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2010-2011 Summer All American Predictions: 174

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by , 06-16-2010 at 08:05 AM (592 Views)
1. Mack Lewnes (Cornell)
2. Chris Henrich (Virginia)
3. Jordan Blanton (Illinois)
4. Ben Bennett (Central Michigan)
5. Mike Benefiel (Oklahoma State)
6. Ethan Lofthouse (Iowa)
7. Scott Glasser (Minnesota)
8. Colby Covington (Oregon State)
R12. Mike Letts (Maryland), Luke Manuel (Purdue), Ed Ruth (Penn State), Austin Meys (Lehigh)

Lets see, Mack Lewnes goes undefeated all the way up until the NCAA finals next year putting up big points against everyone that he wrestles and perhaps even more impressively not surrendering a single takedown. Then in the finals he takes a tough loss to Jay Borschel who is now gone. I think this is enough to make Lewnes a pretty significant favorite here. Just a great season last year after moving up from 165 and we learned that quickly when he tech falled my preseason champion pick in an early season dual meet last year. Just to reiterate again he did not surrender a single takedown until the NCAA finals, that is absolutely ridiculous. He's a guy who really gets after it from the feet and he's able to do that because of his confidence in his ability in scrambling away from shots. Also very tough on top with his leg rides. In my opinion he's one of the two Hodge front runners coming into the season along with Matt McDonough.

I think Lewnes is a pretty significant favorite here at this weight but to Henrich's credit he's a guy who wrestled him really tough in their only meeting last year in the Southern Scuffle finals giving Lewnes one of the few close goes he got through out the course of the season. I hate to describe him like this because I feel like it diminishes how good he is but I think you could almost call him a poor man's (or perhaps we'll call him a middle class man's) Lewnes. He and Lewnes do a lot of the same things in terms of their styles, last year he just wasn't quite as good at doing those things as Lewnes was. This is especially apparent on the feet. It seemed like almost a contest last year in their Scuffle Finals match between the two of them to see who could most elaborately scramble away from the other one's single leg shot. Heart breaking loss in the semi's last year to Borschel after going up big early on. He seemed to use that on the last day of the tournament where he came back to take 3rd majoring Stephen Dwyer who he'd lost to earlier in the year.

Blanton is a guy who coming into the year last year I really expected a break out season from but he didn't quite show that during the regular season as he was kind of up and down. He came out though at NCAA's last year and recorded some big wins en route to becoming an All American for the first time. I described him last year as a Keddy v. 1.5 as he wrestles a bruising style that isn't always the prettiest thing in the world much like how Keddy used to. He looked better last year in utilizing his hand fighting to get to leg attacks rather than just beating up on guys. Doesn't do a ton of wrestling on the mat and that's something that could keep him from breaking through against either of the guys I have above him.

The main reason that I have Bennett in this spot rather than up one is the fact that he took two losses last year to Blanton at the NCAA tournament going down to him in the second round and in the match for 5th. He probably had a more consistent season than Blanton did after he established himself in the place of returning NCAA finalist Mike Miller at 174 for CMU but he still had his ups like at Midlands where he was a finalist and downs especially at National Duals where he lost both matches he wrestled. He came back at NCAA's though and avenged his loss to Scott Glasser who he sent home from the tournament, he also beat Robert Hamlin early in the tournament and sent Colby Covington home as well. He's a guy who demonstrated an ability last year to put guys to their back and pin quickly and if he's evolved that ability its something that could push him up a little higher here.

Benefiel was only able to officially compete last year for one semester, he came out last year in his first official competition and absolutely laid waste to the Reno tournament with three falls and two majors. He wasn't wrestling the best opponents in the world but when you're wrestling guys like he was you'd certainly be satisfied with domination like that. Over the rest of the year he's a guy who wrestled very tough and was very consistent losing only to Dwyer and Borschel once he was permanently installed in the line up. Lost to Henrich in the quarters at NCAA's and was then defeated by Scott Giffin in the Round of 12 to miss out on AA. Surprisingly was able to show the effectiveness of the fireman's carry even at this level which is something that you don't necessarily see a lot of.

Much like his teammate St. John, Ethan Lofthouse is a guy who had a successful redshirt year last year and then came out and wrestled well in freestyle this spring. Last year most notably he split matches with Glasser at an early season tournament and then wrestled his opponents in other open tournaments tough through the course of the year. He won FILA Juniors this spring in a bracket that included both is teammate St. John (who he beat) and David Taylor. He did however miss out on a spot at Junior Worlds when he was shocked in the final series by Conrad Polz who completed a run where he'd beaten St. John and Taylor just to get to the final.

Glasser is a guy who for a period of time last year seemed destined for more of the same in terms of what had affected him previously during his career, inconsistency due to seemingly being banged up. After being bounced out of the Southern Scuffle last year in the first round though he absolutely caught fire going 21-3 over the rest of the regular season with all three losses coming to Jay Borschel. During that 21-3 run he had wins Burk, Henderson, Bennett, Rella, and Blanton. Much more consistent last year at setting up, getting to and finishing his leg attacks. Showed a lot of ability on topas riding time wound up being very important in several of those wins. Like a few others on his Gopher team he had a tough go at NCAA's last year going down to Jarrion Beets in the first round at NCAA's and then going home two rounds later after losing an aforementioned match to Bennett.

After the season he had at Iowa two years ago I think you'd have been hard pressed to find much of anyone who would have predicted that Colby Covington would have as good a season as he did last year at Oregon State. He basically fulfilled all the expectations of what people thought he would have done at Iowa en route to a dominant Pac-10 season and title and a round of 12 finish at NCAA's where he really pushed Mack Lewnes during an overtime match in the quarterfinals. He really tried to beat Lewnes up with his hand fighting in that match, wasn't quite as effective at getting to his leg attacks and looking at his scores against high level guys last year a lot of them were kind of close so it seems as though that's something that may have effected him through out the course of the season. He's able to refine things a little bit he can definitely move his way up here.