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A Week of Wrestling, 2021 1217: Finally Penn State Wrestles Cornell

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

Casey Cunningham

For Monday’s press availability, Assistant Head Coach Casey Cunningham took the mic & cam to answer a few questions. The multimedia stream showcased a few of Coach Casey’s glorious attributes: sunlight shone in from a window and glared off his smoothly-shaved balding dome, his salt and pepper beard was immaculately groomed and his otherwise ferocious countenance was softened by his high-pitched and kindly voice.

The Duals

2021 1213 NWCA Coaches Poll Top-10

The Top 15 in the NWCA Coaches Poll Dual Rankings remained unchanged.

Via Trackwrestling

That was a pretty thorough beatdown, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a Top-5 team battling a Top-20 team. In fact, it was not much unlike what the Cowpokes did to Minnesota (a Top-15 team) a few weeks ago; Minny won 3 total bouts and lost 23-10.

But alas, the final score was not the final story.

Seth reminds us that the Bedlam name actually originated from a wrestling match between the two schools:

And the 1975 Bedlam dual could easily be viewed as the craziest Bedlam event ever.

At the time of the dual, the Cowboys and the Sooners were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country and the match came down to heavyweight and OSU freshman Jimmy Jackson. This is how Jackson described the scene to the Washington Post in 1978.

Via Trackwrestling

This dual was noteworthy for two reasons: Ohio State dominating the bouts they were supposed to win and wrestling tough to win the tossup matches, and the cool undercard dual between two girls wrestling teams from rival states.

Heinselman and Hubbard grinded hard to gut out tough decision wins, and Kharchla further emphasized to Wentzel the difficulty he’s likely to face in trying to make it back to the finals this year. Meanwhile, Sasso, Smith, Romero & Dorff put up bonus to help bury the Panthers.

The undercard dual was between Olentangy Orange High School from Lewis Center, Ohio and Gettysburg High School from Gettysburg, Pa, an event spearheaded by Wrestle Like a Girl to help speed up the sanctioning of girls wrestling in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

For the past five years, girls wrestling has been the fastest growing high school sport in the country. Mirroring the national statistics, Ohio high school wrestling has experienced a 100% growth increase of girls on high school boys teams in the past 5 years. While there are 32 state high school associations sanctioning a girls state championship, Ohio does not yet have an official state tournament and has not sanctioned girls wrestling as a sport.

Data shows that girls would prefer to wrestle and compete against girls. When given the opportunity to do so, participation numbers grow tremendously in a short period of time. States that recently added an official state-association sanctioned girls state championship, such as Missouri [1], have seen growth as high as 400% following sanctioning, and every sanctioned state saw a marked increase in their female wrestling participation numbers.

Olentangy won the dual 48-30.

For more coverage on the event, we turn to the brand new wrestling media organization, Ohio Mat Media, an awesome collaboration of heretofore independent Ohio wrestling journalists. First, check out OMM Rob Gore’s youtube for video of every bout.

Then, listen to their interviewers get great footage of excellent content from key advocates of girls wrestling: Sally Roberts, Julia Salata and Olentangy’s coach, Vanessa Oswalt:

Listening to these inspiring people always gets me more excited for girls wrestling and, for all growth really. I’m glad the sport has such excellent ambassadors who are willing and able to teach and show us how to move forward.

The Links

Utah Valley’s Demetrious Romero is out for the season. Romero earned the 2-seed at 174 last year, made to the semifinals after convincing wins over OkSt’s Dustin Plott and Ohio State’s Kaleb Romero, before dropping a tight 2-0 decision to eventual Champ Carter Starocci. In the Consis, he lost 5-4 to Mikey Labriola and defaulted out of the 5th place match to finish 6th in his first podium appearance.

This year, he was wrestling down at 165, where he’d been for most of his long career before last year. His injury clears a small bit of space in the beastly and deep 165-pound field, and of course he’s espoused the great attitude most wrestlers can be counted on for:

“So, I tore my ACL in my right knee and my plan is to come back for my senior year because I know I’m good enough to win a national championship especially with the coaches we have and the guys we have on the team. I want to be able to give myself the best chance possible of winning a title, so taking a medical year will help me get back to 100% and put me in the position to win a title and lead the team going forward,” Romero said. “Even being hurt this year, I plan to be a leader to the guys and help them make improvements in their wrestling so they can also achieve their goals this season.”

Stanford’s got some cool new shoes:

It’s worth celebrating the phenomenal turnaround from the wrestling program being on the chopping block, to the next year sporting some pretty dope team-specific mat kicks.

I loved this idea from Shane Sparks!

Rec Hall packs a steady 6500 people, but there are plenty of times during a dual that things get pretty dang quiet. I’d love to see a portion of the Blue Band (it’s got a lot of people) situated in one of the corners to help keep the pep up.

The Lawls

The thing about funniness on the internet is that, while you can occasionally be surprised by a one-off laugher from a buddy, if it’s consistency you seek, it’s best to stick with the experts. That said, and at the risk of over-fanning the fanboy in me, to the Mailbag Specialist we go:

“Tis the season for giving,” and thus, I wanted to hand out some gifts to those who need them most. I bounced the idea around the office to come up with the perfect gifts for the season.

John Smith-a new sweater vest. Between that and those warmups, they really aren’t big on change in Stillwater. You have a guy who wears a watch on each wrist now; let’s see some style spread around.

Kevin Dresser-bracket sheets. It’s nearly Open Season in Ames and if coach Dresser wants to run all his tourneys right down to the Last Chance, he’s gonna need some paper.

Austin DeSanto-open mic. Come on, it’s his last year. I need my ADS mic’d up for the rest of the year.

Check out the link for the rest.

Tomorrow is a Mystery

Journeymen Collegiate Duals

That’s Journeymen Wrestling’s Frank Popolizio describing how this event came to be. Like many useful solutions, they started with a useful question. They asked “how do we get all these good teams to wrestle good matches?”

After they answered that they went in search of, and found, a pretty cool and cozy venue:

Then of course you need participants, and you need to navigate those participants’ various requirements, such as desiring to not add even more bouts against teams you’re already scheduled to face in duals or conference tourneys, as Popolizio notes above. Another success:

From that No Go List, and these average rankings:

They built these pools:

From those pools, they built this schedule. Reminder: there are no crossover matchups — no red vs blue action:

All should be really fun, for viewers both in the arena and in front of screens. I took off Monday and Tuesday so I can watch and comment in peace.

Now all we gotta do is wait to see which wrestlers the coaches of all these great teams send out. Hopefully, with the crossover ban, we’ll see less caginess and gamesmanship, and each team’s best available wrestlers will go out and compete.

Streaming Guide

Thanks as always to Intermat Earl, for sharing this helpful tool each week.

Today is a Gift

For today’s gift, I’m sharing Jordan Burroughs challenging the recent (5-10years?) takery that participation trophies are indicative of a society gone soft. Burroughs is one of America’s greatest and toughest wrestlers, and every year he seems to grow even more as a leader.

He elaborated more on the participation trophy piece here.

Now a father of four, he’s leaning into his dadness and speaking to all the parents out there:

A good leader knows that storytime goes a long way toward landing one’s message:

My favorite part about the way Burroughs teaches these days is the balance with which he sprinkles chastisement and encouragement:

I love it — finishing with: “we can do this!” Agreed, Jordan, agreed. Thanks for continuing to guide us.

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

As always, I invite feedback of all flavors. Please feel free to engage in the comments below or on twitter @JpPearson71. Also please consider bookmarking this link to BSDWrestle’s Home.