While the rest of us our nursing our New Years Day hangovers, the Cyclone Wrestlers will be taking the mat today in Chattanooga, TN at one of the premier regular season tournaments of the season. The Southern Scuffle isn’t quite as deep as it has been in some years past due to the emergence of the South Beach Duals as a third holiday alternative to the Scuffle and Midlands, but it still will have around 50 ranked wrestlers and many more returning NCAA qualifiers in addition to a handful of stud redshirts. Results over the next two days will have a huge influence on rankings and post-season seeding so hopefully the Cyclones have come to win.
Where: Chattanooga, TN
When: All Day beginning at 9:00 AM CST
Stream: Flowrestling ($$)
|133||10/10/10 Austin Gomez||6-0|
|141||19/17/11 Ian Parker||11-2|
|149||7/7/7 Jarrett Degen||9-1|
|184||17/15/17 Sam Colbray||9-2|
Rankings from Intermat/FloWrestling/TheOpenMat
This will be our first chance to get a real sounding on Mackall, who comes in to the tournament as the #6 seed. He’ll start his day against unseeded Harrison Campbell of Duke in a match that he should win. However, from there things will quickly get very tough for Mackall as with a win his next match would be against Penn State blue chip freshman Gavin Teasdale, who has yet to wrestle a match in a Penn State singlet but enters college with very high expectations. As it stands right now my expectations for Mackall are to leave this tournament with a ranking in the upper teens. Looking over these entries Mackall would probably exceed expectations with a 3rd place or higher finish, meet them with a 4th-6th place finish, and underperform if he ends up 7th place or lower.
Iowa State has two entries at 133 - 2nd seeded Austin Gomez and newly eligible but unseeded Todd Small. Gomez has a pretty clear path to the semifinals, as there are no ranked wrestlers or returning NCAA qualifiers in his quarter of the bracket. So Tuesday should be a day for him to score some wins and rack up a few bonus points for the team score. Right now I think that Austin Gomez is probably an R12 guys this season so exceeding expectations would mean finishing in 1st place with a win over 5th ranked Dayton Fix and meeting them would mean just making the finals. 3rd place would be a minor disappointment as the #3 seed, Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young, is ranked 15th and is likely to move upwards from there as the season goes on. But anything lower than 3rd would be a big letdown.
Small is unseeded and will open the tournament against unseeded Dawson Bates, who is a backup for App State. He should get a win there but then have the four seed, 20th ranked Sean Nickell of CSU-Bakersfield. That will be a good matchup for Small and an opportunity for him to pick up a signature win. As far as expectations I’d say 4th or higher would be exceeding what I expect from Small based on the season so far, 5th or 6th would meet expectations, and failing to reach the 5th place match would be a disappointment.
The Cyclones are also bringing two wrestlers at 141. 4th seeded Ian Parker and unseeded Ryan Leisure. Parker will open up the tournament against unseeded Kyle Trybus of Navy, a match he should win, and then should have a mostly clear path to the quarterfinals before he runs in to his first NCAA qualifier, unranked Kyle Shoop of Lock Haven. That’ll be a good opportunity for Parker to show that he really belongs in the rankings and might be one of his more important matches of the tournament as it’s a “winner will be ranked, loser won’t be” type match. I think that Parker is probably pretty fairly ranked right now in the mid teens so given who is in this bracket I’d say that 3rd or higher would be exceeding expectations for Parker, 4th or 5th would meet them, and 6th or lower would be a disappointing Scuffle.
Since he is coming in unseeded Ryan Leisure’s path is a little harder. He’ll open up against Clayton Currier of Campbell in a match that he’ll be favored to win. But then in round two he will run right in to #18 ranked Nic Gil of Navy. Similar to Small vs Nickell, this is a good opportunity to take on a good, but not elite, wrestler and possibly pick up a signature win. As a backup there aren’t really any expectations for Leisure at this tournament. This isn’t a very deep weight so probably anything 6th or higher would beat expectations, 6th-8th (or really even falling one match short of placing) would meet them, and not coming anywhere near placing would be a disappointment.
Three seeded Jarrett Dagen is the lone 149 pounder for the Cyclones at the Scuffle. Much like Gomez he has a fairly clear path to the semifinals - there’s only one NCAA qualifier in his quarter of the bracket, unranked Sean Rohlfing of CSU-Bakersfield. So also like Gomez, Day one should be an opportunity for Degen to roll and hopefully pick up some bonus team points. 149 is a fairly deep bracket for the Scuffle and I think Degen is a low AA or R12 guy this season so expectations would probably be for making the finals to be exceeding expectations, 3rd or 4th would meet them, and anything lower would be a disappointment.
The Southern Scuffle was expected to be David Carr’s coming out party and the initial lineup released by Iowa State indicated that he’d be making the trip as an unattached redshirt. But when the final entry list came out we learned that Carr had been left in Ames due to illness. However, Chase Straw did make the trip for the Cyclones and has a pretty reasonable draw. He’ll open up against the winner of a pigtail match against Rodrick Mosley or Gardner-Webb and Josh Annis of CSU-Bakersfield. Straw would be favored against either wrestler. And a win there would give him a match against a good, but not elite (which is really the theme of this tournament for most of the mid-seeded guys) #14 ranked Dan Reed of Columbia in what will be yet another chance for a Cyclone wrestler to pick up a signature win. With a win there he’d have no more ranked wrestlers between him an the semifinals. As far as expectations, I think Straw is a guy who’ll be unranked for the season but earn an NCAA qualification spot. 157 isn’t a very deep weight class so I’d say 4th or higher would be exceeding expectations, 5th-7th would meet them, and 8th or failing to place would be a disappointment.
Due to injuries the Cyclones do not have a wrestler at 165 entered in the Scuffle. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in upcoming duals as right now the only available wrestlers are walk on true freshmen unless Carr’s shirt is pulled and Straw moves up.
At 174 Marcus Coleman earned the eight seed and will open up against unseeded Nate Kale of Gardner-Webb in a match where he’ll be pretty heavily favored. With a win there he’ll face either Clay Lautt of North Carolina or Micheal O’Malley of Drexel, either of whom he’d be moderately favored over. But the fun probably would stop in the evening session as #1 ranked Mark Hall of Penn State would be waiting in the Quarterfinals on Tuesday night. My expectations for Coleman so far this season are for him to earn a ranking in the high teens and he could exceed that by placing 5th or higher, meet it by placing 6th-8th, or finish below expectations by failing to place.
At 184 pounds Iowa State is sending not one, not two, but three wrestlers to the Scuffle. Starter Sam Colbray, backup Danny Bush, and freshman Joel Shapiro. Colbray has earned the #4 seed while Bush and Shapiro are unseeded.
With the #4 seed Colbray should be able to roll through his first few matches. He’ll open against unranked Cole Maddox of Campbell in a match that he’ll be heavily favored to win and then have two matches in a row against guys that WrestleStat has ranked in the 60s. Wins there would set up a likely quarterfinals match up against the #5 seed, Stanley Smeltzer of Virginia Tech, who is unranked but just outside of the top twenty. A win there to push himself in to Wednesday’s semifinals would go a long way towards solidifying Colbray’s place in the rankings. 184 is a reasonably deep weight at the Scuffle so despite Colbray entering as the #4 seed I think that placing in the top 4 would exceed expectations, 5th or 6th would meet them, and 7th or lower would be a disappointment.
Bush was a starter last year and has split two matches with Colbray this season, so is surely looking for a strong performance in hopes of forcing some controversy for the spot after Colbray locked it down with a win over Cash Wilcke last month. He’s unseeded and opens up Jake Mario of North Carolina in a match that he should win. But that’ll push him right in to a round of sixteen matchup against #10 ranked Lou DePrez of Binghamton. If Bush wants to make a statement, that match will give him a chance. Based on results I think that if Bush were starting he’d be unranked, but earn an NCAA allocation. Given that this bracket includes a number of ranked guys, returning qualifiers, and highly touted freshmen I think placing anywhere on the podium would exceed expectations for Bush, finishing one match short of placing would meet them, and finishing further back than that would be a disappointment.
Shapiro has put together a really solid redshirt season so far and with so many guys in this bracket ranked in the high teens or unranked but NCAA qualifiers he’ll get a solid sounding at the Scuffle. He’ll open up against Christian Salter of Gardner-Webb in a match where he’ll be heavily favored, take on Zach Ancewicz in a match where he’ll be moderately favored, and then probably run in to a brick wall in the round of sixteen against #3 ranked Shakur Reed of Penn State. As of right now expectations for Shapiro are similar to those for Bush. placing anywhere on the podium would exceed expectations, finishing one match short of placing would meet them, and finishing further back than that would be a disappointment.
Willie Miklus will also be missing the Southern Scuffle due to illness so Iowa State’s lone entry in the deepest weight class of the tournament will be backup Kaden Sauer, a redshirt freshman who is 10-4 so far on the year. He’s got a tough draw to start with Ethan Laird of Rider, who is unranked but a likely NCAA qualifier, as his first match. A win there would be a great step forward for Sauer but the odds are against him. Basically there’s nobody elite in Kaden’s part of the bracket, but there aren’t any truly bad wrestlers either. So a deep run would be tough. Based on how deep this bracket is I’d say that making it to Day 2 would be exceeding expectations, making it to the evening session on Day 1 would meet expectations, and failing to make it out of the morning session would be a disappointment.
Iowa State will have two wrestlers competing at heavyweight, both unseeded. Gannon Gremmel and redshirting freshman Francis Duggan. Despite being unseeded Gremmel picked up a pretty good draw as he’ll open against a likely overmatched Sean O’Malley of Drexel before getting a shot against the #8 seed, freshman Colin Lawler of NC State. Lawler has picked up some wins over ranked wrestlers already in his young career so this is likely to be a tough match for Gremmel. But no matter what happens on the day he’ll probably end it on the back side as even if he beats Lawle he’d have #5 ranked Anthony Cassar of Penn State waiting for him in the quarterfinals. Based on results so far this season I think that Gremmel is a fringe top 20 wrestler. This is a fairly deep bracket so placing anywhere on the podium would be exceeding expectations, finishing one match short of placing would meet expectations, and falling short of that would be a disappointment.
Also unseeded, Francis Duggan received a tougher draw than Gremmel. He’ll open up with a winnable match against Araad Fisher of Duke but then likely would face the #3 seed, #3 ranked Derek White of Oklahoma State, which would probably be his last match on the championship side of the bracket. We haven’t seen a whole lot out of Duggan this year just because of the competition that’s been at the opens he’s competed in. So I’m going to stick with the same expectations I had for Sauer. Making it to Day 2 would be exceeding expectations, making it to the evening session on Day 1 would meet expectations, and failing to make it out of the morning session would be a disappointment.
At the end of the evening session on Day 1 the Cyclones should still have 11 or 12 guys still alive for Day 2 with about three guys still on the championship side for the semifinals.
The Cyclones will be right back on the mat on Jan 2nd. We’ll have a preview for Day 2 up late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
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