Jump to content

  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    Stats for MatMen Open Champions

    2021 MatMen Open champion Dean Hamiti (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    While the annual Midlands tournament was canceled for the second-straight year, the first MatMen Open was able to fill the void. Pittsburgh was able to capture the tournament title thanks in large part to unlikely champion in No. 28 Elijah Cleary. Outside of that surprise, the final 10 champions were a group of rising prospects and returning veterans. The following takes a look at the top statistical performances among the 10 tournament winners.

    Most match points

    In some ways, the inaugural MatMen Open might be remembered as the coming-out party for Illinois native No. 17 Dean Hamiti (Wisconsin). On his way to the title, he knocked off No. 15 Zach Hartman (Bucknell), No. 21 Danny Braunagel (Illinois) and No. 14 Philip Conigliaro (Harvard). Hamiti's victory over Conigliaro in the finals was extra impressive, considering the Harvard wrestler was coming off an upset win over returning NCAA runner-up No. 8 Jake Wentzel (Pittsburgh).

    In addition to those ranked wins, Hamiti also finished with 59 match points, which was, by far, the most among champions. The next closest tournament champion, in terms of match points, was the 141-pound champion No. 4 Sebastian Rivera (Rutgers), who finished with 49 points. Rounding out the top three is 133-pound champion No. 7 Lucas Byrd (Illinois) with 36 points.

    Fewest Match Points Allowed

    No. 2 Myles Amine (Michigan) picked up a bronze medal in the Olympics over the summer, and he has returned to college wrestling looking for an elusive NCAA title. Not only did he defeat rival Mark Hall, who he had failed to best in five previous college matches, but he also displayed the type of defense that could easily take him to the top of the podium.

    Through four matches, Amine allowed only three match points. Neil Antrassian (Penn) scored an escape against the Michigan wrestler in the quarterfinals, and Hall hit a reversal in the finals. Other than those two scores, Amine did not allow any points in the tournament. Amine entered last year's NCAA tournament up at 197 pounds. He finished this with his only defeat coming against eventual champion AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State). However, he allowed 22 points across his six matches. If his defense and riding ability keeps his opponents off the scoreboard, he could be headed towards a finals match against No. 1 Aaron Brooks (Penn State).

    Another champion with a strong defensive performance was No. 10 Josh Heil (Campbell). He allowed only four points on his way to the title. Heil allowed three escapes during his trip through the bracket and a single stall point in the finals against No. 11 Austin Gomez (Wisconsin). Heil's style might be a bit conservative for some, considering he only scored 13 match points through four matches. However, he clearly had a gameplan and stuck with it. In his four bouts, there was a total of one point scored in the first period, that single-stall point allowed against Gomez.

    First-Period Points

    While Heil was willing to slow down his matches and win close, Rivera had a different strategy entirely. While his 49 match points were second behind Hamiti, he had the most points scored in the first period among champions. Rivera had 18 first-period points consisting of six takedowns and six points coming via near fall.


    As the high scorer among champions, it is not surprising that Hamiti also had the most takedowns. He finished with 15 takedowns, which edged Rivera's 14 for most in the tournament. Byrd and the 157-pound champion No. 28 Elijah Cleary (Pittsburgh) tied for third with 10 takedowns each.

    Hamiti was also able to score the most near-fall points among champions. He finished with 20 near-fall points, with 16 coming via four-point scores and another four after the referee counted only two swipes.

    Riding Time

    The only tournament champion to collect the riding time point in all four of his matches was No. 5 Trent Hillger (Wisconsin). He averaged 10.66 points per match prior to his 2-0 finals defeat over Ethan Laird (Rider). However, Hillger still made it a point to work from the top position and collect riding time. While the top of the heavyweight division is stacked, Hillger has looked outstanding to start the season. He is undefeated through 10 matches and has picked up bonus points in seven of those matches. In his four previous years for Wisconsin, including his redshirt year, he has never had a bonus rate higher than 40%.

    While 197-pound champion No. 12 Greg Bulsak (Rutgers) was not able to earn the riding-time point in the finals against No. 2 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh), he did score the extra point in his three other matches. In fact, his work from the top position was a vital element of his 6-2 decision over junior World champion No. 26 Braxton Amos (Wisconsin). After a scoreless first-period, Amos took bottom. Not only did Bulsak ride out the period, but he was also able to score a four-point turn. That turned out to be the difference in the match.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...