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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Five B1G Takeaways from the Big Ten (1/25/24)

    Dual meets, dual meets and more dual meets. As we go into another weekend of B1G Ten dual meets, we look back at last week’s matchups. We had some duals that lived up to some of our expectations, a few guys whose stock is going up and another that’s going down and Claunch delves into his experience on the call for Michigan’s dual last week.

    Stock up: Michael Blockhus; Stock down: Peyton Robb

    There might not be anyone having a better start of the new year than Michael Blockhus. He returned with one goal in mind and so far it looks like he’s on the right track. Last week he took out Jared Franek with a last minute takedown then followed it up with a dominating win over Peyton Robb four days later. Now he’s jumped to No. 6 in the rankings. Earlier this week, I got to catch up with Blockhus to talk about his big wins, returning to the Gophers’ lineup for his final year, and his fighting future. 

    On the opposite side is Robb who didn’t just take a loss to Blockhus last week, but was pinned by Joey Blaze of Purdue. That notched Robb’s fourth straight loss. This weekend the Huskers head to Evanston, IL to face Northwestern where Robb will look to get back to his winning ways. 

    A Curse at 125 Ends …

    We all know what kind of powerhouse Penn State has been for the last million years, but a spot in Coach Cael Sanderson’s lineup that hasn’t been at the championship level is at 125-pounds. As mentioned in the season preview, Nico Megaludis was the last guy in this weight class to sport a Nittany Lion singlet and make the podium. All of that could be over as freshman Braeden Davis has been a very bright, and so far undefeated, presence in their line up. It took a bit for him to stand above PSU’s other options here, but now he’s manning the spot in the line up and in the No. 4 spot in the rankings. He’s also the only guy in the weight class who hasn’t taken a loss yet this season. 

    … And Another Curse at 125 Continues

    It seems like ages ago when we would occasionally get a No. 1 versus No. 2 battle in the regular season. It doesn’t always happen, but it certainly feels like it used to happen more often than it has of late. Last Friday night, we were lucky enough to see it with Purdue’s Matt Ramos, then ranked second in the country at 125, facing off against Iowa’s No. 1 ranked Drake Ayala in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Purdue, as a team, wasn’t expected to win the dual meet as a whole, but in what was clearly the biggest match of the night, the Boilermaker got a solid win and once again beat a top ranked Hawkeye in a big moment. Was it purposeful that they wore the silver and gold singlets that were worn on that fateful night last March? Probably right? Either way Iowa ran away with the majority of the other matches as expected. Shoutout to Joey Blaze wrestling tough against Jared Franek, and James Rowley getting the win at 184, but Iowa as a unit is still proving to be one of the toughest teams in the country. Iowa will be traveling to Illinois this weekend as they take on the Fighting Illini this Friday, and Northwestern this Sunday. Purdue, as referenced above, will be taking on the Hoosiers in Bloomington Saturday night.

    Terrapins v Hoosiers did not disappoint

    Two weeks ago we released our top B1G duals list for the season, and I’m sure some of you scoffed at my assertion that this dual was worthy of your time and energy. Well, those of you who trust my judgment were rewarded, and those who don’t still have time to watch what was a back and forth exciting affair from start to finish. Maryland won three of the first four matches, with their predictable and consistent studs from 133 through 149 providing a lot of that firepower. Brayton Lee jumped in for Indiana at 157, and looked like the Brayton Lee of old, racking up a ton of points on his way to a 15-4 major decision. Indiana took the lead with four straight wins headed into 197, where Jaxon Smith was able to get the overtime win to bring it to the last match. The Hoosiers at home stepped up and didn’t allow this dual to go to criteria for the second straight year. Nick Willham at Heavyweight got a gritty win with a late takedown to get away with a 4-2 victory and seal it for the Hoosiers. Next up Indiana will host Purdue this Saturday to see which team owns the state of Indiana, while Maryland hosts Penn State this Sunday.

    Calling a dual is super fun

    I figured it would be, but I greatly underestimated how much fun I was going to have calling the Michigan vs Rutgers dual last Sunday. Shoutout to Malik Amine for being the calming and veteran presence on the mic with me, and his professionalism as he prepared his notes ahead of time and walked me through what we were going to do to get going. The dual itself really made it easy though. From beginning to end, there were some close and exciting matches and ranked wrestlers up and down the lineup. Michigan got the better end of the lower weights, with wins at 125 through 141 to start the dual, in a series of ranked matches. The most exciting being the true freshman in Sergio Lemley, who needed three different match winning takedowns to get the win over the veteran Mitch Moore. The gritty Scarlet Knights got on the board with a win at 149, and eventually again at 197 as Poznanski took out redshirt freshman Rylan Rogers. Lucas Davison finished things off with a solid win over the transfer from Harvard, Yaraslau Slavikouski, in a top 10 matchup. Michigan wrestles Ohio State this Friday, as Rutgers hosts Minnesota this Saturday afternoon.

    Bonus Points

    Check out this week’s Conference Crossover Conversation as Holmes, Claunch, Wendell and Sommer discuss all of the latest happenings in the collegiate wrestling world. The foursome also hit on Minnesota/Nebraska, Penn State/Michigan, coaches rankings and much more. 

     

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