While other universities participate in some abomination of a postseason, throwing a ball through a hoop-shaped cylinder, the two largest schools in Iowa will be getting down and dirty at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Consider this your open thread for Thursday. Iowa State comes in ranked second, behind archrival Iowa. Iowa's matchups are below the fold.
#5 Andrew Long [RS FR] (23-6) vs. Ryan Mango (Stanford) [FR] (24-13)
vs. #12 Ben Kjar (Utah Valley State) [RS JR] (30-8) OR Steven Keith (Harvard) [FR] (20-10)
NO Previous Meetings with Mango, Kjar or Keith
If Iowa State wants any chance at a title this year, Long has to bulldoze through on Thursday, and he has to do it big. Long's last two wins have been by fall, and two of the last three before that by tech fall. Long needs to be an early source of points for the Clones.
#10 Nick Fanthorpe [SR] (16-7) vs. Cortland Choate (Brown) [FR] (12-11)
vs. #7 Mike Grey (Cornell) [JR] (35-6) OR Ben Ashmore (Arizona State) [RS JR] (18-12)
1-0 vs. Grey (W-D, 6-3)
1-0 vs. Ashmore (W-MD, 12-3)
Fanthorpe can be another source of early points for ISU. He shouldn't have much trouble during the morning match, and he's beaten each of his two possible opponents for Thursday night. Fanthorpe finished 7th last year, so he needs to shake off some of the negative thoughts from this year and wrestle up to his capabilities.
Dalton Jensen [SO] (13-14) vs. #4 Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) [RS JR] (29-3)
vs. Michael Mangrum (Oregon State) [RS FR] (28-10) OR Mike Koehnlein (Nebraska) [JR] (18-15)
0-1 vs. Humphrey (L-D, 6-5)
2-1 vs. Koehnlein (W-D, 11-6; L-D, 4-2; W-MD, 11-2)
Jensen will likely have to be a source of points in wrestlebacks this year - he's talented but inexperienced. However, don't write him off early, as he lost to Humphrey by just one point at the National Duals, holding an early 3-2 lead in the match. Jensen and Koehnlein are very familiar with each other, with Jensen having a big win at the Big 12 Championships.
#7 Mitch Mueller [SR] (25-8) vs. Frank Gayeski (Liberty) [RS SR] (26-6)
vs. #10 Barrett Abel (UC Davis) [RS JR] (21-7) OR Anthony D'Alie (Central Michigan) [RS SR] (17-6)
NO Previous Meetings with Gayeski, Abel or D'Alie
Mueller, who went 3-2 last year at the NCAA Championships, is another guy that needs to make some early magic for the Clones. He has two winnable matchups and should advance into the quarterfinals.
Andrew Sorensen [RS SO] (26-7) vs. Anthony Jones (Michigan State) [JR] (12-17)
vs. #3 Jesse Dong (Virginia Tech) [SO] (34-3) OR Joseph Booth (Drexel) [RS FR] (21-7)
NO Previous Meetings with Jones, Dong or Booth
Sorenson lucks out a bit with a first round matchup against a below-.500 wrestler, but it'll get a lot more difficult in a hurry. Hope for a big win Thursday morning and then pray Thursday night.
#4 Jon Reader [JR] (22-4) vs. Chris Brown (Old Dominion) [RS SR] (29-3)
vs. Matt Kaylor (Binghamton) [RS SO] (29-3) OR Robby Neill (Navy) [JR] (24-14)
NO Previous Meetings with Brown, Kaylor or Neill
Reader will face two unseeded wrestlers tomorrow and he needs to capitalize with bonus points.
Duke Burk [SR] (17-13) vs. #10 Jordan Blanton (Illinois) [SO] (14-7)
vs. #7 Ben Bennett (Central Michigan) [RS FR] (21-5) OR Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) [RS FR] (18-10)
1-0 vs. Blanton (W-D, 9-8)
Burk has had a dismal year, but is coming off a third place showing at the Big 12 Championships and owns a win over his first round opponent. Upset or not, Burk needs to beat Blanton again to try and pick up a few points.
Jerome Ward [RS SO] (18-9) vs. #1 Kirk Smith (Boise State) [JR] (25-0)
vs. Travis Rutt (Wisconsin) [SO] (16-11) OR Nathan Schiedel (Binghamton) [RS FR] (30-7)
NO Previous Meetings with Smith, Rutt or Schiedel
Ward gets a difficult draw, but he's familiar with Smith, losing to him twice last year by 3-1 decisions. Unfortunately, after a hot start, WArd has cooled off drastically towards the end of the year. The hope with Ward is that he is not eliminated tomorrow.
#1 Jake Varner [SR] (26-0) vs. Matt Casperson (Boise State) [RS JR] (18-15)
vs. Riley Orozco (CSU Baker) [RS JR] (18-15) OR Lamar Brown (Rutgers) [RS SR] (25-9)
NO Previous Meetings with Casperson, Orozco or Brown.
Varner is 90-4 in his last 94 matches, has not lost yet this year and doesn't need to start now.
#1 David Zabriskie [SR] (21-2) vs. Eric Bugenhagen (Wisconsin) [RS JR] (16-18)
vs. Eddie Bordas (Rider) [SR] (32-7) OR Eric Nye (Arizona State) [RS SR] (21-13)
1-0 vs. Nye (W-D, 3-1)
Zabriskie also gets two unseeded opponents on Thursday. He wrestles dangerously, so he needs to avoid the upset. Bonus points would be surprising and welcomed.
#3 Matt McDonough [RS FR] (32-1) vs. Erin Morrill (Edinboro) [RS JR] (31-7) OR Jason Lara (Oregon State) [RS SO] (33-7)
#2 Daniel Dennis [RS SR] (18-3) vs. Kevin Smith (Buffalo) [RS SO] (27-11)
#6 Montell Marion [RS SO] (23-5) vs. Cole VonOhlen (Air Force) [FR] (31-7)
#2 Brent Metcalf [RS SR] (31-1) vs. Trenton Washington (Northern Iowa) [RS SO] (15-3)
Jake Kerr [RS JR] (11-9) vs. Tejovan Edwards [SO] (14-11)
#7 Ryan Morningstar [RS SR] (26-6) vs. Donald Jones (West Virginia) [RS SR] (20-10)
#2 Jay Borschel [RS JR] (32-0) vs. Scott Giffin (Penn) [RS JR] (23-5)
#9 Phil Keddy [RS SR] (23-7) vs. Michael Salopek (Virginia) [RS FR] (27-8)
#9 Chad Beatty [RS SR] (14-3) vs. Alan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State) [RS SO] (25-7)
#5 Dan Erekson [RS SR] (12-0) vs. Clayton Jack (Oregon State) [RS SO] (34-9)