3rd Season Column 12: A weekend worth of WOWs, VMI Coaches, All over-looked and under-rated team, 184 and 174, and…wine

PANTHERS CLAW THE DOOR, BRONCS KICK IT IN, HOKIES PECK THE BUCKEYES OUT

An unlikely three animal team “did damage”(1) to the wrestling castle known as the Big 10 this weekend, and it was no fluke, folks. THE Ohio State University strode into Pittsburgh Friday and found themselves mano a mano with a very hungry pride of Panthers. The 23-12 Buckeyes win left Pitt bloodied but unbowed and the Bucks needing to clean their armor. Frankly, the match swung on two contests. One: a second suprising loss by tough, ultra fit Pittsburgh heavyweight Demetrius Thomas. Two: Panther 174LB star Greg Harvey seeing his opponent, Kaleb Romero, not just beat Harvey but widen the margin from an earlier 1 point gap to a decisive 7-2 beatdown. Next for Pitt, the big in state battle with Lehigh Sunday the 24th. What happened next to T-OSU, however, sent a tsunami through wrestling. Virginia Tech paid a visit to Columbus and the Covelli Center and strutted out with a 21-15 win. There are times when a 6 point margin is a beat down. This was two of them, at least, as Tony Robies (yet another BHH)* Hokies flexed all over #3 Ohio State. This on the spur(2) of VA Tech signing the #2 ranked recruiting class in the whole U.S. of A. Details of the victory are pretty much everywhere from loads of really knowledgeable folks who went there, saw that, so this site will just, and justly, say…HOKIE HOKIE HOKIE HI, TECH TECH VPI!!! And, easily if not even more notable, was what happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Thursday. The home team, the Top 10 ranked Golden Gophers, were trampled on their home mat by that little old school with the BIG New Jersey wrestling chops, the Rider Broncs. Or is it chaps? Not sure. What IS sure is that the straightouttaLawrenceville crew headed by…wait for it!…BHH* HC John Hangey flat out outworked the Big 10 homeboys. Then Hangeys Hammers(3) rode hard into DeKalb, Illinois, and put the NIU Huskies away wet 26-6. The Broncs won 8 out of 10 matches, took their first Mid American Conference scalp, and came back home undefeated and very much on everybody’s horizon. Two notes: LOVE the music and graphics for Rider highlights on BroncVision. 2nd, Rider info folks keep writing about wrestlers “moving up” from 165 to 157. Its odd, just sayin. There will be an in depth look see at this school prior to their arrival and (calling it now) high level success at the Southern Scuffle, Jan 1st and 2nd in beautiful downtown Chattanooga. GOOD TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE! Call 1-423-266-6627 or GoMocs.com.

SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON

MOCS IN THE MIDDLE OF IT

As noted in this columns UTC Preview the Scribes beloved Mocs scheduled waaaaay up the scale this season and stand at 1-3 after absorbing a 39-0 knockdown at the hands of the #2 team in the nation, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Other than Sr. Co captain 197LB Rodney Jones 1 point loss to AA Jacob Warner of Iowa, nothing to see here, folks, and it’s all been said already. So, its rest up and get ready time as UTC has a 2 stop trip to North Carolina this coming weekend. The Mocs will be favored in exactly 1 of their next 5 duals heading into the Scuffle, and they’re still missing one of their senior co captains, 141LB 2X SoCon Champ Chris Debien. Answers to these and other questions lie straight ahead. #Fightforeverypoint, Mocs! And they will.

APP STATE TAKIN NUMBERS, NAMES N TITLES

If BHH* HC JohnMark Bentleys Mountaineers didn’t get a volume discount on the entry fees at the WolfPack Open, they should have. A whopping 32 of Youssefs Crew battled in Raleigh, and 4 of the 10 weight classes saw 3 Mountaineers each compete as attached wrestlers. There will be a quiz later. Only 5 of the 12 team field were D1 schools, but hey, 14 App State place winners and 2 Open Division Champs, 149LB Jonathan Millner and 285LB Cary Miller, is no small bones. Take the Over on how many times these guys last names get transposed. You’ll see, and hear them, mentioned a lot this season.

PRESBYTERIAN ROCKING THEIR INITIAL TOUR, 1ST 2 DATES FUN

The Blue Hose are hot-footing it across the Eastern seaboard in their inaugural season, with stops so far in Charleston (not far) and Raleigh (not much farther). The cumulative record for Coach Tony DeAndas brand spanking new crew is at a respectable 1-2 win/loss ratio. They have their first podium placewinner as well, 197LB Austin Stiths 3rd place showing in the Battle at the Citadel tournament. The Blue Hose roll up both the East Coast and the competition level as they head to the Cornell Invitational this upcoming weekend. They’ll face the likes of Army West Point (fresh off winning their own Black Knight Invitational) Binghamton, Buffalo, LIU, Lock Haven, Rutgers, and the Army Prep School. That few or perhaps even none of these squads will send full varsity will mean little. Baby steps, Presbyterian, baby steps. Director Cody and the Coaches Deanda will have you sprinting in due time. MUCHAS GRACIAS to gracious and helpful Cornell athletics staffer Kathy and to Associate Head Coach Mike Grey, multi tasking in the background, for the team list.

CAMELS CRACK A 50 YEAR NUT

That undefeated 184LB Andrew Morgan copping SoCon Wrestler of the Week award was not the big Buies Creek news is news. That is because Campbell is now, for the 1st time ever, ranked in the Coaches Top 25 for dual meets. They’re tied with Purdue. No matter. Camels will take that. That their next dual is not till the early January desert throwdown with Top 10 Arizona State should not be a rankings punishable offense. Looking at you, coaches. Or rather, your votes, IF we could see them, that is. (cough, cough, impartiality, cough, cough)

STILL NO CITADEL NEW(S)NESS

Still blaming Earl Smith and the Open Mat, but mostly Earl. His overwhelming coverage of a program or event is similar to a 13th century Mongol invasion (but in a good way, you know, with new Yurts, a quart or two of fermented mares milk, some archery lessons). Really little reason to revisit the school. Actually, theres been a bit going on. These Charleston, South Carolina based Bulldogs did finish a respectable 4th at their own tournament to start the season. They also grabbed some good wins at the Journeyman Collegiate Classic. At last week’s WolfPack Open 285LB Mike MacAleavey finished 3rd, going 4-1. They’re coming to the Scuffle! We LIKE that about them. And we remain über fans of San Antonio Judsons very own Aaron Walker (Citadel Class of 2017) 2x UNDEFEATED TX HS Champ AND Citadel 4X national qualifier. So theres that.

WILDCATS WINLESS, WORKING

The progress will come for Andy Lausiers Wildcats. “The toughest preseason ever” for Davidson has so far produced numerous individual wins though team triumphs remain elusive. The best showings have been the most recent, two close dual meet losses to Franklin and Marshall and conference foe VMI. The match count in both duals: a respectable 4 wins, 6 losses, as progress is evident. Davidson boasts strong support, growing numbers in a youth movement, and fine coaching with Lausiers talents supplemented by 2, 2X All Americans. Former VA Tech star “smooth” Joey Dance and, as of this season, former Rider great Chad Walsh are there to help. And for the first time in 12 years (has it been THAT long?) they’re coming to the Scuffle. That’s a paragraph ender.

G-W BULLDOGS RUNNIN WEST

Gardner Webb is back in action this weekend as they battle Cal Baptist and finish their trip Sunday at CSU-Bakersfields Roadrunner Open, always a competitive event. No updated stats on the GW website to enlighten you with, but that should change by months end. Should. Might. Hope so.

VMI PREVIEW PART 2: COACHSPEAK THAT ISNT- HC JIM GIBSON AND ASST. TY SCHOFFSTAHL, UNEDITED, IN THEIR OWN WORDS

FOR HEAD COACH JIM GIBSON:

How are you implementing your small school success blueprint at VMI?

It is important to create a culture of belief. Consistent communication about our expectations to our athletes is paramount. They must never question what our coaching staff expects of them. We ask them to focus on the areas of the sport which are under their control. 1)Effort 2) Attitude 3)Toughness 4)Lifestyle. They (Cadet-athletes) need to understand that it takes consistent focus on these areas for them to be successful. Its important in times of adversity that they continue to strive in those areas. Everyone develops at a different time, but if those four areas are focused on, it’s not a matter of if they win, its just when.

What are some work/life differences and similarities you’ve encountered in your first 18 months there?

As a student athlete at Edinboro, and a coach at both Clarion and Bucknell, all the communities have been similar. Small rural towns with Division 1 wrestling programs. A major difference at VMI is the military lifestyle. It forces us as coaches to time manage very efficiently. We must take full advantage of the time we have with the athletes, and must get the most out of our training each day. The students at VMI are pulled in a lot of different directions. I don’t necessarily see that as a disadvantage, it just takes a bit more preparation on our part. We must formulate a plan at the beginning of each week, and can’t deviate much.

Your recruiting class was enormous, 24 freshmen I believe. Can you make up for the lack of numbers in the previous 2 classes or is that not important?

Everything is a process. The freshmen class take both their academics and athletics very seriously. Their addition has Immediately made our practices much more competitive. I believe we are already seeing the benefits of that, but still have a ways to go. Ultimately we want to be very competitive at each weight class with about 3 guys.

Many people would find it amazing that VMI has a winning record against every other military academy except one. Is that a source of pride for the Keydets?

VMI as a whole is full of tradition and pride. Everyone here takes pride in walking the road less traveled. The wrestling tradition here is very rich as well. They’ve had wrestling at VMI since the 1920s and have produced over 100 individual conference champions. Our current wrestlers take pride in trying to restore that tradition. They want to be the ones that bring back a winning tradition to VMI wrestling.

How will Neal Richards career and success this season affect this program?

For others to see that it can be done here is huge. Neal’s success writes the blueprint for others to follow. Not only for our current wrestlers but our recruits as well. For everyone to know that you can be successful in wrestling at VMI is very important.

ASST. COACH TY SCHOFFSTAHL

The Edinboro connection is an obvious reason you may have been drawn to working with Coach Gibson. What else brought you to VMI?

It was exciting and motivating to have the opportunity to be part of a program that is in the rebuilding process. I knew I wanted to stay in the sport after my college career was over and coaching was one way to do it. When Coach Gibson reached out to me, it would have been dumb not to do it.

The conference view for VMI is currently quite different than what it was for Edinboro in its conference during your wrestling days there. How can your experiences/perspective help the Keydet athletes?

Competing under the coaches that I had at Edinboro was very important to me. With the coaching staff having their own personal and coaching success, I feel like they put me in a good position to know what it takes to be the best. They always put us in a position to compete against the top tier teams on Division 1. I will do my best to help our athletes reach their greatest potential with the experiences I have learned along the way throughout the multiple years in the sport.

How have you adapted to the geographic/cultural differences between PA and VA?

I really like everything about the area of Lexington. The small town feel is exactly what it was like where I grew up in PA and similar to the area in college. Virginia has plenty of things that interest me so it was a great fit.

CANNOT say thank you enough to Head Coach Jim Gibson, Assistant Coach Ty Schoffstahl, and Assistant Athletics Director Communications Mike Carpenter. They gave significant in season time and effort to this work, and justly deserve your applause and appreciation. They certainly have ours.

ALL OVERLOOKED AND UNDERRATED TEAM: 184 & 174

Flat ran out of time last week, so to catch up here’s the next two gentlemen who will stand out, advance beyond expectations, and threaten the podium in March in Minneapolis…

184LBS

Andrew Morgan, Campbell

A fifth year senior moving UP 10 lbs for his last go round is rare enough. Factor in Andrews stellar past 2 seasons at 174, 2 rostered athletes at his old weight and 5 at his new one (not counting him) and it looked like a “things that make you go hmm?” moment. Then the season started, and Andrew started showing everybody outside of Buies Creek, NC, that he is a legit AA threat. The sample size so far is small but mighty tasty. A hot, fresh slice of ABC (Apple-Blueberry-Cherry) pie w/ ice cream kind of tasty. 6-0, with a Southeast Open title and 2 dual meet road wins, one over über-tough and talented Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt. More tests ahead for Morgan: a 6 week, 4 tournament stretch starting with the Navy Classic. Since THAT’S not enough, there’s a 2nd week of January dual in the desert with Arizona State and a showdown with 3X AA, 2X National Champ Zahid Valencia. YO. Most folks will know by then, you know now. Watch out for Andrew Morgan.

174LBS

Jared Siegrist Lock Haven

Why Jared?

  1. He’s a PA tough 4 year starter. Dude AVERAGES 41 matches a year. NO deferred status, NO redshirt, NO gray shirt, just lots and lots of sweaty, dirty shirts.
  2. Has a nasty tough, 10lbs bigger Senior teammate/training partner in Top 12 ranked Corey “The Hammer” Hazel.
  3. Graduation, weight changes, and Olympic aspirations have thinned the field.
  4. Has won more and lost less each year.
  5. Has NEVER qualified for the Nationals. Senior last-shot momentum. We know he’s 4-3. We know he’ll lose a few, probably double digits, with some to some guys he shouldn’t. We also know this: NOBODY wants to wrestle this guy. But they’ll have to. And for the majority of them, it will NOT end well. #HeFlyin. Just like his team.

ARMY AND NAVY SET OUT MATS AND STAY HOME

The seasons plethora of Opens, Invitationals, Quads, Tri-Meets, and the like continues so time to look both back and forward. Army hosted their Black Knight Invitational(4) on the 17th. 8 teams total and Army had 3 champs, taking the team title in the process.

Saturday the 23rd is the date for the Navy Classic(5), and it’s the biggest field ever. Thanks to the ever prompt and extra helpful Athletic Director/Sports Information, Stacie Michaud(6) a list of teams set to participate:

Air Force, American, Brown, Bucknell, Campbell, The Citadel, Cleveland State, Edinboro, George Mason, Kent State, Lock Haven, Michigan State, Navy, Ohio, Old Dominion, Oregon State, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech. WHOA! 18 teams, every conference but the Big 12 on display, and dozens of ranked wrestlers makes this the toughest tournament of the season so far. As there’s no parking on the grounds of the Academy, take the shuttles. Admission is free, and if you see Ms. Michaud, please say hello and thank you.

TREMBLING AT THE TOP, OR SMALL NOTES ON THE BIG BOYS

Penn State had a few wrestlers in close matches in the dual with Navy. They won all those matches. The rest of their wrestlers won matches that weren’t close. They also won multiple titles at a tournament.

Iowa had several wrestlers win close matches, one of them a 1 point hang on win, against the Scribes beloved Mocs. The rest of their wrestlers won matches that weren’t close.

THE Ohio State University LOST-to a team not in the Big 10. It wasn’t Oklahoma State. For details, read the first paragraph in this column again.

Oklahoma State supposedly failed a skin check. Then they failed to beat Lehigh. Earlier on the weekend OK St. beat the Drexel Dragons. Skin check fails can happen when you play with reptiles.

VA Tech-again, 1st paragraph. If you still dont get the Hokies, listen to Jason Bryant’s Inside VA Tech wrestling podcast. Then you probably won’t read this column On 2nd thought, maybe don’t listen.

Cornell has wrestled once this season. They won a lot. They host a tournament this weekend. They’ll win a lot more. Kathy, in the Athletic Department, is really helpful. Associate Coach Mike Grey is really busy, but hes helpful too. When you call Assistant Coach Gabe Dean, Kathy will probably answer. Whenever you call Coach Dean, call him Sir. Simply out of respect. He’s extremely cordial. It’s been 5 years since we shook hands at the Scuffle. The hand has mostly recovered.

NC State beat Old Dominion. It was a good match. Hayden Hidlay ( HIDE-lay, please, you’ve had 3 years to practice) beat Larry Early. It was a great match. Then NC State had an Open. They won a lot there too, but maybe less than expected. Maybe.

Arizona State has, so far, won against Purdue, Virginia, Augustana, and McKendree, and won a lot in two tournaments. They had a 35 year old former Army Green Beret walk on wrestle for them. Even though he lost, that’s a win-win. Next, Arizona State wrestles Penn State. Thats not a win win. That’s not even a win.

WINE-DING DOWN WITH THE SCRIBE….2016 GRANITE COAST VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON/MONTEREY, CA

The Scribe faked high and shot low, ankle-picking this Red for 6 ($5.99+Tax) off the bottom shelf at Trader Joe’s. And got immediately reversed. This wine needed Decanting, then Drinking, and bypassing D1 for D2 caused, this time at least, a bit of disappointment. A Day 2 backside bracketing with a vegetable/beef stew and a setup with 3 different cheeses, Swiss, Gouda, and Havarti, went better, but not enough to warrant even an at large bid. Rating: 1 glass.

See you next week!

Ted Carreras

  1. What Big 10 teams typically do to everybody else. 2.The nasty sharp thingy on the back of a gobblers leg. Useful for disemboweling. 3. The Scribe is patenting this, and only Broncs can use it without paying. And DONT get any ideas, Coach Clemsen of Maryland, Mr. #turtlesomethingoranother. 4. Navy was probably invited. They weren’t there. 5. Army is probably invited. They won’t be there. 6. Multi-year starter for the T.R.G.L.O.W.

3rd Season, Column 11: Darn fine duals done and yet to come, Tourney talk, Oh my, VMI, you’ve grown, and small notes on the big boys

SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON…

VMI PREVIEW

The year was 1839. William Otis received his long awaited patent…for the steam shovel. (cousin Elisha was the elevator guy). Former prez. John Quincy Adams beat up (legally, not physically) then-current prez. Martin Van Buren, convincing the Supreme Court to free 53 African Americans in the Amistad case. Some guy named Doubleday invented a way to make drinking beer, eating bad food, and yelling for 3 hours an American pastime. And, in the Great Commonwealth of VA, The Virginia Military Institute was established. Cadets of all branches but Cadets ONLY, please, Army, Navy, or Air Force ROTC is a requirement. The current VMI team has a 99 years running, 27 page wrestling record book to add to this season. For perspective, THE Ohio St. University and Michigan are tracking at 100 and 98 years this campaign. The team numbers for VMI…33 strong and only 4 seniors, and theres NO doubt who’s the Big ‘Roo in this troop/mob/court(1). That’s RS Senior Neal Richards, 174LBs of homegrown Virginia nasty. He’s been profiled before in this column, along with his team (SECOND SEASON, COLUMN 18, 1/23/19) and he enters his senior season 74-25, with 22 bonus point wins out of 28 W’s last year. Combined career won-loss records for the rest of VMIs seniors: 60-122. The class make-up for the Keydets is definitely skewed to youth. 2 Juniors, 3 Sophomores, and 24 Freshmen. The Great Commonwealth leads the way with 19 Virginians on the roster. 8 states in total are represented, but other than VA, only Pennsylvania has more than 2 competitors on the team. That empty pouch in the middle of the wrestling roster is probably due in no small part to the March 2018 arrival of Head Coach Jim Gibson. An ’07 Edinboro grad with years of PA coaching toughness at Clarion and Bucknell, Gibson brought big expectations to the small military college. VMI picked up 3 conference wins last year. With such a young squad numerical improvement will be hard to come by. So far this seasons been highlighted by the aforementioned Richards 5th place win at the Southeast Open. Also noted in last weeks SEASON 3 COLUMN 10 edition, a trio of Keydet Joeys(1) had top 5 finishes as well. Latest results showed VMI tangling with Maryland and American University Nov 9th, a modest showing highlighted by multiple wins and a shocking Richards 1 point loss. Give Gibson, assistant coach and fellow Edinboro Alum Ty Schoffstahl, and new coaching hire Cameron Timok time. About 3 recruiting classes worth, it looks like from here. By then VMI can realistically start looking at evening their record in both the SoCon and with their military school brothers/rivals.

ADDENDUM: HEAD COACH JIM GIBSON, COACH TY SCHOFFSTAHL, NEXT WEEK!

In its initial College edition, First Hand Forum will feature the duo as they break down philosophies, expectations, and the VMI life. Unedited, in their own words, because that’s what you deserve.

CAMELS SPLIT A WEEKEND CATFIGHT

Cary Kolats Campbell Camels had a feline face-off double dip this past weekend, taking on the Panthers in their home lair of Pittsburgh, then matching up with the Ohio Bobcats Sunday. Score it 28-6 for the home felines Saturday, as stylin’ Panthers Head Coach Keith Gavins crew eviscerated the Humpsters from Buies Creek, NC. Best result for Campbell: Andrew Morgans 11-8 victory over Pitt sophomore star Nino Bonaccorsi at 184. Both qualified for Nationals last season and could meet there this year. Sundays showdown with Mid American Conference mainstay Ohio University went way better. Campbell won 2 matches against Pitt; they took 7 from the Bobcats in a 24-16 victory. The Camels went deep into their 6 man 157LB rotation and Matthew Dallara responded with a 7-5 upset of Ohios Top 20 ranked Zac Carson. Campbell now has a month and a half or so of tournament action, each event about 2 weeks apart.

MOUNTAINEERS INVITE PROVES HOSPITABLE FOR THE HOME TEAM

App State had quite the shindig Saturday, as 7 teams from 5 different conferences went at it in the Mountaineer Invite. JohnMark Bentleys team saw all 4 team captains for this season make the finals at their very own event, and Jonathan Millner took the 149LB title. Nice. The boys from Boone are 2 rounds into a 4 tournament in four weeks run. Ouch. Next month, though, quite the difference: a 3 dual meet December should have Coach JMBs mountain men set up nicely for a fine showing at the….wait for it..Southern Scuffle. Jan 1st and 2nd in beautiful downtown Chattanooga. AS IF.

THE MONSTER SCHEDULE AND MIGHTY PLANS OF THE MOCS

Speaking of the Scenic City, (and that wrestling team based there) UTC hosted the Chattanooga Duals Sunday with two top teams, Army West Point and Illinois, and without team Co Captain and 2X SoCon Champ 141LB Chris Debien. Nary a peep on the star 5th year Seniors status has been heard since the dreaded “MFF” appeared by his name in the backside competition of the Southeast Open. That’s Medical Forfeit, ICYDK. The Mocs showed up and showed out, but it was the Black Knights of the Hudsons day to shine. Army beat both Illinois and host UTC, the latter in a hard fought 18-12 match. Would Debiens presence been the difference? Possibly. It was tied 12 all going into the last 2 matches, and an earlier Debien win (NO guarantee, Army has a tough team Captain of their own at that weight, Corey Shie) would have made the final score 15 all. Not as close against Illinois, a 22-10 defeat, as only 3 Mocs got their Hand Raised. 184LB Matthew Waddell was the Mocs lone double winner. What next for Chattanooga? Oh, nothing, just a trip to Iowa City next weekend to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Reminds the Scribe a bit of his freshman year at FSU, where the then unnoticed (to be polite) Seminoles went West themselves to face the 2x defending National Champion Oklahoma Sooners. Headline on the FSU school papers sports page? “Its no joke: Seminoles head to Norman.” The ever positive Flambeau predicted a 10 touchdown destruction. An uber talented, high energy, young and vibrant coach (who, BTW, just turned 90 last Friday, Happy Belated Birthday, Bobby Bowden!) took a bunch of young talents and the few 4th and 5th year athletes who had bought into his system into the Valley of Death. They lost the game 28-10. They gained respectability and found their heart. That game and that brutal season begat a 3 decade run of greatness. NOT laying that on the Mocs, but… Look, UTC could very well lose every match in this matchup, some badly, some quickly, some both. The team score will probably be ugly. WONT MATTER. This team is changing. The “Kyle Ruschell Initiative” is for real. BELIEVE in these Mocs, folks. #fightforeverypoint

GARDNER WEBBS TOUGH TRIP

The Runnin Bulldogs put up some mixed results at the App State Open. Coaches Elliott, Mattingly, and Corba turned both their seasoned pack members and their pups loose in the Mountaineers house and the young’uns had much the better of it. Dogs finishing first(2) included Will Edmiston,133LB, Jacob Conrad 157, and 285LB Anthony Perrine. All won as unattached. The 16 “official” competitors for Gardner-Webb, a combined 6-32. Youth is being served in Boiling Springs, and it’s looking hungrier by the event. The seasoned part of the Bulldogs recipe might just have too much bitter to be made palatable. Time will tell.

DAVIDSONS DIFFICULT DAY

Was this past Sunday at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic in Albany,(3) New York. The young and talented brain trust for the Wildcats, Andy Lausier, Joey Dance, and Chad Walsh, had to know going in their ‘Cats were headed for deep water. And so it proved, with nary a winning record for any Wildcat on the day and not many wins to boot. It’s the battle to climb up the SoCon ladder this coming weekend as Davidson travels to VA to meet the previewed team of this week’s column, VMI. Winners in 1st place in the SoCon! Sell it, guys!

EARL SMITH IS GOOD….TOO GOOD…#$%^&*+×÷=/_<

Theres 1 reason you will NOT find a preview of the Citadel in this column. Why bother? Somebody WAY better at this stuff has covered the Bulldogs from Charleston like a warm snuggie with an attached 6 pack holder. Youll find the unvarnished truth in very few places, but ALWAYS flowing from the mind of the #wordsmith himself. The Open Mats Earl Smith’s work is, simply, excellent. Said it before and saying it again: Earl says more with less than anybody. And when he deep-dives a subject, WHOA. Just sit back, knock one back, and enjoy.

‘QUE THE LOCAL ANGLE-JERZEY TOUGH SUITS UP, STOMPS CRIME, STOPS BY…

In that 18-20LB Turkey-laden (get your Thanksgiving orders in now!) one-shop BBQ stop on Blanco Road in beautiful Central San Antonio, the loooong arm of the Law reached out for some food, fun and fellowship this month. A group of very serious suits from the Garden State area slipped quietly in and out and were suprised and pleased to be greeted by a home state face. The Who and the What of the visit were matters of discretion, but the Why and the Where were known and obvious. The enjoyment? And HOW. Based at least on the smiles and the bell ringing. Just goes to show you NEVER know who you might meet at the restaurant. And its dog friendly! Just sayin.

THE WRITTEN LANGUAGE AS A BLUNT OBJECT, OR…

SMALL NOTES ON THE BIG BOYS

Nebraska looks like they have the best team they’ve had in, well, a year. More or less. Is Tyler Berger, 3X AA, National finalist, becoming Tyler Berger, coach, more, or less? Not sure. Surely less, though just a bit, 125LB Zeke Moisey, gone. Is it less that Coaches Kendric Maple (now at Missouri) and Eric Montoya have been replaced by the aforementioned Berger and 3X AA Robert Kokesh? Again, not sure. For sure Nebraska has 5 legit All American threats at 141, 165, 174, 184 and 197. That’s half the team. Those 5 will put Nebraska in the Top 10, anything more will have the Huskers higher. Are they hanging out with Oklahoma these days?

Arizona State is aiming at the podium. In wrestling terms that means a Top 4 finish at the National Championships. They need to take all their shots between breaths. The Sun Devils have no room for error. They do have 3X AA, 2X National Champion Zahid Valencia, moving up a class and ready to lay waste to the 184LBers of the country. They have 285LB Tanner Hall, the only heavyweight older than Godzilla. And almost as gnarly. Halls been out with injuries, Redshirted, on a multi year Mormom mission, (not in that order) and now hes back. Hes been an All American. He will be again this year. So will 165LB Josh Shields. Zahids brother, 174LB Anthony Valencia, has a solid shot at AA, as does 149LB Jacori Teemer. Those 5 may be enough. Maybe. Looks like, from here, the Sun Devils will have a nice spot to stay in Minneapolis at the Championships. Not the Penthouse Suite, though. Probably not either of the King Rooms w/ the private hot tub and separate sleeper on the next floor either.(4) But something just comfortable enough for them to want a bit more. Some season very soon, elevator AND #forksup.

Oklahoma is 29-23 with 1 All American and 0 National Champions heading into Coach “Sweet” Lou Rossellis 4th year. Oklahoma was 55-34 after 5 years with Mark Cody. With 10 All Americans and 2 National Champions. Then Cody wasn’t at Oklahoma anymore. Now Roselli is. Last year Oklahoma had 9 top 5 finishes at the Michigan State Open. This year they had 5. Michigan State Coach Roger Chandler said this seasons Open was the toughest it’s ever been. Maybe, maybe not. No maybe that this season needs to be sweet for Lou and the Sooners. Like Top 4 at Big 12s, Top 20 at NCAAS. A 4/20? Should save that for the post Post season.

North Carolina opened their season with 8 place winners and a Champ, 285LB Andrew Gunning, at the Southeast Open. Then they traveled to Anne Arbor and beat Michigan. Anybody outside the Big 10 beating anybody inside the Big 10 is big. Beating a Big 10 team at their place, in their home opener, is bigger. UNC will finish Top 20 for sure, Top 15 with a push. That will make 4 ACC teams in the Top 20. That’s 2/3rds of the Conference. Should be just 40% of the Conference, though. Duke and Virginia, NOT on you. Clemson, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, DEFINITELY on you.

Lehigh started the Scribes wrestling heart beating back in the early 70s and you NEVER forget your first love. So, whats with Coach Pat Santoros Mountain Hawks this season. Well, 2X AA Jordan Kutler becomes 3X AA Jordan Kutler. Jordan Kutler, National Champion? Hall(5) of a long shot. AA 285LB Jordan Wood earns the 2nd of his 3 AA honors this season. 157LB Josh Humphreys takes the first of 3 serious shots at AA honors this season. Chris Weiler and Jake Jakobsen have finally figured out who’s a 184 and who’s a 197. 149LB Luke Karams knee has a safe word. Its “maybe.” Lehigh is a perennial Top 15 team not often enough in the Top 10 according to the media, casual fans, or its highly intelligent, gracious, fun, very large and understandably demanding alumni base. Why? Don’t know. Know this:👁❤⛰Hawks!

Pittsburgh sent half their team to the NCAAs last year. That half of the team is back for this season. Plus 2 other starters. Three of their starters won titles in the 2 divisions at the Michigan State Open November 2nd, with 9 placewinners overall. 9 of their 10 weight classes are settled. 8 could qualify for Nationals. Some of that is due to being in a tough, 6 team conference. Most of it is due to Coach Keith Gavin. And his excellent staff. #Pinzburgh.

Northern Iowa had a National Champ last year. They won’t have one this year. They had Michelle Van Dorn advancing their media cause last year. They don’t this year. They beat Iowa State last year. They won’t this year. They didnt wrestle Iowa last year. They won’t this year. They’ll be better than last year. Maybe in their won loss dual meet record. Probably in their regular season tournament finishes. DEFINITELY in their NCAA tournament finish. Like, 4 All Americans and 2 round of 16 finishes. Follow Allyson Schwab, wife of UNI Head Coach Doug Schwab, mother of 4, professional photographer, purveyor of positive, on Twitter. But from a respectful distance, please. You do NOT want the SchwabMob on your doorstep. Unless they’re delivering your UNI Wrestling season tickets. #Panthertrain.

See you next week!

Ted Carreras

  1. Group names for kangaroos, Joeys are their babies. Its the VMI Keydets, but their mascot is Moe the Kangaroo. It’s the cheerleaders fault.

2. Dogs ALWAYS finish first. In EVERYTHING.

(3) Top shelf little big town for coffee, food, and a funky old/new hotel, the Desmond. Check the reviews on TripAdvisor, @784tedc.

(4)SHOUT OUT, La Quinta, Charleston, WV. Great staff, beautiful views, fun stay.

(5) Jordans personal boogie man, 2017 National Champ, 3X Finalist Mark Hall of Penn State.

3rd Season, Column 10: A Friday through Sunday Summary, All Over-looked and Under-rated Team, Small notes on the Big Boys, and ‘Cue the local angle…

The College Wrestling season hit full swing this past weekend with action literally from Coast to Coast. Let’s poke around a bit and find some fun stuff, shall we?

UTC ASKS AN OLD FRIEND TO STEP OUTSIDE

Chattanooga hosted SIUE in what was originally a tri meet until injuries trimmed Presbyterians roster down to below optimal team competition levels. So it was up to host UTC and the Cougars, out of Edwardsville, IL., to put on the whole show. They wrestled in the brisk outside of Miller Park in beautiful downtown Chattanooga. (BTW, great tickets are still available for the Southern Scuffle Jan 1st and 2nd. GoMocs.com or 423-266-6627 for the fracas, for the fun, for the food, FOR THE CITY!) Score it 29-14 Chattanooga over their former conference foe as UTC took 7 out of 10 bouts with 4 bonus point wins. Last year’s star backup, 125LB Fabian Gutierrez, new 133LB Moc Franco Valdez, and 4 year starter 141LB Chris Debien accounted for 2 of those big victories. Following some back and forth at mid match, Chattanooga sealed the deal with Michael Waddells (a transfer from Oklahoma) first period pin at 184. UTC then took a weekend bus ride to Roanoke, VA and competed at Sundays Southeast Open. 10 Mocs placed at the always tough season opener set in the Great Commonwealth. 8 D1 teams sent “attached” competitors. This means they repped their schools on an official capacity. More on this event in a bit. SIUE headed home and heads east next weekend for a double dual with West Liberty and Coach Matt Azevedos Drexel Dragons. Of opening night note for the Cougars: the varsity debut of 3rd generation wrestler Max Kristoff, son of SIUE Hall of Fame All American Kip Kristoff and Grandson of Olympic Hero, SIUE Hall of Famer and former Coach Larry Kristoff. #Kristoffcubed won by fall, and 2 of SIUEs 2019 National qualifiers, 157LB Nate Higgins and 285LB Colton McKiernan, picked up the Cougars 2 other victories.

WISCONSIN WINS BIGLY AND LITTLY, ARMY NEARLY MOVES THE CHEESE, NAVYS VALOR DOUBLED UP BUT NEVER DOUBTED, AND OH NO, FRESNO, O-3?

Fridays 4 way, way out West, featured the Wisconsin Badgers, Army, Navy, and Fresno State in a 2 location quad meet of sorts. Very early in the day it was Chris Bonos Badgers being unkind visitors as they thumped Fresno State 31-8. Where the Bulldogs were strong, the Badgers were stronger and Wisky ran away with the win. But Wisconsin nearly lost their cheeseheads against a tough, talented Army team. Coach Kevin Ward has the Black Knights of the Hudson honed to a nasty edge right from the jump this year, and they jumped all over Wisconsins middle and upper weights. Army won 5 of 6 matches from 149 to 197 and held a 2 point lead heading into the Heavyweight match. Wisconsin All American Trent Hillger won his match and the dual for the Badgers with a 7-0 victory over Armys Ben Sullivan. Army would go on to defeat Fresno St. 29-9, and now preps for a tri-meet with Chattanooga and Illinois. Keep an eye on the Black Knights, folks. Right now they’d be the favorites for the All Academy Championships…if they choose to attend. Their absence last year was widely noticed and keenly felt. Navy took the All Academy title in 2019, and Friday they took a win from Fresno St. as well, 25-9. That the Midshipmen were overmatched in a 24-12 loss to Wisconsin probably did little to dampen their spirits. Coach Joel “Human Motivational Quote” Sharratt has never experienced a result that he couldn’t re-positive. Thats similar to repurposing and also beneficial for the environment. The Midshipmen finished the trip with a 27-6 win over Cal Baptist. Going undefeated on the weekend for Navy, 125LB Logan Treaster and suprising 197LB freshman Jacob Koser. Navy is sniffing at 900 wins as their 2 weekend w’s have them at 899 in an amazing 112 years of competition. As the Midshipmen will face Penn State next, win 900 will have to wait. As to Fresnos results, their 3 losses perhaps had some head scratching going on from the Valley faithful. Again, it’s all about matchups, and not enough of them were good enough for the Bulldogs on Friday. Fresnos middle weights, though, hung tough with 7 wins in 9 matches from 174LB Jackson Hemauer, 149LB Greg Gaxiola, and 157LB Jacob Wright. Hemauers dropped down from 184 where he had a stellar 23-13 redshirt freshman campaign for Coach Troy Steiner last year. Also of note: the biggest of the Bulldogs big guns, All American 197LB Josh Hokit and NCAA qualifier 285LB A.J. Nevills, did not compete. At least not on the mat, as Hokit is still barreling through bodies and scoring touchdowns for the Fresno State football team. Nevills? Not sure. As of this writing unimpeachable sources indicate plans for the big, bad, back end duo for the Bulldogs are fluid and subject to change.

ITS 4 DEGREES IN LARAMIE, AND WYOMING COACH MARK BRANCH IS LAUGHING

At least at this authors twitter weather comments, as WYO hosted the Cowboy Open for the 42nd year and for the umpteenth time in single digit weather. Cowboys don’t care. They, along with conference foes Northern Colorado and the Air Force Academy, cinched it up and went at it Saturday. There were a slew of other teams as well, pretty much all area small school powers. In brief, it was a bit bumpy for the home team, at least compared to last year and also to this seasons lofty expectations. 9 Cowboys made the finals between the two divisions contested at the tournament and 4 won titles. That paled, however, compared to last years 9 champs. Air Force Head Coach Sam Barber, whose Falcons had 2 titlists, probably said it best in a pre tournament interview. Both his Falcons and Troy Nickersons Northern Colorado Bears are just simply getting better each year. Both may be closing the gap on their old Western Wrestling Conference and current Big 12 rival. In fact, Air Force has had Top 25 ranked recruiting classes 4 of the last 5 years. One of their recent additions, Sophomore 125LB Sidney Flores, claimed his 2nd Cowboy Open title in as many seasons this past Saturday. Flores is a fine example of the “top-flight” talent AFA has been pulling in of late. He was a 3X California state qualifier and a finalist in 2017. He won the 2018 National Collegiate Open and placed 5th at United World Wrestlings Junior Nationals the same calendar year. Back to this past weekend as the 2nd champ for AFA, 165LB Randy Menewether, ripped through his matches with 4 pins and a 5 point decision win. Air Force next heads to Boone, NC for the Mountaineer Invite November 9th. The 3rd D1 team at the tournament, Northern Colorado, had a real show up and show out showing. The Bears won 5 of the 10 titles in the Elite division, 6 overall on the day. Super recruits Theorius Robison and Andrew Alirez, both heavily pursued home state talents, won at 133 and 149 respectively. Theres only 2 seniors on the Bears roster, and 19 of the 30-strong team hail from the Rocky Mountain State. Robisons finals match victim: outstanding junior and Wyoming 2018 All American Montorie Bridges. The 149LB Alirez was simply dominant. Greeley, Colorado, is where UNC is located, and it’s at Greeley Central HS where Alirez, to quote UNCs media notes, “accomplished a lot.” YO. Read it for yourself, not enough room here. Former App St. 184LB national qualifier Alan Clothier looks right at home in a Bears singlet, anchoring the left end of the picture taken of UNC’s 6 Cowboy Open Champs. His mountains to mountains move was highlighted in an earlier column (APP ST STAR GOES WEST). A returner from last years All Injured-M.I.A. team, 157LB Jimmy Fate, won a Bears v. Bears finals match 12-0 over teammate Ethan Leake. More on this bad band of Bruins in a later column. Hint: They’re comin to the Scuffle!

SO COOL SO HOT, SOCON

All the Southern Conference teams were in action this weekend. Campbell had a big showing at the Southeast Open. They had 6 champs, 4 in the Open division, the most of any team. 17 Camels in all clambered up the podium. Top 6 ranked heavyweight Jere Heino sat the tournament out, so the Camels backup big man, Mongolian born Odgerel Batkhishig, took 5th. Heino, BTW, also stars internationally, for Finland. SoCon power App State, Gardner Webb, VMI, and Davidson all joined in the Sunday fun in Roanoke, VA, as well. App State had about 20 competitors, but only 4 “attached.” They all placed top 3 as the Mountaineers elected to send freshmen/sophomore division competitors only. G W, featured in last weeks column, sent 20 Runnin Bulldogs to Roanoke, with 5 in the Open division. Best showing there was Brandon Brights 2-2 mark. 3 top 6 finishes highlighted GWs work on the freshman/sophomore matches. As noted before, work being done and work to do in Boiling Springs, NC. Davidsons breed of Bulldogs saw Kyle Gorant, 133LB, go 3-1, good for 2nd place in the freshmen/sophomore bracket. In all, 10 Davidson wrestlers were in action, more than half the roster. Speaking of half the team, these Bulldogs put 8 on the SoCon All Academic team last year, and they’re expecting even more for 2020. VMIs performance was highlighted, ¿qué sorpresa?, by Senior 174LB Neal Richards work. He went 4-1 on the day on the way to a 5th place finish, twice defeating North Carolinas tough Clay Lautt. You know Neal was looking to see Carolina stud Devin Kane instead. Kane gave Neal his first and last losses of the year last season, 2 of the just 6 defeats Richards suffered in 2018-19. They’ll meet soon enough. A trio of young Keydets, 197LB Zach Brown, 157LB Will Lawrence, and 149LB Job Chisko (brother of former VA Tech 2XAA Solomon Chisko) finished 1st, 3rd, and 5th respectively.

SNARK FILLED COMMENTARY THAT ONLY WRESTLING NERDS WILL LAUGH AT, OR…..

SMALL NOTES ON THE BIG BOYS

Penn State sent 11 wrestlers to the Clarion Open. That’s also in Pennsylvania. Only 3 Lions made the finals. Only 2 won. Obviously the influence of global warming, the meteorite, and the re-election campaign are to blame there.

Va Tech thumped Missouri 29-10. The win was suprising, somewhat. The margin was suprising, definitely. Then the Hokies hosted the Southeast Open. It used to be the Hokie Open. But calling it and running it like that is a no good, pretty bad thing legal wise anymore. So, its the Southeast Open. Don’t get it twisted, either. Missouri was at the Southeast Open, too. They used a lot of their starters. VA Tech didn’t. Missouri had 3 champs. VA Tech had 3, too. You score it.

The Ohio State University had 5 champs at the Michigan State Open. That’s as many as all the other teams combined. That’s greedy, but impressive. They would have had 6, but their best heavyweight is transferring. Their 2nd best heavyweight is representing the USA overseas. Their 3rd best heavyweight couldn’t win the tournament. Darn it all, Ohio State. Get your bigs in line, will you?

Oklahoma State didn’t wrestle but IS going to PA. this month also, to wrestle Drexel. Good for Oklahoma State, probably not very good for Drexel, but that’s wrestling. They’re BOTH coming to the Scuffle. Cowboys and Dragons in Chattanooga, oh my!👌🐲.

Michigan sent 22 wrestlers to the Michigan State Open. 8 placed. Their best Heavyweight, Junior World Champion Mason Parris, was their only titlist. If you know of any countries in need of an Olympic wrestler, call Anne Arbor. They can probably spare what you need. #MGoInternational.

Iowa didn’t wrestle, other than themselves. Out of sight, out of mind. Like their wrestle-offs. Coach Brands and the team were IN sight, in a corn field, in a press conference, just recently, though. WOW. SO Iowa. LOVE Iowa. The state, the wrestling, the food, the women. If you can combine them all, it’s a win-win-win-win.

Minnesota wrestled Friday night, beating Cal St. Bakersfield 28-9. Coach Manny Riveras Bakersfield Roadrunners are good. Gophers Coach Brandon Eggums (typing “Gophers Coach” and ANY name other than J. Robinson will ALWAYS suck) are better. You’re wonderful, Brandon*. AD Mark Coyle, you’re not. Wonder if we’ll still receive the weekly Minnesota wrestling newsletter after this. Speaking of Minnesota news, their best heavyweight didn’t wrestle either. Details, read Mark Palmers Intermat article.

Cornell wrestled….overseas. 133LB Chas Tucker, 165LB Andrew Berreyesa, and 184LB Max Dean went Greco at the U23 World Championships. Fortunately, once you Go Greco, you can come back. Tucker will this year. Berreyesa and Dean will next year, they’re Olympic “Big” Redshirting. C’mon, a couple of those per column you expect, right?

NC State sent a Pack (now we’re done) of wrestlers to the Battle at the Citadel. There were 7 other teams. NC State had 4 place winners and a champ. They also sent 3 to the Southeast Open. No big names for the WolfPack in either event. Eventually, most of those guys will be. Big names, that is. That’s how you earn Top 10 ranking for 58 straight weeks. Thats Alpha Wolf Head Coach Pat Popolizio and staff for you. BTW, Pat P. HATES rankings. We’d LOVE to see a 3 way Folkstyle/Freestyle/Greco Roman match between Pat Pop and NC ST. Media honcho Brian Reinhardt. As long as Brian gets choice. That way, he can choose not to participate. Good choice, Brian.

BIG BOYS, THE NEXT BUNCH

Northern Iowa. Iowa State. Arizona State. Lehigh. Oklahoma. North Carolina. Pittsburgh. Stanford. Princeton. And some others. We love you, but apologies, we are at deadline. Next week we promise. The Scribe has a wife.** And a real job. Speaking of which….

‘CUE THE LOCAL ANGLE

At that easy-going, hard to beat BBQ stop smack dab in the middle of San Antonio on Blanco Road, the Scribe was thrilled by fans and alums from all over the USA wrestling map. Details in a column to come, but Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, Fresno State and South Dakota State had an audience and gained some new appreciation for their respective schools wrestling skills. And on the local HS note, former San Antonio Churchill HS state finalist Trey Culberson made a pit stop. He made the day brighter with his early 2000s stories of SA and TX matside and now business success. So stop by sometime, grab some grub and gab it up a bit with the crew. You never know who might stop by!

ALL OVERLOOKED AND UNDERRATED TEAM, PART 2

197LBS. GREG BULSAK, CLARION

Doggone it, Greg, you were a TOP choice for this team. Then you had to go and beat your teams top heavyweight, Ty Bagoly, in a special feature match in Clarions wrestle-offs. Then you won the Clarion Open, getting revenge on young Penn State star Michael Beard in the process. Don’t care. You’re still the choice for this spot. Bulsak was 17-6 last year in a season abbreviated by a 4 week and 2, 2 week absences from competition. He was 17-4 as a redshirt 3 years ago, a WolfPack Open, PA State Athletic Conference, and Eastern Wrestling League Finalist in 2018, 10-1 overall in EWL duals, 6-0 during last years regular season. Good wins and no bad losses highlighted his 2018-19 campaign…until the EWL tournament. 2, 1 point defeats from wrestlers he had shut out in the regular season shut off Greg’s post-season hopes. That’s “fixin to”*** change this year.

See you next week! Ted Carreras

*Yes you are, Coach. STILL waiting on that Abelskiver Pancakes recipe, though. Just sayin.

**No, shes not from Iowa, shes from Florida. Even better. G.R.I.T.S., dontyaknow

***state verb of Texas. SURELY you knew that by now

3rd Season, Column 9: Fixin to get fun, Over-looked and Under-rated team, pt. 1, USA mines glory in Russia, A SoCon preview, and a TX State Park stopover

5 AMERICANS, 4 PLACEWINNERS, AND SOME PRECIOUS MEDALS

Don’t stop the Scribe if you’ve read this before because it’s just too much fun to write about. Once again a mens team of American Freestyle Wrestlers mounted an assault deep in the heart of Russia, and ONCE AGAIN the U.S. piled up some precious medals and place winning performances. 3 are teammates at the WolfPack RTC out of Raleigh, NC, with 2, 74KG Tommy Gannt and 86KG Lee Davis, both being former college wrestlers at NC St. Their teammate at the tournament, 97KG Timmy McCall, battled for Wisconsin during his college career. Gannt and McCall headed home with Bronze, while Davis and 74KG Logan Massa, a Michigan Wolverine with a year yet to go for U-M, finished 5th. Massa was actually Gantts victim in one of the Bronze medal matches. Telling you, folks, the USA is building some serious depth at all 10 internationally competed weight classes in Mens Freestlye. Will this growth in Anerican quality AND quantity somehow, some way help persuade the Pooh Bahs of wrestling to make the Olympics a 10 weight class strong competition again? You knew the answer to that before you finished the last sentence. But right before you started laughing.

SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON

PREVIEWING GARDNER-WEBB: BULLDOGS GO BIG FROM THE GET-GO…

What can you say about that team from Boiling Springs, North Carolina? Well for one thing, looks like the Schedule Fairy snuck up on Gardner-Webb and took a 2×4 to them while they were dreaming of a better than last years 2-13 record. Goodness gracious, you Runnin Bulldogs, 4, count em, 4 TOUGH tournaments in the first month of the season? What, the Chinese Navy couldn’t work you into their Spratly Islands War Games rotation this semester? Let’s take a look, shall we…First weekend of the season, the traditionally tough Hokie Open. 6 days later a visit to the always uncomfortable (for SoCon teams, always, and upon occasion, others) heights of Boone, NC, for the Appalachian Invite. Before the November page gets ripped off the calendar it’s a WAY out west trip for a dual with Cal Baptist and a next day all day grind at the RoadRunner Open. Keep the bags packed, please, cause the Runnin Bulldogs aren’t back in Boiling Springs but a bit before heading to Fairfax, VA. 1st weekend of December destination: the George Mason Patriot Open. Jon Sioredas and his Cal Poly Mustangs rode a similar route of tournament travel last season. It did not go well. We shall hope for better. One can be fairly certain Coach Daniel Elliott, 15 years on staff and entering season 8 as head coach, knows what his team needs. It’s just that from here, it looks like scheduling according to Neitzsche. So, what kind of Bulldogs are gonna be barking this year? Well, 30 strong for starters, hailing from a dozen states. Over a third of GWs roster is home grown North Carolina talent, with both the Linker and the Schiess brothers amongst them. The SoCon Coaches poll has GW tabbed fifth, perhaps a spot further back than one might expect with 8 starters back. That’s 8 out of 9, not 10, because GW sent out a 125lb competitor all of ONCE last season. There’s big time improvement coming in the littlest weight class, though, as promising freshman John Jones III (Columbus, GA, Northside, off a 43-0 State 4A senior season title) brings his 3X state qualifying career to Boiling Springs. Also in the running, 2019 JR. Nationals Freestyle All American Michael Pappaconsantinou. So that’s the beginning of the Bulldogs lineup. As to the other 9 classes, only 174lb now-Sophomore Sean Homet filled 1 weight class all season long last year. Interestingly, Homet and departed 2X SoCon Champ Tyler Marinelli were the only 2 Bulldogs with winning records last season. Both were also NWCA Academic All Americans and, as a team, Gardner-Webb finished 11th in the nation in cumulative G.P.A. That’s rarefied academic air right there. As to mat success… GW needs production out of 1 of its two promising freshmen. They probably also need to keep Jeffrey Linker at 197 instead of having him go to war as an undersized heavyweight. There’s some talent throughout the lineup. Enough to improve on last years duals win-loss record? Yes. Enough to move up the SoCon pecking order in order to get within eventual striking distance of the Big 3, UTC, App St. and top 15 threatening Campbell? Maybe. Enough to survive the aforementioned 4 tournaments in 5 weeks minefield intact and healthy for the Southern Scuffle, the Conference Tournament, and the NCAA’s? Rather not speculate on that. Let’s just say, GO, you Runnin (NOT hairy) Dogs, GO! ADDENDUM: Initial posting of this column failed to give proper recognition to those G-W athletes repping the Scribes home states, NJ and FL, and his adopted land love, TX. So, SHOUT OUT TO: Jacob Conrad (157/165), Freshman, Land’O’Lakes, FL, Carrollwood Day; Samuel Mora, 174LB, Freshman, Amarillo, TX, Tascosa,* Taylor Parks, Junior, 149LB, Arlington, TX, James Bowie.

ABOUT THAT COACHES POLL

To no one suprise the defending SoCon tournament Champs, the Campbell Camels, got the nod as the Preseason 2020 Tournament favorites. Appalachian State, who shared the regular season title with both Campbell and UTC, was picked 2nd, with the Scribes beloved Mocs (UTC, baby!) 3rd. Slotted 4th through 8th in the preseason poll: The Citadel, the above featured Gardner-Webb crew, VMI, Davidson, and conference AND D1 newbie Presbyterian.

TWO TEAMS WE’LL BE TALKIN ABOUT ALL YEAR LONG

These would be The 2020 All Underrated and Overlooked Team, because….because, and that team WE have to talk about (since apparently no one else wants to) the all Decade Disappeared Team. Here we go….

ALL OVERLOOKED/UNDERRATED TEAM : HOW CAN I QUALIFY?

Glad you asked! First, you need to be really good, but NOT, great, at wrestling. At least not in too many noticeable ways, ¿verdad? It helps if you’re a freshman or a sophomore or coming into one of those seasons off of redshirt/deferred status. Any more than 10 combined state titles/high placements at national events, while not an automatic disqualifier, is a definite no-no. For the All Overlooked & Underrated Team, avoiding these early accomplishments is suggested. Finally and of greatest importance: your quality can not be noticed enough to be on ANY professional media list of this years expected All Americans, blood round (round of 12) or round of 16 contestants. So there you have it, and now, without further ado, you have the Scribes 2019-2020 All Overlooked and Underrated Team, Part 1…

285LBS..

Gannon Gremmel, Iowa State

Hes 46-22 heading into his 3rd year as the Cyclones top Hvwt. He tied for 2nd in wins amongst Coach Kevin Dressers big boys with 27 w’s last season. He placed at every regular and post-season tournament heading into Nationals. He went 9-5 against fellow Big 12 Conference heavies, the toughest bunch of big boyz outside the Big 10. He pinned App States SoCon champ Cary Miller. So, for these and other reasons, the 2020 All Overlooked and Underrated Team, 285Lb, its the big man straight outta Dubuque, IA., Hempstead High, Gannon “The Grimm One” Gremmel. Now, Gannon, don’t let this go to your head. You better not overlook very talented teammate Kaden Sauer in this week’s wrestle-off. Just sayin….**

YOU NEED TO GO…..

Barely an hour from beautiful downtown San Antonio the heart of Texas beats strong and loud at Guadelupe River State Park. 3 miles in on P.R. 31 off State Road 46, this little big gem of a park showcases many of the best things the Lone Star States outdoors has. Lots of large, easy to walk to campsites and multiple camper/RV spots, all reasonably priced. Flat hikes, hill trails and simple access to the gorgeous Guadalupe River, flowing swift and clean throughout the Hill Country. Trees that in their youth would have shaded Abraham Lincoln had God allowed him to live and to visit the Deep South he helped set free. Every Saturday promptly at 9 AM there’s an easy and informative guided tour of one of Texas’ pristine wild places, the Honey Creek State Natural Area. Fishing, bird watching, biking, kayaking ..you can dip your toes into the outdoors or wade in deep at Guadalupe River State Park. Yes, we love it. Unabashedly.

HERE COMES THE SEASON!

See you soon,

Ted Carreras

*Home High School of 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Brandon Slay. Tascosa HS was where NWHOF Coach Johhny Cobb and crew produced long lines of champions for the Rebels. The now retired Coach C. returned not one but two out of the blue calls from the Scribe and is still as gracious and helpful as he was in that original 1999 meetup at the TX HS Championships in Austin.

** Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa- this column originally credited AJ Nevills, whom Gremmel split matches with last year, as having achieved AA status at the NCAAS. Uh, no. He went 0-2. The editor deserves a pay raise. You deserve an apology. Here it is. APOLOGY.

Third Season, Column 8, More precious medals for USA men abroad, D1Doins, Icons here and gone, and podcasts both real and possible….

AMERICAN MADE SUCCESS ON THE BIG CONTINENT(AL) STAGE

Khasavjurt, Russia, is a city in the Southwest of that country, located in the Republic of Dagestan. It’s an area that produces World and Olympic champions like an election cycle produces false promises. So, it was pretty special when what was essentially the “B” team for USA Mens Freestyle wrestling came back from the Continental Cup with medals from 5 weight classes. Evan Henderson, 65KG, Frank Molinaro, 70KG, Isaiah Martinez, 79KG, and Hayden Zilmer, 97KG, all took Silver. Thomas Gilman, 57KG, and Ty Walz, 97KG, took Bronze. Mekhi Lewis 74KG, and Zach Sanders, 57KG, finished 5th, and Sammy Brooks, 86KG, and Mike Machiavello, 92KG, also picked up a victory each. Gilman was a double winner on the long trip, winning 5 matches and taking Gold at an earlier event in another town in Dagestan. Don’t worry about the tournament name. Or the town. IS DAGESTAN: like Russia, but tougher.

SHAKING STAFFS UP LIKE CHARLTON HESTON AND YUL BRYNNER*

Buffalo becomes the 3rd (that the Scribe is aware of) D1 team to revamp their whole coaching staff AFTER a highly successful season. Massive moves made by Missouri and North Dakota State were highlighted in an earlier column (CITY AND COUNTRYWIDE CH-CH-CH-CHANGES, ) and now its the Bulls turn. The departures of both Austin Marsden and Sean Boyle left holes of greatly varying sizes in John Stutzmans coaching staff. Enter Ethan Ramos, fresh from a year on staff at Bucknell, as assistant coach. Welcome back, former Bulls mat star Muhamed Mcbryde, as volunteer assistant. And finally, a hello out to former NC State, and before that, Central Michigan AA, Justin Oliver, also accepting an assistants position with the Bulls. New staff, same old tough as nails attitude. You mess with the Bulls, you get the horns.

Purdue must have gotten in on that Sears Fire Sale because the Boilermakers added some hammers to their toolbox the past few months. First, Coach Tony Ersland did a double in house promotion, moving A.J. Schopp up to Assistant Head Coach and Jake Sueflohn into Schopps old Assistant position. Then Purdue lured Leroy Vega back to the college coaching ranks. Vega starred as a 3X AA for Minnesota during the Gophers early 2000s championship runs. And, if that wasn’t enough, the new graduate assistant: 4X AA Daniel Lewis. The mauler from Blue Springs, Missouri, was a devastating force for Brian Smith’s Missouri Tigers the past 4 years straight. He’s coming in hot and fresh off the mat and more than ready to help Purdues middle and upper weights make big steps. Like up on to that podium in March. While working on an MBA. #Boilerup, everybody!

#GangGreen gets an emerald back in Orem as 4X National qualifier and Utah Valley All American Jade Rauser rejoins the Wolverines as Director of Operations for wrestling. Another former wrestler, Abel Gomez, has come back to the pack the as the new Strength and Conditioning coach. As to the guys on the mat this year, Hvwt. Tate Orndorff and 133lb Taylor Lamont are both headed overseas for the Greco Roman U-23 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary at months end. It’s the astonishing 7th straight World level age group appearance for Lamont, who’ll compete at 60 KG for the US. Teammate Tate tests the 13O KG field.

Maryland picks up the last piece of their coaching puzzle as Brent Fleetwood, former Central Michigan and North Dakota State star, comes to College Park as the Terrapins Volunteer Assistant. Fleetwood was a 3X National Qualifier while first at Central Michigan and then at North Dakota State. Being a former 4X High School champ from Delaware should be a nice bonus to the Terrapins local ties.

ICONS HERE AND GONE

When Bobby Douglas puts his John Hancock on the wall honoring him at the National Wrestling Museum Dan Gable Hall of Fame around 5 pm on Sat., Nov, 2nd, it will mark more than a picture. Douglas has been first, best, AND different throughout his entire wrestling career, and the event set for 4-7 pm that day is both long overdue and greatly welcomed. He literally fought his way through early childhood and young adulthood, battling the darkness that was ever present with being poor, black and small in stature in a deeply divided late 50’s, early 1960s era United States. Strength of will forged a 2X HS state championship career, a collegiate National Title, and a trophy case of international medals as the first African American to represent the USA at the Olympics. He did so twice, once as captain. He remains the ONLY man to EVER coach a team from the West Coast to win a Division 1 National Collegiate Title when he took the Arizona State Sun Devils to the top of the podium in 1988. He helped forge the current icon of American collegiate coaching, Cael Sanderson, through the ONLY Division 1 unbeaten career, 159-0 at Iowa State. So make plans to be in Waterloo, Iowa the first weekend of November to honor an American legend.

Larry Schiacchetano tore through the tough New Jersey wrestling world as a youngster, reportedly never losing a match in his school boy career there. He was a multiple national award winner at Montclair State, and an Olympic Trials finalist in both the Freestyle and Greco Roman competitions-in the same year! Moving on to coach his Alma Mater, he continued his award winning ways there and later as head coach at LSU. The Tigers were a power in the short lived but brilliant history of SEC collegiate wrestling, winning 7 conference titles in 9 years of Schiacchetanos guidance and twice finishing in the top 8 nationally. He twice won NCAA Coach of the year. He assisted the U.S. team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Internationally he assisted the Syrian team in 1984 and 1988. He was the President of USA Wrestling. He won International Wrestlings highest honor, the FILA Gold Star, twice. An author, sucessful businessman, husband, and father, Larrys excellence spread across a variety of fields. Just a fortnite ago, he was on hand to induct 3X LSU and 4X wrestling All American Kevin Jackson into the Tigers Hall of Fame. But, after 77 years and countless gestures of goodness, the biggest man called the big man home. Schiacchetano left his shoes on the mat Tuesday October 15th, and there’s nobody to fill those bad boys, folks. Lets just gilt them and put them under glass, and raise one to Larry.

SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON

Tickets are now available to the Southern Scuffle, set for Jan 1st and 2nd in beautiful downtown Chattanooga. An updated team list now includes a pair of West Coast powers, Oregon State and Stanford. The Beavers and the Cardinal will both feature a good blend of youth and experience. Both are headed by veteran coaches with impeccable credentials. For Oregon State, Jim Zalesky enters year 14 in Corvallis with 7 PAC 12 titles to go along with his 3 team National Championships earned while at Iowa. Assistants Taylor Meeks (a Beaver AA) and 3X AA Ian Miller (Kent St.) round out the staff. The Beavs sent 6 to the National Championships last year. Meanwhile, straight outta Palo Alto, CA, the Cardinal (the color, not the bird, remember) may very well equal that number of national qualifiers this season. Coach Jason Borelli, 12 years in, is the winningest wrestling coach in Cardinal history. They’re the defending conference champs. They have star power coaches in Ray Blake, Alex Tirapelle, and Nate Engel. They finished 4th last year at the Scuffle and 9 Cardinal wrestlers placed. Whoa. And BTW, one of the very best duals of the year will occur as Stanford starts their season at the brand new, multi million dollar home of Big 10 beast Ohio State. Mark it down, it will be a war. More TICKET news: 423-266-6627 for a large selection of options, from $10 youth 1 day tickets to a Tournament Padded Reserve Lower Level Pass for just $75. A very limited number of Hospitality Room passes may still be available if multiple meals, light snacks and a cash bar are your thing.

THATS A LOT TO LISTEN TO

Good Lord have mercy but you almost need 29 hours a day and a second set of ears to catch even some of the wrestling podcasts out there. And that’s a WONDERFUL thing in the Scribes ears. Forthwith, an incomplete list of fun watch/listens that we’ve come across. They’re enjoyable on a bi-weekly/weekly/occasionally/wheneverly basis. Host(s), and credentials as known, A for audio, V for video content….

Flowrestling Radio Live. 2xW. A/V. Christian Pyles, Willie Saylor, Dan Lobdell, Kyle Bratke, and others, Flowrestling.

RUDIS Wrestling Podcast. 1-3x W. A/V. Ben Askren, MMA Star, 4X NCAA Finalist and 2X Champ for Missouri, 2008 Olympian; Matt Dernlan, former Head Coach, Clarion and Binghamton.

The Way. 3-4x M. A/V. Matt Dernlan and Cary Kolat, 3x NCAA finalist and 2X champ, Penn. St. and Lock Haven, now Head Coach at Campbell University.

Takedown TV. 1X wk. A/V. Tony Hager; Cody Goodwin of the Des Moines Register, and guests.

Takedown Radio. 1X W. A. Hager, Goodwin, and Michael Harvey.

Short Time. 1-4x M. A. Jason Bryant, 3X National Broadcaster of the Year, International Wrestling voice plus guests.

On the Mat 2-3x M. A. Kyle Klingman and Andy Hamilton of TrackWrestling plus guests.

Potentially Dangerous. 1-4x M. A. Tony Hager and Ross Bartacheck of IA Wrestle.

Inside Trip. ? A. Ben Watson and Brandon Olinger.

Mat Chat. ? A. David Mirikitani, National finalist and 2X Folkstyle All American, 5X combined FS and GR AA, of TrackWrestling plus guests.

Weighing In. ? A. Marcus Hoehn, wrestler, Coach, Camp operator and David Mirikitani.

Michigan Grappler. ? A. JJ Johnson.

The Rundown. 1st yr. A. JJ Johnson.

North Dakota Headlock. 1-3x M. A. Rick Mather and Cale Dangerud.

Working the Edge. 1-2 M. A. Brant Parsons, Orlando Sentinel.

Border to Border-Colorado College Wrestling. ? ? A/V. Tom Blair plus guests.

Girls Wrestle 2. 1st yr. A. Arien Carpio and Alexis Porter.

Inside VT Wrestling. 1-3x M. A. Jason Bryant and Virginia Tech Head Coach Tony Robie plus guests.

ODU Monarch Matcast. 1-3x M. A. Jason Bryant and various ODU Coaches and guests.

Pack Mentality Popins. 1-3x M. A. Brian Reinhardt, NC ST. Head Coach Pat Popolizio and various guests.

The Coleman Scott Show. 1-3x M. A. Joe Wedra, UNC Head Coach Coleman Scott plus guests.

Higher Standard. 1-2X M. A. Princeton Head Coach Chris Ayres plus guests.

Beyond the Block O. 1st yr. A/V. Ohio State Head Coach Tom Ryan plus guests.

Always Aggresive. 1st yr. A/V. Purdue Head Coach Tony Ersland; Tanner Lipsett, Herm Massengale, Purdue, and Corey Palm, plus guests.

PA Power Wrestling. 1-3x wk. A. Jeff Upson; Eric Knopsnyder, former Pittsburgh wrestler and Digital Media Editor, Tribune Democrat.

Wrestling Recess. 1st. Year. A. Dysen Gold.

Rocked Up. 2-3x M. A. Jason Bryant and Little Rock Trojans Coaches and Athletic Personnel.

7 Minutes. 2-4x M. A. Kyle Klingmann and various guests.

Home Mat Advantage. 2-3X M. A. Jr. High student/wrestler Sam Herring, a co-host and guests.

Rumors persist of a new and highly volatile podcast, centered on wrestling but continuously probing the far reaches of human interest. No topic too taboo, no subject not subjected to the withering stare/semi-multi lingual mouthings of the host. No sponsors left behind. In fact, NO sponsors at all, so there’s that. Possibly coming soon to a media platform near you. Possibly. Maybe.

See you next week!

Ted Carreras

*Heston, as Moses, asked/pleaded/begged/finally had to put the wood to Brynner, as Pharaoh of Egypt, to free the Jews from bondage in the 1956 biblical epic The 10 Commandments. With a big ole stick that channeled some SERIOUS mojo.

THIRD SEASON, COLUMN 7: LADIES LEAD THE WAY AS THE SEASON STARTS, STILL MORE STAFF MOVES, A TEX. TOWN DAY TRIP, AND…WINE

SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON: G.R.I.T.S. EDITION

That’s Girls Rasslin In The South if you didn’t know. Action began this month as new D1 program Presbyterian College (Clinton, SC) headed to VA and split a pair of dual matches. The Blue Hose, the first D1 Womens Wrestling team ever, lost to visiting Gannon College 40-8 and defeated Ferrum, the host school, 29-14. The Blue Hose will field a womens AND a men’s team this year. Another remarkable note: it’s a wife-husband coaching duo, with Dany DeAnda guiding her 15 strong squad through a looong season not ending till March. Husband Tony will have the Blue Hose Mens team in action as a member of the SoCon. Folks, D1 schools with BOTH a Womens and Mens wrestling team may or may not be the wave of the future, but the soil has been tilled and watered. Lets keep at it and see what grows. As always, SHOUT OUT to women and men repping the Scribes home states, NJ and FL, and his adopted land love, TX: Adelyhda Perez, Uvalde, TX.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…MOVES, THAT IS

Former Michigan/UTC wrestler and former UTC/Cal St. Bakersfield/University of Buffalo coach Sean Boyle is now on staff with the Edinboro Fightin Scots. Wow, this man is on the LeBron James “takin his talents” tour. Seriously, the smooth and savvy Boyle is a BIG addition to that little big school in PA still trying to firm up its footing in the Head Coach Matt Hill era. Good move all around.

Also making a late pre-season move, former Eastern Michigan mat star Kyle Springer. Springer joins Head Coach Ryan Ludwigs staff at Northern Illinois University. The Huskies just had their always challenging MAC (Mid America Conference) schedule ratcheted up in difficulty as the MAC has merged/absorbed/ joined forces with the EWL starting this season. The Eastern Wrestling League brings decades of small school/BIG results panache to the merger and adding a young hungry, hustling assistant like Springer is a big win for NIU this late in the staff-setting season.

In the May 24th edition of this column (SUPRISING GOODBYES AND UNEXPECTED HELLOS…) questions were posed about the post-international career plans of American star lightweight and superstar human being B.J. Futrell. Questions answered. Futrell has again answered the call, stepping up and into an Assistant Coaches position at the United States Naval Academy. Christmas just came early for Navys light and middle weights. Even Head Coach Joel “Human Motivational Quote” Sharratt will be verbally pressed to put enough praise into this hire. Congratulations, Coach Futrell, and GO NAVY!

Add Ames, Iowa, to the list of towns whose schools beefed up their staffs. The Iowa State Cyclones picked up a West Coast winner as Joey Palmer joins Kevin Dresser and crew as Volunteer Assistant Coach. Palmer starred at Oregon State and was a 3X NCAA qualifier for the Beavers. Just this season he took the Bronze at the U.S. Open at 61KG and will continue to compete at the Senior level.

‘CUE THE LOCAL ANGLE: SHEDENHELMS @ HOME IN SAN ANTONIO AND CEDAR FALLS

Please pardon the Purple and Gold tint to the Scribes electronic ink of late, but those Northern Iowa Panthers just keep prowling around that BBQ stop on Blanco Road in SA. Just this week Coach Chase Shedenhelm, A 5 year, 2nd generation UNI grappler and older brother to recent UNI upper weight Izaak Shedenhelm, swung by for some fine S TX treats and was treated to the sight of the Scribe proudly wearing his UTC Mocs long sleeve. Lovely bride Victoria was with the coach, who plies his teaching and coaching skills in the Northside district. That district, sadly, does not offer wrestling. Can we get this man a transfer? Looking at you, SA Johnson Jaguars Coach Lee Miller! Sort of, you’re hard to spot…and even tougher to interview. Just sayin.

DAY TRIPPIN TX STYLE

This latest edition of Day Trippin will head you North out of the Alamo City, and no, it’s not going to Austin. 20 miles closer, 30 minutes to an hour quicker, and just right sized for an 8-10 hour Daycation is the Central TX town of Wimberley. Sights? The drive itself, and the roads along the Blanco River when you arrive. The small, relaxed traffic circle through “downtown”, with multiple layers of small shops of all types. Sounds? That rivers voice is mighty enticing even at low levels, and what’s even lower is the volume of man made noise. Tastes? Got you covered, especially for lunch. The art at Wimberley Glass Works is museum quality. Migrating birds of all types pass over the area, a central flyway, and theres a popular swimming hole and a “mountain” trail leading to panoramic views. In short, it’s a short trip long on enjoyment and easy on the eyes, ears, and wallet.

WINE-DING DOWN WITH THE SCRIBE….

2016 BUCK SHACK SUSTAINABLY FARMED RED WINE BLEND

After several forays into the semi-rarefied air of second shelf selections the Scribe returned to normal middle section haunts and came up with this modestly priced winner. Neither dynamic nor awe inspiring, just a cool, comfortable customer to open and enjoy for the simple reason of enjoyments sake. It stayed true to form and fun to drink from Sunday nights first sip through Tuesday evenings “sorry to see you go” last glass. It paired well with a high protein brunch of eggs and sausage and held a modestly complex chicken/potato/asparagus dish in a very friendly embrace. Oh, yes, the cheese was pleased as well. Rating: 2.5 glasses

See you next week!

Ted Carreras

3RD SEASON COLUMN 6: BOOK GETS THROWN IN WEST POINT, BIG MAN BACK ON CAMPUS, A SITE TO DONATE TO, SMALL NOTES, IT GETS EVEN SCUFFLEICIOUSER, AND, THANK YOU, UNVARNISHED TRUTH

Disturbing news from The United States Military Academy…a soldier stationed in Georgia is facing potential Court-Martial in the tragic death of West Point Cadet Christopher J. Morgan. You may remember that Morgan, an Army wrestler, was killed and 19 other Cadets and 2 soldiers were injured in a vehicular accident in June. Staff Sergeant Ladonies P. Strong has been identified as having been at the wheel of the 2.5 ton vehicle that veered off a road and went between 15-20 feet down an embankment. Among the long list of extremely serious and disturbing charges filed against Strong, an odd accusation of prevention of authorized seizure of property. What? WHAT?? On the other side of the tragedy, some 1,500 people attended Morgans funeral at the Academies cemetery in mid-June. A powerful presence and speaker there: former President Bill Clinton. Morgans father was part of the former leaders Security Detail. What to make of so many charges against 1 soldier, and what can possibly heal the loss of such a gifted young military man? For the former, who knows as yet, and for the latter, sadly, nothing.

To the positives…the Red Monster is back in Blacksburg, and just in time for Halloween! Cue the horse sound effects as former Va. Tech 3X AA and National Finalist Jared Haught is back to help the Hokies. In a grinding, painful, smashing but respectful and affectionate sort of way. Haught manhandled opponents for years as VA. Techs 197lb standout. After a year away in the non wrestling world, the engineering/supply chain standout is back supplying sweat and engineering success for Coach Robies Top Ten ranked Hokies. The dirty birds from Blacksburg may be missing 165lb National Champ Mekhi Lewis (taking an Olympic Redshirt year to try and rep the Red, White and Blue in Tokyo next year) but theres mucho established and developing AA level talent in the Hokies room.

‘CUE THE LOCAL ANGLE: PANTHERS PROWL POOLS, TOO

Established cat protocol says that water is a definite no-no. Definitely not the case for San Antonio swimming star and college freshman scholarship wunderkind Sarah Walpole. At that fun ‘n friendly BBQ stop on Blanco Road in San Antonio mom Leticia rocked the UNI Jersey with handsome hubby Mark and son in tow on Octobers first weekend. Meanwhile up in Cedar Falls, long distance scholarship daughter Sarah is probably ripping off multi thousand meter sessions and probably pushing some of Coach Schwabs matmen past even their liquid workout limits. The Walpoles seemed more than willing to spread some of their UNI enthusiasm around and embrace following Coach Schwab and crew. Cross-Fit Fandom! It’s a thing, you know.

WRESTLING FANS, STEP UP

JKMemorialFund.com is the GoFundMe site organized and being run to help the Kelly family get past the shocking post-morning run death of 48 year old Jamie Kelly. Kelly was a star husband/father/coach/athlete who wrestled at Great Bridge (VA) HS and was recruited to Old Dominion University by 2x Olympian and coaching legend Gray Simons. Based on multiple testimonials from folks in all walks of life,(1) this mans life was lived to the fullest in every positive sense except duration. Please help his wife and two young children if you can.

SMALL NOTES ON THE BIG BOYS

Penn State had only 6 All Americans coming back this season, one from 2 years back. Out of 10 starters! ¡NO ES POSIBLE! Then one more transferred in, thank goodness. Theyll be favored in every dual meet. They’ll be favored to win another National Championship. But not the Big 10 tournament. Theres Iowa and Ohio State to thank for that.

Iowa has 7 All Americans coming back. All of them are projected to be better than they were last year. Except the best one, Spencer Lee. It’s hard to be better than the best, and hes been that. Twice in college. 3 times in the World. For sure hes favored to win the National Championship. But his team, the Hawkeyes, won’t. They have Penn State to thank for that.

Ohio State has a brand new wrestling complex. It cost millions of dollars. And then some more millions after that. It’s a huge complex. Kind of like the one Ohio State probably should have after regularly finishing just behind Penn State. But not this year. They’ll have Iowa and, maybe, Oklahoma State to thank for that.

The Scribe picked Oklahoma State to finish 2nd at the National Championships last year. They didn’t. They finished 3rd. They’ll be short multiple All Americans and National Finalists. But they still have John Smith. And multiple All Americans coming back. And the countries #1 recruit. That’s all you need. To finish 4th, or 3rd, or 2nd. But probably not 1st. They might need a new decade for that.

If VA. Tech had 165lb National Champ Mekhi Lewis back they’d challenge for a team trophy. But they don’t. See an earlier paragraph in this column as to why. Why, they might not even win their conference. If they don’t, they’ll probably have NC State to thank for that.

NC State has only 1 All American returning from last season, but has a realistic shot at 4 this season. That’s because a 2018 All American, Tariq “the Freak” Wilson, is back and at a better weight class for him. The Wolfpack could AA or reach the Blood Round in 6 weight classes out of 10. Might not be quite enough for a top 4 finish. But it just might be.

Missouri has a new conference. Sort of. Their old conference, the MAC, merged with the EWL. The Tigers have trampled both conferences they’ve been part of for most of this decade. This decade will end with another conference title in Columbia. But it’ll be close, and messy. A little like the Tigers coaching changes this past off season. It’s OK, though. Brian Smith is still there. And so is #TigerStyle. That’s a top 10 formula every year.

Michigan has applied to the U.S. State Department for most favored Nation Status. As an international trade partner the Wolverines can benefit by both exporting and importing wrestlers. Even without 3XAA Stefan Micic (Serbia) 3XAA Myles Amine (San Marino) 2017 AA Logan Massa & Kanen Storr (both attempting to make Team USA) and Regional Training Center athletes Malik Amine (San Marino) and Dominic Abounader (Lebanon, until recently) Michigan will be a top 10 team. Season after next, the Wolverines might need a new trophy case. And a new wardrobe closet for all those different uniforms.

Cornell….see the opening paragraph of last week’s column. The Big Red will be there at the end of the season, also, the 15th straight finish in the Top 10. Then, in 2021…?…

UNI will have a great season. Last year it ended up being about the Panthers 1st individual National titleist in 20 years, 184lb Champ Drew Foster. No champions this year. But 4 All Americans and 1 or 2 round of 12 athletes is the prediction here. 4+2+12 will probably equal 10, as in Top Ten, in Minneapolis(2). And in New Math. Dated numerical reference. Broke up after a co-sine on a lease. Sorry, off on a tangent.

TROJANS MARCH ON CHATTOWN

Hector(3) himself would be proud of the ambitions of the newest D1 program in mens wrestling. The Little Rock Trojans are taking their talents to Tennessee come January 1st and 2nd as Coach Neil Erisman and crew will compete at the 2020 Southern Scuffle. Diving headfirst into what is annually one of the nations toughest tournament in your 1st year of competition is, at the very least, very ambitious. It is most definitely the type of bold statement former Little Rock Trojans AD Chase Conque and Trojans idea man Greg Hatcher had in mind to make when they started down this path. Coach Erisman, a former Oklahoma State star, and assistant Javier Maldonado have 26 athletes from 11 states to mold. And, as always, SHOUT OUT to the young men repping the Scribes home states, NJ and FL (none yet, ¿por que?) and 4 from his adopted land love, TX. Tyler Brennan, Frisco HS, Trent Dooley and Braeden Redlin, Allen HS, and Tristan Tadeo, Plano, Arlington Martin HS.

ADDENDUM: 6 DEGREES OF COMMUNICATION

In a long ago life as a radio producer/reporter/talk show host, the Scribe was made aware of the maddeningly consistent efforts of owners, operators, administrators, faculty, coaches, athletes, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends to say anything but the truth to those tasked to tell their stories. And boy, do we mean ANYTHING. The scale can best be broken down like this, from worst to best….

6. Silence. Because if you hear nothing, you generally know nothing, or very little, and can imply less.

5. Lies. These you can work with because, once identified as such, they are usually tools for information.

4. Obfuscation. Again sometimes usable, if only to remove by process of elimination those people, places, and things that don’t add up.

3. Off the record. FABULOUS!! That happened/didn’t happen/will happen/won’t happen. Glad to tell you you cant tell anyone, by the way. And, if you’re lucky, or good, or both, there’ll be corroborating info to return to the OTR source with. Maybe.

2. “Yeah, you got me on that one.” The end result of this is tricky at best, and dangerous in the extreme at worst. And finally, there is that rarest of rare-bits of tastiness:

1 THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH

Its such a rarity in reporting that it, when encountered, needs not only announcing but applauding. This rarest type of verbiage occurred when multiple email messages were sent to Princeton University coaches, administrators, media relations staff and marketing folks. The email consisted of 3 simple questions regarding 3X All American Matt Kolodzik, who is interestingly absent from the Tigers news releases, twitter feed, and team roster. it may generally be known, but please let it be said, The Tigers know just one way to go. UNIMPEACHABLE program sources informed the Scribe that Kolodzik is out of school and on his way to a spot on the 2020 USA Olympic Team. He will return to Princeton for the 2020-2021 season, quite possibly to help lead the Tigers to a top 4 team trophy. As to this season, a proper preview of Princeton will follow in a later column. Thank you, Princeton, all of you, and yes, the Scribe has mostly gotten over the 1976 letter suggesting perhaps a different place of matriculation. It was both honest and understandable. One might say Unvarnished.

1 The ODU Monarch Matcast #65 eloquently provides a life and times look at Kelly. Thank you, Jason Bryant.

2 The site of this seasons NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships, first time ever at a modern football stadium. Yes, it has a roof. Its Minnesota!

3 Son of Priam, supreme warrior of Troy, master of horses, doomed hero of Homer’s The Iliad. Way better than that Harry Potter drivel.

See you later this month!

Ted Carreras