I had to wake up several hours earlier then I'd prefer to take care of the freaking dog my mother got to replace my presence in the household, so with all these daylight hours now freed up and nothing better to do thought I might provide some of my thoughts for the upcoming season. Not doing full weight predictions again because that takes forever and I might cry this time if I have to put in that much work.
First off, Jesse Degaldo isn't repeating. He is one of my favorite wrestlers to watch and probably the most talented guy at this weight but this weight class is just too insane and has so many different ways it could pan out even if David Thorn can't make the cut again. Right now I want to say Nico gets it unless for some reason he is at 133 for whatever ridiculous reason. I'm also holding high expectations for Cory Clark and his massive shoes that need filling. Oklahoma State's 125 will be underwhelming. Alan Waters will NOT make the NCAA finals.
Kentucky Homerism- If Garth Yenter does not start for Michigan State I will be calling a massive conspiracy, and it may involve the Illuminati. Interesting tidbit about Garth I learned when we were both wrestling at Fargo. His father did not allow any grade lower then an A and if Garth ever had a B on his report card then he would be pulled from wrestling, but of course an A in Kentucky is equal to like a C in the normal world.
First off I want to take all Ohio State fans aside here for a moment, have some tea and biscuits, enjoy the smooth jazz, and THAT WAS TWO POINTS AND YOU ARE BLIND IF YOU SAY OTHERWISE. From what I hear Logan will not be returning to this weight but any information on the contrary feel free to jump in and tell me I'm an ignorant fool. Personally I think that if he makes the weight Tyler Graff wins it, Stieber or no Stieber. I am really excited to see DiCamillo's development and I feel anything less then a Top 5 finish will break my heart. This weight can either be really good or really bad depending on who is there. Potentially moving up to my knowledge includes Stieber, Ramos, Graff, Morrison (why?), and Dardanes. If most guys return this will be a really tough weight come March and everybody already knew that. Oh ya and Logan is not winning 4 titles because I believe in a world where justice is served even if it never is.
Kentucky Homerism- I will be the best Kentucky D3 wrestler at 133 this year unless Will Bryant makes the cut. But no matter what happens I will be the second best Kentucky D3 wrestler, cause there is only Will and I...
When I tried to get my lovely and very sweet Romanian (yes she likes Gymnastics, no she is horrible at it) friend to watch the NCAA tournament with me I let her pick two favorite wrestlers so she could have someone to follow and keep her excited. One of these two was none other then Kendric Maple. As much as it pains me to say this and my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Frank Eaton (Pistol Pete) is turning over in his grave right now but Maple will win again if he is at 141. Hopefully Logan Stieber will be here too so my previous hope of a world without a 4 time winner after IT WAS TWO would come to fruition. I also hope that Richard Durso returns to this weight, I picked him up for my college team's fantasy wrestling challenge thingy (which they only do for the tournament, lame. I also got 2nd or 3rd I can't remember I wasn't uh sober when they told me the results) and I feel he was badly screwed out of an AA spot. Whoever Oklahoma State puts here will be terrible and I will be upset when Maple pins them, it's gonna be Case Garrison.
Kentucky Homerism- John Fahy has an above average shot at starting for Illinois here. I recently made a list of Top Kentucky Wrestlers in the past 5 years over at kentuckywrestling (released to horrid reviews, seriously I got my first ever downvote because of them) and I had John easily at number one. To show just how dominant this kid was in Kentucky, his sophomore year he had one of the most ridiculously insane brackets I have ever seen, from round 2 on he had a state placer in all of his matches. He teched his way into the finals where he would've gotten another tech if the other kid hadn't gotten hurt from the sheer insanity that was John Fahy and his MASSIVE ears, seriously look at them, they have their own gravitational pull.
Is anyone even returning to this weight? My god this thing is going to be wide open. The favorite if he returns is of course Dylan "lost to a Kentucky boy" Ness. But my money is on, if he returns, Scott Sakaguchi who I had predicted to make the national finals mostly because my friend wouldn't shut up about Jason Chamberlain. Even though Jordan Oliver wasn't even my favorite Oklahoma State wrestler (I'm gonna miss you Z) my team likes to act like I am madly in love with him just because he is the only Ok State guy they know and when it was two I got so mad I screamed at the tv and threw a pillow at it, I had to cool off in another room for a couple minutes. In my defense my father walked out of the house with a pack of cigarettes and didn't return until the 184 finals. But there is not much else I can say about this weight unless people bump up like oh I don't know Hunter "I dated a Porn Star" Stieber, and if T-shirt is at this weight he is making the finals.
Kentucky Homerism- Hopefully Caleb returns to 149, him and John's place in the lineup also depends on where Zane Richards ends up. I have tons of stories concerning Caleb, he attended a school that was in the same region as mine. His family is absolutely massive he has one older brother who wrestled at SIUE for a year (also where his father went) and he has I think four younger brothers, three of whom could possibly be even better then he was. His five male cousins outside of one were all state champs (they currently have 13 titles between all of them), Brock is a senior this year and will also wrestle D1 (my guess is Missouri, where I thought Caleb would go). In other words his family is a big deal in my part of Kentucky, he is also AAing this year because I said so.
Another weight that graduated a lot of talent. First off my prediction is that Alex Dieringer is winning it this year, and he came thisssss close to winning it last year. Yes this prediction stands even if DSJ aka Morningstar 2.0 is at the weight. This is also the year I expect James Green to really hit it off and really live up to the massive potential he has. He is not going to be the next Jordan Burroughs of course, but there are a lot of similarities between the two. If Penn State wants to win yet another title and make my father (who went to Central Dauphin) go on a massive rant about how much he hates that part of the state again then whichever Alton brother resides here has to place inside the top 4, or they can just ride Ed Ruth to victory like they did last year.
Kentucky Homerism- You won't see him this year, and if somehow you do he will be at 149, but keep an eye out for Kevin Cooper. He was I believe 3rd on my before mentioned list and outside of a loss to Stephen Myers (remember him... or his dad, Ohio boys?) his senior year was flawless. He was also my roommate at Fargo and I remember him awkwardly asking me to take a picture of him for his girlfriend he had started dating while at Fargo and it was one of the oddest experiences I had there, along with the fact I was able to get a Team California singlet and a juice box for only $20 (those babies were going for $80 that year, the singlet not the juice box).
So word on TOM lately is that David Taylor is looking at moving up to 174, this is of course a horrid and terrifying move from the Penn State camp. This could quite possibly be the worst and most confusing weight change to happen to the Big 10 since Kurt Kinser dropped to 149, good times eh Russ? If this does happen this launches Tyler Caldwell, and the Cowboys as a whole to number one in my predictions. Hopefully this doesn't go down because like I said at TOM a world where David Taylor only has one national title by the end of his career is a world I do NOT want to live in. But this move also sets up a world where RJ Pena potentially makes the national finals assuming he bumps up to 165 and Taylor goes up to 174, and fantasy wrestling owners everywhere rejoice in the Oregon pinning machine. If DT does move up it doesn't take a wise man to predict multiple wrestlers rushing to this weight to snag up all the opened up AA slots.
Kentucky Homerism- Unless Lampe drops a ton of weight, which is only possible if he went to Indiana, the closest thing the wrestling world has to a Nazi concentration camp, you will not see a D1 Kentucky boy at this weight. If you can't get enough of me and want to go watch some more Kentucky boys wrestle there are tons of them in NAIA just look for Camplesville, Lindsey Wilson, and University of the Cumberlands. My old high school teammate was supposed to come to John Carroll and wrestle this weight but he chickened out and is doing ROTC at Austin "not in Texas" Peay the school whose motto once was "Show your Peayness" (say it out loud, but not at work or around minors)
My favorite line from the Kyle Dake/Andrew Howe match at WTT, "Howe can I Dake this anymore?" But ya the famed Andrew Howe returns and helps OU set up for a run at the national title alongside the return of Jarrod Patterson at 125 and the Sooner debut of Rutt at what 184? Quick sidetrack for all of you non Oklahoma born History majors out there, the Boomers were a group of settlers who, while mad at the U.S. government, illegally settled into the Indian territory because they wanted the rich land (HA) that they felt was being wasted on all the massive group of people who had already been dragged across the country to live in the middle of nowhere (my original home). I myself descend from Boomers. They had NO relation with a separate group of people called the Sooners, who during the great land rush (basically a race to the best land when the territory was opened up for settlement) snuck out before the starting gun and staked their claims at the best spots. Oklahoma, where the state and its most well-known University are named after cheaters. If Taylor does move up to 174 then this weight may end up to be one of the greatest weights in NCAA history, and it was damn good last year, just imagine Howe, Taylor, Perry, Kokesh, Storley, Heflin, and Evans all at one weight. That of course isn't going to happen but let's take a moment to fantasize about that.
Kentucky Homerism- Potentially we could see John Lampe of UTC compete at this weight, he has kinda been their flex guy and could end up anywhere. I think he was all the way at 197 last year, or something crazy like that. This guy wrestled 160 his senior year of high school. I first met him at the Indiana wrestling camp alongside Hunter French, who Russ recognizes as another victim of Goldman and company. Lampe is kind of boring, quiet guy, likes to do his homework, and his family was on Extreme Home Makeover or whatever you call that show. French on the other hand was a trip, and his dad was hilarious. Indiana in its impressive foresight scheduled the wrestling camp the same time as a cheerleading camp. Me and the rest of the Kentucky boys of course made the best we could of the situation and got in SERIOUS trouble for sitting with the very pretty girls at lunch, but in our defense it was Mr. French's idea.
I just realized that I haven't been making enough crazy predictions so I'm gonna start this weight off with a doozy, Ed Ruth wins again. Didn't see that coming right? Now some of you may be speaking, "but Falcon, if DT moves up what of Matt Brown?" Well foolish wrestling fan who thinks I know anything, the rumor mill at TOM says that if DT moves up to 174 then Matt Brown will drop to 165. Poor Brown will of course be not important at 165 and I predict him finishing at like 4th if the worst weight change in history does happen. The rest of this weight is a joke that Ruth will steamroll through. This would be the point I stupidly try to say Tony Dallago finally gets his act together but I'm not THAT stupid. My pick to make the finals you ask? the answer is simple, I pick Kevin Castle. Who is that you might ask? That was Kevin Steinhaus with me being pretentious and showing off my very limited skills at German, Steinhaus translates as Stone House which I am pretty sure meant Castle. Also I nearly forgot to mention, I don't think Jordan Rogers is going to be as good as Ok State needs him to be, I see him as a two-time AA or so, but I really hope he proves me wrong.
Kentucky Homerism- Not much left for my good ol Kentucky boys, Lampe is the biggest guy we have at D1. This is of course because heavier weights, like most of wrestling in Kentucky, is an absolute joke. We pulled a random fat kid off the football team and he is ranked around 4th in the state right now. In unrelated news he was also a good friend of my younger sister and dated one of her best friends, I only mention this to bring up the fact that my sister is dating a black guy and our semi-racist grandmother nearly had a heart attack.
Going all out here, the finals will be Kyven Gadson and Blake Rosholt, and Gadson wins it. Gadson is in my top 5 favorite wrestlers competing right now, along with Jesse Degaldo, David Taylor, Alex Dieringer, and George DiCamillo. Really interesting to see is how Mario Gonzalez does in his last year, this guy literally makes no sense to me, how the hell did he win a B10 title? Our friends up north are probably still steaming over my finals prediction and it is about time we addressed the fact I am skipping over two wrestlers by the names of Taylor Meeks and Scott Schiller. You might wonder why I feel two wrestlers who finished below these talented young men (who are older then me) will be in the finals and not them. My answer is because I said so. I learned long ago to try not to explain my reasoning because I don't even know. I just follow my gut and roll with it, hence a lot of these predictions are rambling nonsense, so far I would say actual predicting consisted of maybe 10% of what I have said so far, let's try to keep that ratio going.
Kentucky Homerism- The year I went to Fargo we had 5 guys on Kentucky's junior freestyle team (Kentucky's Greco team? HA that's funny). We were a fine bunch and all of us ended up wrestling in college, 3 of whom even made D1. The biggest guy we had on our team was Caleb Ervin at 152 pounds, our head coach was John Fahy's dad, one of the finest gentlemen I have met, a very easy-going and kind man who raised his kids right. But all praise aside, the guy freaking ordered just about all of our gear in LARGE, yes LARGE. I can't wear any of my old gear because I am a small guy and I look like an 8 year trying to dress like a gangsta when I put it on. Thankfully John Fahy gave me his Singlet because he felt bad that I couldn't fit in mine (John's was a medium, mine was a large). So now I can one day show my kids my old Team Kentucky singlet worn by one of the finest wrestlers Kentucky ever saw, and I can pretend I am talking about me.
With Z now gone I find myself caring about this weight.... not at all. It has now grown extremely boring and I might yet again skip the heavyweight finals. Tony Nelson finds himself virtually untouched this year as he makes his way into the Minnesota history books as maybe a better heavyweight then even Cole Konrad. My guess is he will be facing J.T. Felix in the finals because I want to be mean to McMullan. But no matter who makes it into the finals with him I predict Nelson to cruise through this weight all year, and could possibly even when a few matches with his arm behind his back. As for Ok State, I am very excited by Austin Marsden, I think he is going to be very good. But that is literally the extent of care I can give the fatboys right now, to all current and former heavyweight wrestlers watching this right now, I'm sorry, but I will never forgive you guys for being able to eat in front of me during the season. Unless you are like the heavyweight we had my freshman year of college who usually left practice at around 300 pounds, but at least he was tan, like seriously the guy went to tanning beds before practice.
Kentucky Homerism- I was going to tell you a boring story about my high school heavyweights who fulfill a proud tradition of extreme laziness and choking at the state tournament. Like seriously, one should've been a state champ but he didn't care enough to go for a freaking takedown, ended up playing football at WKU for a year though so props to him D1 baby. Instead for my grand finale I will share the story of Big Pat and the lunchroom brawl. Now a general rule of thumb I live by, if a dealer goes by the name of Big Pat you shouldn't mess with him. But nobody told this 100 pound kid with an afro who stole money out of the weed locker. What's a weed locker you ask? The less you know the better, God bless my high school. But come lunch that day Big Pat and his equally massive brother decide to confront the thief. Now thankfully I was checking my weight at this time, but right next to our table at lunch they started a massive fight. It grew to encompass around half of the cafeteria, my table was the one with the tiny white girls who had no business being at this school, they sat on top of the table enjoying the view. Around four staff members, including an ex-sergeant rumored to have wiped out an entire enemy Platoon in Vietnam and a sassy black woman who could probably beat me up tried to stop the fight but it grew far too out of control. The military police had to be called in to end the fight. While being escorted out Big Pat saw the thief being taken to the nurse's office for first aid, he proceeded to break free from the guards, whip off his belt and try to choke the kid to death. Later that year, Big Pat returned to school, and I am planning on applying to my old school upon graduation. Thank you for sticking with me throughout this underwhelming and nonsensical rant with a couple predictions, I love you.