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|NCAA Division I Wrestling Recap: Week 1|
By John Fuller TheMat.com
Restore the Roar
Penn State has again started the season very strong - this year with an 18-17 victory over Lehigh at home. Going into the final two matches, Penn State needed to score nine points to win the dual. Six of those came on a pin by Phil Davis at 197 lbs. and Nittany Lions heavyweight Joel Edwards finished the meet with an exciting 8-7 win against Tom Curl.
The win also featured some breakout performances by a few wrestlers. James Woodall, who came into his own last year for Penn State, recorded a 10-4 win over Matt Ciasulli at 149 lbs. and Derek Zinck, an All-American three years ago for Lehigh, defeated Nathan Galloway 2-1 in overtime.
But the biggest upset of the meet came at 174 lbs. as James Yonushonis downed Travis Frick of Lehigh, 6-4 in overtime. While Yonushonis has been solid so far in his career, Frick is a wrestler many feel is a top four wrestler in March.
On the fast track to the top
In Stanford wrestling circles, the name Matt Gentry is clearly the most popular after he became the first Cardinal wrestler to win an NCAA title two years ago.
But three years ago, most felt that blue-chip recruit Tanner Gardner, a Kansas product, would make a huge impact. While he has slowly shown improvement, he did not deliver the big wins - until this year so far.
Gardner won the Central Missouri Open this past weekend, defeating two quality wrestlers in Shane Caruthers of Central Oklahoma and Mimi Miller of Bacone, both for wrestlers at the Univ. of Oklahoma. Gardner followed that up with a 14-5 thrashing of Tim Kephart of Missouri.
The 125-pounder fell of some radar screens, but he has a lot of confidence and a strong work ethic. Watch out for this kid in March.
Purple People Eaters
Northwestern has built a very strong squad over the past few years, and this year is the year many Wildcat alumni feel that their team will bolt towards the top five in the nation.
At this weekend's Michigan State Open, Northwestern crowned three champions, Ryan Lang (141), Jake Herbert (174) and Mike Tamillow (184), while also placing three other wrestlers in the finals, Will Durkee (165), Matt Delguyd (197) and Dustin Fox (285).
Lang even defeated All-American Andy Simmons of Michigan State in the finals, 6-5.
After the unexpected release of coach Tony Ersland this off-season, it appears the upper weights have put the distraction behind them and picked up where they left off from last year. If these wrestlers perform this way year-round, a goal of top five in the country is not out of reach.
The Max Factor
He will most likely redshirt, but freshman Max Askren of Missouri, younger brother of two-time NCAA finalist Ben, had a very strong performance at the Central Missouri Open this weekend, defeating national title contender Joel Flaggert of Oklahoma 7-3 in the finals at 197 lbs.
The performance is reminiscent of one his brother had during his redshirt campaign, when Ben downed Robbie Waller of Oklahoma in a pre-season tournament. Waller went on to win the NCAA title that year while Askren has become one of the greatest wrestlers in Missouri history.
Sounds like a good omen for both Askren and Flaggert.
Dustin or Metcalf?
For the past two years, all of the high school hype has surrounded Dustin Schlatter and Brent Metcalf, who split folkstyle decisions last year. Schlatter was also given the nod as the first-team All-American over Metcalf in a controversial decision.
Schlatter, now at the Univ. of Minnesota and expected to not redshirt this year, was dominant at 149 lbs. in the Bison Open last weekend, taking first place while recording one fall, two technical falls and a major decision.
Metcalf, at 149 lbs. for Virginia Tech, placed third at the West Virginia Open, losing in the quarterfinals to Aaron Martin, 4-3. Metcalf did win five matches, one by fall and the other four by regular decision. It is still unclear whether or not Metcalf will redshirt.
Neither wrestler faced the toughest of competition over the weekend, however. Expect wrestling fans across the nation to keep a tracking device on both of these wrestlers as the season progresses.