2015 was another excellent year in the wrestling world. There were some highs and a few lows, but everything considered the wrestling family should be happy about a lot as we enter a very fun olympic year.
Running a wrestling website and podcast, albeit a sophomoric one, may have never been easier. There were wrestling things to talk about on and off the mat all year long. In no particular order, let's see the moments of the year.
- The United States hosted the World Championships and it resulted in four world championships staying domestic. Helen Maroulis & Adeline Gray dominated their brackets, Jordan Burroughs reclaimed his best wrestler in the world acclaim, and Kyle Snyder became the youngest American to ever wear the crown.
- Foxcatcher may have been a disappointment, but we saw two of the best wrestling documentaries ever produced (30 For 30: Prince of Pennsylvania and Kolat by FloWrestling). To finish the year, FloCasts will release their first ever full-length feature named "Terry".
- "I just want some ice cream." The perfect reply to an asshole Oprah-like question came moments after Kyven Gadson won his NCAA title with a pin over Snyder. An amazing moment with an individual accomplishment.
- Speaking of great moments, Robby Smith was going for bronze against the Russian, Mahkov. Smith fought so hard the Russian couldn't walk off the stage. Smith didn't win the medal, but he did show the world what being a tough American wrestler is all about. It's the reason we love that our sons and daughters wrestle. It makes you push harder and become tougher. And by the way, what happened to calling pins in Greco in this match?
- Cleveland State and Northern State announced they were dropping their wrestling programs. However, both were reversed rather quickly through various changes. It's not a good sign that colleges continue to look at wrestling as an easy place to cut a male sport, but it's maybe a good sign for wrestling that we were able to stop it. Maybe we are growing some much needed lobbying power.
- Rule changes have been rather radical than subtle in college, freestyle, and greco. Some have been for the better and some have not. Will this reactionary trend continue or level off at some point? 2015 will be remembered for such.
- Isiah Martinez (Illinois) became the first undefeated freshman national champion since Lord Cael. We have seen freshmen champs before but none as dominant as IMar. It was incredible to watch and many had their doubts up until the Big Ten Finals against Dylan Ness.
- Ohio State won their first national championship. The tournament post National Duals was supposed to be a 5-team toss up. Missouri & Iowa had top to bottom strength while Ohio State, Cornell, and Minnesota had individual firepower that made them dangerous. The Buckeyes trio of freshmen joined Logan Steiber & Kenny Courts giving them 5 semi-finalists good enough for the title. While the Buckeyes deserve all the credit in the world, they won fair & square, the other four contenders just didn't have a good tournament. Iowa took 2nd with 84 points, a very low score for a top 2 team. We should look positively at this year as a new program won a national championship. Only 8 different schools have won NCAA Wrestling titles since 1967, in D1 football you only have to go back to 2001 to get 8 different schools.
- Of course, Ohio State Wrestling had more reasons to cheer after March. Kyle Snyder became the youngest American to win a World Championship and knocked off the top guy in a great match to do it. It was a moment not just the Buckeyes were rooting for as the United States Wrestling family went nuts for the accomplishment!
- All sports have conspiracy theories. Wrestling doesn't have as many as other sports, but watching Jon Reader vs Ed Ruth certainly lends to the idea of fowl play.
The Grapple on the Gridiron was the Tom Brands response to Cael breaking their attendance record, but it ended up being a success for wrestling as a whole. Over 40,000 people attended the outdoor wrestling match between Iowa and Oklahoma State.
Overall a positive year in wrestling though and a lot of fun. If I'm allowed to be a homer here, Brighton winning their first state championship was one of the best moments and I got to see it in person.
What did we miss? Please feel free to share your moment below!