On the penultimate day, Bey (an anonymous name to most casual fans of the sport) put on the single most electrifying Greco-Roman performance since Elmurat Tasmuradov's run to gold at the 2015 Asian Championships in Doha. Like Tasmuradov, Bey competed with an offensive mindset, optimizing his performance by creating angles, pressure opponents and taking chances from over-under tie-ups.
If Greco-Roman wrestling wanted to create a better, more actionable product it seems that Bey is their spokesperson for the aggressive style of wrestling they are trying to promote.
Cheers to Kamal Bey and to the USA's success at the Junior level. One can only hope that the senior-level wrestlers bring Bey's score-first attitude with them to Paris next week.
To your questions …
Nick Suriano battles Lehigh's Darian Cruz (Photo/Juan Garcia)
Q: What's your take on the Nick Suriano saga?
-- Mike C.
Foley: Assuming everyone involved is telling the truth about their involvement and decisions, then the saga is derived from two questions: Why did Suriano choose to leave? And, why does the Big Ten block the transfer of non-revenue athletes?
According to what has been stated in the press, Penn State released Suriano to compete elsewhere. Suriano chose Rutgers and the Big Ten (following procedure) withheld his eligibility for one season.
Why did Suriano leave? No idea and I doubt that anyone who wasn't in that room, or in his head can really tell you why he chose to transfer. One rub is that the idea of transferring is somehow getting a negative wrap. While I'm all for making a commitment to a school, we adults must also realize that when kids make big decisions before their 18th birthday there is a likelihood that they might change their mind. Kids do that. They change their mind.
One influence -- and I promise you this is a real input for guys like Suriano -- is the draw of New Jersey. Maybe it's the beaches or maybe the pork rolls, but being a wrestler from New Jersey means that you are at a higher risk of transferring back to school in New Jersey, or simply quitting the sport. That is NOT a mathematical fact, but it is an impression I've had since half the University of Virginia roster was from New Jersey and a good quarter of them transferred out after their first season.
Why does the Big Ten block in-conference transfers? Simple, because that is the policy driven by football and basketball and is thus inherited by the non-revenue sports. The NCAA (and conferences) tend to now distinguish between the sports when making large bureaucratic decisions like setting limits on in-conference transfers. If they started to make those minor determinations it would mean that they are recognizing their financial model and subsequently opening themselves up to possible litigation. Also, passing individual rules for 30-plus sports would be a monster headache.
Q: Aside from Kyle Snyder vs. Abdulrashid Sadulaev, what is your most anticipated potential matchup in Paris?
Foley: My most anticipated potential matchup featuring an American, aside from Snyder vs. Sadulaev, is Hassan Yazdani Charati vs. J'den Cox at 86 kilograms. I'd give the early tip of the cap to the more experienced Yazdani. He's been on the international scene for a long time and is coached to game plan for every match. Cox tends to not follow a game plan and is much more likely to be picked off for positional points early in the match.
In Greco-Roman, Yun Won Chol of North Korea vs. Kenichiro Fumita of Japan. Lights, camera, CRAZINESS for six minutes. This will be Greco-Roman at its finest.
Official teaser for the 2017 Wrestling World Championships
Yui Susaki is just the best.
Q: Who do you predict has more college success, Spencer Lee (Iowa) or Daton Fix (Oklahoma State)? More international success?
-- Mike C.
Foley: I give Fix the early nod because we have yet to see how Lee will change his on-the-mat tactics post-surgery.
That said, I think Spencer Lee might be the most mentally sturdy kid I've seen on the mats in the past ten years. He is an absolute superstar of resilience and I can't conceive of him taking many losses, whether at the NCAA level or when mixing it up with the international community.
Q: Is Cade Olivas still wrestling?
-- Joe F.
Foley: Word is that Cade has been retired for the foreseeable future after battling issues caused by concussions. He would have been a gem for Arizona State. Really is too bad.