1. The national title is up for grabs. This might be the most wide-open field in modern history. With all the factors accounted for (injuries, freshman adjustments, coaching up or down, peaking) I can see scenarios that could lead to 4-5 different teams winning the title in March.
2. The same can be said at the high school level. Blair, the long reigning high school champions were knocked off last season by Wyoming Seminary. This year Graham just won Ironman over Blair, Sem and Oak Park and Clovis is in the running too. Lots of injuries. There are at least 5 teams in the running for a title that won’t really be settled by direct competition between them all at one tournament. It will make for a great season of competition. Props to Vincenzo Joseph for going up a weight class to wrestle Isaiah White. Neither wrestler opened it up but this kind of thing used to happen much more in the past. It’s good for wrestling.
3. At the D1 level anyone can lose this year except for maybe Logan Stieber. Four of the preseason #1’s have lost in the first 6 weeks of the season. Same for the #2 ranked wrestler. Wow, this is helping the uncertainty in the team race and if colleges marketed wrestling better would make for serious fan interest.
4. Penn State might be the best of the best places to be coached and trained up from high school. Even with their losses from graduation and redshirts they will be competitive all season. So far the development of their young wrestlers is very noticeable from last season. I think that they have too many holes to 5-peat but if Gulibon, Brown and McIntosh are in the finals, PSU is leading the hunt again.
5. Some teams seem to never hit their potential. It’s a long season with plenty of time to improve but Ohio State’s loss to Missouri was a bit shocking. I know tOSU had injuries but the whole team, Logi aside, didn’t look ready for prime time: cardio, tight technique and match strategy all seemed an issue during the match. Ohio State has done very well under Tom Ryan but they’ve had numerous under achievements along the way. This used to be a comment about Cornell at one time. tOSU winning a team title would be good for the sport. It kills me to say that as a Pennsylvania wrestling guy.
6. There seems to be an increased amount of injuries to top wrestlers – it appears to be more than in past seasons. It’s never easy to come back from a serious injury, let alone while trying to get back on the mat at 100%. Good luck to all and if you need better help than you are receiving call this guy Dr Jason Hartman
7. With the expectations at Iowa does anything but a National Championship satisfy the administration? Is Brands on the clock? Iowa has been ranked #1 & #2 in most pre and early season polls; even without the injuries I didn’t see it. If Burak is out for the season the chances drop significantly. Either way this guy is great for the sport.
8. Mark Hall Sr. and Spencer Lee So. look to be the best High school wrestlers in the country, followed by the Valencia brothers. Rivalries like Hall and Valencia or Lee and Suriano have been great for the sport and I hope that many of these rivalries continue at the next level. Will ASU parlay their strong recruiting class into future re relevance?
9. With the high level of talent on the American senior freestyle level at 74kg behind Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake appears to be testing the waters in the Greco-Roman discipline. He will be wrestling Greco world champ Arsen Julfalakyan this weekend at Grapple at the Garden. You have to figure if he’s competitive on such seemingly short notice that it may influence his training for the up coming 2015 world team trails. If I were a betting man, I’d say that he’s respectable against Julfalakyan and this will just fuel the speculation. Judging from my twitter response I’m one of two people on the planet thinking that Dake has a big decision to make. I’m guessing that it’s close to made already. You heard it here first; he’s going both styles at the World Team Trials. David Taylor isn’t wobbling and is both rails towards Burrouhgs.
10. There were 2 major rule changes that have been beneficial to incenting more action on the mat. Riding below the waist has been the most controversial, as it is inconsistently enforced and understood by the reffing community. Time and consensus should help its implementation. The challenge has been differentiating between riding below the waist and being stuck below the waist while wrestling hard. Scoring with any body part inbounds has helped with “playing the edge” while mat wrestling, no as much from neutral based on my observations. I watched Elliot Riddick shoot another wrestler out of bounds at least 6 times last week without one stall warning. Not staying on the mat needs to be called stalling – going out of bounds on your own is bad wrestling. Stalling is just plain bad for the sport.