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Wrestling: Midlands Preview and Open Thread

Penn State elite recruit Aaron Brooks is entered at 174

Jp Pearson 2016

As Penn Staters get ready for the 2019 roster to terrorize the Southern Scuffle on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 56th Midlands Tournament gives us a couple interesting reasons to tune in to it today and tomorrow.

Aaron Brooks

Number one on that list is that elite Penn State recruit and current Olympic Training Center resident, Aaron Brooks, has registered at 174 pounds. He’s seeded 12th, a terrible bummer for the 4, 5, 8 & 9 seeds in his side of the bracket, and is on a collision course with 1-seed Zahid Valencia for the Semifinals tomorrow morning.

It’s been presumed that Brooks will wrestle 184 when he gets into the Penn State lineup (also heretofore presumed to be next year), but rumors of Shakur Rasheed applying for a 6th year of eligibility added to Brooks’ slow growth into the weight class make his entry here at 174 more interesting.

Other great reasons to watch, follow and comment on this historic tournament include:

Young Bucks from Ohio State

Ohio State is sending a bunch of their elite recruits, guys Penn State can look forward to battling next year when the Buckeyes have a better chance of dethroning the Lions Dynasty, although probably not as good a chance as they had last year before this happened:

In order of interest for yours truly:

  • 149 Sammy Sasso, a Pennsylvania stud who opted for Columbus over Penn State’s crowded middleweight situation
  • 174 Ethan Smith, who’s seen some D1 comp already this year, wrestling attached for Tom Ryan as he battle with Te’Shan Campbell for their 2019 Pittsburgh spot
  • 125 Malik Heinselman, who I’ve wondered all season if Ryan will start in Pittsburgh
  • 184 Gavin Hoffman, the scorned lifelong Penn State fan, who opted to try to punish Cael from Columbus, for choosing Michael Beard over him
  • 141 Quinn Kinner, the heir apparent (pending Ke-Shawn Hayes weight-class options after Micah Jordan & Joey McKenna expire their eligibility after this year)
  • 157 Elijah Cleary, who could battle Brady Berge in 2020 and beyond


One of the many things that makes the Midlands open tournament so cool is the occasional appearance of old dudes who have expired their college eligibility but not the fires in their bellies. A couple years ago, former Purdue All-American Jake Patacsil won a Midlands title in his 6th attempt, years after graduation.

A few of this year’s old-heads noted by Flo’s Pyles:

And one additional one Penn Staters are very familiar with: Nathan Tomasello. You guys remember him destroying the Rec Hall media table courtesy of Carson Kuhn, right?

More Cool Reasons to Follow

  • Iowa. In the brutal and unfortunate realities of a 9-Dual Schedule in a 14-team conference, PSU once again does not face the Hawkeyes until the Big Ten Conference. They’ve got a revamped lineup for 2019, with lots of new, young guys and, of course, Spencer Lee. Additionally, they’ve got a stud young heavyweight in Anthony Casssioppi registered who is very likely to give current Top-5 ranked Hawk starter Sam Stoll a run for his money.
  • Wisconsin. Penn State does battle the Badgers in a dual this year, and they are on the rise with their new coach Chris Bono and twin studs Zander & Evan Wick.

Schedule, Eastern Time

  • Session I: Sat, 10:30a. Pigtails, Championship R1, R2, Consis up to R24
  • Session 2: Sat, 8p. Quarterfinals, Consi R24, R20, R16
  • Session 3: Sun, 1p. Semifinals, Consi R12, Consi Qtrs, Consi Semis
  • Session 4: Sun, 8p. Finals, 3rd, 5th, 7th Place

How to Consume

Here’s a quick rundown of the brackets.


via TrackWrestling

Can Princeton’s Pat Glory or Northwestern’s Seabass Rivera give anything to Spencer Lee?

Arizona State’s facing a public wrestle-off in R2, between former OU All-American and MD victim to Roman Bravo-Young and his presumed backup, Brandon Courtney, who Devin Schnupp heroically held to a regular Decision, further thwarting Zeke Jones’ feeble attempt to get some extra team points against the Lion juggernaut in their December dual.


via TrackWrestling

NaTo! Can Desanto meet him in the finals? Beyond NaTo, is there anybody here who can hang with RBY?

Keep an eye on: Michigan stud recruit Joey Silva.


via TrackWrestling

UNI’s Josh Alber, a Nick Lee 2018 Scuffle Semis victim, is the 1-seed. After that, it’s Public Wrestle-off City, with two Michigan guys (Profaci & Freeman, both “backups” to new ISU transfer Kanen Storr) and three Iowa guys: Max Murin (2-seed), Vince Turk (4-seed), Carter Happel (11-seed) & Eli Stickley (unseeded).


via TrackWrestling

This weight’s a little insane. Princeton’s Kolodzik is the 1-seed, but the R1 battle to see who gets to face him is between two super-recruits in tOSU’s Sasso & ASU’s Jacori Teemer!

The other extremely compelling tidbit here is Michigan’s Alec Pantaleo attempting to drop from 157, where he placed 5th at The Nationals last year, to 149. If he succeeds (he apparently succeeded in making weight), Michigan’s got a stud true freshman in Will Lewan who they could pull out of redshirt later this season at 157. He’s got a couple young studs near him in the bracket, in Wiscy’s Cole Martin, Minny’s Brayton Lee & Penn’s Anthony Artalona.

UNI’s Max Thomsen’s the 3-seed and Campbell’s Josh Heil, who reached the Scuffle Finals last year, is the 4-seed.

Good, tough bracket!


via TrackWrestling

Iowa’s ascending Kaleb Young could face Zander Wick in R2, and NW’s stud 1-seed Ryan Deakin is on path to face the aforementioned Will Lewan in the Quarters.


via TrackWrestling

Evan Wick and Alex Marinelli are the top seeds, and Marinelli will be hoping for another shot at Wick who beat him a couple times last year. In their path are a few interesting contenders, including Arizona State’s redshirting Anthony Valencia and active Josh Shields.


via TrackWrestling

Brooks vs Zahid, tomorrow, 10:30a. Can’t wait!


via TrackWrestling

Iowa’s Cash Wilcke is seeded 2; can he reach the Finals and prove it’s true?

Can Gavin Hoffman hang with 1-seed Drew Foster in the Semis?

Let’s find out!


via TrackWrestling

Same goes for Jacob Warner. Frankly, him missing the Finals would be a huge disappointment to Hawk fans everywhere.

Keep an eye on: former stud Cornhusker recruit and new Wisconsin transfer Beau Breske, who’s in line to face Joe Rau early.


via TrackWrestling

The Hawkeyes are stacking their deck again here, with three entrants in Stoll (1-seed), Cassioppi (10-seed) & Costello (US). But tons of would-be spoilers are all around: 2-seed Campbell RS, Jere Heino; 3-seed ASU redshirt Tanner “Sasquatch” Hall; 4-seed Trent Hilger from Wiscy; 5-seed Michgian currently redshirting but maybe not for long Mason Parris.

Probably the second deepest weight behind 149.

Let’s wrestle!