because of his ability to not only defend himself, but also his ability to score when his opponent attacks. He has great balance, hips, and unbelievable body and mat awareness"--Opposing Assistant Coach
1. David Taylor (Penn State) 23% of the votes
2. Kyle Dake (Cornell) 19%
3. Kellen Russell (Michigan) 16%
4. Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) 10%
David Taylor burst onto the collegiate scene dominating opponents and winning his first 38 bouts, before falling in the NCAA Finals. He did so with a blend of funky scrambling and devastating scoring ability from the top position. Taylor broke Josh Moore's single season bonus point victory mark with his 34 combined pins, techs, majors and forfeits. After the 2010-11 season, Taylor was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and D1CW's National Freshman of the Year.
"David Taylor has the uncanny ability to come out on top from seemingly hopeless positions. His scrambling ability makes him a direct threat every second of the match"--Head Coach in Pennsylvania
Best Head Coach
1. Mark Cody (Oklahoma) 23% of the votes
2. Rob Koll (Cornell) 17%
3. Tom Brands (Iowa) 14%
3. Cael Sanderson (Penn State) 14%
5. Tom Borrelli (Central Michigan) 9%
For years Mark Cody has been known as one of the coaches that can "get the most of the least". In nine seasons at American, Cody produced a National Champion, 14 All-American's (all since 2005) and most recently a 5th place team finish at the 2011 NCAA Championships. This spring he took over for a retiring Jack Spates at Oklahoma, so now he will have the resources needed to consistently compete for NCAA Team Titles.
"Mark Cody did an outstanding job at American University with limited resources. He always seems to get the most out of his athletes. He will have a new focus at Oklahoma which is to win Big 12 and NCAA Titles"--Opposing Head Coach
Best Wrestler Pound for Pound
1. Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) 38% of the votes
2. Kyle Dake (Cornell) 31%
3. David Taylor (Penn State) 13%
3. Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) 13%
In the 2010-11 season Jordan Oliver finished second in the Hodge Trophy voting after winning a National Title at 133lbs. Oliver finished 29-0, capturing bonus points in 24 of those matches. In his two seasons competing for the Cowboys, Oliver has won 2 Big 12 Championships and finished 4th and 1st at the NCAA Tournament. His 61-4 record gives him a 93.9% winning percentage, which ranks him 12th on Oklahoma State's all-time list.
"He has the ability to score from all three positions with multiple holds in each position. Jordan has great motion and positioning and can control all aspects of the match. If he continues to develop like he is, there is no doubt he has the ability to win World and Olympic Golds"--Opposing Assistant Coach
All photos Courtesy of www.wrestlersarewarriors.com except Morgan McIntosh and Scott Sentes. Those photos are from www.buckeyewrestling.com