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:
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.