It's finally here. The wrestling season gets started tomorrow, November 1st, and will keep us busy and entertained for the next 5+ Months. Per usual, the season will begin with the NWCA All Star Classic. This years All Star match features no shortage of badass wrestlers, with 19 of them becoming All Americans last year. It also features and NCAA Finals match from last year at 125, and possibly another preview with #1 Dieringer facing off against the third ranked wrestler in his weight class at this years the All Star Classic, in Ethan Ramos of North Carolina. Let's get going though and we can preview my predictions for the NWCA All Star Classic.
125, Moisey over Tomasello
This is an NCAA rematch of last years finals where Tomasello came out on top. Tomasello really had a lot of success with re-attacks off of Moisey's shots and did a great job of avoiding scramble situations that Moisey is so great at winning. With that being said, this pick is a reflection of Moisey improving at such a dramatic rate last year as well as having Sammie Henson to work out with. The Bull was a freak wrestler, and I imagine he will help him become a total monster this year by improving his ability to force scramble situations.
133, Beckman over Bruno
During the podcast I predicted Bruno was going to win this match, and he did beat Beckman at the Southern Scuffle last year in the semi's, but I believe this is Beckman's third time in the All Star Classic, and I believe he improves and gets the job done on the big stage today. He has a win over AJ Schopp two years ago at this event, and will look to get over the .500 mark with a rematch win over Bruno of Michigan.
141 Brewer over Heil
Cody Brewer was a man on a mission last year at the NCAA Tournament. He went on a total tear on his quest to make sure that everyone knew just how good he was, and that not only did he deserve the ranking that he had, but that he was severely underrated. With that being said, he is wrestling the All Star Classic at a weight class above where he will compete this season, but I don't believe the jump from 133 to 141 to be as difficult a jump as some of the other jumps we have seen. He will do an still be able to get to his offense and I expect a dominant win by Brewer over a tough competitor in Dean Heil of Oklahoma State.
BJ Clagon was a monster last year. As a freshman he came in and beat Habat of Edinboro, who was an NCAA Finalist last year, and had some very close matches against other top competition in Jason Tsirtsis. With that being said, he had a loss to Alex Richardson, his All Star Classic Opponent during the season, but it was an overtime loss that which he was able to avenge in the NCAA tournament to get into the 5th and 6th place match. With that being said, I trust that he will continue to get stronger, and better and have something to prove this year in the All Star Classic.
157 Pack over Minotti
Cody Pack was one match short of becoming an All American last year. Realistically, it probably wasn't his bloodhound match that cost him the AA status, but his first round loss to Louis Mascola of Maryland. It's a steep uphill climb when you get knocked down into the consolation bracket that early at such a competitive tournament. With the temultuous offseason that he had along with his disappointing finish at the NCAA's, I feel like he has a lot to prove. That, and I don't really trust that Minotti is that good. He beat Eric Grajales in the Midlands finals a couple years back, and I haven't liked him since. Sorry Mitch, it's the San Antonio Spurs syndrome. They beat the Pistons in the 05 finals, and now I hate them forever. Pack gets the win.
165 Dieringer over Ramos *AMMENDED* - It appears that Dieringer isn't participating and pulled out late (haha) of the tournament. Thanks to my wrestling fanatic twitter friends for making me aware ASAP. Below is what I originally predicted of the match.
Everyone knows how good Dieringer is, and what to expect from him in any match. Relentless assault on his opponents legs and punishment from the top position. He makes it very clear who the better wrestler is, and makes it clear early on in the match. Remember when he wrestled undefeated Joey Davis at 180 something pounds this summer and took him apart? That was awesome. He is on a mission to win the hodge, so I imagine that's how the season will end. With respect to how it will begin, it's going to be a blow out. I was impressed with Ramos over the summer, and expect to see some improvement from last year, but I didn't realize how his season ended last year. Ramos made it to the semi's where he lost to Taylor Walsh, then he lost to Jackson Morse, followed by another loss to Nick Sulzer of Virginia. Thankfully for him, all three of those wrestlers have graduated, but he was beat up for his last three NCAA matches last year, and was dismantled by Dieringer earlier in the year by a score of 17-6. I'm predicting a major decision by Dieringer to finish this off.
174 Epperly over Crutchmer
This was a tough call, but I was really impressed with Epperly last year in his Freshman campaign. The majority of his losses last year came to Blaise Butler, having wrested 4 times and losing three of them. He managed to pin Butler in their fourth match, and finished the year strong. I trust that he will continue to improve and start the season off with a big win. I hope that Crutchmer having Dieringer as a training partner doesn't come back and prove me wrong.
184 Brown over Stauffer
On the podcast, I picked Stauffer. I picked him because I believe that with the additions in the room and to the coaching staff in the last year or so, he could continue to improve and take his wrestling to another level. Shortly thereafter, I reviewed Brown's record from last year, and realized that his 6 losses were to two wrestlers (Max Thomusseit gave him two, and Gabe Dean gave him four). Also, he is an NCAA finalist, so I'll go with that over a dude who lost at one point to Kenny Courts. Courts didn't even with his challenge match! Brown wins.
197 Max Huntley over Conner Hartman
Enough can't be said for how underrated and how equally overrated both Max Huntley and Conner Hartman are respectively. Max was a huge recruit coming out of Blair Academy, and has had an injury plagued career up until this point. Last year was the first time he has had a full year of competition in a couple years. He finished 8th after bumping up a weight class and finally having a chance to compete for a full year. Think about the training and development he didn't get through his time at Michigan because of concussions, torn pectoral, and a variety of other bumps and bruises. With that being said, Conner Hartman's shoulder harness doesn't scare me or tell me anything. I don't believe he is better than Morgan McIntosh, or that he was one of the top 5 wrestlers at 197 last year.
285 Coon over Walz
Adam Coon is a super athletic and giant man. So far in his college career, he knocked off the two time defending National Champ as a true freshman, responded after a disappointing Freshman year with a second place finish, and is now returning for his true Junior season to beat the snot our of anyone in his path. He lost the NCAA title by one point last year, and I know that his coaches aren't going to let that happen again. Ty Walz beat Adam last season, but I feel confident in his approach to the season, and that he has yet to reach his full potential. Not by a long shot.