Oklahoma State's Kaid Brock is expected to face Oklahoma's Dom Demas on Sunday in the Bedlam dual
Last weekend's tournaments and matches gave the wrestling world some insight into the top contenders. Now, the season marches on. There are no marquee tournaments this weekend, but there are plenty of solid dual meets that include some of the nation's top wrestlers. The following is a preview of the featured match in every weight class this weekend.
125: No. 14 Patrick Glory (Princeton) vs. No 16 Louie Hayes (Virginia)
Outside of a loss against No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa), Glory has won all of his matches so far this year. In his first tournament of the season, he picked up a ranked victory over No. 17 Devin Schroder (Purdue). Last weekend, he helped the Tigers pick up their upset victory over Lehigh with a 17-2 technical fall over Luke Resnick.
Hayes' ranking took a tumble after a rough weekend at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. His ranking fell from No. 6 all the way down to No. 16 thanks to a pair of losses against Colby Smith (Missouri) and Brent Fleetwood (NDSU). Prior to the tournament, Hayes had been undefeated, but all of his matches were against unranked opposition.
Before last weekend, a lot of people would have probably reflexively taken Hayes in this match. However, he seems to be struggling to get to his best offense and perhaps having some cardio issues as well. Glory is not the best opponent to get right against. His scrambling ability on the feet makes him a tough out and a pain to wrestle. Look for Glory to cause multiple stalemates before scoring some counter takedowns.
Prediction: Glory (Princeton) dec. Hayes (Virginia)
133: No. 19 Cam Sykora (NDSU) vs. No. 13 Montorie Bridges (Wyoming)
If this match happens it will be a rematch of a one-point consolation match at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. In that bout, Bridges prevailed with a 6-5 victory. Sykora scored the first takedown, but Bridges scored takedowns in the first and second periods. He escaped after taking down to start the third and held on for the final 96 seconds for the one-point victory.
Sykora is off to a strong start to his junior season with an 11-2 record, but he is still looking for his first victory over a ranked wrestler. Bridges has already lost six matches this season after only going down seven times all last season. However, he did pick up a trio of ranked victories in Las Vegas over Sykora, No. 16 Korbin Myers (Virginia Tech) and No. 18 Ben Thornton (Purdue)
Bridges showed in their first match this season that he has the more diverse offensive attack, but at the same time, Sykora showed that he is not going away. Look for Bridges to get to his offense first in this rematch and hold on for a close decision win.
Prediction: Bridges (Wyoming) dec. Sykora (NDSU)
141: No. 16 Dom Demas (Oklahoma) vs. No. 6 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State)
The Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational was a mixed bag for Demas. He picked up his second fall of the season over Nate Limmex (Purdue) and he scored a pair of decision victories over No. 17 Sam Krivus (Virginia). When Demas stepped up in competition he dropped matches against No. 8 Kanen Storr (Michigan) and No. 2 Joey McKenna (Ohio State).
Brock has had an abbreviated run so far this season. He dropped a match against his rival No. 5 Mitch McKee (Minnesota), but he has also picked up victories over Rylee Molitor (South Dakota State) and Sam Turner (Wyoming). In some ways, he still appears to be figuring it out at this weight after spending his entire collegiate career prior to this season at 133.
The Cowboy should be the clear favorite in this rivalry match. His experience and fundamentals should be more than enough to turn back a challenge from Demas. However, strange things happen in rivalry matches. A few years ago, Brock upset returning All-American Cody Brewer via 42-second fall in this Bedlam series.
Prediction: Brock (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. Demas (Oklahoma)
149: No. 18 Alfred Bannister (Maryland) vs. No. 19 Jared Prince (Navy)
Five years ago, Bannister was one of the top recruits to come out of Maryland for some time, and he chose to stay home and wrestle for the Terps. He is coming off back-to-back trips to the NCAA tournament, but he has not been to break through and become an All-American. He began his senior season with five straight victories and a first-place finish at the Princeton Open. In his last match, he fell in sudden victory against No. 17 Anthony Artalona (Penn) for his first loss of the season.
Prince had to win a tough intrasquad battle last year to earn a shot in the postseason. He finished second at the EIWA tournament, but he went 0-2 at the NCAA tournament. So far this season, Prince has gone 3-5 to start, but he has faced a very tough schedule. On a positive note, he did defeat Malik Amine (Michigan) on his way to an eighth-place finish in Las Vegas.
Despite the proximity and rivalry between these two schools, Bannister and Prince have surprisingly not wrestled. The story is always the same for Bannister, he has a limited offensive arsenal due to his lack of height and reach. If he can get to his underhook series, he should be able to score. Otherwise, Prince should have the advantage in a close match. Look for the Navy wrestler to score a takedown and take the bout.
Prediction: Prince (Navy) dec. Bannister (Maryland)
157: No. 3 Larry Early (Old Dominion) vs. No. 2 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
Last weekend, Early picked up the biggest win of his collegiate career as he knocked off returning NCAA finalist No. 4 Hayden Hidlay (NC State). In their only previous meeting, Hidlay had dominated the match scored a 16-5 major decision. The upset victory is only one element of Early's solid start to the season. He is also 11-0 with an unofficial loss at the Princeton Open.
Hidlay's loss coupled with a first-place performance at the Cliff Keen tournament propelled Deakin all the way to the No. 2 spot in the rankings. Already this season, he has defeated No. 9 Griffin Parriott (Purdue), No. 11 Kennedy Monday (North Carolina) and No. 20 Hunter Willits (Oregon State).
This match got a lot more interesting with Early upsetting Hidlay and thrusting himself into the top three. However, on paper, Deakin should still be the favorite. In terms of common opponents, he has a pretty sizable edge. Plus, he has a wider variety of offensive attacks on the feet. Anything could happen in this match, but the smart money remains with the Wildcat.
Prediction: Deakin (Northwestern) dec. Early (Old Dominion)
165: No. 16 Andrew Fogarty (NDSU) vs. No. 9 Branson Ashworth (Wyoming)
North Dakota State has started their dual season 3-0, and Fogarty has been a big contributor to those victories. So far this season, he has won all three of his dual-meet matches against Tyler Morland (Northwestern), Kenny Moore (Northern Illinois) and Jacob Wright (Fresno State). Fogarty then picked up a second-place finish at the Roadrunner Open. He did not compete in Las Vegas, so his status for dual against Wyoming is up in the air.
Ashworth has faced a very tough schedule already this year, and he has more than held his own. His record currently sits at 14-3, and he has defeated No. 6 Isaiah White (Nebraska), No. 10 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State), No. 12 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa), No. 13 Connor Flynn (Missouri) and No. 17 Cam Coy (Virginia).
This is an interesting match. Ashworth has been picking up the big wins recently, but this is a very tight and real personal rivalry. Ashworth has the edge 3-2 in the five-match series between the two. However, Forgarty has won two of the last three. In their last meeting, Fogarty scored a 3-1 victory over Ashworth. Clearly, it is a tight bout, and it seems like the Cowboy has momentum for this one.
Prediction: Ashworth (Wyoming) dec. Fogarty (NDSU)
174: No. 9 Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin) vs. No. 11 Te'Shan Campbell/Ethan Smith (OSU)
Christensen is a great example of a guy who is learning and improving on the job. In his redshirt freshman season, he went 18-20, but now, as a senior, he has built an 11-2 record and is currently ranked in the top 10. He has already picked up ranked victories over No. 10 Mikey Labriola (Nebraska) and No. 19 Kimball Bastian (Utah Valley).
Ohio State has used both Smith and Campbell in the lineup this season at 174. Campbell is currently ranked, but he dropped a match against Smith last month. That might be Smith's best win of the season so far. He has gone 10-4, but he has struggled against top competition and went only 1-2 in Las Vegas.
Whoever goes for Ohio State, this should be an interesting match. Not only is Christensen ranked inside the top 10, but he is also one of eight wrestlers in the Big Ten at the moment. If Ohio State wants to give Penn State a bit of a challenge, they will need points at this weight class. A match like this can determine how realistic of a possibility that is.
Prediction: Christensen (Wisconsin) dec. Smith (Ohio State)
184: No. 6 Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) vs. No. 14 Cash Wilcke (Iowa)
Preisch has not wrestled very much this season, and he might not compete against Iowa. In his only event this season, he went 2-1 at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic with victories over Trevor Allard (Bloomsburg) and No. 17 Corey Hazel (Lock Haven) against a loss versus No. 5 Nick Reenan (NC State). Last season, Preisch spent the entire season ranked and entered the NCAA tournament as the third seed. However, he fell in the blood round against No. 2 Emery Parker (Illinois) and failed to place.
The storyline for Wilcke is that he finally get the opportunity to compete at his optimal weight this season. For the last two years, he competed at 197, and fell in the round of 12 both years. Things got off to a good start year, but he fell last weekend against No. 18 Samuel Colbray (Iowa State). In the match, Wilcke was hanging on to a one-point lead. He chose to shoot to salt the match away. Colbray used the opportunity to spin behind and scored the go-ahead takedown with five seconds left.
A tactical lapse like the one Wilcke suffered against Colbray could really hurt him against a wrestler like Preisch. He is really at his best when he is slowing the match down and nullifying his opponent. Wilcke might have a speed advantage, but he will struggle to score against Preisch. If this match happens, Preisch should be the favorite, but at the same time it is hard to know where he is at with such a limited schedule so far.
Prediction: Preisch (Lehigh) dec. Wilcke (Iowa)
197: No. 9 Rocco Caywood (Army) vs. No. 19 Stephen Loiseau (Drexel)
Caywood might be the Black Knights' best shot at an All-American this season. Army has yet to wrestle in a dual, but Caywood has been outstanding at the Princeton Open, the Journeymen Collegiate Classic and the SIEU Invitational. His only loss this season came against No. 5 Patrick Brucki (Princeton), and he has knocked off No. 15 Tanner Orndorff (Utah Valley) and No. 18 Malik McDonald (NC State).
Loiseau surprised some people last season with a strong year and qualifying for the NCAA tournament. So far this season, he has gone 12-3 with all his losses coming against ranked competition including the nation's leading wrestler at 197 No. 1 Bo Nickal (Penn State).
These two wrestled in a dual meet between the two teams last year, and Loiseau came out with the 4-3 victory. This will likely be another close match with whoever breaks through for the takedown first winning the match. Look for the Loiseau to get out to a lead and hold it.
Prediction: Loiseau (Drexel) dec. Caywood (Army)
285: No.1 Sam Stoll (Iowa) vs. No. 6 Jordan Wood (Lehigh)
Last weekend, Stoll made a dramatic entrance into his senior season, and the video of him talking coach Tom Brands into letting him wrestle went viral. The Hawkeyes ended up needing his points in their razor thing victory over rival Iowa State. Stoll currently holds the No. 1 ranking, but many expect him to fall back down to earth during the year. The road gets tough almost immediately here against Wood.
Wood won his first five matches to start this season. The former Junior World Team member had two majors and a fall, but then he ran into former 197-pounder No. 5 Anthony Cassar (Penn State), who is quickly becoming a buzzsaw at his new weight. Wood won the EIWA tournament last year and came up only one match short of becoming an All-American at the NCAA tournament.
Obviously, Stoll is going to have a big size advantage in this match. However, Wood has proven in the past that he can overcome larger opponents. The story for this match will be Stoll's ability to move Wood on the feet. If he can get to a body lock and bully Wood around the mat, he should be able to win this one. However, there is cause for concern for the Hawkeyes. The Stoll that wrestled against Iowa State is clearly not the best iteration of the heavyweight. He will need to get right quickly.
Prediction: Stoll (Iowa) dec. Wood (Lehigh)