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Opening Round Stumbles

Photo: Jeff Beshey

Photo: Jeff Beshey

In the opening round, every team that has a chance at winning the 2015 NCAA title is already thinking "what if". Overall 16 top ten seeds and 33 seeds fell in a chaotic opening session and the top teams were not immune to the onslaught. 

Iowa may have taken the brunt of the attack with #3 Bobby Telford and #5 Josh Dziewa falling in the first round. While both can battle back in the consolations, there were high hopes for both getting top 4 finishes for their teams and even a final appearance for Telford. 

Missouri had their own disappointment with #4 John Eblen and #9 Joseph LaVallee falling in their first bouts. Eblen has had a great season and looked poised to challenge the "big 4" from the Big Ten. Instead everyone is shocked to see him lose to a guy who was 22-16 coming in. 

Ohio State finishes the first session in 1st place if that means anything. #10 Mark Martin falling is significant in the team race, and while unseeded, the health of Hunter Stieber caused him to drop his first match. The way Stieber looked it is doubtful he will be a factor unfortunately. The Buckeyes were able to get one back when Kenny Courts upset #6 Hayden Zillmer (North Dakota State) in overtime. 

Cornell was able to advance six in to the next round but did lose one seeded wrestler with #9 Jace Bennett losing. Cornell has some big horses to counter their depth.

The losses to Iowa & Missouri have to encourage Ohio State, Minnesota, and Cornell. These teams are more reliant on their top scorers than overall depth. In 2014, Oklahoma State was able to score 96.5 points with 5 all-americans. That score may win the thing this year. 

It's also worth noting that the walking wounded did not fare well in the first round. Jesse Delgado (Illinois) did defeat #8 Tyler Cox (Wyoming), but the rest of the banged up name guys did not advance. AJ Schopp (Edinboro), Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State), Hunter Stieber (Ohio State), and throw Alex Polizzi (NorthWestern) and Timmy McCall (Wisconsin) in to that mix that were clearly not at their best. It's really unfortunate to see, but of course a reality in wrestling.