First off let me be a man and say that I was wrong about the Garrett Scott Vs Carter Downing match. Scott won and I admit that I was wrong on that one. However, let me say that I do not feel ashamed about being behind Downing. Scott was just the better man that day and maybe would have been 10/10 times.
Now for my recap
I could hardly sleep Tuesday night because I was so exited to wake up and head for St. Louis the next day. I tell you guys I love going to the NCAA's. It is without a doubt the best four days of my life every year. I know that many of you feel the same way. On Wednesday morning I went over to my dad's house and we took off for Iowa City. We then got on a big bus and road with a bunch of Iowa Hawkeye fans down to St. Louis. What a tremendous group of people. All very friendly and very talkative. Talk about people that know there wrestling history. Some of them you can ask any question and without a doubt they will know the answer. It was a very fun bus ride to St. Louis.
To tell you guys the truth I love having the tournament in St. Louis. Now don't get me wrong, I had fun in Oklahoma City and in Ann Arbor, but St. Louis to me is such a good choice. It's centrally located and there is plenty of fun to be had around the Scott-Trade Center. Might as well mention that it is a beautiful city too.
Now to talk about the wrestling.
Anthony Robles Freshman Arizona State was sure fun to watch wasn't he? I never missed a single match of his, although I was wondering what in the world happened when he was wrestling against David Tomasette of Hofstra. Anyway he took Tanner Gardner Senior Stanford, into overtime in the round of 12 to lose a heartbreaking 5-3 sudden victory match. Look for Robles to be an All American in the future. Grant your a$$ that if he ever makes the finals, the whole arena will go ape sh*t. Congrats to Gardner on becoming Stanford's first three time All American.
Mark Mcknight Senior Penn State. I know enough has been said about him already but I gotta say something too. What he did is absolutely amazing. The refuse to lose attitude he had and the way he wrestled was a lot of fun to watch. I always knew he had it in him to do that well and be that good. Without a doubt in my mind, he was the Cinderella story of the tournament. As Mitch Clark would say, "He made it happen".
My heart goes out to both Luke Smith Senior of Central Michigan and Bloomsburg fellow Senior Michael Sees, in getting beat out of their final shot at All American Status. Sees, who was one match away from medaling seemed to either win big or lose big. Some of the matches where he completely dominated I didn't expect him to win. Others, inparticularly his loss to James Nicholson freshman Old Dominion, I expected him to win. It was rather weird.
Let me give a big thumbs up to Brandon Precin sophomore of Northwestern. After a fine display of wrestling all weekend, win or lose, Precin always showed a tremendous amount of sportsmanship. If there was a sportsmanship award, Precin in my mind would definitely be in consideration.
Coleman Scott Senior of Oklahoma State sure was on a mission wasn't he? He came in the tournament with no doubt in his mind that he was going to win the national title? Now I don't go back all that far in NCAA history to know whether or whether not his pin over Iowa sophomore Joey Slaton was the fastest in the finals of all time or not. If you can tell me, I'd appreciate that. At the Hawkeye party Slaton was pretty shook up about his loss to Scott. He wanted to win that national title very badly. I hope he hindsights his experience pretty quick and snaps back. He still has two years left and without a doubt has the talent to bring home the gold he so desperatly longs for.
Mack Reiter Senior Minnesota, WHOO!! I used to wrestle at the same tournament in high school that Mack did. Met Mack probably half a dozen times and have always thought a lot of him. Despite a screwed up knee he still managed to make All American. Although it was hard watching Northern Illinois Senior Pat Castillo in terms with loss, I was very happy for Reiter. The one thing that sucks about wrestling is that with every awesome moment, goes along heartache. As Perry White would say, "It goes with the territory".
It was very hard watching Tyler McCormick Senior Missouri, get beat out of the tournament. The guy wrestles with such enthusiasm and heart. I tell you I really hate injuries. God, if I hate anything it's injuries. Nevertheless McCormick finishes out his career as a two time All American, more than many others will ever be able to say. Speaking of McCormick's loss, I want to mention something about Maryland Sophomore Steve Bell, who managed to knock off two All Americans while in the tournament. Along with beating McCormick, he also defeated Indiana Junior Andrae Hernandez. I look for big things out of Bell in his final two years at Maryland.
Joe Baker Junior Navy, proved that his run at the EIWA's wasn't just a fluke. I knew all along that Baker was AA material. When I first got to my hotel, I was riding on the elevator and low and behold Baker's mom and aunt were on the elevator with me. I talked to them, said that I was a big fan of Joe's and had a good feeling that he'd make All American. I was glad to see him do so.
Lou Ruggirello Sophomore Hofstra, congrats on winning the Gorrarian award. I realize that it would have meant more to him had he had an All American certificate to go along with it, but sometimes you have to make the most of what you got. On a historical standpoint, I can't ever remember a non All American recieving the award. Surly Ruggirello isn't the only one?
My hat is off to J Jaggers Junior of Ohio State. The announcers kept on announcing him as a Sophomore, but I can remember him being at 149 two years ago, then placing at 141 last year. I don't know of anyone that predicted him to be a national champion, but what are predictions anyway? Jaggers proved that along with rankings and seeds they don't always match up with what actually happens on the mat.
Charles Griffen Senior Hofstra once again came from behind and defeated Nathan Morgan Senior Oklahoma State. I tell you guys, I'm going to miss watching this two tremendous competitors dualing it out. Congrats to both guys on fine seasons and making All American status.
I felt a since of relief and satasfaction watching Minnesota senior Manuel Rivera make All American. He has worked tremendously hard and wanted it so bad for so long now. He deserved it and he earned it. That was awesome.
Drew Headlee Senior of Pittsburgh almost made magic happen again Saturday morning. One match away from All American Status he was stopped by talented Iowa State Sophomore Nick Gallick. Talking with relation of Justin Nestor, I came to find out what became of Joey Eckloff. Come to my surprise, he redshirted this year and will be back competing for the Panthers at 149 next season. I hope to see him do well.
Michigan Freshman Kellan Russel learned the hard way what a first time experience can be like along with his teammate Senior Jeff Marsh. Russel was defeated in the match to place by Tennessee Chattanooga Sophomore Cody Cleveland, whom by the way really impressed me. Marsh went 0-2. Unfortunately Marsh is now done, but should be recognized as doing a tremendous job in his first and only year wrestling varsity. Russel, will bounce back and be a contender without a doubt next year.
Armyfan has to be mighty proud of Sophomore Matt Kyler. The unseeded grappler knocked off some top dogs to whind up in 6th place.
The 149 pound weight class was everything it said it was going to be. Bret Metcalf walked away with a lot of hardware that he earned and damn well deserved. The guy without an question is one of the most entertaining wrestlers I have ever seen. On top of it, he's probably the most modest and humble champion at least in modern era. No showboating, hell he didn't even celebrate at all after his win over Sophomore Bubba Jenkins. I sure as hell hope that he never stops wrestling the way he does. His relentless and get after it style is good for the sport. People who don't even like wrestling enjoy Brent Metcalf matches.
I sat next to an Appalachian State fan during the finals. We talked about Scott Ervin Senior Appalachian State unfortunately losing a heartbreaker to Boise State Freshman Adam Hall to be eliminated from the tournament. Along with Morgan Atkinson Senior Cal State Fullerton, Ervin will be remembered as one of the greats to never be an All American.
I felt bad for Northwestern Senior Ryan Lang. I hope a disappointing Senior year doesn't haunt him forever. Sometimes moments like this can either take a person down or he can use it to motivate him to bigger and better things. I sure hope the latter happens. Best of luck in future endevours to the former Wildcat.
Take what I said about Lang and apply it to Rider Senior Don Fisch.
Congrats to Josh Churella Senior Michigan on making All American for the third time. Along the way he avenged a loss to sensational Darrion Caldwell Sophomore of North Carolina State, which many think Churella couldn't do. Speaking of Caldwell, along with him, 149 won't be any easier next year than what it was this year. Regardless of what anyone says I say that Metcalf's toughest challenge will come from Minnesota soon to be senior Dustin Schlatter. 7th place isn't good enough for him, and maybe just that "extra something" he needed to happen to him, to turn it on and start wrestling like he did when he was a freshman.
Ryan Morningstar Sophomore Iowa, may have only went 1-2, but he still wrestled 3 great matches. He wrestles like that next year, he will be an All American. I look forward to it.
Jordan Leen Junior Cornell, where did you come from? Man that was awesome watching him go from a number eight seed to winning the whole damn thing. I suppose that David Nakasone Senior of Lehigh had to feel a little envy. He defeated Leen two weeks prior at the EIWA's.
I said earlier that I hated injuries and let me further that hatred. Heart went out to an injured C.P. Schlatter as he was eliminated from the tournament.
Jonny Bonilla-Bowman Sophomore Hofstra and Michael Chandler Junior Missouri can't be very happy right now. Both men defeated wrestlers earlier on in the tournament that would eventually become All Americans. Ironically, Bonilla-Bowman defeated Brandon Becker Senior Indiana and Chandler defeated Cyler Sanderson Sophomore Iowa State. Becker would defeat Chandler in the match to place as Sanderson defeated Bonilla-Bowman. If that doesn't say enough about the parity of this sport I don't know what does! I want to add it that it was pretty cool watching Becker make All American for the third time. I know that missing out on it last year as a junior after placing as a freshman and sophomore bugged the hell out of him. Congrats on becoming a three time All American.
Matt Kocher Senior Pittsburgh lost a tough 1 point match to former National Champion Gregor Gillispie Junior of Edinboro to not make All American Status. Although Gillispie dominated his final match of the tournament over Stanford two time All American Senior Josh Zupancic, I believe his 5th place finish may cause him to bump back down to 149 next year. 5th is good, 1st is better.
Tyler Sherfy Junior Boise State will make All American one of these days, I just know it.
Nick Marable Sophomore of Missouri become one of my favorite wrestlers of the 3 days I watched him wrestle. Man is that guy impressive. Great technique, awesome mat awareness. National Champion? I think so.
Now I'm a Moza Fay Junior Northern Iowa fan, don't get me wrong. I was very happy to see him make All American Status, I'm not saying other wise. However, I about cried watching Pat Pitsch Senior Arizona State get beat out of the tournament and I'm not ashamed to admit that. I know what it's like to be so close to your dream and then have it brush past you like a busboy in a restaurant. The feeling of loss is such a horrid and wretched thing. My heart really went out to Pitsch as it was his third time losing in that live or die match. He will go down as one of the best to never make All American, that is for sure. I hope in the years to come to read of the successes he is achieving. Actually, I hope to be writing about them.
Congrats to both Mark Perry Senior Iowa and Eric Tannenbaum Senior Michigan in making the finals and becoming four time All Americans.
Keith Gavin Senior Pittsburgh is also a story I love to hear about and then tell to other people. Watching him win the national title was a very rewarding experience to me as a fan. I hope that the gets considerable attention as those who decide pick a Hodge winner.
Matt Stolpinski Senior Navy is a wrestler I will miss watching a lot. He was always a joy to watch compete. Congrats on a second All American Finish. Same goes to Brandon Sinnott Senior Central Michigan.
Well I suppose I have to look back on Gabriel Dretsch Senior of Minnesota and just realize that sometimes things are not meant to be. I wanted him to make All American Status so bad this year, cause I knew many doubted him and he was good enough. Things sometimes happen they way they do, and not the way they should.
Alex Dolly Senior Northern Iowa wrestled one hell of a tournament and despite not making All American Status should remember his final tournament as a senior being one where he litteraly gave everything he had and left it all out on the mat. Nothing, and I mean nothing to be ashamed of or feel bad about.
Mike Pucillo Sophomore Ohio State and Jake Varner Sophomore Iowa State will for sure have many great battles to come. Hopefully, more points are scored in them.
Roger Kish Senior Minnesota once again reminds me of my hatred for injuries. He without a doubt would have been an All American if it wasn't for the fact that he had vurtually no strength whatsoever in his arm.
Congratulations to Christian Sinnott Senior Central Michigan. He decided in his final year of wrestling that he was going to go out on top as one of the top 8 in his weight class. That my friends, is something to be recognized.
Congrats to Phil Davis Senior Penn State for capping off his final moment as a collegiate wrestler with a national title. An exiting unorthodox wrestler to watch, Davis will be missed by many.
Well, I was half right. I said all year long that Wynn Michalak Senior Central Michigan was one of the best 197 pounders in the nation. I was dead certain on him making the finals and I'm a little cocky to say that I was right. However, let me step off my high horse as I admit that Joel Flaggart Senior Oklahoma wasn't there to join him. I'm not sure whatever became of Flaggart, he is much, much better than what his final showing indicates. Perhaps injuries folded his career too.
Hudson Taylor Sophomore Maryland moves right up with Marable as one of my favorites for next year. On top of his great passion for wrestling he also has a love and passion for theatre. I myself am a rather big fan of theatre, I enjoy acting and love script writing.
I know that Josh Glenn Senior American wanted to go out as a two time National champion, but he still has a lot to be proud of in being American's first three time All American.
David Bertolino Senior Iowa State is a story you'll want to tell your kids someday. In his first and only trip to the NCAA's he captures 8th place. It just goes to show you what perserverance and believing in yourself can do.
Mike Tamillow Senior Northwestern was the biggest surprise of all to not make All American in my humble opinion. Regardless of what anyone says I still say that he was one of the best 197 pounders this year. Hold the exact same tournament next weekend and Tamillow wins it, I sure as hell wouldn't be surprised.
Much like Sees was at 125, was Darren Burns Senior North Carolina Greensboro. He came so close only to lose by a point to not make it. Damn, is about all I can say about that.
Sure, Dustin Fox Senior Northwestern and J.D. Bergman Senior Ohio State may have had a rather uneventful match, but I was very happy for the two guys in making the finals and achieving All American status. I'll miss the two of them next year.
Congrats to both Ed Prendergaust Senior Navy and Matt Fields Senior Iowa in making All American for the first time. Many have ridiculed and doubted Fields for years now as he has battled countless injuries. It was nice to seem him silence the critics and show what he was made of.
In my final words let me say that I'm not at all impressed by the outrageously ridiculous prices of food at the arena. There ought to be a law against food that expensive. I thought about testing out one of their flat pepsis along with a stale hotdog, but the bank wouldn't approve my loan.
I realize that there are grammar and spelling mistakes in what I wrote, but please don't waste your time in pointing them out to me. I didn't write this to show off anything, I wrote this to talk about some of the great wrestlers and wrestling that I saw this weekend.
Oh by the way, I sat next to an Appalachian State Fan while at the tournament. Come to find out, he is good friends with Ric Flair as his son and Flair's son Reid wrestled together when they were little. That was pretty cool as was meeting Dr. Death Steve Williams.