Army West Point freshman 125 lber Ethan Berginc (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
The post-holiday tournaments get ramped up this week with the Midlands and the Soldier Salute. We'll start by talking Soldier Salute, a new tournament that takes place in Coralville, Iowa and features the second-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes and a few military institutions like Army West Point, The Citadel, and VMI, among others. Proceeds from the tournament will be split between the USO's and a fund geared towards helping the growth of girls' high school wrestling. In addition to the college men's tournament, a women's tournament will also be held at the same site, on the same dates (December 29/30th).
Fans will be able to follow the action on B1G+. A link to Thursday's B1G+ coverage page can be viewed here.
Below is a preview of the action in the ten men's weights in Coralville along with championship picks.
Ranked Wrestlers: #1 Spencer Lee (Iowa), #22 Ethan Berginc (Army West Point), #27 Tanner Jordan (South Dakota State)
Could this week mark another appearance by three-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee? So far this season, Lee has only competed at the CyHawk dual against rival Iowa State in early December. While rusty, Lee still managed to post a 16-5 major decision over Corey Cabanban. If Lee isn't in the field, the two remaining ranked wrestlers are Ethan Berginc and Tanner Jordan. Berginc has been an excellent revelation for Army, winning 13 of his first 14 bouts this year with wins over 2022 All-American Brandon Kaylor (Oregon State) and past qualifier Liam Cronin (Nebraska). Jordan has had a breakout campaign, as well. He advanced to the semis at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and got a win over Appalachian State's national qualifier, Caleb Smith. Using the common opponents, Jordan has given up bonus points twice this year to Cronin.
Also in the mix here are Northern Iowa's Kyle Gollhofer and Columbia's Nick Babin. Gollhofer has a 3-7 record, but has wrestled a brutal schedule. At the CKLV, he picked up a quality win over Air Force's Tucker Owens. Babin was last seen knocking off, then-ranked Colton Camacho (Pittsburgh) during the Lions one-point loss to Pitt. He also has a win this year over two-time national qualifier Patrick McCormick (Virginia).
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