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A Week of Wrestling Is Celebrating The Stomping of the Buckeyes

A Week of Wrestling is one fanboy’s thoughts on the wrestling week that was and those that will be.

This is Kung Fu Panda’s Master Oogway, founder of the Valley of Peace. He’s wearing a custom singlet crafted by Penn State alumnus Ross Bendik of The Foundation for Wrestling Art & Innovation, to bring awareness to the multitude of ways that Wrestling embodies both modern creators and ancient wisdom. You can also 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.

There have been many versions of this quote throughout history, but as a huge Kung Fu Panda fan, I like to attribute it to the venerated founder of The Valley of Peace, Master Oogway. In the first movie, he introduces the quote with a brief admonishment to Po which is deeply related to a popular wrestling concept of ‘surrendering the outcome’: “you are too concerned with what is and what will be.” I figure it provides a fun framework for blogging about wrestling.

Yesterday is History

Fyre Duals

#1 Penn State 23, #4 Ohio State 9

Ohio State’s good. I love that they’re out there, and really wish they dueled Iowa in a dual this year. They do face off against Cornell here before the season ends, so that’ll be fun.

BSDWrestle’s gestaltshift (fanpost) and SWHA (comments) teamed up to bring us the Postview here, and you can catch the Bubbacast play-by-play scoring in the comments of Cari’s preview here. Thank you, to all of you!

#1 Penn State 35, Indiana 8

Indiana’s another team that let’s fans know they’re ready to fight. The scrappiness jumps off the screen at us. Well-coached, just overmatched against the Lions.

BSDWrestle’s SWHA wrote the postview for this one:

Before getting into the action I’d like to share my perspective going into the match for some added context and to demonstrate my stupidity. We’re over half way through the Big Ten schedule with the biggest matches (Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio State) out of the way. Matches like this are a great opportunity to try and extrapolate what the coaches are thinking and telling guys as they’re preparing for March. That’s not to say they’re looking past Indiana, but rather they’re asking what’s the most they can get out of this dual against Indiana that will set up guys to achieve the most they possibly can come NCAAs, whether that’s experience, experimentation, or rest.

A few other related posts for your reading pleasure:

The Ohio State wrestling team faced an absolute juggernaut this past Friday night when they hosted No. 1 Penn State inside Covelli Center. Winners of 9 of the last 11 (!) national championships, Cael Sanderson’s Nittany Lions are to college wrestling what the Harlem Globetrotters are to exhibition basketball. They simply do not lose... Unless it is to another Big Ten school, such as Iowa or Ohio State.

One of only two other programs to win a D1 wrestling title since 2011, OSU had PSU’s number in 2015, when the Buckeyes broke a four-year championship run by the Nittany Lions. The latter then won another four in a row (Tom Ryan’s team finished as runner-up three times during this period) before coming in second to Iowa in 2021. Penn State bounced back with a dominant title performance in 2022, and if history is any indication, they could very well be in the beginning stages of a new natty streak.

The defending champs had won 39 straight duals prior to this matchup in Columbus, and were expected to win by a comfortable margin. But Ohio State was riding its own hot streak, having ripped through January undefeated. The Buckeyes even put an exclamation on their flawless month by completing a Michigan sweep. However, the Nittany Lions presented a major step up in competition, to say the least.

The streak was broken in Ohio State’s home match against Penn State Friday, losing to Roman Bravo-Young, the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 133, in an 8-2 decision. Mendez bounced back against Northwestern, earning a sudden-victory win against Northwestern’s returning All-American Chris Cannon.

Mendez is also the first-ever Ohio State freshman to earn a “black shirt,” to signify earning his place as one of the top wrestlers in the room after breaking the top-10 national ranking nine matches into his collegiate career.

#11 Oklahoma State 17, #8 Missouri 16


Look at this tight dual!

I edited Track’s standard viz so we can better peep the team lead changes. Including ties, I count 7 of them, and then the final tie was broken by dual meet tiebreaking criteria #3: total points scored in other matches. The cool thing about college wrestling’s use of ‘criteria’ is that it actually breaks a tie and changes the score. No nonsense like: “Oklahoma State wins 16-16” or addition of some non-score indicator like a difficult-to-see underline. OkSt was awarded the tiebreaker point and won on the scoreboard, 17-16.

I also left the bout score fields for the final match, at 133, blank on purpose.

Being fans of such a relatively small sport on the larger sporting landscape carries with it a semblance of responsibility, to both learn & teach, and now’s a good time to commit to memory these tiebreaker rules. Thankfully, we have a good teacher here at BSDWrestle, so to Bubba’s “So You Want to Check Out That Wresting Thing” Primer we go:

via Bubba’s Wrestling Primer, on BSDWrestle

Let’s walk through them for this thrilling dual:

  1. Number of victories: the Cowboys & Tigers each earned five wins; on to the next.
  2. Number of 6pt wins: neither team scored any of these kinds of victories; on to the next.
  3. Points scored in other matches not included under #2: Track totaled them up for us, and the Pokes scored more match points.

Speaking of learning and teaching, it was incumbent upon each program’s coaching + administrative staffs to not only know these rules, but to have them considered and totaled in real-time, in order to send their final wrestlers out to the mat with a full understanding of the stakes.

As Cowpoke 2x National Finalist Daton Fix took the mat, he carried the burden of at least two requirements, if he wanted to help his team win the Dual Meet:

  • Win by at least a Major Decision. Any loss would assure an OkSt loss. A regular Decision win, with a bout victory margin of less than 8 points is worth only 3 Team Points, and would assure an OkSt loss, 16-15. A Major Decision would tie the score 16-16 and send the team result to tiebreaker rules. A Technical Fall would result in an OkSt 17-16 win with no tiebreakers necessary, and a Pin would end it 18-16.
  • Win by exactly a Major Decision + win by 10 bout points. Missouri was leading the Bout Points total, 40-31. A 10-point bout victory margin assures that OkSt wins tiebreaker #3, and prevents lowly bloggers from having to researching tiebreakers #4 or #5 by tabulating nearfall points and takedown counts in other bouts. Team staff should of course be ready with such data, in case Fix won by exactly 9 bout points.

With the tiebreaker rules and current status firmly in the Oklahoma State staff’s knowledge, Fix went out and achieved bullet #2, winning 14-4 and assuring his team of the dual victory.

Notes From Other Outlets:

In the final road dual of the season, the Tigers dropped in heartbreaking fashion. As it did last year, this match-up came down to the final bout and was a thriller. We watch the Tigers drop multiple matches to inferior opponents which was the deciding factor in the contest. Next up on the menu for Mizzou is a big mid-week match-up against the Iowa State Cyclones back in Hearnes Arena on February 15, 2023 at 6;30 p.m. CST.

After dominating the Sooners on Friday, the Tigers struggled to score against OK State. Outside of Keegan O’Toole, no Mizzou wrestler scored more than four points and they only scored six takedowns. They suffered three significant upsets, including #1 Rocky Elam taking a loss. While the team score was great Friday, some of the individual performances were worrying and it carried over to Sunday. Many of the wrestlers looked like they were more focused on scoring off their opponents offense and weren’t able to consistently produce their own. The highlight was Peyton Mocco getting revenge on Plott, but the excitement was short-lived.

It was a day full of upsets in Gallagher-Iba Arena, but none were as impressive as what Luke Surber was able to do.

The Oklahoma State wrestling team pulled off its second upset of the weekend with a 17-16 win against No. 8 Missouri, two days after beating No. 6 Michigan in Arlington. This dual came down to criteria. The matches were split five wins apiece with each team picking up a major decision, but OSU outscored the Tigers 45-43 in the matches, earning the victory.

In four matches, a lower-ranked wrestler beat a higher-ranked wrestler, with OSU taking three of those matches. The biggest of the upsets came via Surber at 197 pounds, where he beat No. 1 Rocky Elam 5-4.

I’ll admit, I had my doubts about Oklahoma State at various points early in the season, but things seem to be clicking now. The Cowboys are wrestling at a level we haven’t seen yet. Michigan was without a few starters, and Missouri has had some injury issues leading up to this. But, these were two really good wins and the most complete that Oklahoma State has wrestled this season. Carter Young is on fire right now, Luke Surber just beat the No. 1 guy in the country, and on and on. The Cowboys will still need to make some gains this season to have a shot at a Big 12 title and will need to be firing on all cylinders to do that, but whatever is going on right now is working. We’re seeing a lot of improvements in guys and a much better team than we saw a few months ago.

#11 Oklahoma State 24, #6 Michigan 15, at the Bout at the Ballpark, in the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field Stadium


I flipped these Cowpoke duals, to highlight the drama of the Mizzou dual, but that’s two duals in a row that ended with Daton Fix at 133 pounds. I wonder how those bout order discussions between OkSt Head Coach John W. Smith and opposing coaches begin?

#5 Cornell 19, #25 Penn 15


Last week, I wrote:

Even if they don’t quite yet have the necessary horses to unseat this established Cornell team with some top-level firepower, it’s gonna be fun to watch them measure themselves.

That measurement says the Quakers are right there!

Split the bouts 5-5, Colaiocco and Zapf held Vito & Yianni to Decisions, Maximus Hale knocked off #20 Jonathan Loew. The final difference was the Cornell Bonus at 174 & 197.

They were even pretty close on some tiebreaker data Track published for us:

via trackwrestling

I’m really picking up my fandom for the Quakers. Two of my oldest 717 buddies are Penn grads, and they’ve been really supportive of my wrestling fandom through the years, and have leaned into knowing how their wrestling team is doing throughout the season.

Penn’s a fun program, on the rise.

Dual Rankings

I want to look at these a little differently this week. I had been pulling them from, but in digging a little deeper, back to the source of these ‘coaches poll’ rankings: the National Wrestling Coaches Association website, found some other cool resources.

First, the D1 complete Top-25 rankings:


The Top-5 remains unchanged. Michigan drops from 6 to 9, and Oklahoma State moves up after their strong weekend. The Pokes have had an interesting season. In their two losses, they went 4-6 against Minnesota back on December 4, and against Iowa State on January 29, but they pulled out W’s with 5-5 splits against Northern Iowa and Missouri. As Pistols Firing’s Duckworth said above, they seem to be wrestling with energy, and they also have the season-ending dual against the Hawkeyes to look forward to.

The cool thing about going to the NWCA’s site is that they have rankings for all sorts of divisions, including this variation on D1 men’s wrestling: a Mid-Major ranking.


If you’re like me, and still wrapping your mind around which teams compete in which conferences, you might need to pair that chart above with the Mat Talk Online Dual Meet Standings site I introduced last week.

Looking at the Top-10:

  • Cornell, Penn & Lehigh all compete in the EIWA
  • NDSU, Northern Iowa, SDSU, Northern Colorado & Air Force all compete in the Big 12
  • App State competes in the SoCon and;
  • Cal Poly is in first place in the Pac-12

Back to the Mid-Major rankings, it looks like they only update them every other week or so. Since the previous update on January 13, Penn climbed one spot, but are somehow still behind Lehigh, who they took 7 of 10 bouts from in a 23-11 win on January 20.

Yesterday’s History Links

Additional fun content I consumed this week.

I’ll mostly try to keep this fresher than any links I put in the BSD Wrestle comments sections last week, but some may be double-posted. Like this first one.

Q: If collegiate wrestling awarded a Jagger Trophy like they do with the Dan Hodge, what would it’s criteria be and who would you expect to be in the front-running for it this season? Ben Kenobi

A: I’ve been saving this question for a rainy day and this seemed about the right time to bust it out. The only qualification is you gotta have that grit. We’re all about that grit here in New Jersey. What does it mean? Nobody really knows but it sounds cool. So, who has this mythical grit and how can you tell? You just can. Austin Gomez got that grit. Sam Latona got that grit. Marco Vespa definitely got that grit. Marcus Coleman? You know he’s got that grit. Dean Peterson got that Jersey grit, which is a whole different animal of grit. We won’t find out the real answer until March. Who’s the guy who fights his way through the backside of a bracket to finish on the podium. A Patrick McKee if you will. Those are the guys I like to see. One of my favorite things to do near the end of the NJ State tournament is find the guy who’s still alive after losing the earliest and see where he places. That’s where the grit thrives. Grit comes in various forms and I’ll be keeping my eye on all the contenders for the Gritty Hodge this year.

  1. Record (most notable for losses; anybody with any L’s gets immediately cut from consideration)
  2. Number of pins
  3. Dominance
  4. Past credentials
  5. Quality of competition
  6. Sportsmanship/citizenship
  7. Heart

Tomorrow is a Mystery

A few of my favorite duals this weekend...

Friday, February 10:

#1 Penn State at #23 Rutgers

I’ll guess that this road trip over to Jersey will be similar to last weekend, and that we’ll see the full lineup on Friday night at Rutgers, and then any days off will be administered at home against Maryland on Sunday.


  • From scarletknights dot com, Rutgers is “trending toward a sellout, with limited tickets remaining.” Also from that link: Top Home Wrestling Crowds in Jersey Mike’s Arena History:
  1. 8,321 (Jan. 28, 2018 vs. No. 1 Penn State)
  2. 7,545 (Jan. 13, 2019 vs. No. 3 Oklahoma State)
  3. 6,754 (Dec. 8, 2017 vs. No. 7 Iowa)
  4. 6,365 (Dec. 10, 2021 vs. Army)

#3 Iowa State at #14 Northern Iowa

UNI is having a nice season. They’re 7-3, with losses to Top-10 teams NC State, OkSt & Missouri. They’ve got pretty broad coverage across 10 weights, which makes them a dangerous dual team. Ask Ohio State.

Sunday, February 12:

#17 Pitt at #6 NC State

Pitt’s surprising beatdown of Virginia Tech has them in the driver’s seat for king of the ACC, but this trip to Raleigh could result a 3-way tie with the Hokies (who beat the Wolfpack). Pitt’s wrestling really well, and nearly unseated Iowa State last week (another 5-5 split also lost on tiebreakers, for a 17-16 final).

Today is a Gift

I’m going back to the creatives training & amplification well this week.

Last week, I shared Ross Bendik’s announcement that he was starting an apprentice program.

This week, Ross clarified some details about his program:

I’m so interested in this!

I love what Ross has built so far; from the Foundation’s about page:

Mission Statement: Promote the culture of amateur wrestling to create greater opportunities for our athletes on and off the mat.

The Foundation for Wrestling Art & Innovation was established by a few passionate wrestling creatives in 2021. After years of engaging the wrestling community on social media and sharing art, ideas, and activities, we decided to create a proper structure to support our beloved sport. The Foundation is registered as a non-profit in the state of Illinois.

I dig how he’s structured the Foundation’s goals in a way that doesn’t limit itself to art, and allows for the possibility of the innovation in its name:

Our goal is to foster more creative collaboration and innovation across the sport of wrestling through:

Creating an accessible infrastructure for creativity and innovation across the wrestling community

Connecting wrestlers and wrestling programs with creatives to help achieve their goals and grow their brands

Providing creative support from inception to realization of wrestling art or engagement activities

Providing learning opportunities to help grow the artistic and creative capabilities across the sport of wrestling

You can apply to his apprentice program here, you can donate to the Foundation here, and I hope to get to see some of your work here.

Be well, and take care of each other, friends.

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 BSD Wrestle’s Home.