Day one wasn’t what we wanted, but it’s what we got. Despite it being one of the most pedestrian opening days I can remember we’re still sitting in 2nd place.
We stormed out going 8-2 in the opening round, but shuffled a smidge in the 2nd going 5-3. Thankfully though, all 10 wrestlers still have a pulse with 5 sitting in the quarterfinals. But make no mistake, there isn’t a safe match to be had for a shot at the semis.
And “stormed” out is questionable, now that I think about it. We lost at 133 and 157, but those were both very winnable matches. Cobe Siebrecht (157) would’ve run into the #3 seed in the second round so that’s likely when he would’ve dropped anyways, but man, Brody Teske (133) had a real good draw to the quarterfinals.
Day one was more about missed opportunities and leaving points off the board. Today will be all about survival.
Spencer Lee, Real Woods, Max Murin, Tony Cassioppi, and believe it or not, Nelson Brands are still alive on the front end.
Meanwhile, Teske, Siebrecht, Patrick Kennedy, Abe Assad and Jacob Warner have their work cut out for them.
125: #1 Spencer Lee vs #8 Anthony Noto (LH)
141: #1 Real Woods vs #8 Allan Hart (MIZZ)
149: #8 Max Murin vs #1 Yianni Diakomihalis (COR)
174: #11 Nelson Brands vs #3 Mekhi Lewis (VT)
285: #4 Tony Cassioppi vs #5 Cohlton Schultz (ASU)
133: #23 Brody Teske vs #9 Micky Phillippi (PITT)
157: #14 Cobe Siebrecht vs #13 Trevor Chumbley (NW)
165: #6 Patrick Kennedy vs #28 Andrew Sparks (MINN)
184: #12 Abe Assad vs #11 Gavin Cane (UNC)
197: #14 Jacob Warner vs #20 Evan Bockman (UVU)
Murin has the toughest task here as he squares off with the other aspiring 4x champ in this tournament, Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell). Should Max fall here he’ll likely face Austin Gomez (WISC) in the blood round. Brutal.
If Teske bushes through to the blood round he’ll also face a former AA. Likewise, if Kennedy survives one more match he’ll go against the loser of the #1 David Carr (ISU)/ #4 Shane Griffith (STAN) match. So however we slice and dice it he’ll have to beat a former champ to even reach the podium.
And there’s a similar situation with both Assad and Warner. Should they win they’ll each face returning AA’s in the blood round - that’s why it’s so so so damn important to reach the semis and secure a spot on the podium.
As for our front-siders, Lee is the only one I’m truly comfortable with at the moment. Real Woods dominated in R1, but was literally bailed out by the clock in R2. He faded hard and fast in the 3rd period with the match being decided by his riding point. Had that been ruled a TD and gone to OT he 100% would have lost that match... and probably should have. I don’t know what the deal was, but he better rebound and refocus or he’ll drop to the back as well.
Cass has a winnable match, because he’s beaten Shultz before, but Schultz also bounced us from the tourney last year and went on to be a finalist. This is very much a toss up.
Nelson has an intriguing matchup against former champ and 2x finalist, Mekhi Lewis. Despite an 20-1 record and a #3 seed he’s looked unsteady at times this season and very much did in the opening rounds of Day 1, with a 2-1 and 5-4 win. If Nelson brings the pace and keeps that pace high for ALL 7 MINUTES he’ll have a shot. But what he can’t afford to do is take the 1st two period off and rely on a late TD and if he does, he better have been pushing it hard for the 1st six minutes.
I don’t have a good feeling on this team right now, I really don’t. Not as I’m down on them, more that I simply cannot read them. I can see 4 in the semis and I can 1. I can see 5 in the blood round or I can see none.
Anyways, here’s the team scores.
1. PSU 26
2 IOWA 21.5
3. MIZZOU 17.5
4. MINN 16.5
4. NC STATE 16.5
6. CORNELL 15.5
6. NEB 15.5
8. MICH 14.5
8. OHST 14.5
10. ASU 13
13. ISU 12
15. UNI 11
Session III (QF’s Cons 2nd & 3rd Rounds) - 11AM God’s Time (Central) // Friday, March 17th, 2023
Session IV (Semifinals / Blood Round) - 7PM God’s Time (Central) // Friday, March 17th, 2023
TV: Session III is available on ESPNU, Session IV will be on ESPN
Streaming: Individual mats for all sessions are available on ESPN+
Radio: iHeartRadio (AM800 KXIC)
Location: BOK Center // Tulsa, OK
Mat Tracking: Trackwrestling