Believe it or not, friends, we haven’t missed a ton of news since our last talk on June 13th. Back then, we looked at USA’s World Team Trial results. This past weekend, we got our first Senior Team USA action, as our guys in red, white, and blue traveled across the Atlantic to Madrid, for the Grand Prix of Spain.
This was a “warm up” for Team USA - its first international competition of the season, after a full week training together in Colorado Springs. It’s mostly populated by western Euros - which means, in effect, it’s the “B” team guys from Russia, because France doesn’t have many Frenchmen wrestlers. Rather, they have Russians who weren’t making the Russian team for whatever reason (politics as often as skill). Iran also sent some of its “B” squad, for a bit of flair. The brackets haven’t been released by UWW just yet, but they’ll appear at this page, someday, maybe.
Your Team USA representative at 65kg, Zain Retherford, took Gold by slaughtering the field - 3 or 4 pins, and a tech fall. It looked a lot like this gif below, as no one had an answer for Zain’s bow-and-arrow (go figure).
The entire USA squad - sans J’Den Cox, who stayed home to rehab his injured leg - took Gold. 7 for 7. Not a bad start. Next up, the gang travels to Germany for a few weeks of training, and another tournament - its last before the World Championships in Paris.
To Fargo, North Dakota
“Fargo”, among wrestlers, has nothing to do with Steve Buscemi. It means Cadet and Junior National Freestyle (and Greco) tournament, wrestled on the Fargo Dome football field. It’s huge. 30 mats cover the field from one endzone to the other, as America’s top high schoolers fight to make “All-American” - top 8.
Brackets are typically drawn as 128-man parties. (As stated, it’s yuge). All of the top kids - save those who already took spots on the Cadet and Junior World Teams - enter the mosh pit. PSU commit Joe Lee was among those. Bumped up to 160lbs, Joe tech’d his way to the semi-finals, where he ran into David Carr, whom he beat back in April at Las Vegas. This time Carr got even, winning a tough 8-6 battle.
At Cadets, Carson Manville - younger brother of PSUer (and Greco Senior World Team member) Mason - ran roughshod, tech’ing the field for a Fargo title at 132lbs. Up at 152lbs, PA’s Carter Starocci earned his first Fargo title, winning 7-2. Both are names to keep an eye on in the coming recruiting classes.
- Nick Suriano’s been the subject of transfer rumors the last month. I think it’s a bunch of mostly nothing. But there you go.
- Cael’s been operating without a new contract since June 30th, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Hey Sandy? How’s about getting your program that wins all of the championships, and academic titles, and community service awards - how’s about getting that staff a new contract? Only one program in America finished top 10 both on the mat and in the classroom the last - well, it’s at least the last 5 years, if not more. Let’s get it done, shall we? Just listen to the guy - how many coaches talk like that? (Only the great ones).
- Speaking of Cael - he spent July 1st in Arizona, visiting super recruit Roman Bravo Young. The July 1st “let’s talk scholarship money” date has come and gone, and the unprecedented super-class of recruits remains in place. How? I dunno. This staff works miracles.
- The Cenzo - IMar NCAA final is back on YouTube, because of course it is. Why did Flo choose to play whack-a-mole with the entire innerwebs in the first place?
- National Duals, in the BCS-like Bowl format, proved a roaring success at the ticketing gate, and was also starting to draw serious interest as an event, garnering some attention from corporate entities interested in advertising/sponsorship. Consequently, it’s been cancelled for 2018.
- In case we failed to mention it previously, Blue Mountain’s Corey Keener grad-transferred from Central Michigan, and will roll around the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex as a 6th-year super senior. He’ll help out at 133. Corey won PIAA state titles at 119 and 126 his junior and senior seasons, respectively. That senior season (2012), featured one of the funnier brackets at 3A: 106 lbs. Here were your place-winners: 1st-Ethan Lizak (NCAA runner up last year for MINN); 2nd-Michael Kemerer (Iowa); 3rd-Dom Forys (Pitt); 4th-Scotty Parker (Lehigh); 5th- Zach Fuentes (Drexel); 6th-Jake Gromacki (Pitt ->Clarion); 7th-Vincenzo Joseph (PSU); 8th-Dan Martoccio (F&M). The entire podium went D1, and half have already made All-American.
- H/T to SWHA, who reminded us of the bevy of mostly minor NCAA rule changes. Blogger friends IAWrestle grabbed all of the text and published it, which you can peruse at this link. The two that jumped out to us: 1) the new “danger” call, to discourage leg passes and hanging out on your back; and 2) the next to last bullet seems to indicate that high schoolers can compete at NCAA-level “Opens” again (which they used to be able to do prior to....2008-ish, or so). Thus, we might possibly get to see 2018 super recruits Michael Beard vs Gavin Hoffman at this year’s Nittany Lion Open, before they head to PSU and OSU, respectively.