The wrestling season is underway, and Penn State's rolling. So is much of the rest of the Big Ten conference. In this column we'll track individual Big Ten standings. Later, once we get into January and February, we'll have a pretty good tool for predicting Big Ten tournament seeding, and automatic bids to nationals. For now...eh, not so much. But let's take a look at the way-too-early season standings anyhow.
**National Rankings per Intermat
|B1G Rank||125 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
Nick Suriano comes as advertised. He passed his first big test with his impressive win over returning All-American and formerly #4-ranked Connor Schram in the Stanford dual.
Anyone else think Suriano will make a great international wrestler? He plants his behind in the center of the mat, and never steps backward. Ever. He's coming forward all the time. And he attacked with the sweep single to both sides, too. He'll improve his ties and setups with Nico in the room, and the points will start flowing. Kid's gonna be good. Not that anyone thought differently, but - impressive start nonetheless.
In conference, Minnesota's Ethan Lizak is suspended until January, but he's notched a good win over Nebraska's Tim Lambert already (that Lambert also avenged). Those two, plus Michigan's Assad, Wisconsin's Jimenez, and maybe Rutgers' McCabe make for a sturdy second tier behind Iowa's Gilman.
|B1G Rank||133 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
That's a crazy-deep weight class - but Jered Cortez looks like he could do some serious damage in it. We knew he had the neutral offense, but it's been his many tilts and turns on top that really caught our attention in the first weekend.
|B1G Rank||141 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
Jimmy got caught flat-footed against Stanford's McKenna, and dropped his first big bout 2-6. Getting caught and ridden by McKenna doesn't make Jimmy unique, though. Expect him to bounce back this Sunday at the Keystone Classic.
In conference, Ohio State freshman KeShawn Hayes got worked over by NC State's #6 Kevin Jack - but Jack's an unusual matchup, too. We're not ready to go all-in on Nebraska's Colt McCrystal just yet, and suspect that some of the presently unranked guys in the table above will make a push up the ladder - Iowa's Carton, Maryland's Bannister, and Illinois' Ervin in particular.
|B1G Rank||149 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
Member last year? Member when Zain destroyed everyone? Same thing this year.
Michigan's Alec Pantaleo will be taking a redshirt. Maryland's Shyheim Brown hasn't wrestled a match yet, and Minnesota's super-frosh Fredy Stroker is off to a pretty rough start.
|B1G Rank||157 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
Like Retherford above, the real test for Nolf is whether he can bonus everyone all season long. Undefeated national champ - meh, big whoop. But can he slaughter everyone? That's the more intriguing question.
The bump up to 157 from 149 isn't starting too well for Minnesota's Jake Short. He lost a close decision to Nebraska's Tyler Berger, 3-4, and got housed by Lehigh's Jordan Kutler, 0-6. A name to keep an eye on, though, is Northwestern's Bryce Brill. The former top 10 blue chipper has struggled through injuries, but appears ready to get on the mat.
|B1G Rank||165 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
If you're concerned about Cenzo's 18-12 loss to mini-hulk Keaton Subjeck last Sunday - don't be. He got pancaked off a not-so-good right handed high crotch, giving up six. He escaped immediately and gave up six more on a headlock, which probably won't happen again the rest of his PSU career. Down 12-1, he outscored Subjeck the next six minutes 11-6...and it really should have been 15-6, if the ref hadn't missed the swipes for back points.
Whatever - good learning experience. It won't take much to tighten up those mistakes. And he's already pretty frightening - the scoreboard definitely gets a workout when he's on the mat.
|B1G Rank||174 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
Wow. Geno scored a big win over Stanford's Jim Wilson Sunday, and the manner in which he did it was pretty exciting. He scored takedowns. Wilson's a high-quality wrestler with very good defense. Geno scored anyhow, which represents a YUGE step forward for the 5th year senior from DuBois. If Geno's going to score takedowns, he's a serious threat in March, because the rest of his game - defense, mat wrestling - is pretty darn good.
Minnesota's Nick Wanzek lost a close match, 7-8, to last year's #2-seed Ethan Ramos - and also got destroyed by super-frosh Zahid Valencia (Arizona State), TF 22-5 in 6:31. A couple intriguing names here are Wisconsin's Christensen, who appears to be coming down from 184, where he qualified for NCAAs last year; and Northwestern's Johnny Sebastian - another top 10 blue chip recruit who has battled injuries, but now finally appears relatively healthy.
|B1G Rank||184 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
This is another crazy weight in conference (and nationally, too). Pretty happy that we have Bo here to simplify things for us by beating everyone else.
|B1G Rank||197 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
As Cael mentioned pre-season, we have two of the best 184-lbers in the country. Mouse just happens to be wrestling 197 now. But that might turn out to be awesome for everyone involved. Beating two ranked opponents in his first trips to the mat portends very good things. Mouse's low single still works. Now we just have to stay healthy.
Wisconsin's Ricky Robertson is a name to keep an eye on here at 197. He'd been pretty good at 174 the past few years. We'll see how he wears the new weight class.
|B1G Rank||285 LBS||Natl.Rank||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals|
It certainly looks like we're going to see the real Nick Nevills this season. He looks lighter and faster than last year, reportedly weighing in just under 260lbs. That's pretty exciting. Big boys scoring points is both fun and rewarding - Nick can definitely climb a few more rungs in the conference standings as the season rolls along.
Ohio State's Kyle Snyder and Wisconsin's Connor Medbery are the cream of the conference until further notice. But after those two, the next 5 or 6 spots are up for grabs.