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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Jagger's Friday Mailbag - 2/24/2023

    David McFadden (left) and Chance Marsteller at the 2022 US Open (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    Jag, BD here. In your humble, honest, and factual opinion, Is Spencer Lee not only the greatest Iowa wrestler ever, but the greatest Irish lad to ever live? Saint Patricius aside. Fred Bear Bulldog

    That fourth title will certainly cement him as the greatest Hawkeye ever and an Olympic title could vault him to the top of all Irish lads. He's also French, so there could be a custody battle here that we didn't see coming. If they claim him, are you ready to go to war with France? Will you accept help from England in this battle? I know you've had your differences, but they have a long history of beef with the French. I can tell already that this is going to be the type of mailbag that takes heat for not having enough wrestling talk.

    With Jersey Jerry muscling in on your Rutgers territory, any chance we see a Jagger Night at Rider next season? The Broncs could use that Jagger Night bump. How many NCAA finalists from NJ this year? More than three? Jimmy Mcnulty's Bar Tab

    There's this misperception around the Garden State that I'm anti-Rider and it's simply not true. I just haven't found an angle yet that I can exploit for my own benefit. Also, I try not to travel anywhere over an hour away and Rider comes in at about 90 minutes away, so it's a problem. Right now I'm giving Jersey four potential finalists, but really three since I don't see Foca and Lewis both making it. I'd lose my mind if they did. Glory seems like a good bet and Shane Griffith has never wrestled in a championship tournament in his life where he hasn't made the finals, so I feel good about those guys. Definitely a strong chance for three finalists. As far as Jersey Jerry is concerned, it wouldn't hurt if he paid tribute to his capo.

    What's your favorite song? Pelikan Head

    That's an impossible question to answer since I've been listening to music since Mozart was topping the charts and my taste varies so much. If I had to pick one, it would be Over The Hills And Far Away by Led Zeppelin. I just think it's the best song from my favorite band and I'll never get tired of it. Cotton Eye Joe is a close second.

    What changes could be made to incentivize coaches and wrestlers to wrestle their best lineups throughout the regular season? Baby Grajales

    We've been through this and the answer is a ranking series of some kind. And I'm still not sure that will make a difference. Hopefully, this is just a fad and things go back to normal when we get back to not having seventh-year seniors and whatnot. Speaking of the ranking series…

    Will you be up at 3:00 AM this Sunday to follow the PRTC Twitter account for updates on their athletes competing in Egypt? Kevin McGuigan

    Who says I won't be up watching it? I'm not up on the international scene as much as I should be at the moment, but I know someone who is and he's particularly interested in the 61kg weight class. Hey CEO of Italians, give us a rundown of what to expect there:

    The U.S. Team has had a busy start to the year with impressive performances at the Henri Deglane Grand Prix and the Zagreb Open that saw multiple breakthrough performances. The Ibrahim Moustafa Ranking Series Tournament will offer a balance of domestic and international competition that should give us a lot of information about how our top guys stand domestically and internationally starting the year.

    My top weight class to watch is going to be 61 KG, which offers the best balance of high-level international and domestic matchups that could shake up the landscape of the weight. Domestically, the biggest match to watch for at 61 KG is going to be the rematch of the Henri Deglane Grand Prix semifinals between #3 (US) Austin DeSanto and #4 (US) Nahshon Garrett, which was won by DeSanto in a 14-13 shoot-out.

    The 61 KG field boasts three U-23 world champions in the form of two-time champion #3 Arsen Harutyunyan (ARM), 2022 57 KG champion Aman Aman (IND), and 2019 world champion #14 Ulukbek Zholdoshbekov (KGZ) along with 2022 runner-up #13 Taiyrbek Zhumashbek Uulu (KGZ), who is best known in the U.S. for absolutely obliterating the field at the Bill Farrell Memorial up at 65 KG.

    Looking specifically at U.S. domestic matchups, there's a trio of potential matchups that stand out the most to me. At the top of my list is #1 (US) Nathan Jackson vs. #3 (97) Kollin Moore at 92 KG. Moore is coming off a spectacular showing at the Zagreb Open where he beat a pair of Senior World bronze medalists in #5 Osman Nurmagomedov (AZE) and #20 Miriani Maisuradze (GEO) to take gold. Jackson was a Final X runner-up to 2022 92 KG Senior World runner-up #5 (97) J'den Cox, taking a match off the two-time world champion in their three-match series and finished the year off at the World Cup with victories over U23 World champion #7 Amirhossein Firouzpourbandpei (IRI) and 2022 Senior World bronze medalist #20 Miriani Maisuradze (GEO).

    Moore and Jackson do have past history with Moore taking a victory over Jackson in the semifinals of the 2021 World Team Trials.

    The rivalry between 2022 Final X runner-up #2 (US) Chance Marsteller and 2022 U.S. Open champion #6 (US) David McFadden at 79 KG is my second US matchup to keep an eye out for. Currently, the record stands at 2-1 for Marsteller. Marsteller's run during the 2022 season was truly one of the great stories in the wrestling world as the former top recruit battled through hell to smash all expectations and run through one of the USA's deepest weights and take a match off 8x World/Olympic champion #1 (US) Jordan Burroughs at Final X.#3 (US) Evan Wick is another serious contender to watch out for as he is coming off a title at the Henri Deglane Grand Prix with wins over #4 (US) Alex Marinelli and #9 (US) Taylor Lujan.

    At 74 KG, I'm interested to see if #5 (US) Vincenzo Joseph is able to make a rebound from disappointing performances at the World Cup and at the Henri Deglane Grand Prix where he lost to Zandanbud Sumiyabaazar of Mongolia and was tech falled by #4 (US) Joey Lavallee respectively. Joseph was a top-ten staple at 79 KG through the first half of 2022 with victories over #2 (US) Chance Marsteller, #6 (US) David McFadden, #7 (US) Alex Dieringer, and #9 (US) Taylor Lujan. Joseph has the possibility of a rematch against Lavallee and a match against #7 (US) Josh Shields as well. Bolstering the international field at 74 KG is two-time World/Olympic #18 Soner Demirtas (TUR), 2014 Russian Nationals runner-up Iakub Shikhdzhamalov (ROU),
    2021 80KG Cadet World champion Sagar "The One True Jagger" Jaglan (IND), 2016 70 KG Senior World runner-up Nurlan Bekzhanov (KAZ), and Arizona State All-American Anthony Valencia making his international debut for Mexico.

    Thank you, Mr. CEO. There's your wrestling talk for the day. We will now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

    Which boyfriend deserves my plus one for the conference tournament? Rachel Gallardo

    None of them? Or at least hold a tournament where the winner gets the ticket.

    Should high school kids be allowed to wrestle in college opens if they choose to do so? Mat Jerms Media

    I see no issue with it. Seems like the issue in Illinois got fixed and let's hope this brings enough attention to this archaic rule that it gets banished for good.

    What is your take on the recent @CoachDomBC height-fixing allegations? Word is he's not actually six foot four inches. Rumors say he could actually be five foot two inches. Can Liam Cronin put it together at the Big Ten tournament and National tournament after a great regular season? CEO of Italians

    I had the pleasure of seeing big Dom last week and I can't lie, I'm buying into this conspiracy. I thought it was weird that he wore a trench coat in a hot gym all day long and he may be using backup lightweights to stand on so he can appear to be taller than he is. I even heard he grew his hair out for an extra quarter inch for postseason time.

    On a completely related note, I like what Liam Cronin is doing but he could run into some trouble. He has victories over Barnett and McKee, but those guys are tough outs in March. Dean Peterson was right there with him and he hasn't even faced Matt Ramos yet. Everybody talks about how 125 isn't very strong and they aren't exactly wrong about that, but any weight with Spencer will look weak the rest of the way. There are some really good guys here and if Cronin can get through them all next week, then I'll give it a shot at making the finals at the big one.

    Lighter or matches used for your heaters? Eric " The Canadian Assassin" Asselin

    Always a lighter and I like to go Zippo until the fluid runs out and I forget about it again for three years.

    For us Non-Jerseyans, what is a Zingo? The Wrestling Knomad

    Your guess is as good as mine but it is an open tournament this weekend at Rutgers and it's on Big Ten Plus. So if you're starving for action, Zingo it up.

    Who do you have in the upcoming Power Slap PPV main event between Darius "The Destroyer" Mata-Varona and "Wolverine" Ron Bata? Richard A. Mann

    Sorry folks, I wanted to discuss this exhilarating matchup, but we ran out of time.

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