The second week of the college wrestling season saw the majority of the MAC in action, in dual competition. A couple of tournaments were thrown in for good measure, too. There were even a couple of conference duals. In those instances, Clarion defeated George Mason and Rider downed SIU Edwardsville. There’s no reason to panic for the team’s on the wrong side of those results as we still have four full months of the regular season.
Below are some of the individuals (for the most part) that stood out during week two.
Kyle Schickel (Clarion - 149)
The Golden Eagles had a weird Saturday with close losses to American and The Citadel, both of which would be considered upsets, but squeezed in a conference win over George Mason in between the losses. The only Clarion wrestler to make it through the weekend with a 3-0 record was 149 lber, Kyle Schickel. Not only did Schickel win, but he also put up bonus points along the way. Schickel pinned American’s Ryan Zimmerman and majored George Mason’s Kaden Cassidy, before edging Jeffrey Boyd of The Citadel, 8-7.
Ben Monn (George Mason - 125)
George Mason appears to be redshirting their 2023 starter at 125 lbs, Markel Baker. That has proven to be possible because of the solid production from new leadoff hitter Ben Monn. Monn saw the mat in two of GMU’s three duals Saturday, garnering wins in both appearances. Both happened to go to extra time and Monn prevailed each time. The win over Clarion’s Joey Fischer will likely loom large once March rolls around and it’s conference seeding season.
DJ McGee (George Mason - 157)
Shhhh! Don’t look now but George Mason’s 157 lber, DJ McGee, is unbeaten with a 6-0 record after two weeks. After winning The Battle of the Citadel in week one, McGee kept his hot streak alive by posting identical 4-2 decisions over Thomas Snipes (The Citadel) and Alejandro Herrera Rondon (Clarion). McGee capped his weekend off by receiving a forfeit from Williams College.
Richie Koehler (Rider - 133)
Rider traveled to the midwest for a meeting with the Big Ten’s Indiana before picking up a conference dual against SIU Edwardsville on the way home. While the Hoosiers prevailed, there were quite a few bright spots for John Hangey’s team. 133 lber Richie Koehler won both of his duals, the first of which came against fellow NCAA qualifier Cayden Rooks. That win came via a 6-5 decision; however, two days later, Koehler prevailed in a more comfortable 9-0 major decision against Marcel Lopez of SIUE.
Quinn Kinner (Rider - 149)
Two matches after Koehler defeated Cayden Rooks, Quinn Kinner pulled a big upset by downing Cayden’s brother, Graham. A 2023 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Graham Rooks was ranked sixth in the nation at the time of the match. A pair of first-period takedowns staked Kinner to a 6-2 lead, one that he never relinquished. Kinner would go on to win 8-2. Two days later, Kinner defeated his second national qualifier of the weekend when he got by Caleb Tyus (SIU Edwardsville), 5-4.
Hunter Shaut (Buffalo - 165)
One of the few bright spots from Buffalo’s day at WrangleMania was their 165 lber Hunter Shaut. Shaut was the only Bulls wrestler who grabbed multiple wins at the dual event in Bethlehem. In Buffalo’s loss to Long Island, Shaut’s 4-1 victory over James Johnstone pulled the Bulls to within three points. During the second dual, Shaut posted a solid 10-5 decision over North Carolina’s Isaias Estrada. He was one of only two Buffalo wrestlers to get their hands raised against UNC.
Pablo Castro (Kent State - 133)
Sunday saw a pair of MAC teams travel to Morgantown to participate in West Virginia’s quad. Kent State was one of those two and saw their first action in dual competition. Amongst an 0-2 showing from the Golden Flashes was a perfect day from their 133 lber Pablo Casto. Against the host Mountaineers, Castro was the only KSU wrestler to emerge victorious. Castro was responsible for the “3” in a 44-3 setback as he defeated Davin Rhoads, 6-2. Earlier in the day, Casto tallied bonus points when he majored Duke’s Raymond Adams, 13-1. For the season, Castro is now 7-1 with his only setbacks coming to #13 Vince Santaniello (Pittsburgh). He’s probably one signature win away from cracking the national rankings.
Anthony Noto (Lock Haven - 125)
The top-ranked 125 lber in the land made his season debut on Saturday at WrangleMania and looked every bit the part. Fans expected to see a #1 vs. #2 clash with Anthony Noto and Richie Figueroa (Arizona State) as their schools met in dual competition. That didn’t happen as Figueroa was out with a minor injury. Max Brewster took his place and was on the wrong side of an 18-3 tech fall loss. Noto added a second tech fall when he overwhelmed 2023 NCAA qualifier Ethan Berginc (Army West Point) in Lock Haven’s second dual of the day. Noto was the only Bald Eagle wrestler to win both of his bouts and LHU went 0-2. They did push an undermanned Arizona State team in the first dual, but ultimately fell, 23-18.
Will Morrow (Bloomsburg - 157)
Bloomsburg also participated in WrangleMania and the Journeymen Collegiate Classic. The Huskies went 1-1 with an ugly loss to #5 NC State and a 28-18 win over Sacred Heart. The only wrestler to exit unscathed from BU’s dual with NC State was 157 lber Will Morrow. Morrow poured a 13-3 major decision on Wolfpack redshirt freshman Aaron Faison. When Morrow stepped on the mat against Sacred Heart, his team was trailing 8-7. A 25-10 tech fall from Morrow put Bloomsburg ahead and they’d never look back. On Sunday, Morrow went 2-1 with another win over Faison.
Cleveland State Trio (Jake Manley/Ben Smith/Daniel Bucknavich)
Also in Morgantown for Sunday's duals were the Cleveland State Vikings. Josh Moore’s team lost by a narrow 19-16 score to Duke, then were beaten badly by the hosts (33-9). The only CSU wrestlers to win against West Virginia were the Manley/Smith/Bucknanvich trio. Both Smith and Bucknavich needed to knock off ranked wrestlers for their wins. The big three was also victorious against Duke, along with 141 lber Dylan Layton. Manley managed a major decision while Layton chipped in with a pin. After Layton’s fall, Duke posted five consecutive wins to take control of the dual.
The Chippewas had their first dual meet of the season on Thursday then headed across the state to compete at the Michigan State Open on Saturday. The Chips fell 29-11 to Oklahoma in dual competition, with only Corbyn Munson (149 lbs), Johnny Lovett (157 lbs), and Alex Cramer (174 lbs) notching wins. Munson and Cramer’s opponents were ranked, while Lovett’s is now ranked. On Saturday, Munson and Lovett won titles at the MSU Open. Munson had three falls in four matches, while Lovett had another win over his nemesis from Oklahoma along his way to the title.
Cramer, Sean Spidle (125), Ja’Kerion Merritt (141), Mason Shrader (157), and Bryan Caves (285) all advanced to the finals in the Open division.
Looking ahead, CMU has a pair of ranked opponents on the schedule this weekend with #25 North Carolina and #28 Illinois.