InterMat senior writer T.R. Foley answers reader questions about NCAA wrestling, international wrestling, recruiting, or anything loosely related to wrestling. You have until Thursday night every week to send questions to Foley's Twitter or email account.
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This week's mailbag is a hybrid of your questions, links I'd like to share, and a list of the top moments from 2012. The end of the year necessitates list making of all kinds, but with so many big end-of-year tournaments underway we here at InterMat don't have the editorial space to dedicate an entire column to a recap of 2012. It's fine by me, onward and upward, folks.
I trust that everyone had a wonderful holiday break and enjoyed time with their families. If your family is anything like mine, then brothers, fathers and friends were wrestling on the hardwood floors between sips of spiked nutmeg and the ripping open of Santa-themed wrapping paper. All holidays are wonderful, and though Thanksgiving is more of the contact-heavy holiday, I always like testing new moves on unsuspecting blood relatives. If you ever needed a reason to learn jiu-jitsu, try handling a 220-pound younger brother with alien-length fingers and a catcher mitt palm.
To your questions ...
Q: Do you know if Austin Ormsbee will be back to wrestle for the Cowboys or is he done?
-- Raed K.
Foley: He will not. I wrote on Oct. 12 that according to Kutztown assistant coach Kriss Bellanca, "Austin Ormsbee, Blair Academy, 2011 has signed a scholarship letter and enrolled in school at Kutztown University, PA ... and will have 4 years of eligibility left."
Good luck to Austin and Kutztown!
Q: Which do you prefer, Midlands or Southern Scuffle? Are you wrestling this year?
-- Eric P.
Foley: Absolutely not. I loved competing at Midlands as an undergrad, and even enjoyed the chance to coach my wrestlers, but in two attempts at post-graduate competition I've come away with a torn MCL and week-ruining amount of soreness respectively. The Midlands have always been special to me, and though the Southern Scuffle has a better collection of top teams, I'm partial to the Evanston tournament. I know the guys running the tournament well and can see the hard work they put towards making a quality product.
I think there are several incredible matches in Chattanooga, but I also see that there are equally marketable matches being wrestled at Midlands. In addition to 197 with Dustin Kilgore and Matt Wilps, there are several post-grad appearances to follow, including Montel Marion, Dan Dennis and Hudson Taylor. Maybe the most intriguing element of the tournament is the progress of redshirt Cory Clark (Iowa) earning the top pre-seed in a loaded 125-pound weight class.
Like every wrestling fan I'll have my eyes on what happens in Chattanooga, and I'm actually so intrigued that there is at least a fifty percent chance I make last minute plans to visit. Dake vs. Taylor II ...
Q: Which school has had the most Hodge Trophy winners? Has anyone one it two years or more in a row? Has any freshman won it?
Foley: The Hodge has been in place since 1995 when WIN Magazine decided to match the hub-bub around the Heisman with an award for college wrestling's most dominant competitor. The first winner was T.J. Jaworsky from North Carolina, who remains the only ACC wrestler to ever win the honor.
No freshman has won the award (we're still waiting for our "Johnny Wrestling"), but there have been two back-to-back winners, Cael Sanderson (2000, 2001) and Ben Askren (2006, 2007). Cael won a third award in 2002, and might have been the first freshman winner in 1999 were it not for Stephen Neal's second NCAA title for CSU Bakersfield.
Cael's third award gave Iowa State the lead in overall Hodge awards with three. Schools with two include Penn State, Iowa, and Missouri.
I've grown partial to InterMat's Wrestler of the Year. We've run it a few years and last year awarded it to Ed Ruth, who our staff believed was the most dominant in the country. We'll need to find a good name to attach to our award. Any ideas?
Q: Basically, what are your thoughts on MSG and New York as a host venue for the NCAA tourney?
Foley: Doable, but unlikely. There are plenty of media opportunities in NYC, but wrestling needs to stay honest about who is traveling to the NCAA tournament and how much we all can budget for a three-day weekend of wrestling. There is probably only a slight difference in the cost of hotel rooms (St. Louis engages in price-gouging that weekend), but food, transportation and entertainment are much more expensive. You won't find me making excuses for adults who "can't handle" NYC, because it is one of the easiest cities in the world to navigate, but I will show some caution is endorsing sending out 330 newly-freed wrestlers into a city of booze and temptation.
Atlanta, Boston and Washington DC are all excellent options for the 2015 tournament. My hope is Atlanta.
Multimedia Halftime and Links
I was interviewed by the Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries, and was able to discuss several topics you might normally find in a mailbag. It's always odd to be interviewed, and the process refreshed my perspective on the process.
The Back Points podcast picks up Jan. 3 with a recap of Midlands, the Scuffle and POWERade tournaments. We've been flattered and humbled by the response of our audience. We are trying to book more guests willing to talk honestly about the state of wrestling and share some stories from their days on the mat. We'll be cutting into some big topics over the next couple of weeks with some A-List guests so be sure to SUBSCRIBE ON iTUNES. I know it's a constant reminder, but I'm a huge follower of several shows, but were it not for the automatic refresh in my iTunes, I'd almost never remember to listen.
An interview with the baddest woman on the planet.
Order this fight, it WILL be worth the money.
Top 12 Wrestling Moments of 2012
12. Clarissa Chun wins bronze
11. Wrestlers dominate MMA (Askren, Cormier, Chandler, Jones, etc)
10. Penn State repeats as NCAA champion
9. Coleman Scott wins bronze
8. Logan Stieber wins NCAA title as freshman
7. Team USA finishes third overall at Olympics
6. National Duals proposal causes controversy
5. Jake Varner upsets field to win gold
4. Grapple at the Garden and Grapple in the Apple impress
3. Kyle Dake wins third NCAA title at third weight
2. Jordan Burroughs fulfills prediction, wins gold
1. Dake vs. Taylor at the All-Star Classic