So the Tigers headed north this past weekend and dominated the competition offered to them at the Cyclone Open, taking 8 weight class championships. Let’s get the easy question out of the way first…how dumb is it to host your open tournament and not have your varsity wrestlers see much action (COUGH COUGH ISU)?
I honestly don't understand it at all. You have a chance to see some good scrub action against non division 1 opponents, get a good tune up in for the upcoming dual season and maybe get a match or 2 against Mizzou's 1's & 2's. Why even host the tournament? I guess I'm more upset about not getting to see Gadson vs Cox at 197 more than anything else. Your thoughts?
I have certainly seen open tournaments which don’t bring in a ton of top level talent at the start of the year (as well as during the season for all the wrestlers who are red-shirting to see some action as "unattached" wrestlers). However, to start the season, I agree with you. I guess I wonder if this is something Coach Smith knew about when they signed on to attend, or if this was a surprise when they arrived in Ames.
Anyway, let’s get to the action. Give me the two people with whom you are the most pleased after reviewing their results.
1st I think has to be Drake Houdashelt. His 5 matches went Tech Fall, Tech Fall, Pin, Major Decision, Major Decision. This was not top flight competition, but you want to see a guy go out there and really put guys away in these situations and thats exactly what he did. Big time team points that could certainly help in a conference or national title hunt later on in the year.
2nd is RS Frosh Willie Milkus. He is #2 at 184lbs behind Eblen, but he may find his way into the starting roll as this year goes on. Willie racked up four 1st round pins and then decisioned Eblen 4-3 in the finals. I mean, my goodness, thats some kind of a tournament. Milkus took his red-shirt last year, his 2nd out of HS after spending a year at the USOC training complex in Colorado Springs. He was at 197 last year, being J'Den's main competition in the wrestling room appears to have done good things.
Anyone else stand out to you?
That is good stuff on Miklus (you had Milkus…funny J).
I like the tournament Mikey England had. Fall/Dec/Fall/TF/Dec for a title. He was a little up and down last year, but I think 174 is an important weight for us this season and there are a couple of guys from the MAC with whom he will compete. Good to see him getting off to a good start.
The other for me is Devin Mellon. Pretty dominant wins with two major decisions and the other three matches won by 5-7 points each. Again…not top flight people, but good to see him take care of business.
So…before we get to the performances that may have left us wanting more, let’s talk about Waters and Cox for just a second. Nice to see J’Den get SOME action against a top-20 wrestler this weekend (though not Gasden of Iowa State, Sheridan of IU is currently #19). Anything you want to highlight about the weekends of these two before we move on?
Cox did exactly what he needs to do. Win, and work on technique, new rules, all that jazz. Its all about him staying sharp and beating the few guys that may be up to his level of competition.
With Waters, I was interested to see how he'd do back in real competition. His toughest and closest match was against his own teammate, Barlow McGhee, and those inter-squad matches can always be dicey. Looking forward for Alan, I think its gonna be fun to see him work off some rust, hopefully stay healthy, and enjoy this final season ride.
If anything, I like seeing McGhee keep it that close.
Alright, talk to me about the one wrestler who you expected more from this weekend.
This may be a bit of nit picking, but I was disappointed with Ty Prazma's finish in the finals of the 165lb weight class. Prazma beat true frosh Lewis from Mizzou (who I said could take this weight class over by the end of the year) 3-2 in the semis and then got crushed 16-4 by #12 ranked Walsh of Indiana. I know we aren't going to have All Americans at each weight class, but you need to do better than a 12 point loss to that guy.
Anyone you were less than enthused about?
I think it will be a very interesting battle at 165 this season, as I don’t think Cody Johnston (RS Jr.) is out of the mix either. He ended up taking 3rd place (with a pin over Lewis, who ended up taking 5th) and may still yet earn the spot over the RS Sr. Prazma.
For me, I was a little down to see Joey Lavallee trip up in the finals. Clint Poster is #2 at 157 at the D-II level, so he is no slouch. But Lavallee had been pretty dominant up to that point (Fall/Fall/Fall/Dec) and I would have loved to see him close it out strong. Losing 6-2 is not terribly strong.
So…shall we look ahead to this weekend with Mo Baptist and Truman State?
I just tried to look the rankings up on Intermat and not a single wrestler from either school is ranked in the top 10 in their weight class. Are these duals anymore than an opportunity to get some youngsters a look and the big boys a rest?
With two duals, I think you see a mixture of starters and others. The thing with the youngsters is that duals don’t afford you the chance to wrestle the kids who are red-shirting (unlike the open tourneys). So yes, I think you will see starters where there is no competition, but you might see an Eblen/Miklus split, as well as maybe Prazma/Johnston at 165
That does make sense. As usual, you are so wise Beef.