Who’s #1 went down last night at Lehigh University. It had a different feel from last year with fewer wrestling celebrities in attendance and either a smaller crowd or maybe just a little more reserved. I find it telling about the health of wrestling in the Lehigh Valley that it wasn’t a sell out. Lehigh University has also seen a drop in attendance recently. Lots of locals attribute this to an aging fan base? Even the last Penn State dual at Stabler 2 seasons ago was poorly attended. There seemed to be many fewer wrestling kids and teams in attendance this year. Was that because Jordan Burroughs and David Taylor weren’t there singing autographs? Their line last year had to be 250 deep. There was no “FloPro” match up at the end either. Last year the boys ripped of their shirts last year when they entered the mat, driving up the energy and competitive spirit.
Back to this year, most people were looking forward to the 132 mini tournaments and the Stevenson-Wood rematch. I think that the halo kid Mason Manville had the biggest impact of the event this year. Manville was a highly touted college recruit after a Cadet gold medal back in 2014. Since then he’s not had a signature victory (but wasn’t wrestling slouches either) and many Penn State fans were wondering where he’d fit in their crowded middleweight roster. Not to mention that Manville appears to be a real individual marching to the beat of his own educational/wrestling drum as he’s been on the road less traveled as a high school wrestler. I think that this at the very least confuses fans and peers. I dig it and hope to interview him soon. After reversing his recent loss to Hidley last night he looks like the elite wrestler that Cael Sanderson and crew recruited.
Otherwise there were lots of college coaches and wrestlers in attendance. Iowa State’s Olympic and World Champion coach Kevin Jackson and Penn States Nolf, Nickal, Cortez and Nevills were readily accessible to all fans.
Lastly Gable Stevenson is a force. Will he continue to develop? If he does he’s at the top of my high school recruits list. Man child, wow. He’s many things but I have never seen someone at his age and size with such good wrestling hips. Do yourself a favor and watch him wrestle. Otherwise put it in your calendar for next year.
132lbs Chad Red (#1)Super 32 & Flo National vs. Taylor LaMont (#4) Fargo Champ, 3x Cadet Greco World Team.
Tight match, neither guy really opened it up. When losing LaMont became the aggressor in the end and gave up a takedown in the last couple of seconds to loose 5-2. Red moved on to face…
132lbs Luke Pletcher (#2) 2x Super 32 & Flo Nat’l Champ vs Yianni Diakomihalis (#4) Cadet World FS and 2x Super 32 Champ. Pletcher had a very crisp snap takedown. Yanni countered with a funky takedown. Pletcher never had a break position in neutral. Yiannni has fluid hips. Pletcher wins really close. Will face Red.
182lbs Dakota Greer (#1) PA State &FloNational Champ vs. Beau Breske (#2) 2x Fargo & 2x WI State Champ. Tight match. Greer had a clutch scramble takedown and rideout to win. Edinboro has a gem in Greer.
113lbs Gavin Teasdale (#1) 2x Cadet World & PA State Champ vs. Roman Bravo-Young (#2) 4x Fargo & AZ State Champ. Match started tight but they got after it in the 3rd. Into OT. New OT rules in effect. Teasdale wins. I’m sure that these two sophomores will see a bunch more of each other.
145lbs Jarod Verkleeren (#1) Cadet FS and Fargo Champ vs. Kyle Bierdumpfel (#2) NJ State Champ & 3x NJ State Finalist. JV won that match on mental toughness. It was very close. I think Verkleeren was sick or banged up.
152 Hayden Hidlay (#1) Fargo (Greco) and FloNational Champ vs. Mason Manville (#2) National Prep and Cadet FS World Champ. PA on PA violence, kind of. Manville with the best counter of the night- for no points. OT Manville wins. Greco set up to a throw by duck. First #2 to win tonight.
195lbs Nick Reenan (#1) 4x Fargo & FloNational Champ vs. Sammy Colbray (#2) Fargo FS/Greco runner up & NHSCA Jr Nat Champ. Reenan looks significantly smaller than 195lbs but still gets the victory.
220lbs Gable Steveson (#1) Cadet FS World and Fargo FS Champ vs. Jordan Wood (#2) Fargo FS Champ & Cadet World Runner-up. This matchup keeps changing. Steveson is confident. Woods sloppy hip toss mat return and subsequent reversal was the difference. Steveson quiets Grace Hall.
126lbs Daton Fix (#1) Fargo FS Champ & Cadet World Bronze Medalist vs. Rudy Yates (#2) 2x IL State Champ & Flo National Runner-up. Fix entered the mat a la David Taylor but it’s his Ben Askren hair that is most noticeable. Fix wins.
132lbs Chad Red (#1)Super 32 & Flo National vs. 132lbs Luke Pletcher (#2) 2x Super 32 & Flo Nat’l Champ. Red Wins close with lots of funky positions.