<table valign="top" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" leftmargin="0" topmargin="0" width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody> <tr><td colspan="3" border="0" valign="top"> One of the best matches that I have ever witnessed came during the college all-star dual meet.
The matchup occurred on Jan. 29, 1996 in Iowa City, when the all-star meet was held in the middle of the season. Iowa’s Mark Ironside staged a furious third-period rally to beat Lock Haven’s Cary Kolat 9-8 at 134 pounds before 8,500 screaming fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
I really wish I was there in Columbus, Ohio, but purely just for fun, here are my predictions for the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic. The dual will be held tonight, Nov. 24, at Ohio State University in Columbus.
This meet really should be held in Iowa again sometime soon, especially with all these Iowa and Iowa State wrestlers competing.
Anyway, here’s how I see the all-star dual playing out:
125 – Charlie Falck (Iowa) vs. James Nicholson (Old Dominion)
Not exactly the matchup we envisioned for this event - with NCAA champion Angel Escobedo of Indiana and past NCAA runner-up Troy Nickerson of Cornell not wrestling - but it should still be an intriguing battle.
Nicholson was an All-American last year and he will have his share of motivation wrestling against an Iowa Hawkeye. Nicholson is from Des Moines.
Falck, a two-time All-American, is an experienced and savvy wrestler who can beat anybody.
Sesker’s pick: Falck
133 – Jayson Ness (Minnesota) vs. Jimmy Kennedy (Illinois)
It’s still too early to tell how Ness will do at 133 after bumping up from 125.
Kennedy is a proven commodity after placing fourth nationally at 133, but look for Ness to come out strong after dropping a match in this event last year. The long, lanky Ness is tough to match up against, especially if you haven’t wrestled him. Ness was second in the nation at 125 last year.
Too bad top-ranked Joe Slaton of Iowa wasn’t able to wrestle, but we may see plenty of him very soon.
Sesker’s pick: Ness
141 – J Jaggers (Ohio State) vs. Nick Gallick (Iowa State)
Jaggers was a huge surprise, at least in my eyes, at last year’s NCAA tournament. But the kid came to Ohio State as one of the nation’s best overall recruits. He lived up to it last year.
Expect Jaggers to put on a show for his home fans against a very tough wrestler in Gallick.
Gallick showed a lot of improvement last year and is a dangerous wrestler who is capable of turning a match around in a hurry.
Sesker’s pick: Jaggers
149 – Brent Metcalf (Iowa) vs. Darrion Caldwell (North Carolina State)
This is the matchup that everyone wants to see.
Metcalf suffered his only collegiate loss exactly one year ago to Caldwell, who caught him with a spladle. Watching the video, Metcalf does not look to be pinned. Not even close.
Metcalf, the best collegiate wrestler since Cael Sanderson, can’t wait for this match. Caldwell is very explosive and dangerous, but he also has pulled out some low-scoring matches as well.
Hopefully, both guys will open it up since it doesn’t count on their records. That could be really fun to watch.
Sesker’s pick: Metcalf
157 – Jordan Leen (Cornell) vs. Cyler Sanderson (Iowa State)
This could be another entertaining bout to watch, as both wrestlers are capable of putting on a show.
Leen has already been in some tough battles this season, including suffering an overtime loss to Harvard’s J.P. O’Connor.
Sanderson is another Iowa State wrestler who has made major improvements since coming to Ames. But Leen obviously has won when the stakes were the highest.
I wouldn’t have minded seeing another 157 match tonight with Mike Poeta of Illinois battling Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro again. Their match in Las Vegas last season was one of the best of the 2007-08 college season.
But Leen-Sanderson will be interesting to watch.
Sesker’s pick: Sanderson
165 – Nick Marable (Missouri) vs. Mack Lewnes (Cornell)
This is a rematch of the third-place match from the 2008 NCAAs, won by Marable.
Both wrestlers will contend for the NCAA title this year. Marable proved how tough he was in the postseason last year. Lewnes is just a sophomore, but he has really been impressive.
Look for a real close match here.
Sesker’s pick: Lewnes
174 – Steve Luke (Michigan) vs. Jay Borschel (Iowa)
This looks like one of the toughest bouts to call in the whole dual in a battle of Big Ten rivals.
Luke was second in the country last year and Borschel third.
Luke, in his fourth season as a starter, has an edge in experience. But Borschel performed very well last year in his first year as a starter.
Sesker’s pick: Luke
184 – Phil Keddy (Iowa) vs. Louis Caputo (Harvard)
Keddy may have been the most improved wrestler in the country last year, and reports from Iowa City indicate he may be even better this year.
Caputo is a tough competitor as well, who has excelled during the summer in freestyle.
Keddy is extremely strong, and will be tough for anyone to score on. He really bought in when Tom Brands took over the Iowa program, and it’s paying off for him now.
NCAA champions Jake Herbert of Northwestern and Mike Pucillo of Ohio State aren’t competing tonight, but we will see plenty of those two in the coming months as well.
Sesker’s pick: Keddy
197 – Jake Varner (Iowa State) vs. Hudson Taylor (Maryland)
Speaking of tough to score on, Varner may be the best in the country at keeping opponents off the scoreboard.
Taylor is a workhorse, who is going to keep wrestling hard for seven minutes. He proved that at the 2008 NCAAs.
Varner, a two-time NCAA runner-up, is capable of being a dominant force at 197 if he looks for his offense more.
Sesker’s pick: Varner
285 – Jared Rosholt (Oklahoma State) vs. Kyle Massey (Wisconsin)
Rosholt, Jake’s “little” brother, really came into his own last season and enters this season ranked No. 1.
This could be a low-scoring, tactical battle. That seems to be the trend these days in the heavyweight class.
This match doesn’t count, so these big boys need to open it up a little more and give the fans something to watch.
Sesker’s pick: Rosholt</td></tr></tbody></table>
TheMat.com weighs in with its predictions for the NWCA All-Star Classic
The National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic is set for Monday night, Nov. 24, at Ohio State University in Columbus.