Is the Southern Scuffle better than Midlands because of all the teams involved? Or is it that the schools other than Penn State have some exciting and talented wrestlers. Gabe Dean, Alex Dieringer, Nashon Garrett, Matt Cimato (the list goes on) are all infinitely more aggressive than most of their counterparts that competed at Midlands. Tsirtsis, Sorenson and that crowd just weren’t as entertaining. I don’t begrudge them. They want to win first. (Andrew Long not withstanding, long road back young man – keep it up.) Anyway, the Scuffle competitors that I saw were highly entertaining, even with traditional powerhouse teams like Minnesota having down years.
No conversation about the Scuffle would be complete without Penn State – they were aces. Last year they won the Scuffle and finished 6th in March with a good, but not their best, team. I don’t see that kind of finish this season. This is a team to show youth wrestlers and non-fans. They are not only fun and entertaining to watch, they are inspiring. The team is a mix of crafty veterans and hungry young talent. Watching Nolf and Nickal get after it sure is fun unless you’re rooting for the other guy. As I mentioned after the Rider match this team seems to have a different attitude from past teams. While Nolf and Nickal have a long road to get to the level of Ruth and Taylor but make no mistake they are barreling down the highway with higher goals in mind. Last year I was totally taken with Jason Nolf and his aggressive style. This year, I have to admit that I’ve shifted my attention to Bo Nickal as I didn’t know much about him last year. This cat is as cool as a cucumber and comfortable in every position and situation. They are both MUST SEE wrestling. I still have a huge appreciation for Nolf and his ability to go up or downstairs, throwing at the D1 level is nearly a lost art.
Megaludis doesn’t appear to have really changed much since his freshman year. If I had to put a finger on it, I’d just say that he’s a model on mental toughness. This mental toughness has gotten stronger and is likely the most complete part of his game. The competition in the room and among the starting lineup is clearly driving them to better performances. This is Penn State’s best dual team ever. OK at least since the late 70’s when I became aware of them. What makes it all the more interesting is that the lineup still isn’t settled. I’m not sure the Scuffle will determine the 165 starter, 285 and 141 also keep this interesting. They aren’t the bulldozers of the Iowa/Gable teams. They are a lightning bolt and can strike anything in their path. In a way they are like the Brands brothers were, a new style. Don’t relax in any position against them or you may pay for it. McIntosh with a cradle fall, getting mauled from underneath, Retherford getting over taken in the final minute by Conaway’s gas tank or wishing that the match would be over while Nolf is piling on are great things for a wrestling fan or youth wrestler to learn from. A few of their backups came close to knocking off returning All Americans. While I’m a noted PA homer, this is just plain old good for college wrestling. If the rumored changes afoot at Ohio State are true the February dual should be pretty special. I know that it’s too late but they should move it to the BJC or Wells Fargo Center or Consol Energy Center. They won’t take back the attendance record but no doubt they could sell out 20,000 seats.
Oklahoma State has a serious decision to make at 157. Only complicated by the players coach Smith and son Joe Joe. They under performed at a couple/few weights/spots and have some over performers too but they too are a work in process. Leaving Marstellar at home and having Smith’s finals points go unattached would change things up a bit. Alex Dieringer is a beast. As physically dominating as Retherford and Dean, as slick a high crotch as they come and as mentally tough as they get. He may be the most confident D1 wrestler in the country.
Lehigh had a mixed bag of results. Former All American Mason Beckman didn’t compete. Nate Brown’s kryptonite, Gabe Dean was there. Elliot Riddick is the only real question mark for me after this event. Can he be effective at 174? The weight pull is clearly affecting his performance, that or he’s banged up.
Cornell has two guys at the top of their game. Nahshon Garrett is looking as good as I’ve ever seen him. He’s so much fun to watch from neutral that I’m smiling just thinking about his lightning quick smooth shots. Gabe Dean, another favorite, added 10 lbs of muscle this season and looks more dominating than ever. He and Zain Retherford are the two most physical D1 wrestlers that I’ve seen in the last few years. You really have to want it when you face them. Of coarse wanting it isn’t enough, you need to be very talented. Realbuto is very good but the rest of the team hasn’t filled out this year. Cornell usually has a bit of a slow start but I’m not sure that they’ll build much further this season.
A couple of wrestlers worth noting; Drexel’s Matt Cimato keeps beating studs and is slowly getting national respect. He’s got a unique style: funky, strong, bursts of quickness and mentally tough. A sign of his quality wrestling was that even Zain Retherford had some trouble riding him in the semi-finals. Logan Massa is the real deal. Much like Jason Nolf made a national statement with his performance at last year’s Scuffle look for Massa to be in contention as a RSFr. for Michigan next season.
Ethan Ramos’ weight class change will be good for him. Going to make more noise in March. Gave Bo one of his closest matches of the year. Could Joey McKenna get Stanford back on the D1 map? Yup.
While the ranked talent level may be down a bit in this year’s Scuffle the quality of wrestling is vey high. The stands weren’t very full again. Put it in your calendar for next winter now.
1 Penn State 183
2 Oklahoma State 158
3 Lehigh 104.5
4 Cornell 98.5
5 North Carolina 97.5
6 Minnesota 79.5
7 West Virginia 76.5
8 Cent Michigan 65.5
9 Stanford 59.5
10 Penn 56.5
11 Virginia 53.5
12 Duke 43.5
13 Appalachian St 40.5
14 Campbell 38.5
15 Edinboro 37.5
16 Air Force 37
17 Navy 35.5
18 Army 32.5
19 Drexel 32
20 Chattanooga 31.5
21 Wyoming 29.5
22 Gardner Webb 28.5
23 Northern Colorado 26.5
24 Michigan State 24.5
25 Cleveland State 20
26 The Citadel 19
27 Cal Poly 16
28 Michigan 8
125lbs #4-Nico Megaludis, PSU decision #5-Eddie Klimara, OSU 8-1.
133lbs #1-Nahshon Garrett, Cornell major decision #9 Jordan Conaway, PSU 14-4. Garrett is explosive.
141lbs #1-Dean Heil, OSU decision OT #5-Joey McKenna, STAN 2-1.Two exciting wrestlers that weren’t this time around.
149lbs #1-Zain Retherford, PSU tech fall #6-Evan Henderson, UNC 16-1. Domination.
157lbs #3-Jason Nolf, PSU decision Joe Smith, OSU Unattached 7-3. Looking forward to more.
165lbs #1 Alex Dieringer, OSU decision Logan Massa, MICH Unattached 8-2.
174lbs #6-Bo Nickal, PSU decision #5-Ethan Ramos, UNC 10-7. #Boknowswrestling Outstanding wrestler True-Wrestling & Scuffle
184lbs #1-Gabe Dean, Cornell decision #4-Nate Brown, LEH 8-2.
197lbs #1-Morgan McIntosh, PSU decision #5-Brett Pfarr, MINN 3-2.
285lbs #4 Austin Marsden decsion #8 Denzel Dejournette, App State 4-1.
125lbs #4-Nico Megaludis, PSU decision #14-Darian Cruz, LEH, 6-3
125lbs #5-Eddie Klimara, OSU decision Brent Fleetwood, CMU, 9-3
133lbs #1-Nahshon Garrett, Cornell injury def. #11-Kaid Brock, OSU
133lbs #9-Jordan Conaway, PSU decision #4-George DiCamillo, UVA, 6-4
141lbs #1-Dean Heil, OSU decision #16-Tommy Thorn, MINN, 10-7
141lbs #5-Joey McKenna, STAN decision #16-Zach Horan, CMU, 4-2
149lbs #1-Zain Retherford, PSU major decision #9-Matt Cimato, Drexel, 13-3
149lbs #6-Evan Henderson, UNC decision Mitch Finesilver, Duke, 5-2
157lbs #3-Jason Nolf, PSU fall #13-Mitch Minotti, LEH, 2:50
157lbs Joe Smith, OSU decision Ian Brown, LEH, 10-6
165lbs #1-Alex Dieringer, OSU fall Justin Staudenmayer, UNC, 1:14
165lbs Logan Massa, MICH decision #19-Duke Pickett, Cornell, 7-3
174lbs #6-Bo Nickal, PSU decision #2-Brian Realbuto, Cornell, 14-7
174lbs #5-Ethan Ramos, UNC decision #1-Kyle Crutchmer, OSU, 6-5
184lbs #1-Gabe Dean, Cornell decision #14-Matt Miller, Navy , 10-5
184lbs #4-Nate Brown, LEH decision #8-Lorenzo Thomas, Penn, 5-3
197lbs #1-Morgan McIntosh, PSU fall #8-Jake Smith, WVU, 5:20
197lbs #5-Brett Pfarr, MINN decision #3-Connor Hartmann, Duke, 4-3
285lbs #-4-Austin Marsden, OSU decision #10-Riley Shaw, CSU 4-1
285lbs #8-Denzel Dejournette, App. St. decision #6-Mike Kroells, MINN 6-3.
#4-Nico Megaludis, PSU md. Eli Hale, OSU, 15-5
#14-Darian Cruz, LEH md. Austin Assad, MICH, 16-3
#5-Eddie Klimara, OSU fall. Ethan Lizak, MINN, 6:59
Brent Fleetwood, CMU dec. Steven Polalowski, MINN, 1-0
#1-Nahshon Garrett, Cornell tf. Sam Brancale, MINN, 18-1
#11-Kaid Brock, OSU dec. #17-Josh Martinez, AF, 10-6
#4-George DiCamillo, UVA md. Zach Davis, Navy, 13-1
#9-Jordan Conaway, PSU inj. def. Keegan Moore, WVU
#1-Dean Heil, OSU dec. Kade Moss, PSU, 8-5
#16-Tommy Thorn, MINN dec. #12-Bryce Meredith, WYO, 7-6
#5-Joey McKenna, STAN dec. Joey Ward, UNC, 4-2
#16-Zach Horan, CMU dec. Cortland Schuyler, LEH, 7-5
#1-Zain Retherford, PSU vs. Paul Fox, STAN
#9-Matt Cimato, Drexel dec. Justin Oliver, CMU, 11-5
Mitch Finesilver, Duke dec. #17-Pat Lugo, EDIN, 3-1
#6-Evan Henderson, UNC fall. Matt Frisch, CIT, 4:18
#3-Jason Nolf, PSU fall. Kamaal Shakur, UTC, 5:45
#13-Mitch Minotti, LEH fall. Archie Colgan, WYO, 1:35
Ian Brown, LEH dec. #8-Luke Smith, CMU, 7-5
Joe Smith, OSU major decision Zach Beitz, PSU, 12-4
#1-Alex Dieringer, OSU fall. #18-Ryan Priesch, LEH, 2:17
Justin Staudenmayer, UNC dec. Connor Flynn, WVU, 8-2
#19-Duke Pickett, Cornell dec. Geno Morelli, PSU, 3-1 OT
Logan Massa, MICH dec.Tyler Marinelli, GW, 6-0
#2-Brian Realbuto, Cornell fall. Chandler Rogers, OSU, 1:24
#6-Bo Nickal, PSU dec. #10-Mike Ottinger, CMU, 4-3
#5-Ethan Ramos, UNC def. #15-Jaeden Bernstein, Navy
#1-Kyle Crutchmer, OSU dec. #16-Casey Kent, Penn, 11-5
#1-Gabe Dean, Cornell md. Jordan Rogers, OSU, 16-6
#14-Matt Miller, Navy FF. #12-Matt McCutcheon, PSU
#8-Lorenzo Thomas, Penn fall. #16-Nolan Boyd, OSU, 2:48
#4-Nate Brown, LEH dec. #19-Alex Utley, UNC, 4-1
#1-Morgan McIntosh, PSU fall. Vince Pickett, EDIN, 4:27
#8-Jake Smith, WVU dec. #13-Zach Nye, UVA, 2-1 OT
#5-Brett Pfarr, MINN md. #15-John Bolich, LEH, 10-1
#3-Connor Hartmann, Duke md. Parker Hines, AF, 13-1
#-4-Austin Marsden, OSU dec. #20-Nathan Butler, STAN, 4-1 OT
#10-Riley Shaw, CSU dec. #12-Max Wessel, LEH, 5-2
#8-Denzel Dejournette, App. St. dec. Jan Johnson, PSU, 2-0
#6-Mike Kroells, MINN md. Jeramy Sweany, Cornell, 10-2