The 2007 Journeymen/BRUTE Northeast Collegiate Duals, which takes place in Troy, New York on Nov. 24, is without question the premier early-season collegiate wrestling event in the country.
This year, the five-year-old event organized by Journeymen Wrestling founder and coach Frank Popolizio has expanded its field of teams from eight to 14. The expansion has forced the event to move from Guilderland High School to the McDonough Sports Complex, a state-of-the-art facility located on the campus of Hudson Valley Community College. The school is nestled in the heart of the Capital Region, where there is not a single collegiate wrestling program within a 65-mile radius.
This year's field includes five programs that finished in the top 20 at the 2007 NCAA Championships in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Those programs are Oklahoma State (fifth), Michigan (sixth), Hofstra (seventh), Central Michigan (15th), and American (17th). The remaining programs that make up this year's field include American International, Appalachian State, Binghamton, Bloomsburg, Bucknell, Clarion, Lehigh, Maryland, and Virginia.
RevWrestling.com has provided a wrestling fan's guide to this year's event by looking at 20 premier wrestlers, five impact freshmen, and five Journeymen Club wrestlers at this year's event.
Collegiate Stars (20 Premier Wrestlers):
1. Josh Glenn (American, 197 Pounds, Senior)
Glenn became American's first NCAA champion in any sport in 40 years and the wrestling program's first-ever NCAA champion. *Glenn could possibly miss the 2007 Journeymen/BRUTE Northeast Collegiate Duals since he is still recovering from the knee injury he suffered in the 2007 NCAA finals.
2. Josh Churella (Michigan, 149 Pounds, Senior)
Churella was an NCAA runner-up and comes from outstanding wrestling family. His father, Mark, was a three-time NCAA champion and his brother, Ryan, was an NCAA runner-up.
3. Coleman Scott (Oklahoma State, 133 Pounds, Senior)
Scott, an NCAA runner-up and three-time All-American, enters the season as the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the country at 133 pounds.
4. Eric Tannenbaum (Michigan, 165 Pounds, Senior)
In addition to excelling on the mat (three-time All-American), Tannenbaum, a neuroscience major, also excels in the classroom.
5. Charles Griffin (Hofstra, 141 Pounds, Senior)
Griffin was the No. 11 seed at the NCAA Championships, but registered wins over the No. 10, No. 6, and No. 3 seeds en route to a third-place NCAA finish.
6. Nathan Morgan (Oklahoma State, 141 Pounds, Senior)
Morgan, a three-time Big 12 champion and a two-time All-American, is one of the most technically sound wrestlers in the entire country.
7. Tyrel Todd (Michigan, 184 Pounds, Junior)
Todd is a returning All-American (fifth place) who notched a victory last spring at U.S. Nationals over NCAA champion Jake Herbert of Northwestern in freestyle.
8. Bubba Gritter (Central Michigan, 285 Pounds, Senior)
Gritter became Central Michigan's second All-American heavyweight ever with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
9. Brandon Mason (Oklahoma State, 174 Pounds, Junior)
Mason, a three-time Iowa state champion with a 195-2 record, reached the NCAA semifinals and earned All-American honors after entering the NCAA Championships unseeded.
10. Steve Luke (Michigan, 174 Pounds, Junior)
Luke showed resilience at the NCAA Championships coming back from a first-round defeat (to Brandon Mason of Oklahoma State) to place sixth and earn All-American honors.
11. Lou Ruggirello (Hofstra, 133 Pounds, Sophomore)
Ruggirello, who posted a 31-9 record and was CAA Rookie of the Year, pinned All-American Tyler McCormick of Missouri on Nov. 10.
12. Wynn Michalak (Central Michigan, 197 Pounds, Senior)
Michalak is a two-time All-American and three-time MAC champion. He was recently named the recipient of the first Dick Enberg Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
13. Brandon Sinnott (Central Michigan, 174 Pounds, Senior)
Sinnott, an All-American (seventh place) posted a 35-7 record, which tied for the 11th-most wins in a single season at Central Michigan.
14. Scott Ervin (Appalachian State, 149 Pounds, Senior)
Ervin was a SoCon champion who posted a record of 27-5. He eliminated No. 2-seeded Matt Storniolo of Oklahoma at the NCAA Championships, but came one match shy of earning All-American honors.
15. Joe Rovelli (Hofstra, 197 Pounds, Senior)
Rovelli, a three-time CAA champion at 184 pounds, moves up to 197 pounds for his senior campaign. He notched a win over the highly-regarded Max Askren of Missouri on Nov. 10.
16. Dave Tomasette (Hofstra, 125 Pounds, Senior)
Tomasette is a three-time NCAA qualifier and two-time CAA champion.
17. Mike Letts (Maryland, 174 Pounds, Sophomore)
Letts posted a 30-7 record and became the first true freshman at Maryland to qualify for the NCAA Championships since 1990.
18. Hudson Taylor (Maryland, 197 Pounds, Sophomore)
Taylor, a former Blair Academy standout, finished his freshman season with a 29-9 record.
19. Christian Sinnott (Central Michigan, 184 Pounds, Senior)
Sinnott, a MAC champion, lost in the NCAA quarterfinals to NCAA champion Jake Herbert of Northwestern.
20. Mike Spaid (Bloomsburg, 285 Pounds, Senior)
Spaid earned All-American honors with an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
Super Frosh (Five Impact Freshmen):
1. Ryan Patrovich (Hofstra, 165 Pounds)
Patrovich is a two-time New York state champion and the younger brother of former Hofstra two-time All-American Mike Patrovich.
2. Ben Ashmore (Oklahoma State, 125 Pounds)
Ashmore, a four-time Texas state champion and four-time national prep champion, reached the finals of the Central Missouri Open on Nov. 11, where he lost 4-0 to All-American Tanner Gardner of Stanford.
3. Matt Guhn (Michigan, 285 Pounds)
Expectations are high in Ann Arbor for Guhn, an Ohio state champion with a record of 175-15.
4. Michael Chaires (Virginia, 165 Pounds)
Chaires started his collegiate career with three straight pins.
5. Erin Medina (Maryland, 149 Pounds)
Medina, a former Blair Academy standout, was a three-time national prep champion and Cadet Nationals champion.
Local Ties (Five Journeymen wrestlers):
* Journeymen founder and coach Frank Popolizio comments on his former wrestlers.
1. Dennis Bermudez (Bloomsburg, 157 Pounds, Sophomore)
Bermudez finished sixth at the EWL Championships. He also scored a victory last season over Lock Haven's Seth Martin, which earned him both PSAC and EWL Wrestler of the Week honors.
Popolizio on Bermudez:
"Dennis used to drive over an hour and a half to our Journeymen practices. He's from Saugerties, New York, which isn't in Section 2 (Albany Area), so he was ultra-committed to reach excellence. He fell short of his high school goals, but found a good fit in Bloomsburg. They've been working hard with him and he's been working hard for them. He's doing very well. I think he's an All American in the making."
2. Michael Chaires (Virginia, 165 Pounds, Freshman)
Chaires, who won two New York state titles and posted a record of 221-19, is a phenomenal athlete with an extremely bright future.
Popolizio on Chaires:
"Mike's potential is deep. He is a tremendous athlete. He is a two-time New York state champion. His athleticism is accentuated by his speed and slickness. I am excited to see him wrestle at home. I can't help but to believe he'll be a tremendous collegiate wrestler under Coach (Steve) Garland's tutelage."
3. Nate Graham (Bloomsburg, 174 Pounds, Freshman)
Graham compiled a 148-30 record at Ravena High School and was a 2007 New York state champion in Division II at 171 pounds.
Popolizio on Graham:
"Last year at the New York State Championships, Nate realized exactly how good he was. He's always had solid work ethic, but when he found the next level of confidence, it catapulted him to the top. I'm sure that confidence will come through loud and clear in his freshman year. Graham can and will scrap with the best of them."
4. Neal Martin (Appalachian State, 174 Pounds, Senior)
Martin, who hails from Cobleskill, New York, was an NCAA qualifier and compiled a 28-14 record.
Popolizio on Martin:
"Neal used to work with me back at TNT Wrestling Club. As I left to begin Journeymen Wrestling Club, Neal moved onto Appalachian State. He was a tenacious leg rider and top wrestler. He was one of the first guys to buy into our club idea or philosophy. It is only fitting he's being showcased in his hometown during his senior year."
5. Kareem Naguib (Binghamton, 141 Pounds, Redshirt)
Naguib, who was a state runner-up for Shenendehowa High School, posted a record of 8-8 last season. He is redshirting this season.
Popolizio on Naguib:
"Kareem moved into New York State from Michigan in his senior year of high school. Although we inherited Kareem late in his high school career, I had the luxury of working with him on our high school team and at Journeymen Wrestling. He's another prime example of a kid that spontaneously came to life with confidence and believed he belonged at the upper level. He awoke at the New York State Championships and was an absolute dark horse. In the end, Kareem surprised a lot of people, earning a runner up-title. Now he's with my brother, Pat, at Binghamton and he's steadily growing and developing."