What Willie's Watching (11/29/2023)
This week is headlined by Cliff Keen Las Vegas with one of the best regular-season tournament fields we've seen in a while. The storylines there are innumerable and we hit on some of them below while sprinkling in some other not-so-obvious hot spots as well.
Here's what I'm zoning in on for Week 4.
5. What Will Lehigh Do With McGonagle?
Lehigh has a good problem on their hands. They have two of the undisputedly best 133lbers in the country. And I could say this every week until it gets resolved, but will we learn anything in their dual with Penn State this weekend?
Who will start at 133? Can Malyke Hines move up to 149 creating a space for Crookham or McGonagle at 141?
4. SIU-Edwardsville Put Together a Heck of A Field
While everyone is sure to be glued to CKLV, SIUE’s Cougar Clash is a must-follow, too.
I have three things to really zero in on here:
Can Missouri’s lightweights contribute - namely Noah Surtin, Zeke Seltzer, and Josh Edmond. Little Rock’s Promising Freshmen - Nasir Bailey, Kyle Dutton, and Stephen Little Minnesota Veterans: Pat McKee, Michael Blockhus, Andrew Sparks and Isaiah Salazar 3. The Mess That is 125 Nationally (At CKLV)
125 nationally has been a glorious mess with no definitively staking the claim as top dog and too many conflicting results to make sense of. The field at CKLV only has three former All-Americans - Matt Ramos, Michael DeAugustino, and Brandon Kaylor.
But the weight is loaded with up-and-comers and guys that have been knocking on the door.
Will the top seeds hold serve or will the revolving door at 125 continue?
2. How Good Can ISU Be This Year?
Iowa State is coming off a heartbreaking loss to rival Iowa. But while they may have lost that battle, there are plenty of reasons to walk away optimistic.
Evan Frost (133) and Casey Swiderski (149) beat proven veterans Brody Teske and Victor Voinovich. Anthony Echemendia (141) and Cody Chittum (157) took All Americans to the brink.
The Cyclones are flirting with a Top 10 NCAA tournament projection and any uptick in performance from these four guys could push them into podium contender status.
1. CKLV Team Race
Nebraska has only entered the last five CKLV tournaments. It was interesting timing as that is exactly when CKLV became the best regular-season tournament in the country, surpassing Midlands and Southern Scuffle.
And they won it the last three years - and this tournament is objectively the toughest of those five.
And while this field is the greatest in tournament history, it might be to Nebraska’s benefit. But how can that be?
Because the deeper a tournament is, the more valuable the upper echelon is. And Nebraska has the most sure things with #4-Hardy, #1-Ridge, and #3-PRobb will all be top 2 seeds.
The depth of the tournament actually helps Nebraska this year. And they lead the field with seven Top 6 seeds.
Cornell, who is missing Vito Arajau for this tournament, has five in the Top 7 plus Meyer Shapiro who is regarded as the best incoming freshman in the country.
Iowa State is another threat. They don’t have a lot of high seeds but they have six in the Top 8 and three new faces - Anthony Echemendia, Casey Swiderski, and Cody Chittum who are more than capable of reaching the podium both here and at NCAA’s.
EIWA Weekly Recap (11/28/2023)
Below is a recap of last week’s EIWA action, with individual news and highlights worth noting.
American defeats George Mason in the “Turkey Tussle” dual
Carter Baer of Binghamton wins the Mat Town Open
Cornell dominates by winning 6 weights at the Mat Town Open
The Eagles squared off against George Mason on Tuesday before Thanksgiving in the ‘Turkey Tussle.” American won six of ten bouts, and Maida had the only bonus point victory for American.
American 21 George Mason 15
141 - Cael McIntyre (AU) dec. Dom Hargrove (Mason), 4-2 (AU 3-0)
149 - Kaden Cassidy (Mason) tech. fall Gage Owen (AU), 15-0, 1:38 (Mason 5-3)
157 - DJ McGee (Mason) dec. Jack Nies (AU), 7-6 (Mason 8-3)
165 - Evan Maag (Mason) major dec. Kaden Milheim (AU), 12-2 (Mason 12-3)
174 - Lucas White (AU) dec. Paul Pierce (Mason), 4-0 (Mason 12-6)
184 - Connor Bourne (AU) dec. Sean Coughlin (Mason), 5-2 (Mason 12-9)
197 - Carsten Rawls (AU) dec. Ruben Karapetyan (Mason), 4-1 SV (Tied 12-12)
285 - #31 Chad Nix (Mason) dec. Will Jarrell (AU), 9-7 (Mason 15-12)
125 - #14 Jack Maida (AU) pinned JB Dragovich (Mason), 3:33 (AU 18-15)
133 - Maximilian Leete (AU) dec. Shawn Nonaka (Mason), 4-2 (AU 21-15)
Next up for American is a dual on Saturday against Davidson.
The Black Knights were off for the holiday week. They will return after Thanksgiving and compete at the Cougar Clash at SIUE.
The Bearcats had a few wrestlers compete at the Mat Town Open in Lock Haven. Carter Baer took home gold at 157 lbs. Carson Wagner had a nice win over Kurt McHenry of PSU. He went on to place second. Dimitri Gamkrelidze took silver at the 174 lb bracket, as Will Ebert was fourth, in a bracket loaded with Cornell wrestlers. At 133lbs, Ryan Hartung was fourth. There was an interesting match-up for third place at 141 lbs. Nate Lucier defeated his teammate Ivan Garcia 7-3. It looks as if this may have been a wrestle-off for the starting spot. Charlie Tibbits earned third place in the heavyweight bracket. Overall, it was a successful day for BU.
They will compete at the Cliff Keen Invite in Las Vegas this weekend.
The Bears of Brown University will be off for a few weeks. They do not compete until right before the Christmas Holiday.
The Bison were off for the break. They have a dual at #29 Wisconsin on Sunday.
The Lions will travel to Sin City for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite.
The Big Red had much success at the Mat Town Open. Greg Diakomihalis won the 125 lbs bracket via three bonus point victories. Josh Saunders won his bracket at 149 lbs with wins over teammates Nate Wade and Ethan Fernandez. Chris Foca cruised to a gold medal at 184 lbs, as did Lewis Fernandes at 285 lbs. Ethan Qureshi, at 133lbs, was second in the bracket. At 157 lbs, Benny Rodgers was a runner-up and Gage McClenehan was third. Cornell had nine wrestlers in the 174 lbs bracket, Benny Baker walked away the highest placer with a third-place finish. At 197 lbs, Jacob Cardenas and Eric Carlson tied for first after a no-contest in the finals.
Cornell will be at the Las Vegas Invite this weekend.
The Dragons took the week off for the holiday. See them in action for the Dragon Duals on Sunday, December 3rd.
Franklin & Marshall
The Dips will be off for Thanksgiving. They have four duals at home on Sunday against Michigan State, VMI, Presbyterian, and Bloomsburg.
The Crimson, like most teams, will be on break during the Thanksgiving holiday. Catch them in action in Las Vegas.
The Pride will also be at the Las Vegas Invite after a week off for the holiday.
The Mountain Hawks enjoyed a break over the holiday before they face #1 Penn State on Sunday on the road.
The Sharks took off for the holiday break and will compete at the tough Cliff Keen Invite.
Navy will also be at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite. It’s the toughest tournament of the regular season.
The Quakers will host #3 Iowa on Friday for a dual. They will send some wrestlers to the Patriot Open on Sunday, hosted by George Mason.
The Tigers took off for Thanksgiving. They host Indiana at home to a dual on Sunday.
The Pioneers will be at the Cliff Keen Invite this weekend.
Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Preview Talk
It's one of the best weeks of the collegiate wrestling season. Espeically the regular season. It's Vegas week! Four of our conference correspondents, Kevin Claunch (Big Ten), Ryan Holmes (Big Ten), Austin Sommer (EIWA), and Robbie Wendell (ACC) have joined forces to preview the tournament. The four talk about the respective conference teams at the tournament, favorites and much more.
For the full discussion: Click Here