The 2022 NCAA Champions; 5 from Penn State (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Welcome to another edition of the summer mailbag! It's Friday morning and I'm dabbling in some U17 Worlds while writing this. The problem I've always had with some of these events is having to watch in the middle of the night. I just can't do it. But I do love some early morning competition. There's nothing quite like the sounds of whistles and squeaking shoes on the mat to jolt you awake. It's almost Pavlovian at this point since we all grew up going to some tournaments and camps that start at the crack of dawn. Sometimes I even cut a little weight when I wake up and then hit the scales before having a bagel and a juice box just to get that old-time feeling back. Alright, I'm rambling. Let's get to the mailbag as very important matters like Penn State champs and painting toenails are on the docket this morning.
What school would you most like to see add wrestling and why that team? Wiems19
Notre Dame of course. Toss in a Clemson and now you have an ACC with eight teams. Both schools already have wrestling history and enough money to fund programs that can find immediate success. The ACC already has a TV deal with ESPN (and the ACC Network). With these additions, the conference can become the clear number two in the country. Next thing you know, the Worldwide Leader is regularly airing duals on one of their actual networks. Next thing you know, Friday Night Duals with Shawn Kenney and Rock Harrison is the hottest thing on ESPN2. That's how you grow the sport.
If Gable does not come back, how likely is it that Penn State ends up with five champions? What are we going to do with Clay Sauertieg if this happens? Richard Mann
I give it about a fifteen percent chance. The Fightin' Caels seem to make the extraordinary look easy these days, as they've already accomplished this feat twice in the last few years, but it's still a tall task. Even after all we've seen I can't just lock in RBY as "next topic." Fix is just too good and you never know when he finally puts it together in the finals. I am starting to think Starocci is "next topic," but his two finals wins were both in overtime and Mekhi Lewis isn't going anywhere. After a year of adjusting to 174 under his belt, anything is possible for the New Jersey Hokie. Think 2017 Sadulaev compared to 2018 and beyond Sadualev. Once he adjusted, it was all over for the rest of the world.
Aaron Brooks might be the biggest lock of the bunch. I'll never pick against him. But he's not invincible and still has two monsters at his weight in Hoagie Hidlay and Parker Keckeisen. The road will not be easy. Max Dean also had to scratch and claw his way to the top of the podium last season and will have his share of landmines to deal with if he wants to get there again. He's no lock.
Now we get to G.D. Kerkvliet. Is he good enough to win it all? Absolutely. A lock? Far from it. This is why I'm not keen on Gable Steveson coming back. It takes away all the fun of the weight. We know he can beat Mason Parris. We also know he has problems with Cassioppi of Iowa. On top of that, Parris tends to beat Cassioppi on the reg. I haven't even mentioned Cohlton Schultz yet and he made the finals last year. So can they do five champs again? Sure they can. It will be tough but one thing we do know is that when Cael's guys get to the finals, they usually perform quite well. As far as our dear friend Clay is concerned, he has to spend the rest of the year rooting for the Cowboys and Phillies. We can let him have this one.
I often let my daughters paint my toenails (girl dad life). Sometimes they let me pick the colors. What color should I choose? Luke Wise
I'm not sure asking a color-blind person this question is the best idea. Your best bet is probably something to match your eye color. Or maybe something light to bring out the summer vibes. A light blue or green might be your best bet. Maybe paint a couple of flowers on there. It's open-toe season and if we have to stare at your nasty feet for three months at least give us some art.
I repeat my question from last week, plus if a picture is worth a thousand words, please give me your interpretation of this. Seth Petarra
First off, I don't remember your question from last week and I don't think you do, either. For those without access to Twitter, this man sent me a picture of Danny DeVito wearing a derby, holding some kind of stringed instrument along and a lemon, while holding a limoncello in the other hand. It's quite the scene. All it makes me think about is when the Always Sunny in Philadelphia star made a drunken appearance on The View, because he was up all night knocking back limoncellos with George Clooney. How many people can say that "Yo T, remember when I showed up hammered on that talk show, because I got wasted with George Clooney the night before?" Saying I passed out on Willie's couch because I had too many Bud Heavies at the local Easton watering hole just doesn't have the same charm to it.
Alright all you Jagoffs and Jaggettes, this guy needs to put the keyboard away and get to his day job. Enjoy Cadet/U17/U16 or whatever they are calling Worlds this weekend. There's nothing better than watching the future stars of the sport make their mark. I shall cheer for them. This Iranian on right now looks about 27 years old.