Drake Ayala (left) at the Southern Scuffle (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Quite the start to 2022, eh? Injury troubles in Iowa. Flo-Kartgate in Austin. Some want death to America. Some just want death just to Willie. Some old faces in new places and as of press time some old faces back in old places. Just as the full dual meet season is here, Covid, Omicron, Rubicon, and CJ Cron are playing hell with the schedule. Look folks, I don't know what to tell you. Prepare for the worst. Until then, watch every match you can. We know what it's like to lose it and I don't think I can go through that again. To the wrestlers and coaches, I wish you the best of luck and good health and would just like to ask for you to take care of yourselves, do your part, and maybe not contact the outside world for the next two months. We can get through this with some minor bumps in the road and some sacrifices, but we can get to March.
Alright, this kind of talk depresses me. To my bag!
Rank InterMat staff from least cool to coolest. @Pelikanhead
Well, at the top of the list is Earl Smith. You ever do a video call with him? The guy moves so little you think the screen froze. He's like Paulie from Goodfellas. Just a rock of a man exuding respect with the tiniest of expressions. The conference correspondents are pretty cool if you're into that whole 70's newsroom thing.
Seriously, you should see Robbie Wendell with his fedora and little notepad. He somehow pulls it off. And Duckworth, I creep around his office sometimes just to hear that Oklahoma drawl order lunch. All the way at the bottom is me, Seth Petarra, and Richard Mann. We don't even get invited to Poor Richard's for drinks. Speaking of my uncool friend...
What other Senior-level wrestlers do we want to pull a Provisor? @RichardAMann
I think @StacyBehr hit the nail on the head with Kamal Bey. Maybe we'll see it after a 2024 Olympic run.
How excited are you for the 2025 D1 NCAA Championships being held in Philly? @WrestlingPhilly
Possible Spencer Lee-Daton Fix final at 133? God willing, I'll be in the arena to see it.
Would you pull Drake Ayala's redshirt and if so, when? @Rhino184
This might be the most talked-about story for the next few weeks, so let's dive deep into it. Spencer is clearly out for the foreseeable future. Yes, the entire team that won it last year returned for a second trophy, but they are no longer that team. Not without their ace. Now Nelson Brands is on the shelf and he was already replacing Kemerer, who we have no idea about.
It's difficult for any coach to admit defeat, least of all the Brands brothers. But sometimes, you have to look at the big picture. Penn State just filled two spots with AA contenders in Hildebrandt and Berge to go along with the rest of their loaded lineup. Michigan has fans buzzing with the thought of five possible finalists. I think it all hinges on Kemerer's status. Without him and Spencer, repeating seems unlikely at best. On the other hand, you still have a dynamic squad if you get Kem-Dawg back, throw in a complete wild card like Ayala, and get a few big performances from your other veterans; a repeat is definitely on the table.
Bottom line, I think we will be waiting on this one for a few more weeks until things are more settled. Not to mention the possibility of a canceled season and I don't see the NCAA giving out free years again. Patience is best in Iowa City right now.
Well that's a wrap on the first mailbag of the new year. I hope you all entered 2022 happy and healthy, you probably blew your resolutions already, but that's ok because there's always next year, as Washington Football Team fans say.