Monday and Tuesday of this week featured one of the best new traditions in the wrestling world, the Collegiate Duals. Arranged by Journeymen Wrestling, the Collegiate Duals have taken place in a Southern city without collegiate wrestling for each of the last three years. Frank Popolizio and crew have been able to nab the top teams in the nation and put them together in dual competitions. Looking at the current NCAA dual rankings via InterMat, eight of the current top-ten teams in the country have participated in at least one of the three Collegiate Dual events.
This year’s event took place in Nashville, Tennessee at the Montgomery Bell Academy. For those that have attended all three Collegiate Duals events, the facilities at this school were the best year.
But back to the actual wrestling. Here are some general thoughts about the action on the mat (and a little off the mat) from the 2023 Collegiate Duals.
The Big Red Elephant in the Room
In what has been an all-too-familiar situation, the wrestling community was in an uproar after the first day of the Collegiate Duals. The final round of the three-dual competition on Monday saw then-#3 Cornell face then-#7 Iowa State. It was a rematch of the 2022 Collegiate Duals, which ended up being one of the best duals of the season. Although it was expected to be a star-studded affair, the 2023 version was memorable for all of the wrong reasons.
The Cyclones prevailed 26-15 spurred by big wins from Anthony Echemendia (141 lbs) and Yonger Bastida (285 lbs), but the talk of the dual centered around who wasn’t in the lineup for Cornell.
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