This is an interesting match up for both schools. Minnesota came to New Jersey last week and took it to Rutgers. I know, Nick Suriano was out of the lineup. It’s February everyone is dinged up, so now the Golden Gophers come back to the Garden State to take on the Rider Broncs. Is Minnesota trying to increase recruiting exposure in New Jersey? This is an interesting match for Jersey wrestling fans because it gives us insight into an imaginary Rutgers vs. Rider matchup. Both teams wrestled Lock Haven this season and Rider is the team that walked away with the W. Back to our matchup. It seems that both teams won’t be fielding their ideal lineup on Friday, next man up. Based on that I think each team has an edge in 3 matches and 4 are a toss-up: 57, 74, 84 and 285.
So Jersey wrestling fans, if Rider wins are they the best dual team in the state? You guys should riot until all three teams face each other. Get down to Lawrenceville to see the Rider Seniors in their last home match.
125lbs: #7 Lizak /Polakowski(M) vs. #25 JR Wert (R). Wert is having a really good season but hasn’t faced anyone as tough as Lizak. Lizak might be the best leg rider in the country and he knows how to rack up bonus points. If Wert escapes this match without being Teched or pinned I think that it’s a win for Rider. If it’s Polakowski, Wert could flirt with bonus points. UM needs 5 or 6 team points here.
133lbs: #13 Mitch McKee (M) vs. #29 Anthony Cefolo (R). McKee comes in a clear favorite but seems to have some trouble keeping the pace up for 7 minutes. Cefolo might have a game plan edge. Both guys aren’t afraid of going upstairs and throwing, edge McKee but Cefolo has shown an ability to block and frustrate quality opponents. Can he take advantage of McKee in the 3rd period? I’ll take McKee with a regular decision.
141lbs: #15 Thorn/Brancale (M) vs. #25 Tyson Dippery (R). Thorn, a returning AA is having another quality season; a bit more inconsistent than he’d like and is the favorite in this match up. Dippery is having a good season also but isn’t at the same level as Thorn from neutral. Can Dippery turn Thorn from top? Dippery’s game is all about the tilts from every angle imaginable. Thorn comes in with a high bonus point rate; will he be able to dominate Dippery from neutral? Can Dip ride him for a period? I’ll take Thorn by regular decision. If it’s Brancale I’ll take Dippery with a tilt ridden win that flirts with bonus points.
149lbs: Miles Patton (M) vs. Dinmore/Fidelibus (R). Dinmore seems to have gotten his weight under control, improving his cardio. He also appears to be in a position to bonus here for Rider and they are going to need every point to win the dual and declare themselves the best D1 team in Jersey. I’ll take Dinmore or Fidelibus with a regular decision.
157lbs: #19 Jake Short (M) vs. #20 BJ Clagon (R). Two evenly ranked guys that have the potential to All American this season. Clagon owns a 2-point win over Short at last years NCAA Championships. Does this help Clagon’s mindset? I think that Clagon has more ability than Short but will Rider fans see that ability on the mat? Short will keep coming at him the entire match. This is BJ’s final home match, can he come up big for the fans. Toss up, but slight home mat edge to Clagon.
165lbs: #8 Nick Wanzek (M) vs. #7 Chad Walsh (R). Another marquee matchup. Both guys are ranked are having good seasons and are in the hunt to AA this March. I do think that Walsh has the edge in short offense. Can Wanzek prepare for the unique style that Walsh possesses? This is Walsh’s final home match of his career. I’m sure that he’s looking to make a final impression on the fans. Does he get too wild? If he does he will recover. Walsh regular decision.
174lbs: Chris Pfarr (M) vs. #25 Dean Sherry (R). Sherry is having a slightly better season but both guys are coming into the match on a slide. This one is going to be about body health and mental confidence. Slight edge Sherry.
184lbs: Webster/Krone (M) vs. Stinson/MFD (R). Yet another evenly matched bout. Stinson has moved up here for the last few matches. Webster has a better win but also a worse loss. Stinson has the mental strength to game plan well and win a close match with Stinson and open it up vs. Krone. MFD vs Webster/Krone is aToss up.
197lbs: Stevenson/Anderson (M) vs. Laird/MFD/Stinson (R). Laird if healthy has the edge here.
285lbs: Streifel/Rose (M) vs. Correnti/Cloud (R). Minnesota has an edge in the matchups. None of the guys own a signature but Streifel looks better based on records. Edge Minnesota.