2021 NCAA Champion Austin O'Connor (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Fear not faithful readers of the forums. I know change can be tough, but it's time to move on into the 21st century and on to some other outlets for your wrestling conversations. I get it. I struggled with breaking up with the local newspaper when the price kept going up and the coverage kept going down. You will survive. There are plenty of conversations on other outlets like Twitter and Discord. If you can find the USA Wrestling forums then you already have the internet and should be able to find those other outlets. There are various message boards dedicated to teams and you can make new friends over there. And who knows, maybe you see your favorite message board reincarnated right here on InterMat. Then you can start a whole thread on how I have no idea what the heck I'm talking about. Either way, we'd love to have you bring that energy over and start some new conversations. Besides, Ban Basketball needs someone to talk to over here. I'm sure you'll all get along just fine. On to the mailbag!
Best preseason hype video so far, Gophers or...also, any U23 predictions or Jag insights? Riley
Did you all see that tease? Minnesota got us all with that Gable tease. And good for Brayton for having a sense of humor about it. If you haven't seen it, they tease a huge return, pick the shoes up off the mat, show some iron being pumped, and there's Brayton Lee proclaiming he's back.
Speaking of being back, more international wrestling! I love this U23 team and the fact that the schedule is allowing more college stars to give it a go before the season starts. I expect Arujau and Carr to compete for gold, but I'm really interested in the progress of Jacob Cardenas. The former New Jersey star has made great strides since busting out at Bergen Catholic in 2018 and I still don't think he's hit his ceiling yet.
Who you got winning 157? Baby Grajales
I like Austin O'Connor to get a second title here. Back and healthy for one more year, AOC now has a year at the weight under his belt with no clear-cut, unbeatable guys in his way. Does this mean he's a lock and someone else can't step up? Of course not. But I can see Austin winning one more chip before he embarks on a career as the guitarist for No Vacancy.
Why don't you guys post high school rankings anymore? @Pantherz704
I'm not sure I can give you a definitive answer on that since I don't sit on the Intermat small council, but high school rankings can be found on Willie's MatScouts page. With the brain, both attending and seeding the Super 32 tournament, be sure to check there for updates on the big weekend.
How u preparin' Pelikan Head
I'm watching Bears-Commanders to get that 2-1 with four minutes of riding time feel.
How good is North Carolina as a wrestling state right now? Best Italians to keep an eye out for? Seth Petarra
Best college wrestling state in America. Someone even named a Hoagie after Trent Hidlay somewhere. I'm serious, he has a hoagie named after him. You want Italians? Keep an eye out for Joey Milano of NC State. The redshirt freshman went 25-6 last year at open tournaments with a bonus rate of over fifty percent at 184. After laying off the gabagool all summer, he looks to continue that success down a weight at 174 this year.
Who are you hoping gets on the podium for the first time and why is it â€œHandsomeâ€ Matt Finesilver? Rhino
The only other answer I have for you is Max Murin. So much so that I cut him from my fantasy team, so he can reach greater heights without my stink all over him. I will admit I am pulling for Matt. The final Finesilver somehow managed to stretch four years of eligibility over the course of seven years through various colored shirts and extra years. I mean, the guy once wrestled Isaac Jordan. That's nuts. The Cubs had just won their first World Series in 108 years. I actually saw both Cubs titles. Anyway, give me some AA's for Max and Matt this year.
Another bag in the books! Next week we celebrate our one-year anniversary together by just watching more wrestling. I can't believe I made it a year. Never thought it would happen but I have to thank you fine readers for supporting me and keeping it going. If it wasn't for you I'd have nothing to write about. Maybe the forum readers will come aboard and join the fun! Until then, enjoy the Super 32-U23 smorgasbord that we have coming up. Then finish those final fall projects because the NCAA season will be here in no time.