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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March "Matness" 2011

The NCAA Division I wrestling tournament starts tomorrow and I thought I'd throw out a few hastily-chosen predictions for the finals and team race:


125: Robles (AZST) over McDonough (IOWA)
133: Graff (WISC) over Long (PSU)
141: Thorn (MINN) over Russell (MICH)
149: Caldwell (NCSU) over LeValley (BUCK)
157: Taylor (PSU) over Jenkins (AZST)
165: Burroughs (NEB) over Howe (WISC)
174: Reader (ISU) over Lewnes (CORN)
184: Bozak (CORN) over Rutt (WISC)
197: Simaz (CORN) over Foster (OKST)
HWT: Trice (CMICH) over Bradley (MIZZ)

If any of those finals matches even happen, I'll be shocked. I really didn't spend much time on them, but a Taylor-Jenkins match at 157 could be the story of the tournament (unless Robles wins a title, which I would love to see). Here are my predictions for the team race:

1. Cornell
2. Penn State
3. Oklahoma St
4. Iowa

So while the rest of you figure out your brackets of 68, I'll be focused on the 330 wrestlers hitting the mats this weekend in Philadelphia. There are only 3 UNI wrestlers in the tournament, but we've got a good shot at at least one All-American, which would match last year's efforts. Go Bonin, Loder, and Brantley!

Monday, March 07, 2011

West Regional 2011

My friend Jordan and I went down to the Air Force Academy today to watch some Division I wrestling action at the West Regional. I went to support my UNI Panthers and, judging by the results, my support wasn't enough. UNI came in second behind Wyoming and UNI only had two champions, Ryan Loder and Christian Brantley. Loder's final over Wyoming's Joe LeBlanc was quite good, with Loder avenging a loss two weeks ago by controlling LeBlanc from the top position in the third period. It was a good match between two very evenly-matched wrestlers.

My biggest disappointment came in Brett Robbins' true second match against UNC's Justin Gaethje at 149. Robbins upset Gaethje in the dual last month, and ever since I've been a proud member of the Brett Robbins fan club. Today's rematch was close and the score was tied 4-4 with about 10 seconds left when Robbins was penalized for stalling, giving a 5-4 victory to Gaethje. I don't often dispute an official's call, but this one was horrible, particularly given the circumstances. Coach Schwab was absolutely livid.

It looks like UNI will only have 3 NCAA qualifiers this year: Loder, Brantley, and David Bonin. Jordan and I wrapped up a long day of wrestling the best way we know how, with a buffet-full of sometimes sketchy food at the GC.