The on-Lee thing I do is win. Class of 2017 super-recruit Spencer Lee isn't a Hawkeye yet, but he's continuing to destroy all comers, no matter the opposition and no matter the competition. His latest act of devastation was a thorough blowout win at the Junior World Team Trials, where he beat Mosha Schwartz via a pair of quick 10-0 technical fall wins to claim the U.S. spot at 50 KG for the Junior World Championships later this summer. The competition wasn't exactly grueling -- Lee and Schwartz were the only competitors at 50 KG, strangely -- but Lee did what he needed to do. He's vying for his third straight World Championship after winning a Cadet World Championship in 2014 and a Junior World Championship in 2015. He's going to have a full trophy cabinet before he even gets to Iowa City.
He'll be joined on the U.S. team heading to the Junior World Championships by a fellow mega-recruit (Penn State's Mark Hall) and a former Iowa wrestler (Seth Gross, now at South Dakota State), who won the spot at 60 KG. Gross and teammates Logan Ryan and Ross Lembeck were arrested on burglary charges last spring before being dismissed from the team last summer. Ryan was able to work his way back onto the team, but Gross opted for a new start and went to South Dakota State. He had a solid year there last year, finishing in the Round of 12 at the NCAA Tournament and just missing out on All-America honors at 141 lbs.
Another Iowa recruit, Class of 2018's Gavin Teasdale, placed 4th at 55 KG at the Trials.
Do it like Dennis. The next big freestyle event is the Men's Freestyle Wrestling World Cup, taking place in Los Angeles in two weeks (June 11-12). The U.S. will be competing against teams from Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Iran, Mongolia, Russia, and Turkey at the World Cup, with Azerbaijan, India, and Iran in the same group as the U.S. The U.S. team will feature two former Iowa wrestlers, with Dan Dennis at 57 KG and Tony Ramos at 61 KG . Ramos is of course no longer with the Hawkeye Wrestling Club and is now living, working, and training in North Carolina, but we still wish him the best as he competes for America. I don't believe that Ramos has previously competed at 61 KG in freestyle competition, but the weight (134 lbs) is closer to the weight he wrestled at in college (133 lbs).
The rest of the U.S. team features the rest of the U.S. Olympic Team (Frank Molinaro, Jordan Burroughs, J'Den Cox, Kyle Snyder, and Tervel Dlagnev), as well as a loaded roster of backups (Alan Waters, Nahshon Garrett, Zain Retherford, James Green, Alex Dieringer, David Taylor, Jake varner, and Zach Rey). Hopefully the U.S. wrestlers can see some success in the final major competition ahead of this summer's Olympics.
Talkin' rules. The NCAA Wrestling Committee met to discuss the sport last month and while there were no substantive changes coming out of that meeting, they did announce plans to tweak the selection criteria for the NCAA Tournament. The most interesting part of the proceedings concerned the team championship, though:
The committee continues to support adding a team component to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. NCAA staff has been directed to reach out to conference liaisons to update them on the modifications that have been made to the original proposal, as well as share the results of the scoring model exercise.
Alas, neither the original proposal, nor the modifications, nor the scoring model exercise appear to be available for public review at this time. The addition of a "team component" -- i.e., some form of dual meet competition -- to help determine the NCAA team champion has been widely discussed in recent years and, based on this note, that discussion doesn't appear to be dying down. Hopefully more details about that potential change emerge soon.
Membership drive. The Hawkeye Wrestling Club lost one very notable member recently when Tony Ramos opted to take his talents to Chapel Hill after the Olympic Team Trials. They've now added a handful of new members, though, with Mike Evans returning from out west and former Gopher wrestlers Chris and Nick Dardanes venturing south to join up.
Dardanes bros already sporting their new colors pic.twitter.com/g0oFstveAd— Ross Bartachek (@RossIAWrestle) May 26, 2016
Chris Dardanes explained the decision in an interview with IAWrestle:
"My biggest selling point was looking back at wrestlers like Gable, Brands, Ironside, Mclravy, and Williams." Chris told IAwrestle, "These guys are the greats of our country."
Chris went on to discuss the influence the Iowa coaches had on his decision, "Also,to receive the perspective and technique of Terry and Tom. I heard they have a way of thinking not many coaches possess.
Who needs legs? Matt McDonough is a wizard.
So that's where DRUGS went. Another scandal in the Minnesota athletic department? What a shocking development. This time it involves the wrestling team and the sale and abuse of prescription drugs. Per The Star Tribune:
Gophers wrestling coach J Robinson collected about 1,400 pills of the prescription sedative Xanax that members of his team were ready to sell, yet did not report the drug issue to police, one wrestler told the Star Tribune on Wednesday.
University of Minnesota officials confirmed that campus police are investigating alleged drug abuse by members of the wrestling team but would not comment further.
The source said that at one point, four teammates had a stash of 2,500 Xanax pills they had obtained in the mail from a former teammate and were selling from the 17th Avenue Hall dormitory on campus.
"It was $5 a pill for anyone on the team and $8 for anyone else," said the source, who estimates that 10 to 12 members of the team were abusing Xanax. He said wrestlers also sold pills to athletes from other Gophers sports.
This would be a sad way for a legendary coach like J Robinson to end his tenure, but it may very well end up being his swan song at Minnesota.
Russian Nationals are lit, man. A match between two-time World Champion Vicktor Lebedev and Ismail Musukaev ended in controversial fashion thanks to some kinda-sketchy officiating... and then the shit hit the fan. Lebedev and Musukaev engaged in some heated post-match shoving and jawing, and eventually the Russian Army (!) appeared to get involved to separate the wrestlers and their camps. Flowrestling has more details on the situation and you can watch the match and post-match brouhaha (which begins at around 10:30) below: