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  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Big 12 Weekly Recap (11/6/2023)

    The first week of the 2023-2024 season officially kicked off this week, and the Big 12 saw some solid action. California Baptist, Iowa State, and North Dakota State started their year with Division I duals, while Air Force, Northern Colorado, and Wyoming competed against lower Division schools. Utah Valley and West Virginia saw some success at the Southeast Open. Missouri, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Northern Iowa, and South Dakota State had a quiet first week with no official competition, although the first three did hit up some open tournaments with (mostly) nonstarters. 

    Air Force: Dual Results | Mines Rookie Open Brackets

    Air Force opened their season by hosting two Division II teams, Western Colorado (#22 at Division II) and CSU-Pueblo. #25 Tucker Owens, #27 Giano Petrucelli, and #21 Sam Wolf all got bonus point wins in their matches. Sam Wolf is ranked at 174, but competed at 184 tonight while last year's 184lb starter Noah Blake was at 174 lbs. Blake dropped his match at 174 to Cole Hernandez, who is ranked 3rd in his division. No Wyatt Hendrickson here, but true freshman Antonio Ramos stepped up in his place to get two pins to cap off each dual. The team also sent a number of wrestlers to the Mines Rookie Open, including several wrestlers in their Prep School. 

    Next Up: The Falcons head to Boone, NC for the Mountaineer Invitational hosted by App State on November 11th. 

    California Baptist: Dual Results

    California Baptist began their season with likely the toughest home opener, with #8 Iowa coming to town and getting a 40-0 win. The two teams shattered CBU’s previous attendance record with 4,676 fans. The previous record was from 2018 when the Lancers took on Ohio State in front of 2,620 fans. In the only ranked match, #29 Eli Griffin lost an 18-8 major decision to #13 Drake Ayala. Griffin kept it interesting early, but Ayala’s pace was a game-changer late. While moral wins are not fun to hang onto, Head Coach Derek Moore had his team wrestling tough in every match and had some bright spots throughout the dual. 

    Next Up: The Lancers start conference action early, hosting Wyoming on November 11th. 

    Iowa State: Dual Results

    The Cyclones opened their season with a 43-3 dual win over Cleveland State at David Carr’s high school gym at Perry High School. The dual was streamed on UFC Fight Pass and had great action in every match. The team scored bonus points in every win, with three majors, five techs, and a David Carr pin to cap the dual in outstanding fashion. Redshirt freshman Nando Villaescusa got the opportunity to start with Will Feldkamp out, and took advantage with a 16-8 major decision upset win over #21 Ben Smith. Jacob Frost won his wrestle-off over Zach Redding, but dropped his match to #29 Dylan Layton in a 21-18 barnburner. Overall, a very fun dual in a unique location that saw the new scoring rules have a huge impact.  

    Next Up: On November 12th, David Carr leads the Cyclones against Davidson at home, coached by his older brother Nate Carr Jr.

    Missouri: Maryville Open Brackets

    Missouri didn’t compete this week. They sent some non-starters to the Maryville Open and got six individual titles. 

    Next Up: The Tigers host the Tiger Style Invite in Kansas City on November 11th that also features Lindenwood, Cal Poly, Maryland, SIUE, and Little Rock. 

    North Dakota State: Dual Results

    New Head Coach Obe Blanc kicked off the season with a tough 31-12 loss to Nebraska at home. There were some bright spots, however, with two new starters getting wins and an upset for a long-time starter. #12 Kellyn March got to test himself against 2022 NCAA finalist #1 Ridge Lovett, but came up short in an 11-1 loss. Redshirt freshman Gavin Drexler looked solid with a 9-4 win over Blake Cushing, while 3x NJCAA All-American transfer Devon Dawson made a splash with a pin over Harley Andrews. The biggest result came at 174lbs, where unranked Gaven Sax took out #20 Elise Brown Ton 8-3 with a big reversal and nearfall late. 

    Next Up: NDSU hosts the Bison Open on November 11th that usually includes wrestlers from SDSU and Minnesota. 

    Northern Colorado: Dual Results | Mines Rookie Open Brackets

    The Bears started their season with one-sided wins against Division II Fort Hays State (#25 at Division II) and New Mexico Highlands; winning 19 of 20 matches. While not the strongest competition, it did reveal some potential lineups. Dom Serrano stepped into the 133lb spot, while it appears that Rudy Lopez could be the 141lb starter with Andrew Alirez redshirting. Derek Matthews redshirted at 174 last year, but looked impressive at 165lbs. He and fellow redshirt freshman Ayden Rix-McElhinney could be a solid 1-2 punch. The team also sent a few wrestlers to the Mines Rookie Open. 

    Next Up: UNC gets a week off before competing against Buffalo and Presbyterian at the Arm Bar at the Armory on November 17th. 

    Northern Iowa: No Competition.

    Next Up: The Panthers start their season at the Grand View Open on November 11th. 

    Oklahoma State: Broncho Open

    Oklahoma State didn’t compete this week but had their private wrestle-offs on Friday. They sent some wrestlers to the Broncho Open, where Daniel Manibog beat Jalin Harper in overtime in the finals. That match could decide who will start later this week at 157lbs. 

    Next Up: Look for the Cowboys to kick off their season this week against Bucknell at home on November 10th. 

    Oklahoma: Broncho Open

    Oklahoma didn’t compete this week, but sent a few nonstarters to the Broncho Open. 

    Next Up: The Sooners head to Central Michigan to start their season on November 9th. They’ll then have a short turnaround with the Michigan State Open on November 11th. 

    South Dakota State: No Competition.

    Next Up: The Jackrabbits open their season at the Bison Open hosted by NDSU in Fargo. 

    Utah Valley: Southeast Open Brackets | Mines Rookie Open Brackets

    This team had some lineup questions coming into the season, and some may have been answered at the Southeast Open. #15 Evan Bockman won a title that included a win over #27 Levi Hopkins (CAMP). #15 Haiden Drury appeared to suffer a rib injury in his first match, where he was upset by Mason Leiphart (F&M) and went on to medical forfeit. Kase Mauger (133), James Emmer (141), Ty Smith (149), Tanner Lofthouse (165), Mark Takara (174), and Jack Forbes (285), all finished top six as well with performances that could get them into the starting lineup. The team also sent a small contingent of freshmen to the Mines Rookie Open. 

    Next Up: The Wolverines get a week off before a long trip to the nation's capital for a dual against American University on November 17th. 

    West Virginia: Southeast Open Brackets

    A name I didn’t mention this preseason was Jett Strickenberger, an NJCAA champ at 125 lbs in 2023 that saw him go undefeated all season. I wasn’t sure how he would look at the Division I level, and he made me look foolish by beating #11 Brandon Kaylor 4-1 to win a Southeast Open title. What looked like a potential hole after the graduation of Killian Cardinale could end up as another strength for the Mountaineers. #22 Jordan Titus also won a title at 141lbs, with impressive wins over #21 Jack Gioffre (UVA) and #20 Cleveland Belton (ORST). True freshman Ty Watters and junior #22 Michael Wolfgram made the finals, but came up just short. Watters had an impressive win over 2023 NCAA qualifier Tom Crook (VT). 

    It wasn’t all bright spots for WVU though, as #9 Peyton Hall and #32 Caleb Dowling both suffered unranked upset losses. Hall lost a wild one against Garrett Thompson (Ohio), but came back for third. Dowling lost to Clayton Ulrey (VT), but came back and beat last year's starter Alex Hornfeck with an impressive 13-2 major for fifth. #28 Austin Cooley also finished fifth at 197lbs. #26 Dennis Robin looked solid at 184lbs, with a 16-2 major over #20 Caleb Hopkins (CAMP) for third. Something to keep an eye on, redshirt freshman Brody Conley won his first match 9-7, but medically forfeited after a 3-2 loss in the second round. 

    Next Up: WVU hosts the Mountaineer Quad with duals against Kent State, Cleveland State, and Duke next Sunday, November 12th. 

    Wyoming: Dual Results

    Wyoming hosted the 2023 NJCAA National Champs in Western Wyoming and came away with a 31-10 win in a very fun dual. Western Wyoming showed up ready to wrestle, winning three matches. Jore Volk, Gabe Willochell, and Tyce Raddon were the standout wrestlers for the team, as Volk had a 19-0 tech and Willochell got a first-period pin. Tyce Raddon was a wrestler for Western Wyoming, and got a pin against his former team. Redshirt freshman Kevin Zimmer got an opportunity to start and looked solid in a 12-3 win. Brett McIntosh scored bonus points with a major decision at 165lbs as well. While they didn’t win, it looks like Cooper Birdwell (133) and Aidan Noonan (149) could be the starters at their weights. 

    Next Up: Wyoming hits the road for a dual against CSU-Bakersfield on November 10th and follows it up the day after with a dual against California Baptist.

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