D1CW's Week 2 Preview
We are already one week deep into the NCAA season and we've already seen some of the normal, annual rites of passage of the wrestling season. They would be dynamite Freshman making a mark, previously unknown wrestlers stepping up with upsets and a host of new teams on the rise. Before we look at week 2, here are some of the best from week one of the wrestling season.
Anthony and Zahid Valenica (Arizona State): These two are the symbols of the resurgence in the Arizona State wrestling program. Both Valencia brothers are now 5-0 with titles at the Daktronics Open and a dual win vs Northern Colorado. It's not necessarily a surprise that either is elite, however it should not be taken for granted either.
Kollin Moore (Ohio State): Moore, Ohio State's 197lber, took home a title at the Eastern Michigan Open. In the finals he defeated 3x DIII Champ Riley Lefever of Wabash. With the weight class being pretty week nationally, expect that Moore will challenge for a spot on the podium immediately.
Matt Kolodzik (Princeton): Kolodzik didn't need to compete in the FR/SO division of the Southeast Open, he won the open division. He was the only Freshman to make the open final. The 141lb Kolodizk registered victories over two NCAA qualifiers (Zach Finesilver and Logan Everett) en route to the title.
Michigan Wolverines: Ok I'm cheating, but the Wolverines had a host of Freshman shine at the EMU Open. Three UM Freshman came away with titles Austin Assad, Logan Massa, Myles Amine.
Best Previously Unknown Wrestlers Stepping Up with Upsets
Caden McWhirter (Northern Illinois): Raise your hand if you had heard of the Mr. McWhirter prior to last weekend. Well, Jake Ryan and Alex Griffin now know the name. Caden beat the pair of NCAA qualifiers in the quarters and semi's of the EMU Open. Remember last year NIU's Steve Bleise broke onto the scene at the same tournament.
Seldon Wright (Old Dominion): This one has a slight asterisk. Wright had been named near the bottom of some nation rankings entering the season. He put together a solid True Freshman season in 2015-16, but failed to qualify for NCAA's. Wright stated his case for a ranking (or imroved it) with wins over NCAA qualifiers Jake Faust and Austin Matthews at the Southeast Open.
Ian Baker (Princeton): Again at the Southeast Open, this time at 184lbs Ian Baker, announced himself with a fall over All-American Jack Dechow before defeating another NCAA qualifier Chip Ness in the finals. Baker, a Junior, entered the 2016-17 season with an 18-9 career record.
Best Teams on the Rise
Campbell: It was an all around great weekend for Cary Kolat's crew. Nathan Kraisser became the Camels first wrestler ever to compete in the All-Star Match and therefore was the first to win a match. He joined his teammates the next day to win three matches himself and Campbell notched a pair of wins vs Ohio and West Virginia. The West Virginia win was the first over a Big 12 team in program history.
South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits stunned an undermanned Iowa State team 27-9 on Friday night. SDSU had four bonus point victories and one upset of an All-American.
What to Look for in Week 2
---At this point of the season one thing I like to keep track of is the true Freshman that will be competing and the upperclassmen who may take redshirts. We will likely get some more insight into both of these instances.
This is a list of prominent Freshman that could come out of redshirt, or compete officially for the first time: Jack Mueller (Virginia), Mickey Phillipi (Virginia), Nick Suriano (Penn State), Matt Correnti (Rutgers), Devan Turner (Oregon State), Christian Brunner (Purdue), Nick Reenan (NC State), Dalton Duffield (Oklahoma), Mitchell McKee (Minnesota)
Again some of these are just guesses based on me reading tea leaves, others have been confirmed.
This is a list of upperclassmen who are not expected to compete and therefore could redshirt:
Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State), Mike Pongracz (Chattanooga), Scottie Boykin (Chattanooga), Alec Pantaleo (Michigan)
---The Journeyman Collegiate Class, formerly the Journeyman/NE Duals. This year the event will have a new format which will be round robin based. Round robin generally hasn't been used much in college, the most recent occasion was in the 2014-15 season with an event held in Hawaii. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether the coaches prefer this format. It has an excellent field and the potential to see some great individual matchups.
---Event matches. As of writing this, Chattanooga hosted VMI for their "Candlelight Match". Tables were set up next to the mats with fancy catered dinners were available. Sunday, Chattanooga will travel to Virginia Tech on Sunday for a dual at the Moss Art Center. It is the third year Virginia Tech will host a dual in that venue. It provides an incredible change of pace in atmosphere and is very fan friendly. Hopefully, more teams will try to make their matches into events that will draw attention and more casual fans.
Match of the Week
#11 Stanford @ #5 Penn State
125: #4 Connor Schram (Stanford) vs UR Nick Suriano (Penn State)
This will be the debut for the much heralded Suriano. Many people expect that he will come in and contend for a National Title. I tend to be one of those people. Statement victory for the true Freshman.
Penn State leads 3-0
133: UR Eric Cramer (Stanford) vs #8 Jered Cortez (Penn State)
Another debut for the Nittany Lions, this time it's Cortez who transferred last season and had to sit out. He did register a win over his then-teammate All-American Jordan Conaway, so expectations will be high.
Penn State leads 7-0
141: #2 Joey McKenna (Stanford) vs #11 Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State)
McKenna is coming off the best Freshman season in Stanford history and will attempt to be the 2nd National Champion for the Cardinal. After last year's up and down season, it's hard to know what to expect from Gulibon.
2015-16 Meeting: McKenna decision 7-3
Penn State leads 7-3
149: UR Tommy Pawelski (Stanford) vs #1 Zain Retherford (Penn State)
Bonus point opportunity for the National Champion Retherford. Actually, most of his matches are bonus point chances.
Penn State leads 13-3
157: #19 Paul Fox (Stanford) vs #1 Jason Nolf (Penn State)
Paul Fox could be in for a breakout season in 2016-17. Unfortunately, it will probably a rough go for him vs the top ranked Nolf.
Penn State leads 18-3
165: UR Keaton Subjeck (Stanford) vs UR Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State)
Technically this is a meeting between two unranked wrestlers. However, Subjeck is a returning NCAA qualifier down from 174. Joseph was a huge recruit that didn't have too much competition during his redshirt season.
Penn State leads 21-3
174: #10 Jim Wilson (Stanford) vs #20 Shakur Rasheed (Penn State)
This is a meeting of 165lbers from 2016. The pair met when these two teams squared off last year. Wilson is the favorite, however 174 is a more favorable weight class for Rasheed.
2015-16 Meeting: Wilson decision 6-3
Penn State leads 21-6
184: UR Austin Flores/Zach Nevills (Stanford) vs #3 Bo Nickal (Penn State)
This will be Nickal's debut at 184. He should be a heavy favorite against any of the possible opponents from Stanford.
Penn State leads 25-6
197: #20 Josh Marchok (Stanford) vs #9 Matt McCutheon (Penn State)
This is another battle of wrestlers moving weight classes, however this features Marchok who moves down from heavyweight, while McCutheon appears to be going up after losing a series of wrestle off's to Nickal.
Penn State leads 28-6
285: #10 Nathan Butler (Stanford) vs #15 Nick Nevills (Penn State)
Along with 125, this is the most interesting match of the dual meet for me. Nick Nevills is very talented, but had his 2015-16 disrupted due to injury. Nathan Butler has consistently been in the rankings most of his career. We'll give this one to the veteran.
Penn State wins 28-9
Potential Matchups Between Ranked Wrestlers (per FloWrestling)
#4 Connor Schram (Stanford) vs "UR" Nick Suriano (Penn State)
#9 Barlow McGhee (Missouri) vs #19 Brandon Jeske (Old Dominion)
#2 Joey McKenna (Stanford) vs #11 Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State)
#11 Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State) vs #13 Logan Everett (Army West Point)
#1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs #11 Russell Parsons (Army West Point)
#1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs #19 Paul Fox (Stanford)
#5 Brian Murphy (Michigan) vs #20 Andrew Atkinson (Virginia)
#11 Russell Parsons (Army West Point) vs #14 Garett Hammond (Drexel)
#17 Colin Heffernan (Central Michigan) vs #20 Andrew Atkinson (Virginia)
#3 Daniel Lewis (Missouri) vs #15 Seldon Wright (Old Dominion)
#16 Austin Matthews (Edinboro) vs #17 Te'Shan Campbell (Pittsburgh)
#10 Jim Wilson (Stanford) vs #20 Shakur Rasheed (Penn State)
#11 Willie Miklus (Missouri) vs #16 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion)
#1 J'Den Cox (Missouri) vs #12 Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion)
#9 Matt McCutheon (Penn State) vs #13 Rocco Caywood (Army West Point)
#9 Matt McCutheon (Penn State) vs #20 Josh Marchok (Stanford)
#3 Ty Walz (Virginia Tech) vs #12 Jared Johnson (Chattanooga)
#10 Nathan Butler (Stanford) vs #15 Nick Nevills (Penn State)
#13 Ryan Solomon (Pittsburgh) vs #17 Billy Miller (Edinboro)