North Carolina All-American Lachlan McNeil (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Well, the season has come to an end. I know wrestling goes all year but the college season just hits differently. It’s like a slow-building symphony that ends with an epic crescendo in March. Or for you younger folks, the guitar finale of Freebird. So now we turn our attention to National qualifiers, international tournaments at strange hours, and me struggling to come up with something to talk about in July. Congratulations to all the placers this year and next week I'll figure out the newest members of the All-Jagger team. I still don’t know the criteria for that so I’m just gonna wing it. On to your questions.
Lachlan McNeil. Future champ? Eric in Ottawa
Not since “Rowdy” Roddy Piper smashed a coconut over Jimmy Snuka’s head has a Scottish-Canadian made such an impact on American wrestling until Lachlan McNeil. The redshirt freshman from UNC took advantage of a wide-open 141 class and left Tulsa with a fourth-place finish. A 6-4 loss to eventual champ Andrew Alirez shows that the Wyoming Seminary product is right there with everyone at his weight. I’d expect a finals appearance at some point in the next few years. That’s a good name, too, Lachlan. I also possess a government name that’s Scottish so I can dig it.
Serious question…what rank will Nino Bonaccorsi receive from the CEO of Italians now that he’s an NCAA champion? Has to be like capo or something, right? Jkos11
Let’s just say the books are being opened for the first time in a long time. Can’t really say much more because, you know, omerta and whatnot. Speaking of the Don..
Who do you think out of the NCAA All-Italian-American team has the best chance of winning a national title next year? CEO of Italians
The easy answer is Carter Starocci, but he’s going to tease us for the next year if he’s ever coming back. Even though Sammy Sasso brings his backpack to the mat, he’ll also be back next year and should be the favorite at 149 or 157. Certainly, Anthony Noto and Eddie Ventresca can contend in what will be a new era at 125, but Matt Ramos has to be considered the top guy there right now.
Best place for a nice dinner near the Prudential Center? Kevin Mcguigan
When in Newark you positively have to try one of the numerous Portuguese Rodizio restaurants for the finest cooked meats. Their meat just cannot be beaten. As Twitter user Aaron Bartlett pointed out, Taste of Portugal is only ten minutes away. It seems like a good place to start.
What would your walkout song be for the NCAA finals? Shane Thomas
So many choices. I think you have to use every resource to find an edge and your intro music is no different. You need something that’s going to rattle your opponent and throw him off his game. I’ll go with “Happy" by Pharrell Williams. The trick is that I’ll wear headphones playing an entirely different song. Let’s see my opponent concentrate with that trash song stuck in his head when the whistle blows.
Rank my outfits from this weekend. Rachel Gallardo
I wouldn’t call myself Mr. Blackwell here, but I did notice a denim jacket with an InterMat patch on the back. Get me one of those with a Motley Crue patch and you get a perfect ten from me.
Rank the NCAA champions by toughest dads. Indiana Mat
Why is everyone asking me to rank things? I’m not even in the official guild. I’m not privy to the entire dad roster but I assure you I am not talking trash to the Parris family if I see them in a bar. Did you see the dad? He looks like he’d chop down a tree in the morning just to get some syrup for his flapjacks.
Who needs friends when you got Noir? Coach Scott Green Wegmans Enjoyer
You don’t! Jagger Noir is all you need! Well, that and some Bleu Cheese. Seriously though, I want to thank the wrestling community for letting me in. I have no credentials, no medals, no connections, and sometimes no filter. Just a Twitter account and my cunning to get me through and you’ve all allowed me to make some great friends along this journey. I never thought in a million years I’d be writing a column of any kind and we’ve now made it through two full college seasons. I have no idea how long this will last but I truly enjoy connecting with all of you on a daily basis. Speaking of friends...
A wrestler that you weren’t entirely familiar with before NCAA’s that you’ll watch closely going forward. Earl B. Smith, Nats Enjoyer
Pretty much the entire Oregon State team. As Twitter user Matt Sganga said, it can be tough to keep up with the PAC-12 conference. There isn’t a ton of turnover in head coaches at this level and it’s even rarer to see a large school hire a rookie head coach. The Chris Pendleton hire looks like a slam dunk already as the Beavers have already captured a conference title. It will be interesting to see if he turns them into a major player or if another OSU comes calling. Until then, I’m on that Beaver Train. And they get to say dam a lot, too. I admit I also haven’t seen much of Wyatt Hendrickson. He’s quite a thing.