WrestleStat Team Rankings Changes?

One of the main features of my website is the ability for any wrestling fan to be able to update different pieces of information about wrestlers, for example: eligibility/class, weight, redshirt status, starter status. This has been one of the principles that I had set for the website because I wanted users/fans to feel more like they “own” it.

Because of that ability, it directly affects how the team rankings are generated. In case you’re not aware of how the team rankings work, here’s a short description: team rankings are calculated by taking the ranking value of all 10 starters, and adding them together.

So, since the starter status for a wrestler is allowed to be changed by any user/fan, that means they can DIRECTLY influence how a team gets ranked.

Here’s my problem, there are some users out there that are apparently very anti-{insert team here}, and because of that, they are purposely setting the starter for some wrestlers/teams to guys that are the worst ranked wrestler on said team. Then, when the next set of rankings comes out, those teams slide down the rankings because of those changes. That’s not fair to those teams, and it also makes the WrestleStat rankings look bad.

Fortunately for me, I have written two versions of the team rankings process, one that is ranked based on the 10 starters, and one that is ranked based on the highest ranked, non-redshirting wrestler at each weight.

This has been going on for a few weeks now, and usually someone points out “why is {insert team here} team ranked so low?”. I’d then go do some quick research (first stop is always checking who the current starters are), and quickly find out that it’s because of the exact scenario that I laid out above.

Now, I haven’t wanted to do the rankings this way, but stuff like this may be forcing my hand. The reason why I have NOT wanted to do this, is because of situations like Oklahome State. Kaid Brock is ranked around #6 right now, and his shirt has been pulled, then he gets a season-ending injury. He’s obviously not designated as the starter right now since everyone knows he’s not going to wrestle again this season, but if I’m forced to make the change to the rankings process, he WOULD be used as the 133 pound wrestler for Oklahoma State’s ranking.

The only other way to get around this, is to implement another “status” on wrestlers, something like “Is Injured”. This would be checked for each wrestler if they are/were going to be out for any extended amount of team, and then the rankings process could completely ignore them when generating the team rankings.

For an example this week, Northern Iowa had Jarrett Jensen set as the starter at 149, and Zach Witte at 157.

Team Rankings

So, here’s your chance to be heard…

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Most Anticipated Matchups for the Remainder of the Season (165 – 285)

Here’s the 2nd installment of my crazy thoughts from last weekend. Let’s get to it!

165 – #1 Alex Dieringer vs #2 Bo Jordan (Comparison)

This one was pretty much a no-brainer. I don’t think there’s anyone close to Dieringer’s level, but if there was, it would be Jordan. I was having a discussion on a forum today about Dieringer’s career…it’s damn impressive! 32 – 1 as a sophomore, then undefeated since then (WrestleStat only goes back to the 2013-2014 season, and I’m too lazy to go look up stats before that). So for 3 seasons, he’s 81 – 1, with 61 of those matches ending with bonus points, WOW! In my opinion, he is #1A for the Hodge award (you’ll see later in this post who is #1B).

Bo Jordan has had ALMOST an equally impressive resume. Jordan does not have as high of bonus point percentage through his career, but he’s also a lot younger. He was undefeated during his redshirt season, then he had two losses last season, one to his cousin in the Big Ten finals, then a loss to Dieringer at the NCAA tournament. I believe both of these guys are going to finish the season undefeated, until the NCAA finals again.

My prediction: The last time these two met up, Dieringer won 6 – 1. I still don’t see how this [hopeful] matchup will end up any different. Dieringer is an elite wrestler, and will prove it getting his 3rd national championship. I’ll go out on a limb and say this won will be closer to a 9 – 3 decision this time. He’s just too hard to score on.

Special note: I really wanted to pick Steven Rodriguez of Illinois. That guy has bumped up 3 weight classes this season, and is still doing extremely well.

174 – #1 Kyle Crutchmer vs #3 Bo Nickal (Comparison)

At the beginning of the season, this weight appeared to be the most up-in-the-air. Crutchmer came into the season #1, and already has 2 losses on the season, but the ranking algorithm still likes him at #1. He’s lost to #4 Ethan Ramos by 1, and fellow teammate, #10 Chandler Rogers by 2.

Bo Nickal, another Penn State wrestler that continues to impress this season. He’s had just one loss this season to Nate Jackson of Indiana, where he got thrown to his back early, and didn’t have enough time to come back for the win (did he get that takedown?).  Nickal has had a tremendous career so far, and he’s also putting up a lot of bonus points for Penn State this season, getting bonus pionts in 2 out of 3 matches that he wrestles.

My prediction: Nickal wrestles an extremely exciting, high-scoring style, while it appeared that Crutchmer started to get worn down by Alex Meyer’s motor in the first match of the season. Was that just because of the first match of the season, or will Crutchmer start to get drained in the 3rd period and allow Nickal to wear him out? I see this shaping up that way, with Nickal opening it up in the 3rd to take down Crutchmer 11 – 5.

184 – #1 Gabe Dean vs #8 Sam Brooks (Comparison)

Is anyone going to be able to beat Dean? One of the few wrestlers to take down Ed Ruth, he has continued to be extremely dominant this season, going undefeated this season while only having 3 matches that WEREN’T decided by bonus points. That includes MD’s over #4 Abounader, and #14 Lorenzo Thomas.

Brooks, now this was a tossup for me between Brooks and Miklus, but since Dean has already taken out Miklus this season (only 3 – 2), I went with Brooks. Last year, Brooks took Dean down to the wire losing 3 – 2. Brooks relentless style could very well cause Dean some fits, especially with the new stalling rules, if they continue to call them. Brooks has 1 (2 if you count losing to David Taylor) this season to #7 Hayden Zillmer at the Midlands tournament, that was right after he had already beaten him in the same tournament. I’m wondering if his head wasn’t in it after losing to David Taylor.

My prediction: With the new stalling rules, I have a feeling, if these two meet up, that this will be a more exciting match this time, with one of the two wrestlers getting throw to their back (Brooks initiating, but may or may not finish), although in the end, I think Brooks will let this one slip out of his hands and lose 6 – 5.

197 – #1 Morgan McIntosh vs #2 J’Den Cox (Comparison)

McIntosh is one of the few wrestlers to take down World Champion Kyle Snyder, and after his 3rd place finish last season, he’s blowing through his competition this year going undefeated, with only 3 non-bonus point victories.

Cox is putting together a solid season so far, except for the disqualification he received against Wellington back in December. I’m still a little surprised that he took 5th last year, after being a national champion in his true freshman season.

My prediction: I see Cox making it to the finals again this year, where I believe he will meet up with McIntosh, but this time, Cox is going to come out on top in a close, low-scoring match, 5 – 3.

285 – #1 Nick Gwiazdowski vs #3 Kyle Snyder (Comparison)

How impressive has Gwiz (I’m not going to keep typing his full name) been throughout his career. I know I was skeptical his sophomore year because he didn’t have to run through the gauntlet of the Big Ten schedule and tournament, but he proved everyone wrong, taking out Tony Nelson, Adam Chalfant, and Mike McClure all in the same tournament. THAT’S impressive! Since then, he goes undefeated last season, winning another national championship, beating Adam Coon in the finals. And now this season, he’s still undefeated. That’s quite the resume at any weight, but to do this at heavyweight is pretty remarkable. That’s why, if all holds, and he goes undefeated this year, he is my #1B pick for the Hodge award.

Snyder, have you heard of him? He’s a world champion. I was going to place Adam Coon in this spot for another re-match, but how can you pick against Snyder? I realize he didn’t win last year (at 197), and is bumping up a weight, and probably giving up a bunch of weight to the heavyweights, but you can’t deny his ability. In his first match this season, he majored Collin Jensen of Nebraska.

My prediction: I’m not even sure Snyder will be able to make the finals at heavyweight while giving up so much weight, but you can’t argue that this would be the most intriguing matchup of the NCAA tournament. If this match happens, I’m going to say that Gwiz will be too much (experienced in folkstyle, and by weight) for Snyder, with a final score of 4 – 3.

So here’s my list of weights I’d like to see:

  1. 285
  2. 149
  3. 157
  4. 165
  5. 125
  6. 133
  7. 184
  8. 197
  9. 174
  10. 141

Update: It has been brought to my attention that I was incorrect on the Cox/McIntosh finish from last season. The write-up has been updated.

Most Anticipated Matchups for the remainder of the season

There were some match results this past weekend that sparked alot of thought, and awe, and it got me thinking about what matchups I’d like to see sometime this season. These will end up being a lot of #1’s vs #2’s, but I feel they are ones that a lot of people will want to see, so let’s get started.

125 – #1 Nathan Tomasello vs #2 Thomas Gilman (Comparison)

I may be biased here, but Gilman has been ripping through opponents this season, bonusing in all but 2 matches. That includes a MD over #5 Eddie Klimara of OSU in his opening match of the season.

Tomasello has been equally impressive this year, with all but 3 matches ending with bonus points. Right now, Tomasello has the best win under his belt, beating #3 Joey Dance of VaTech back in early December.

In their careers, these two guys are 1 – 1 against each other, where Gilman won in the dual last January, and then Tomasello avenging that loss at the Big Ten tournament last year. Both of those matches were 1 point victories. If/when these two meet up again, you’d have to expect another low-scoring match.

My prediction: I see Gilman opening it up more this season, and will be able to get an early takedown, which will get Tomasello into a position he’s not used to, and will try and force stuff a little too much, and fall short in the end. I’m calling this a 6 – 4 match for Gilman.

133 – #1 Nahshon Garrett vs #3 Cory Clark (Comparison)

Apparently the move up to 133 has helped Garrett. He is wrestling better here, than he was back down at 125. Not only is he undefeated, with 25 wins, but he’s also beaten the returning national champion pretty easily (14 – 9), and has 4 wins against top 10 opponents already this season, including a MD over #5 Conaway. This guy has to be in consideration for the Hodge award this season.

Clark has been having an impressive season, until the Midlands. In his quarterfinal match he tweaked a knee, and had to medical forfeit out of the tournament. Obviously, all Hawk fans were very worried about their only returning finalist being out for any length of time, but Clark showed up in the next dual. With a wrap around his entire leg, Clark lost in SV to Zane Richards of Illinois. Last year, Richards gave Clark a loss, but then Clark came back later that season to beat him fairly easily 8 – 2. Was the loss this season because Clark is/was still not 100%? Very possible, he’s looked much better in his following matches.

My prediction: It’s hard telling if these two will ever meet up this season. If they do, you’d have to assume that it will be in the finals of the NCAA tournament. This is another match that I’d LOVE to see. IF they do meet up, I see Garrett’s explosiveness as being too much for Clark, as he lets guys in on his legs too easy, 7 – 4.

141 – #2 Joseph McKenna vs #8 Micah Jordan (no common opponents)

I would’ve picked Heil vs McKenna here, but we’ve already seen Heil take him down (even though it was by TB), but a potential rematch would definitely be appealing. I’m not picking that matchup because the other intriguing wrestler at this weight is Micah Jordan (in place of Heil).

McKenna is having a fantastic true freshman season (if you want to call it “true”) where he has already beaten 2 top 10 opponents. Obviously, his only loss on the season is to #1 Heil, which I already mentioned above. He’s come into this season with a lot of hype, and has definitely performed so far.

Micah Jordan came to college slated for 157 pounds. After the injury to Hunter Steiber last year, Ryan toyed with the idea of pulling his shirt and having him wrestle at 149 pounds. He built a solid resume their (last season) going undefeated at that weight, including knocking off Solomon Chisko two times. With the expected return of Hunter Steiber, Jordan made the decision to go down ANOTHER weight to wrestle at 141. That weight cut appears to not be affecting him, as he’s also having a fantastic redshirt freshman season where he’s got only 1 loss to #7 Manley, and has a win over #10 Chisko (again), and a MD over #13 Watson.

My prediction: These are very two very young wrestles that have a bright future. If/when they square off, I see McKenna pulling out an extremely close win, only for the fact that he appears to be slightly more battle-tested, 3 – 2.

149 – #1 Brandon Sorensen vs #2 Zain Retherford (Comparison)

Sorensen has steadily improved in his sophomore season. He has already knocked-off Tshirt this season, back at the Midlands tournament, and they met again in the dual at Northwestern. In that match, Sorensen was in another takedown, but before he could finish it, Tshirt got injured and had to default out of the match. Sorensen hasn’t had too many quality opponents, besides Tshirt (twice) and Sueflohn, but he’s won all 3 matches.

Retherford, all I can say is, WOW! When I first heard that he was moving up to 149, I thought that he be a solid AA candidate. At this point, he appears to be the front-runner and expected to win a national championship here. Retherford is coming up a huge win over Tshirt, where he won by MD 15 – 5. Tshirt is known to have some of the best defense in college wrestling, and for Retherford to put up 15 on him, is truly impressive. Is Tshirt still feeling the effects of his injury during the match against Sorensen? Don’t know, but he did appear to want to finish the match against Sorensen so it must not have been too bad.

My prediction: At this point, I’d bet you won’t find too many Hawk fans that would even predict a Sorensen win here. Retherford appears to have taken a major step in the last two seasons since placing 5th at 141 in his true freshman season. Sorensen also has phenomenal defense, but I see Retherford being too much for him here, winning 5 – 3.

157 – #1 Isaiah Martinez vs #2 Jason Nolf (Comparison)

In my opinion, the Hodge award this season is between Martinez and Dieringer. It’s extremely impressive with what Martinez has accomplished in his short college career. Only 2 losses his redshirt season, then going undefeated as a redshirt freshman and winning the national championship. This season, he’s bonus’d every match, except for two. One was an odd 2 – 0 decision over #52 Gene Oliver Pierce (which I’m chalking up as an anomoly), and then an 11 – 5 decision over #6 OSU’s Joe Smith. All of his other wins are by TF, or Fall, there aren’t even any MD’s in there!

Nolf is also having an extemely impressive season, definitely living up to the hype from when he was recruited to Penn State. This season he already has 4 wins over top 10 opponents, and only 2 wins that were NOT decided by bonus points, versus the #4 and #6 ranked guys.

My prediction: This is my 2nd most anticipated matchup of the season (behind 149). The way these two wrestlers go, it is going to be a wild, high-scoring matchup. We should get a chance to see these two go at it in their dual on January 23rd, which I feel will be installment #1 of 3. For this first bout, I see Martinez taking a close one 11 – 8. Who knows what will happen after that (at B1G’s and NCAA’s).

This took a lot more time than I thought, I’ll try and come up with the remaining weights either today or tomorrow. Stay tuned!