FanPost

#MOARGALEN - B1G Wrestling Championship Preview

[Written while drinking (multiple) YARDS Brawlers and listening to Blue Band’s 1994 CD ‘We Are Penn State’. Yeah, it’s a compact disc.]

If you haven’t watched the Wrestling team this year, you’re missing out – but you’re also in luck: the BigTen Championships will be held March 3rd and 4th at PurDue*. The tournament’s championship round will be broadcast on BTN, and our boys will be favored to repeat as BigTen Champs.

*in honor of QB Caleb TerBush

Last year PSU beat Iowa in the team race by a single point when HWT Cam Wade earned a bonus point win over Ben Apland in one of the last bouts of the tournament. This year will be another close one between PSU, Iowa and Minnesota. Here’s how I see each of the 10 weight classes playing out:

--#Rankings shown are from Intermat. If the ranking is surrounded by parens ( ) , the wrestler is not ranked within Intermat’s top 20, but does have an RPI (which is what is being displayed).

125 lbs – the top 6 finishers go to Nationals

#1 - McDonough - IA

#2 - Sanders - MN

#6 - Delgado - IL

#8 - Megaludis - PSU

#10 - Mele - NW

#17 - DiJulius - OSU

Seeding could be a big deal for our guy, Nico Megaludis. If he somehow gets the 3rd seed, he’ll get a bye in the first round, an easy match in the quarterfinals, and cruise into the semi-finals where he’d likely face Sanders from MN. And I think he can beat Sanders.

If he’s the 4th seed, he likely gets a bye in the first round (assuming a 16-spot bracket, 12 BIG teams, top 4 seeds get byes at every weight).

And if he’s the 5th seed, he’ll have to pound on an overmatched, unranked kid in the first round and then face the 4th seed in the second round…..before likely running into the #1 seed (likely McDonough) in the semifinals.

I don’t see the 3rd seed coming his way, though. He’s lost close matches to both McDonough and Sanders; hasn’t wrestled Delgado; and "lost" by disqualification for illegally throwing a kid from Michigan State

(note: can anyone find the clip from Rocky IV where the announcer yells "and throws him to the mat like a rag doll!!!" ? Nevermind. This is a Fan Post. And no one reads the Fan Posts).

Prediction:

I think he makes the semifinals as the 5th seed, loses to McDonough (who is an absolute hammer), and wrestles back through the consolations to finish 4th.

133 lbs. – the top 7 finishers go to Nationals

#2 - L.Stieber - OSU

#3 - Ramos - IA

#4 - Futrell - IL

#7 - C.Dardanes - MN

#8 - Quiroga - PUR

#14 - Stevens - MI

#18 - Kiley - NE

(33) - Oster - NW

UR - Martellotti - PSU

It’s been a frustrating year for our guy, Frank Martellotti. He didn’t start wrestling until the spring semester. And it’s been a series of ‘almost’ moments for him since then. Oh – and he got pinned by both of the top 2 guys you see in the grid above, Stieber and Ramos.

But I still have confidence in Frankie. Although I don’t think he beats any of the top 4 guys in this list, I think he can put it together and beat any or all of the others on this list.

Prediction:

He’ll likely be the 8th or 9th seed. I think he wins his 1st round match, loses to the #1 seed in the quarterfinals, and wrestles back to finish 7th – earning a trip to Nationals.

You can bet that the match to finish 7th (or lose and finish 8th) will be a bloody one. And that's just Frank's style.

141 lbs. – top 5 finishers go to Nationals

#1 - Russell - MI

#4 - H.Stieber - OSU

#5 - Marion - IA

#8 - N.Dardanes - MN

#9 - Sueflohn - NE

(32) - Pearsall - PSU

You have to cheer for a kid like Bryan Pearsall. He’s an unheralded, underappreciated grinder on a team full of blue chip recruits. He’s tough from the top position, and uses his length well on his feet to defeat or stalemate an opponent’s shots.

Prediction:

This (141) is one of the B1G’s weaker weights (overall), as evidenced by the 5 berths to Nationals. Unfortunately, I don’t see Pearsall getting one of those 5 bids. I think he wrestles back to the 5th place match, but loses it to finish 6th. Hopefully that 32nd RPI is enough to get him an at-large bid to the National tournament.

149 lbs. – top 9 finishers go to Nationals

#1 - Molinaro - PSU

#7 - Grajales - MI

#9 - Ness - MN

#12 - Lopouchanski - PUR

#16 - Tessari - OSU

#18 - Walsh - IN

#19 - Terrazas - IL

(23) - Ostermann - MSU

(24) - Kelly - IA

(25) - Friedley - NW

The top 9 finishers go to Nationals. The top 9. That’s out of 12, by the way.

Frank 'The Tank' Molinaro is undefeated, and on a mission. This weight class is deep, but there’s no one that is going to beat Frank.

Prediction:

High crotch, lift, slam to the mat. Cross body ride while grinding the shit out of the opponent’s shoulder, and throwing cross-faces from the second level of the bleachers into the kid's nose.

(for wrestling novices, that’s Frank repeating as B1G champion).

157 lbs – top 6 finishers go to Nationals

#2 - Welch - NW

#5 - Alton - PSU

#8 - Green - NE

#9 - Jones - MSU

#18 - Demas - OSU

#20 - St.John - IA

(27) - Churchard - PUR

Dylan Alton must partner with Frank the Tank in the wrestling room often because he’s starting to look like him. For a kid that loves the neutral position, he’s developed an effective ride, and shown he can get out from bottom when he needs to.

Seeding will be a bigger deal at this weight because it has last year’s 4th place finisher Derek St. John coming off an injury, and likely lurking somewhere in the middle seeds. If St. JOhn gets thrown on to the opposite side of Alton’s bracket, then I think we see Alton in the finals with a chance to become a B1G champ as a freshman.

Prediction:

Alton gets the #2 seed; St.John falls into the other half of the bracket. Alton finishes 2nd.

165 lbs – top 8 finishers go to Nationals

#1 - Taylor - PSU

#6 - Evans - IA

#7 - Kokesh - NE

#11 - Jordan - WI

#12 - Polz - IL

#13 - Yates - MI

#14 - Yohn - MN

(24) - Harger - NW

(31) - Garcia - OSU

Attention wrestling novices – if you don’t know much about wrestling, don’t know if you’d like wrestling or not, and only have the patience to watch 1 wrestling match, PSU’s David Taylor is the kid to watch.

Why? If you don’t appreciate wrestling after watching Taylor kick the living shit out of somebody with the greatest of ease, well…thanks for at least taking the time to try wrestling out. You won’t like it, no matter who else wrestles.

Prediction:

He scores points like a pinball machine. I hope the telecast uses the pinball sound effect while he wrestles.

174 lbs – top 9 finishers go to Nationals

#2 - Ruth - PSU

#5 - Lofthouse - IA

#6 - Storley - MN

#8 - Zeerip - MI

#9 - Blanton - IL

#10 - Heflin - OSU

#14 - Munster - NW

#17 - Koehn - NE

#18 - Jacobs - MSU

(32) - Leblanc - IN

Attention wrestling novices – if you are late to the BTN broadcast and miss your chance to see Taylor wrestle, PSU’s Ed Ruth at 174lbs is your mulligan.

This is a deep weight for the B1G as evidenced by the 9 automatic qualifying berths. No matter. Ed Ruth has not surrendered a single takedown all year long. All. Year. Long.

That’s like the PSU defense going 10 games without surrendering a TD. Yup – he’s ridiculous.

Prediction:

Crossface. Cradle. RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

184 lbs – top 7 finishers go to Nationals

#2 - Wright - PSU

#6 - Steinhouse - MN

#7 - Ihnen - NE

#9 - Magrum - OSU

#11 - Gambrall - IA

#20 - Atwood - PUR

(29) - Sheridan - IN

(31) - Dallago - IL

(32) - Hinton - MSU

Returning National Champion Quentin Wright will be the likely #1 seed at the B1G tournament (small, outside shot it is Steinhouse). But Q won’t have an easy road to the finals. He’ll likely have Central Dauphin’s Tony Dallago in the quarterfinals (PA District III represent); 2011’s 3rd placewinner (at Nationals) Grant Gambrall of Iowa [as an aside – who names your kid Grant Gambrall? Try saying that just ONCE without misplacing the ‘R’s]; and Steinhouse (one of Q’s early season losses this year) in the finals.

Prediction:

It’s tournament time, baby. Nobody is stopping Quentin at tournament time.

197 lbs – top 7 finishers go to Nationals

#3 - Powless - IN

#7 - Yohn - MN

#12 - McIntosh - PSU

#14 - Huntley - MI

#18 - Gonzalez - IL

(14) - Campolattano - OSU

(19) - Nakashima - NE

(26) - McDiarmid - MSU

When Bill Parcells drafted Drew Bledsoe, he called Drew’s father and told him, "Don’t worry. I’m not gonna throw your son to the wolves." After Bledsoe’s first training camp practice, Parcells called Drew’s father and said, "Ya know, Drew might just be a wolf himself."

It’s no easy thing for an 18 yr old true freshman to compete with 5th yr seniors at 197 lbs. But Morgan McIntosh might just be a wolf himself.

He can beat anyone ahead of him in this grid – he nearly beat Yohn (also spelled Yawn) in his first PSU home meet, losing in the final seconds on a weird scramble situation. On the other hand, Morgan’s been a little hesitant in his offense too – completely understandable, of course. That means close matches, though. And anything can happen in a close match.

Prediction:

4th place. On to Nationals.

285 lbs – top 10 finishers go to Nationals.

#3 - Nelson - MN

#6 - Wade - PSU

#8 - Lane - NE

#11 - Apland - MI

#12 - McMullen - NW

#13 - Telford - IA

(15) - Capone - OSU

(20) - Andrus - MSU

(27) - Vukabratovitch - PUR

(30) - Chalfant - IN

Top 10 of 12 go to Nationals. So if you can weigh-in under 285 lbs on Friday night / Saturday morning (anyone know when weigh-ins will be?), win one match and you’re headed to the big show.

Of course, winning a match is no easy task, as nearly every single shaved bear in the B1G is ranked.

Our guy in the shaved bear classification is SR Cameron Wade. He’s a great kid, and by all accounts, represents everything a Penn Stater holds dear about Penn State. Cheer for him.

He entered the 2011 B1G championships as the #1 seed, but finished 5th. At the 2011 National tournament, he made it to the quarterfinals needing to win just 1 more match to become an All-American for the first time in his career.

He had a knee injury in the quarterfinal match against the eventual champion; then lost his first match in the wrestlebacks on some shitty officiating. Tournament over – no All-American honor.

Predication:

"Pr’diction??!.......Pain" (need Clubber Lang gif)..... for the opponents. Cam has put together an outstanding career, ranking 10th all-time in pins for PSU. He gets his first B1G championship in his last season.

So there it is. Writing a post that long is like (I imagine) child birth.

What do you say? Where do our boys finish?

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