149 lbs Southern Scuffle champion Kellyn March (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
We’re a few days into the first week of 2023 and there has been a lot of activity already this year for the Big 12. Let’s dive in and take a look at five big things from the first week of 2023 for the conference.
Mitchell Mesenbrink enters the transfer portal
A huge blow for California Baptist as U20 World Silver Medalist Mitchell Mesenbrink has entered the transfer portal. Mesenbrink looked as though he’d be a huge boost for the program as they make their transition to Division one and the Big 12, but on January second he announced he’s on the move. Really tough loss for California Baptist.
Stephen Buchanan Officially on OU Roster
On the other side of the transfer portal, Stephen Buchanan is now officially on the roster at OU. Buchanan, a two-time All-American at Wyoming, announced his transfer in December and OU officially added him to their online roster this week.
North Dakota State Balls Out at Southern Scuffle
Kellyn March, Jared Franek, and Owen Pentz all won titles at the Southern Scuffle as Michael Caliendo and DJ Parker finished second. The team also finished second ahead of Minnesota and Missouri (both missing some starters). This combined with some significant dual wins over Nebraska and others early in the season has North Dakota State looking really good this year and wrestling well above what I and some others would have projected going into the season.
Missouri and Iowa State’s Top Guys Miss Scuffle
There’s already a lot of debate on this subject that is stirring on Twitter and other places. Is it ducking? Is it a pitch count? Is it legit injuries? I have no idea. But a lot of the top guys from both of these teams did not wrestle at the Southern Scuffle. This would have been a good gauge for where the top Big 12 schools measure up to each other but without everyone competing here, it’s tough to know much in that regard.
Oklahoma State Wins Comfortably
Without full Iowa State or Missouri rosters, the Cowboys of Oklahoma State won the team title fairly comfortably at the Southern Scuffle. They wrestled well but as mentioned earlier, it’s still tough to know if they’ll be able to hang with Missouri or Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament format.