Grace Hall was packed last night with fans and a who’s who list of former wrestlers and coaches. Cael and Cody Sanderson, Chris Ayres, Kevin Jackson, Kenny Monday, Zeke Jones, Scott Goodale, Brian Manning, Mark Hall, Spencer Lee and Terry Brands were just some of the people signing autographs and watching the wrestling last night. Lehigh is a great host and Flo did a really good job with the event. Willie looked like an indidivual, wearing light blue slacks with a tin of chew in his back pocket. Geez, you don’t see that look often.
120: Jordan Decatur, OH dec. Gavin Teasdale, PA, 8-7. Decatur won a close one here. To me Teasdale lost this being overly aggressive but Decatur capitalized.
145: Jarod Verkleeren, PA dec. Kaden Gfeller, OK, 10-3. Both guys chain scrambled at a very high level. Gfeller went big and it did’t work. Verk was just better and looked really good to dominating by the end of the match. Verk has an international body type, thick strong looking core.
138: Nick Lee, IN dec. Sammy Sasso, PA, 8-3. These two guys opened up the match with chain wrestling that every youth wrestler should see. Lee opened it up on Sasso as his cardio began to falter. Lee is fun to watch and has shades of a less technical Jason Nolf. Inconstant level changes, hand position and penetration will all be upgraded at Penn State.
126: Roman Bravo-Young, AZ dec. Nick Raimo, NJ, 3-2. RBY had the only offense with a takedown. Raimo is only a sophomore keep an eye on him.
182: Michael Beard, PA dec. Jelani Embree, MI, 12-6. Flo and a few others had Embree even or favored. Did;t happen. It wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Beard let up and Jelani scored a late takedown.
160: Brady Berge, MN dec. Shane Griffith, NJ, 7-5. Berge was slick from neutral but was a little casual and it cost him points and energy.
152: David Carr, OH dec. Cameron Coy, PA, 4-2. Watch Carr’s duck on Flo, incredible and uncounterable.
132: Daton Fix, OK dec. Austin Gomez, IL, 8-2. Gomez kept is close by blocking and improving his defense. Fix was slowed down but very determined to attack any opening. Team Fix
170: Mikey Labriola, PA dec. Travis Wittlake, OR, 3-1. Mikey was a #1 underdog. He had the biggest and loudest cheering section from Bethlehem Catholic a stones throw away. His last minute takedown of Wittlake made the snakepit explode. It would be hard to follow this up. That said Cody Brewer did.
61kg: Cody Brewer tf. Tony Ramos, 12-0. Brewer was a force last night. Wow.
It’s that time of year again Wrestling fans! WNO kicks off the season with some great matchups and sets the tone for the year for many of the programs represented. I’ll be mat-side tweeting @truewrestler1 and taking notes; if you want to see coverage you’ll have to tune into FLO. I’m hoping to get some interviews, so look for that tomorrow on my website.
120lbs #1 Gavin Teasdale vs. #2 Jordan Decatur. I’m taking Teasdale. I think he’s got too much from all positions for Decatur to stop him, especially from neutral. Teasdale is coming for a 3rd time to WNO and is 1-1.
126lbs #2 Roman Bravo-Young vs. #4 Nick Raimo. The only time I’ve seen RBY wrestle was at last year’s WNO. He didn’t win but I was impressed. I’m taking Young.
132lbs #1 Daton Fix vs. #2 Austin Gomez. I’ve made no secret of thoughts around Fix. I think that in a few years he will be looked back on as the best recruit of this class. This is Fix’s third WNO, he turned in great performances at the last two. I’m taking Fix big and with some flash.
138lbs #1 Nick Lee vs. #3 Sammy Sasso. Sasso is recovering from an injury, how much training has he been able to do in preparation? Lee has a gas tank and motor that could wear down Sasso and then open the match up. Does the hometown crowd boost Sasso? If not, Lee big.
145lbs #2 Kaden Gfeller vs. #4 Jarod Verkleeren. I’ve only seen Gfeller a couple of times on Flo and he’s got a bunch of attacks. The question is can he finish on Verk? I don’t think so. I’m taking Verkleeren for counters and scrambling. Verk’s stock seems to have fallen with last spring’s fiasco weight descent problems that kept him out of the PIAA Championships. I also think that he was a bit under the weather at WNO last year. This guy has other health issues to manage to give his best performance. I think that he’s gonna impress tonight.
152lbs #1 David Carr vs. #2 Cam Coy. I’m taking Carr. I really like the aggressive and dynamic style he puts out there. That said Coy gets very little respect for being a 2 x PIAA state champ. If this is a one or two point match Coy could win and he would jump into top 10 #4#
160lbs #1 Brady Berge vs. #2 Shane Griffith. I’m taking the upset Griffith to win. Not sure why.
170lbs #1 Mikey Labriola vs. #2 Travis Wittlake. Labriola is another hometown product taking the mat. Mikey has a gas tank but Wittlake has more national recognition other than the rankings. I’m guessing that more fans know Wittlake from his International style success and PSU interest than the BeCa wrestler. I’m not saying that the weight class is soft but I think there will be big changes in the rankings this season. Whittlake fends off a late push to win.
182lbs #1 Mike Beard vs. #2 Jelani Embree. This should be a fun one. Beard goes to Malvern Prep and will have a sizable home crowd advantage. A lot of fuss has been made over the problems Beard will have with Embree’s stance. I don’t buy it. I think that they will exchange takedowns and it will be close. Last points scored wins. Beard – I’m a shameless PA homer…sometimes.
61kg Tony Ramos vs. Cody Brewer. While neither wrestler is currently ranked on the freestyle circuit Ramos clearly has a longer history and freestyle track record. Brewer recently left Oklahoma as part of the Cody exodus. He committed to NLWC then jumped to a staff position at Northwestern. Ramos recently left Iowa and is now at UNC working out with Olympic medalist Coleman Scott. Just based on workout partners I’d take Ramos.