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A Week of Wrestling, 2021 1124: The Law of Club and Fang

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One fanboy’s thoughts on the wrestling week that was and the ones that will be.

Artwork courtesy of Penn State alumnus Ross Bendik, The Foundation for Wrestling Art & Innovation. You can follow Ross’ fun work on twitter @WrestleChicago.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.

Yesterday is History

Fyre Duals

After Penn State battled the Black Knights of Army West Point last Thursday, a number of duals between Penn State-relevant opponents were competed.

via trackwrestling.com

Arizona State has been recruiting extremely well the past few years, as Head Coach Zeke Jones has tapped into the age-old wrestling trick of recruiting a big wrestling family. Anthony Valencia, the younger older brother of past 2x Champ Zahid, is using his last year of eligibility, somehow still competing at 165 pounds. Coach Zeke held younger brother Cael out of this dual, but he is already 4-0 on the season.

Fresno State All-American transfer Kyle Parco bolsters Sparky’s middle weights and when Cael Valencia hits the lineup at 174, their only weakness may be at 184, where Freshman Nummer is 0-3.

They also have this guy to finish out duals:

They’re a very formidable Top-10 team that could be a terrific matchup for Penn State if they meet up in December’s Collegiate Duals.

As part of its offseason blogger talent acquisition, Intermat snatched up the Wrestling Quoter, Darius Levan, whose quoting work you can find on twitter at @WrestlingQuoter and whose old blog can be read here. His new title at Intermat is Pac-12 Correspondent, and you can read his recap of this ASU-OU dual and the rest of the Pac-12 here.

Also check out the site of those Cal Poly “extra countable matches”:

via trackwrestling.com

Hoo boy, this was a tight one between two Top-10 teams at the Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg!

It was 13-12 after Bolen defeated Jordan, and the Buckeyes won the last two to clinch it.

via trackwrestling.com

Because of the way Cornell navigates the Ivy League no-redshirt rules, it’s always tricky trying to keep up with what might be their postseason lineup, and this year is no different. When last we saw them competing, in the 2020 season before the pandemic ended it, Arujao & Yianni (“John” above) were wrestling at 125 & 141 respectively. When they hosted former coach Rob Koll and his new team, Stanford, Arujao & Yianni wrestled at 133 & 149 respectively.

But this dual became known more for the officiating than a leading man returns home narrative.

Yikes!

That’s former Penn Stater and current Lock Haven Head Coach, Scott Moore chiming in with Seth Nevills’ high school coach, Adam Tirapelle. The most egregious of the complaints stemmed around a takedown that wasn’t called in the Julian Ramirez (a recent 8-5 victim of Penn State’s Matt Lee at the Bearcat Open) vs the returning National Champion, Shane Griffith, at 165.

But my favorite takery comes courtesy of a relatively new pundit: the Michigan Wrestling Ref!

Rules and officiating discussions can quickly become the most tedious on the wrestling internet, but I think I’m here for new content creators like this, who bring a little flair to the otherwise dry tundra of officiating takes.

via trackwrestling.com

This dual showcased the gap between Top-5 teams and Top-15 teams.

via trackwrestling.com

I didn’t get to watch any of this one, but the final score shocked me. That certainly can happen when the #4 wrestler at 165 loses to the #30 and the #5 wrestler at 133 gets pinned by the #24 guy.

Oh, and check out how Malyke Hines did that!

That’s right: a defensive pin. Not something you see every day.

Here’s another look:

“A couple of seconds” is doing a good bit of work there, but we’ll allow the poetic license to the past Mountain Hawk All-American Beckman.

Tomorrow is a Mystery

The Journeymen Collegiate Duals matchups and schedule have been set!

As a reminder, Coach Cael told us a few weeks ago that “the point isn’t to wrestle your conference meet prior to your conference meet, just set up some marquee dual meets with non traditional opponents. And have a great event and see how it goes.”

So how will this go?

We’ve got two pools of six, which are firmly separated. No teams in the Blue Pool will face any teams in the Red Pool, on either day of the event.

Inside of each pool, we have two Mats, each hosting three teams.

Blue Mat 1:

  • Penn State
  • Cornell
  • UNI

Blue Mat 2:

  • Arizona State
  • Virginia Tech
  • Hofstra

Red Mat 1:

  • Iowa
  • Lehigh
  • CMU

Red Mat 2:

  • Missouri
  • NC State
  • Binghamton

After the first day of competition, each pool’s mat will have its three teams ranked 1 - 3. With the division of power already instilled, it’s unlikely that any mat will result in three teams each with a 1-1 record, but in that rare case, I’d guess they’ll use total dual points as tiebreakers.

On the second day of competition, each pool’s two #1s will face off, as will their two #2s and two #3s.

Now that I’ve got my mind wrapped around it, I really, really dig it.

Number one, that’s a lot of really good teams we get to watch in succession, regardless of opponent. But number two, the matchups, given the separation requirements noted above, are superb. Day One’s PSU-Cornell, ASU-Va Tech and Mizzou-NC State are all fyre.

Throw in Day Two’s possibilities of Iowa vs Mizzou/NC State, PSU vs ASU/Va Tech, and all the downstream matchups, and we have ourselves a very nice ocular treat.

Today is a Gift

Some of you know my family has experimented with home schooling this year. Overall, it’s been going pretty well — both challenging and rewarding. My favorite part has been kicking off our school day with a group read-aloud; a 30-minute session where we take turns reading a page of a book we’ve chosen from the sixth grade recommendations.

In October, we read one of my childhood favorites: Jack London’s “Call of the The Wild”. I love the story of a Southern California St. Bernard who gets whisked away to toil and survive in Alaska during the gold rush in the early 1900s, but I love the language even more. London’s storytelling is so vivid and full of so many five-dollar words, we had to pause for dictionary look-ups during most chapters.

It’s easily been more than 30 years since I last read it, and my wrestling fandom has grown immensely since even my teen years, when I was actually competing. So I suppose it should not have been a surprise for this re-reading to evoke so many comparisons and crossover images with this sport we so love. As such, I thought I’d try sharing a passage from Call of the Wild, to see if you too could see the wrestler in this great writer’s amazing doggo.

From Chapter Two: The Law of Club & Fang:

His development (or retrogression) was rapid. His muscles became hard as iron, and he grew callous to all ordinary pain. He achieved an internal as well as external economy. He could eat anything, no matter how loathsome or indigestible; and, once eaten, the juices of his stomach extracted the last least particle of nutriment; and his blood carried it to the farthest reaches of his body, building it into the toughest and stoutest of tissues. Sight and scent became remarkably keen, while his hearing developed such acuteness that in his sleep he heard the faintest sound and knew whether it heralded peace or peril.

It was no task for him to learn to fight with cut and slash and the quick wolf snap. In this manner had fought forgotten ancestors. They quickened the old life within him, and the old tricks which they had stamped into the heredity of the breed were his tricks. They came to him without effort or discovery, as though they had been his always. And when, on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolflike, it was his ancestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him. And his cadences were their cadences, the cadences which voiced their woe and what to them was the meaning of the stiffness, and the cold, and dark.

That’s all for this week. I hope to see you back here next Wednesday!

As always, I invite feedback of all flavors. Please feel free to engage in the comments below or on twitter @JpPearson71.