Here are my picks for the highest likelihood or at least interesting possible bracket disruptions in round one. Some of these guys have real shots to make their dreams come true, others are real long shots, I admit it, but have more than just a punchers chance.
Elijah Oliver vs. Nick Piccininni: He didn’t have the season that he wanted mostly due to injury but he has proven his ability with wins over Youtsey last season. I give Oliver a chance here because of his work from neutral and he can be slick on his feet.
Dylan Peters vs. Darian Cruz: Cruz is the obvious one. Peters AAed last year but hasn’t had the type of season that he wanted. Can he turn it on?
I give Oliver a chance here because of his work from neutral.
Connor Schram vs. Cory Clark: Again it’s kind of obvious. Both guys have AAed. Schram has quality wins over guys like Darian Cruz when he was at 125. Clark hasn’t looked quite himself since returning to the mat from injury.
Brocky “the kid” Zacherl vs. Dean Heil: Zacherl didn’t look great in his EWL final but Perry can be a hammer from top. Can Zacherl make it a match? Either way it’s not an overlookable match for Heil.
Javier Gasca vs. Jimmy Gulibon: History has shown that this could go either way but it most certainly isn’t a gimme for #13 Gasca. I’m leaning Gulibon.
Ronnie Perry vs. Kevin Jack: Jack is in a different class from neutral but as mentioned before, Perry can be a tough riddle to solve when he’s on top. Can he leverage this into an opening round upset?
Max Thomsen vs. Matt Cimato: Cimato is another guy that hasn’t had the season that he wanted but has an opportunity against #7 Thomsen. Thomson has losses to some unorthodox guys this season. Thomsen has better neutral game but the angles that Cimato creates as counters and scrambles are hard to duplicate in a practice room.
Bj Clagon: He has a pigtail but I see him winning that and facing #8 Jake Short. I like his chances against Short. Clagon is better from neutral but can he keep the pace up for 7 minutes? I see Clagon making it to Nolf.
Keaton Subjeck vs. Vincenzo Joseph: Subjeck has an early season win over Joseph, can he duplicate that? I don’t think so but he has a blueprint.
Johnny Sebastian vs. Chad Walsh: two top Jersey wrestlers square off in the opening round. Sebastian was the higher recruit coming out of high school but Walsh has had better results in college. I’m talking Walsh but Sebastian looked pretty good when I saw him last month, this match could be special for him.
Mark Hall vs David Kocer: Could Kocer use his size and experience to knock off the highly touted true freshman? Hall has looked undersized and a bit inconsistent in his match strategies since entering the PSU lineup. While I give Kocer less than a 5% chance crazy things happened this week to a World medalist so…you never know.
Jordan Pagano vs. Ryan Preisch: Just last month Pagano dominated Preisch with low level attacks and this wasn’t the first time he’s beaten Preisch with that attack. Can Preisch adjust his neutral motion to defend against this style attack? I had Preisch as a high AA midway through the season but this is a bad match-up for him. This might be the most likely upset of a top 8 seed in the opening round.
Trace Engelikes vs. Jonathan Schleifer: Princeton has closed out the season looking really good and this looks like a prime opportunity for them. Schleifer has knocked off guys ranked around top ten. Can Schleifer take advantage?
I don’t see anything glaringly obvious.
Aaron Studebaker vs. Brett Harner: If Harner had closed out the season a little stronger or just looked like he wanted it more during the season I’d give him more of a chance. Harner is a returning AA, can he turn it on to close out his senior season with the Tigers? Harner pinned Studebaker at last year’s midlands. Harner.
Joey Goodhart vs. Nathan Butler: While Goodhart seems to have a couple of head scratching losses he does own a close win over Butler earlier this season. No one likes opening up a tournament against a guy they lost to 2 months ago. Goodhart, but close.