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Five Big NCAA Wrestling Questions for the New Year

Per one Tweet that you may or may not have seen, I’m embarking on my resolution of sorts to write something for the site each and every week of 2019. I used to write a lot, and it was always a lot of fun, and it was always when I had 0 children and nothing but free time. However, that’s how much I care. I have the smallest amount of free time imaginable, and I’m choosing to use it here. You’re welcome. When it comes to writing, I always paid attention to little tidbits of advice that I’d hear from some of my favorite writers. Bill Simmons recommended that you find writers that you enjoy, and read a lot to find your style. I don’t read as much as I should, but I have certainly put forth an effort to read more articles of late. In my quest to read more, I found Shea Serrano, who is absolutely my favorite writer. He writes a lot about basketball, and music, and he’s hilarious. Seriously, if you haven’t read any of his stuff, it’s excellent, and I can recommend it without reservation. One piece of advice I learned from him, was that stealing ideas from others is completely okay!!! Thank goodness, because I’m going to need someplace to pull material from if I’m going to come up with ideas for 52 straight weeks. Anyway, let’s embark on the 5 big questions about the NCAA wrestling season for 2019.

What is 133 going to look like March? More or less I’m talking about seeding, but I expect things to be vastly different than they look right now. The top 9 of the top 12 ranked wrestlers on Intermat are in either the Big Ten or Big 12, two others are from the ACC, leaving one more from the MAC. Cool Kevin, what of it, you’re probably thinking. Well, I expect many of these wrestlers to trade wins and losses with each other. We’ll have Micic v Suriano and Pletcher, and Lizak, and Desanto and everyone’s favorite new toy, Roman Bravo Young in the Big 10. In addition to variations of those match ups where those guys wrestle one another. So that’ll be crazy, not to mention the Big 12 where we should hopefully see Gross back and competing, where I expect him to tilt and turn the likes of Daton Fix, Austin Gomez, and returning AA Montorie Bridges. He may not, but point being, several of these dudes will have several losses and upset wins within their own conferences on their way to the conference tournaments, and ultimately to the NCAA Tournament. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out, and I’m stoked to see it all go down.

What happened to the depth at 157? I’m in two fantasy wrestling leagues. Yes two. I’m a crazy person. Anyway, I can speak first hand at the fact that there aren’t enough 157 pound wrestlers that I’m confident in yet. I waited on that weight, and now I’m basically screwed. One guy I took doesn’t appear to be coming out of red shirt, and the other seems to be bumping up weight classes. I feel like in the past, this has been one of the more competitive and deep weight classes. I’m not sure if it’s a reflection of less weight being cut than in the past (at least I think they are cutting less weight) leading to a natural rise of athletes in 165 and 174 (these weights are way more fun to watch than they used to be), or if it’s simply the Jason Nolf affect. Think about it though, it wasn’t long ago that we had guys like Martinez, Green, Nolf, Minotti, Murphy, Miller, etc… That year, 2015, Anthony Collica and Cody Pack were knocked out of the Bloodround (what up). This year however, there isn’t quite the same depth. Many guys are either bumping up, or cutting down. You even see guys redshirting this season, who could be contributing to help their teams dramatically. Not to discount anyones development either, but there are several wrestlers who have surprised me with how highly they are ranked at 157 this year, and I’m not sure it’s a direct reflection of their abilities vs the talent pool at that weight. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to wait out Nolf’s senior year at all. Wrestling that guy seems to be a punishment worse than death. Remember when he just beat the piss out of his own teammate in the finals of the Southern Scuffle? That was completely insane. He hit a standing Jones Tilt!!! Anyway, 157 next year is going to be right back to the depth that we’ve seen traditionally. Guys like Carr, Lewan, and D’Angelo will be out of their redshirts. In addition, 7 of Intermat’s top 10 ranked 157 pounders are Juniors or younger, so we should see some of that depth return.

Are we entering a new Golden Age of Heavyweights? Yes. I’ll answer this one right now. Yes we are. It’s not really fair to complain about a 6 year stretch where we had Tony Nelson, Jacob Kasper, Ty Walz, Kyle Snyder, Adam Coon, and Nick Gwiazdowski, and how this is a worse class of heavyweights. Of course it is. Those guys were some of the best and most exciting to watch for a long time. We should be lucky that we got to see it, and embrace the incoming big cats, and the ones we still have. It’s not the days of Dustin Fox, just leaning on people for 7 minutes until someone makes a mistake. These guys are exciting, athletic, and fast moving heavyweights. Derek White, Anthony Cassar, Trent Hilger, Jordan Wood, and Matt Stencel are all fast moving and shot taking heavyweights. I weigh 165 and walk around at 5’10”, so seeing these behemoths shooting doubles, singles, and fireman’s carries is absolutely incredible. Then you get into the young guns, Gable Steveson, and recently entered into the fray, Mason Parris, certainly fit the bill for athletic and exciting. Not to forget guys like Anthony Cassiopi, and incoming guys like Schultz, who will continue to push the heavyweight brand to being where I believe it is now, and that’s one of the most exciting weight classes to watch. I could NOT have said that 10 years ago.

Is Sebastian Rivera going to win the NCAA Title this year? I don’t think so, but it’s possible. He looked excellent in the Midlands finals, sure, but you know what this reminded me a lot of? Brandon Precin knocking off Matt McDonough in the Midlands finals several years ago. Precin, also a Northwestern wrestler, was facing defending NCAA Champ - Matt McDonough - in the Midlands finals, and they may have also been ranked #1 and #2 at the time respectively. Precin got the win, to the delight of his home crowd (Midlands take place on the campus of Northwestern if for some reason you are reading this and didn’t know that). Later that year, the two of them met in the NCAA Semi Finals, where McDonough beat Precin once more, before losing to Robles in the finals. Point being, that’s a huge win for Rivera, and all the credit in the world should go to him, but these two are going to meet many more times in the next 3 years, and don’t think that Lee losing this match in December doesn’t mean that the rest of the 125 pound weight class is now entering a world of pain. It’s about to get nasty.

Are there any more Bloodround Hats available? This is the burning question everyone has been asking. Yes. There are 2-3 left, as well as shirts in all sizes. Email us through the website, or you can DM me on Twitter @claunchinator. Don’t forget to go to Adidaswrestling.com, and use promo code Blood20 to get 20% off your purchases there as well.

Well, this has been fun. I’m looking forward to the next 51 weeks of writing stupid stuff like this for all to enjoy. Rock on!