The Beef - Alright gents, let’s start right at the top at 125. We saw Barlow McGhee take on Chase Brennan and the result was not terribly close. McGhee, who has some experience at the Varsity level after Alan Waters took a redshirt in 2013-2014 was able to able to easily outpoint the sophomore Brennan, 11-4. I don’t think the result is terribly surprising, but anything from this which makes you feel better or worse than you did when we did the preview earlier?
Shaffe - For me it was encouraging to see somebody step up and grab that spot by the horns. If the match was close and McGhee struggled a bit during the year we might sit back and start wondering if Brennan should be getting reps. Unless something drastically changes during practice in the coming months it appears we’ve got our man in the leadoff spot.
As to how I feel about McGhee against the opponents, I’m not really sure I have a strong opinion just yet. Yeah, he was a lot better than Brennan last night and has (for now) a stranglehold on the starting spot, but is he good enough to grab an NCAA bid or even pick up some points at the NCAA tournament? That I’ll have to wait on for now
BST - Agree with Shaffer. I'm glad the guy who has varsity experience won the match without much fuss. Now he just needs to get out there and show that he is Alan Waters 2.0
The Beef - Well…Waters 2.0 is probably a stretch goal for McGhee, but getting good results at 125 is important (especially since most duals will start there). One step at a time.
Alright, 133 results are pretty interesting. Returning MAC champ Zach Synon stepped into the circle against Jaydin Eierman. If that is confusing, it is because Jaydin appears to have changed his last name from Clayton. This seems to be pretty recent, as MUTigers.com isn’t even correct with it at this point. At any rate, Clayton/Eierman is a true frosh from nearby Tolton who last wrestled in March and completed the 25th EVER career as a four-time Missouri state champion. Tremendous credentials, very exciting.
And then he went out and beat Synon 5-2.
Thoughts? Do we have something brewing at 133?
Shaffe - I really don’t know what to make of 133 this year. I didn’t exactly have supreme confidence in Synon before things got under way, and knowing how much weight Brian Smith puts into the Black and Gold results it appears that Synon isn’t likely to hold onto his job he had at the end of last season. On one hand it’s exciting to see new blood step up and prove themselves on the mat. On the other, it’s worrying to see the prospect of a true freshman thrust straight into the starting lineup. Also of note from the Black and Gold meet was redshirt freshman John Erneste taking down junior Cole Bumgartner. Might we see a rotation early on in the season?
BST - Synon won the MAC last year, barely. He had to win it to get into the NCAAs. He was by no means a world beater, but he did have a few decent wins and he made the NCAAs. I really wasn't sure what to expect from Clayton/Eierman since he went to Tolton and wasn't wrestling the bug guns from 3A and 4A schools. I gotta say, I'm pleasantly surprised. I think this team needs a frosh or two to step in and round it out and he might just be 1 of em
The Beef - I have to say that I think I had more faith (coming into the season) than you guys that Synon would hang on to the spot this year, and perhaps continue to decently well. But this result is a bit of a surprise, and perhaps a good surprise. To BST’s point, Clayton was not winning titles against the biggest schools, but I do imagine he wrestled some of them during in-season tourneys. Another thing to consider is that HE DID NOT LOSE IN HIGH SCHOOL. Perhaps he is legit, and given the nature of this season (reloading a bit rather than peaking as we did last year), I think I might be OK with him getting the spot and seeing what he can do.
Alright, 141 did not really give us any surprises, as Lavion Mayes very likely had the double-train working against Austin Eveler, winning 18-3. Matt Manley did step out and beat Will Roark at the same weight, so I guess my question is this: Are you surprised that Mayes did not wrestle Manley? (if we are to believe Manley is going to be at 141 for this season and that B&G is about setting the lineup, even if everyone knows Mayes is going to get the spot)
BST - Mayes is the guy at 141. I thought they may move Manley around, maybe he tries to make the cut to 133 and challenge at that weight? I saw a couple of matchups that I wondered why the top 2 guys weren't going head to head but I think we all know that Mayes is the man at 141.
Shaffe - Mayes is the guy for sure at 141, but it did surprise me a bit that Smith didn’t make him prove it. Then again, if Mayes loses his focus and gets upset then Smith has to reverse his course and keep Mayes in the spot anyway. I like BST’s idea of Manley maybe being a 133/141 swing man to give breathers or fill in for injuries during the season. If this is the plan, then there’s no need to wrestle Manley straight on against Mayes since they’re not REALLY competing for the same spot.
Also notable around this weight was Le’Roy Barnes tech falling true freshman Kevin Kissane. Barnes could also provide some good insurance at 141 if it’s needed this year.
The Beef - Agreed on Barnes. He was a high scorer in the few matches I happen to see him in last season, but there are some MAC duals where he might be able to spell Mayes a bit, which is always nice.
Alright, on to 149 where…um…does anyone know what exactly happened here? No Lavalle…not much action at all in fact. Thoughts?
BST - Lavallee and W. Miklus both appear to have not wrestled at all. I am not sure why other than Miklus wrestled in the NWCA All-Star Classic a while back. I hope theres not an injury or some other concern here. I certainly haven't heard/seen anything
Shaffe - Yeah I have no idea what’s going on with Lavallee and his lack of black and gold wrestling. He seems to have the spot on lock since nobody really wrestled around the weight. There’s no information coming out right now, but there’s also not a lot of reason for information to really be coming out until the season starts in earnest – so hopefully he’s not hurt and we just don’t know it yet. To sum up my thoughts on 149: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The Beef - Alright, let’s move it on to 157 and what appears to be a possible front runner in Matt Lemanowicz. I was on record in saying I did not think he would cut down, since he had been above the weight in previous seasons. Is this who you guys think will see the mat to start (based on his 2-0 win over Luke Fortuna)? Or could we see the nineteenth McCormick get some early mat time?
BST - I think Lemanowicz has to have the spot early on. He has varsity experience, has been in the program for a bit, and appears to have earned it so far. Its awesome having yet another McCormick on the team, but he was not exactly other worldly in HS. Unless he is just beating Matt left and right in the wrestling room, I think hes gotta be 2nd or 3rd up this year.
Shaffe - 133 and 157 certainly appear to be the two obvious question marks in the lineup this year. I think we’ll see a lot of rotation in the first few weeks at both of these spots as Brian Smith feels out his options for deployment. I will echo the thoughts of my comrades in that it appears Lemanowicz will have the first crack at things – but both weights will be where I will be keeping my eye on the most during the two early season tournaments (Lindenwood Open 11/21 and Las Vegas Invitational 12/4).
The Beef - OK…I know BST is chomping at the bit here, so let’s rev him up and let him go.
Daniel Lewis…165…you impressed?
Shaffe - /Gets out of the way so BST can have his space
BST - DANIEL. EFFING. LEWIS. Not gonna lie, I did a fist pump when I saw that score. Watkins was a 2x KS state champ, so he doesn't appear to be any slouch, but I have seriously high hopes for Lewis this season. He is one of the younger guys that I hope we can look for 3-4 NCAA appearances out of, and just maybe a few AA finishes as well.
Is that too much sunshine pumping?
One more thing about Lewis, he won 4 state titles in MO, at 4 different weight classes, and his Sr. year went like this:
· In his perfect 45-0 senior season, every win was either a pin or a technical fall, with none of the matches reaching the third period.
Shaffe - I don’t think you’re going too far, so long as you’re not pumping him to immediate title contender status. Lewis is a guy who’s been hyped for quite a while now and his result in the black and gold meet really suggests he’s ready to step up and be a legitimate strength in the lineup. I’m super excited to see how things play out with his career now that he’s finally playing for keeps.
The Beef - Meh…tis the season to pump sunshine, so that’s why I wanted you to sing his praises. Exciting stuff without a doubt. Will be interesting to see how he makes the transition to the big time.
Alright, moving on up to 174, and I think we saw a pretty solid effort out of the presumptive starter in transfer senior Blaise Butler. Anything else about the action from last night stand out?
BST - Butler is the guy this year at 174. I was happy to see that he won in convincing fashion. I think I'm most hopeful for this presence in the wrestling room and he can help the glut of young guys we have at these upper weights get some good work in and build for the future. He appears to be a solid contributor who should vow for the MAC title and hopefully vow for an AA at the NCAAs.
Shaffe - I’m really excited that Butler decided to come in for this year, as 174 was going to be a tad shaky if he didn’t. Instead we’ll (probably) have a really solid run of contributors from Lewis all the way up to Cox at 197. I’m mentally pegging Butler to win the MAC and wrestle for a chance to all-american at the NCAA tournament.
The Beef - I will echo both of you here. I think we are very fortunate to get Butler in here, and I love the point BST made about having him in the room to work with the many newcomers. Kid like that, who transferred here for both academics and athletics is going to be a great role model for the others.
Alright, as mentioned earlier, we did not see Miklus at 184. Anyone want to comment on his All-Start match or shall we move on?
BST - He won, which is nice. No clue about his opponent, he must be decent. I think its good for him to see that kind of a big stage, after earning an AA last year. Other than that, just keep working hard.
Shaffe - I’ll be quite honest, I didn’t pay attention at all to the All-Star matches. Should I turn in my fan card now, or do I just lose a corner of it for now?
The Beef - I believe his opponent had been a NCAA Qualifier in the past, but not last season, where he might have been out with an injury. It is a decent win, but I don’t know that is moves the needle a tremendous amount to the naked eye.
Alright, the last two weight classes provided the only falls of the night, as J’Dex Cox took on Seth Pesek. Pesek is a three-time state champ in kansas, but the roster lists him at 157. I assume that is wrong, otherwise, WELL NO SHIT J’DEN PINNED HIM. HE GAVE UP FORTY DAMN POUNDS
BST - It was a bit reassuring for me to see J'Den get the pin. I think he will, and I want to see him, come out angry this year. Last season did not go how he wanted. Guys ran from him and then tried to score sneakily near the ends of matches. He wants to push the pace, show his athleticism and pummel guys. I hope this is the beginning of a long string of punishment for the guys not in Black & Gold at 197.
Shaffe - J’den doing J’den things would be awesome to see this year. Excellent first step, whatever weight Pesek was wrestling at.
The Beef - Agreed and agreed about J’Den pushing the pace and doing J’Den things. I am just curious where Pesek weighed in at J
Alright, to HWY and a big statement by one of the true frosh. Some of our more "in-the-know" commenters mentioned their feelings that Romero might be the front-runner, and his fall over Monaghan may show that to be true. I was excited to see it (though HWY pins can sometimes be as simple as one fat guy falling on another) and to see what Romero may have to offer.
BST - Some of the video on Romero showed just that kind of a pin, in a match he had been dominating and then lost at a HS national tournament. Dude appears to have the gas and tenacity to go out there and get after it. He kinda looks and moves like Dom Bradley to me, but with more go. I think Romero may remind us a lot of what we saw from Willie Miklus last year, LOTS of raw talent that could be something very special if/when he can put it all together.
Shaffe - I haven’t watched any film on Romero from his New Mexico prep days, but if he can move around some for a big guy I really like to see that. I felt that was something that Mellon really excelled at from time to time and a tactic that is not deployed nearly enough at the heavyweight level. Plus it’s a lot more entertaining to watch matches with a few takedowns instead of 2-1 sudden victories.
The Beef – So any last second thoughts before we retire this behemoth?
BST - Sew it up, put a bow on it, and send it out into the night!