1. Zach Rey (Lehigh)
2. Dom Bradley (Missouri)
3. Jarod Trice (Central Michigan)
4. Ryan Tomei (Pittsburgh)
5. Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State)
6. DJ Russo (Rutgers)
7. Ben Berhow (Minnesota)
8. Ryan Flores (American)
R12. Jeremy Johnson (Ohio), Cameron Wade (Penn State), Brendan Barlow (Kent State), David Marone (Virginia Tech)
1. Zach Rey (Lehigh)
2. Jarod Trice (Central Michigan)
3. Ryan Flores (American)
4. Dom Bradley (Missouri)
5. DJ Russo (Rutgers)
6. Ryan Tomei (Pittsburgh)
7. Cameron Wade (Penn State)
8. Tony Nelson (Minnesota)
R12. Brendan Barlow (Kent State), Nathan Fernandez (Oklahoma), Ben Apland (Michigan), Clayton Jack (Oregon State)
So far this year Zach Rey has done a nice job living up to my prediction of him to be this year's heavyweight, as he currently sits with an undefeated record here past the season's halfway point. While he hasn't really been dominant per se like his coach Steve Mocco was, all he's done so far this year is win. He's beaten basically all of his major competitors already this year recording two wins apiece over both Apland and Trice, and then other wins over Tomei, Wade, Bradley, Brantley, Flores, and Barlow. Like most heavyweights he's not really a guy who is going to go out and pile up the points from his feet but he'll score when he's able to get to it, and if he's not he won't give scores up. Where he really shines is on the mat, he's got a great switch that he's very effective in hitting. That's helped him win quite a few matches already this year. Then he's tough on top. He's got matches on his schedule left with Marone, Flores (if Flores is healthy, which I'll get to), and Russo (only top level guy he hasn't wrestled yet) and then he'll see Flores and Russo again at EIWA's so the tough schedule that he's wrestled so far won't be getting any easier. Given his level of success here to the halfway point it doesn't seem like that will be a problem though.
For the greater majority of last season Jarod Trice was a guy who I just didn't buy into. Saw his quality results, even watched his matches against other top guys, and still just didn't think that he was very good. Kind of started to buy in after watching him have so much success against solid guys at the University level this spring in both freestyle and greco, and after watching him over this first half of the folkstyle season I guess I'm not going to be able to get away from the fact that yes Jarod Trice is good. So far this year he's got a pair of wins over Bugenhagen, and then other wins over Nelson, Russo, Tomei, and Apland. The win over Apland avenged a loss from earlier in the year at the Las Vegas tournament in a match that doubled as the place where Apland really announced himself. Other than that match he's also gone down to Rey twice, and he's dropped a match to Flores. One of the more dynamic heavyweights in the country when he attacks, and given his build that could be a little surprising to some people.
Up until a few weeks ago Ryan Flores looked like a guy who was a pretty safe bet at this point to predict to be wrestling Zach Rey in the finals in March as he had a great start to the year. Now after taking a bizarre default loss to Kyle Simonson where he just walked off the mat down 10-4, and then a second loss at Lonestar Duals to Nathan Fernandez people have kind of stopped talking about him other than bringing up rumors of a possible concussion. He came off redshirt this year after transferring from Columbia (where he won the EIWA over Rey in 09) and like I said earlier really wrestled well during the early part of the year. He beat Trice with a last second TD in the All Star match, and then had other wins over Bradley, Russo, Tomei, Jack, and Bugenhagen. The wins over both Tomei and Jack were by fall. Other than the losses to Simonson and Fernandez he's also dropped matches this year to Tomei, and Rey. The loss to Rey came in the Midlands finals. Going forward if he's healthy I think he gets his feet back underneath him and has a good go of things at NCAA's, but as of right now I like Trice better for the other finals spot.
Came into this year sky high on Dom Bradley now that he was finally getting the chance to be Missouri's full time starter, but other than an awful day at Northeast Duals where he lost to Flores, Russo, and Rey in basically consecutive matches he's been kind of quiet this year. He missed Missouri's championship run at the Midlands where he'd have gotten the chance to see all three of those guys again in what was an absurdly loaded heavyweight bracket. Other than those three matches though he hasn't lost this year, he's got wins over Jack, Barlow, Alcala, and Brantley. Hasn't really had a bad season, just hasn't been as good as people thought he was going to be. He'd suffered from gas tank issues in the past, and I thought they'd go away now that he'd be able to be a full time starter. While they haven't really bitten him in terms of giving up a lead this year the matches that he lost were all close, and he was noticeably tired late in the matches when he needed to find a score.
DJ Russo is a guy who came in as a major surprise last year wrestling for Rutgers, he went into NCAA's last year as kind of a sleeper pick for the top 8 but wound up missing out. So far this year he's continued to compete at the high level that he established last year. For a heavyweight he wrestles arguably the most wide open style in the country. He likes to roll around and scramble a lot, and he's good at it. He's tough on top with his leg rides both riding and turning, its probably where he's at his best out of all three positions. So far this year he's beaten Wade and Bradley. He's got losses to Trice, Flores, and Helgerson the loss to Helgerson coming at Midlands where he didn't really look too good after getting knocked out of the topside of the bracket. Other than that tournament though he's had another excellent year.
Tomei is a guy who I may have overrated here a little bit by placing him here (given that the guy who just beat him is one spot below him), and it may not really be the first time that I've done this as I've been high on him since he came out of redshirt last year. Similar to Trice he's pretty dynamic here at the weight which again given his build may be a little bit of a surprise to some people. He's got a headlock in his arsenal that he'll bring out every once in a while too. So far this year he's beaten Apland, Lane, Flores, and Barlow. He's lost to Rey, Trice, Flores, and the aforementioned loss to Wade. One seeming weak spot for him is from bottom, the losses to Rey and Trice both came 2-1 (didn't see the matches but it sounds like trade escapes and riding time) and then Wade kept him down on the mat on Friday.
Seems like I've been touting Cameron Wade as a breakout guy forever, and based off his first half of the year this year he's finally broken through. He's another guy who is on the small side of the weight class, but he's able to make things work for himself by staying aggressive from the feet and scrambling well. Where he's at his best is on top, very comfortable working there especially when his leg rides. He proved that much when he took top in the third period in his Scuffle final against Apland while trailing and needing a turn. He worked the whole period and wound up getting it. Other than that match he's got another win over Apland and then other wins over Johnson and Jack. Then on Friday he knocked off Ryan Tomei (in the match that I already talked about) by scrambling into a TD while defending a shot, and then just working hard on top. He's also lost to Tomei this year in what has turned into quite a rivalry in both folkstyle and freestyle over the last few years, and has also dropped matches to Russo and Barlow. Overall his ability from top should help him progress in the later rounds at NCAA's because he's so good there he's able to blow out guys who aren't very good just by turning them so he's someone who is kind of a low upset possibility.
Nelson has definitely been one of the surprise guys at the weight class this year as he came in and unseated three year starter and returning R12'er Ben Berhow from the heavyweight spot in the Gopher line up just by out performing him against common opponents. His best attribute is probably the fact that he's so strong and that's doubly impressive when you look at him and see that he's a smaller heavyweight who probably isn't above 235-240 (and given my past estimate's of heavyweight weights he may be even lower than this). So far this year he's got wins over Lane, Barlow, Alcala, Jack, and Bugenhagen. The wins over Barlow, Alcala, and Jack came during his 3rd place performance at the Southern Scuffle. He's lost to Trice, Josh Wine (at the Scuffle, he avenged it with a fall in the consolation bracket), and Alcala. The one thing that I think may (but hope it doesn't) limit him in terms of getting to this placement is the fact that he doesn't seem to have found an attack that he can go to and hit against most everyone.