1ST 2ND SEASON POST SEASON COLUMN, #1, 4/24/19….BUT WAIT, THERES MORE!

Hi again. The D1 Wrestling season is over. Why are you here? Sorry, no catchy end credits super suprising OMG reveal here. Go Home. No, really, go.(1) OK, so, news, sort of…..

HOKIE HOKIE HOKIE HI, TECH, TECH, V.P.I.!!!!!!

Just a long overdue random huzzah to superstar redshirt freshman Mekhi (meh-KY, please, or he may just pull a Muhammad Ali “WHATS MY NAME??!!” on your sorry mispronouncing mouth)(2) Lewis was the suprise rising star of the tournament, coming in as the #8 seed, defeating the #4, #2, and #1 seeds to win the 165lb class and take most outstanding wrestler honors. VA Tech had slip-ups from all 3 of their talented transfers as 133lb Korbin Myers, 197lb Tom Sleigh, and Hvt. Billy Miller missed the podium. Still, the Hokies look good for 2019 and beyond, as does the whole ACC. SO proud of the Scribes “other” favorite group (The SoCon is STILL #1, baby, en la corazon!). ACC wrestling currently stands top 25 tall across the whole breadth of the conference and AGAINST, not with, the unending nationwide perception of the ACC being 90% Hoops Heaven and 10% everything else. Pumpkin pushing is cool, but throwing grown*ss men around because you can is better. Just sayin. Definitely NOT doin, not anymore anyway.

OTHER PARTS OF THIS BLOG ARE ABOUT FOOD AND TRAVEL, YOU KNOW….

The Scribe indulged heavily in both of late, with an 8 day moveable feast from Albany, NY, through Lake Placid and across Lake Champlain by ferry to the beautiful hinterlands of Northeast Vermont via Burlington, with a final stop in NJ (JERZEY, baby!). The weather was wonderful, dry, cold and refreshingly brisk as measured against the rising Spring temps in sunny San Antonio. Reviews of hotels, restaurants, and sites are posting on TripAdvisor at this time. Suffice to say a fine time was had by both. Theres a coffee shop or two in Albany you need to check out, and Lake Placid (the town of multi Olympics fame) on Mirror (the lake) is just special. And, on a deeply personal note, if you are a dog lover, think long and hard before considering a pilgrimage to the Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury. It is a place of soul reaching beauty AND sadness, and it has broken people. The visit had to be made, and the perspective gained was needed, but understanding, not healing, was what was accomplished. The hope and prayer here is that your visit, if taken, will produce the latter as well as the former.

MORE AND HAPPIER NOT NECESSARILY ALL WRESTLING NEWS…..

Its Fiesta Week in San Antonio, where the city is held hostage by fun, frolic, and food for 10 days or so, and that (now at year 6 and counting!) BBQ restaurant on Blanco Road is filled to {almost}(3) capacity by happy, hungry hunter-gatherers of fine S TX cuisine. Of the meat, sides, salads and desserts variety. Was beer, wine, coolers, or champagne mentioned? Should have been.

Missouris loss is Marylands stop-gap as potential (assumed) conference upgrade (DEFINITIVE), and title change ($$$) lured uber talented, boldly outspoken, and just plain really, really good Tigers Associate Head Coach Alex Clemsen away from Columbia to take the Head Wrestling Coach job in College Park. After Top Rutgers Assistant Donny Pritzlaff and Lock Haven HC Scott Moore turned it down. Allegedly. Probably. Whats DEFINITE? The re-creation, NOT rebuild, for Maryland will be a bitch. No one will come in and pull a Kevin Dresser-ISU job in College Park. Not even Kevin Dresser. Jack Welch(4) wouldn’t take this project on. Good luck, Alex, and when Maryland comes to some sort of athletic sense and returns to the ACC we hope you are still there. Meanwhile, Coach Smith, do what must be done to keep #TigerStyle going. Because its just good for wrestling.

THANK YOU, ASSISTANT COACH NICK BRASCETTA OF UTC…….for not taking your next birthday celebration to Blacksburg. Now, can you work on getting Kyle Conel? The Scribe greased the wheels for you….#MOCBULKJOB #FASTSTRONGQUICKNASTYNEWHVY

SEE YOU SOMETIME SOON!

Ted Carreras

(1) Deadpool. In “DeadPool”. And thats the only semi-quote you’ll ever find from him in THIS column.

(2) Probably not. Hes a very nice young man, seemingly.

(3) We said ALMOST….

(4) Only the guy who took GE out of a LOOONG tailspin pre 1980 and made it, again, one of the worlds most successful and admired companies. READ his book, “WINNING”, and it will help you do that.

Advertisements

SECOND SEASON COLUMN 30

A CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNEY WELL WORTH THE WAIT, THANKS AND PROPS TO THE PROS WHO KNOW, YOUR FINEST MEATS AND CHEESES AND FRUITS (VEGETABLES?) AND A FINAL SIGN OFF

The 2019 NCAA D1 Wrestling Championships are history, and neither the Scribe nor anyone reading these words could have written a better season ending script. Thats not a condemnation of our skills, its a celebration of the set of skills that were on display March 21st-23rd in Pittsburgh. The Penn State Nittany Lions had the title sewn up before the finals but not before stories galore unfolded in the championship session and every round leading up to them. Where to start? Well, theres a pretty good book that opens like this….”In the beginning”…

Prohibitive favorite PSU rolled into Pittsburgh as winners of the past 3 championships, a 4peat in their sights, shooting for 8 out of the last 9 titles AND a Big 10 tournament title tucked under their broad white belts. They then proceeded to fulfill virtually every expectation, winning the championship by 41 points over Ohio St. (Disclosure: the Scribes pick for 2nd, OK St, finished 3rd, 12 points back of the Buckeyes. WHODA THUNK?) PSU put 5 in the finals, but it was before the penultimate round that chinks, however small, seemed to be appearing in the Nittany Lions armor. Compare this first time together Nationals run for 133lb Roman Bravo Young, 141lb Nick Lee, and 149lb Brady Berge with the first one for Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, and Bo Nickal. The first 3 were great in this, their first time around together. The 2nd 3 THEIR first time around, TRANSCENDENT. We left the Shakur Rasheed-Mark Hall comparison out of this equation because, well, you know, that would be just unfair. NOBODY rocks the Recorder like @babymarkee.(1) I say, I say, that’s a joke, son, that’s a joke.(2) Ever so slightly suprising Nittany no-no number two: a PSU wrestler lost a national semi final match. After a sweet 16 wins in a row for Cael Sandersons crew in one of the toughest rounds in college wrestling. Complaining? No. Comparing? To nobody but themselves. Cael and company have set the bar, and they’re NOT doing the Fosbury Flop(3) anytime soon. They are…and will be….straight up and over everybody else. They have the recipe. Subtract graduating 3X champs Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal, add Kyle Conel, bronze medalist at the 2018 National Championships for Kent St. Add 2 more pinches of 6th yr. eligibility for 285lb National Champ Anthony Cassar and 2018 197lb AA Shakur Rasheed. Add a dash of return for their senior season efforts by former National champs Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall. Stir liberally with uber recruits Michael Beard, Aaron Brooks, and Brody Teske. Recipe for disaster…..for pretty much everybody else.

THE Ohio State University finished 2nd for the 3rd straight season, as Tom Ryans Buckeyes continued to be King Kong to Penn States Godzilla. 3 Buckeyes, 3X AA 141lb Joey Mckenna, 4XAA 149lb Micah Jordan, and 3XAA 197lb Kollin Moore, made the finals. All were undone by undefeated opponents. T-OSU must be tired by now of being the Hunt Brothers(4) of D1 wrestling, but they just keep coming. They broke through with a title in 2015 and as long as they’re close, there’s a chance. To put this in a proper time frame, it took Nebraska football legend Tom Osborne and FSUs Bobby Bowden a quarter century each to win their 1st titles. A note to any grumbling Buckeyes fans out there: Tom Ryan and crew already HAVE one, you see? So GO AWAY, you whining sons of a silly person. Your father wears rubber spurs and your mother sleeps in bird pajamas.(5)

Oklahoma State finished undefeated in dual meets for the 87 thousandth time, though the first time in a bit. They crushed the field at the Reno Tournament of Champions. They blitzed the Big 12 tournament. They gave Missouri and Iowa their only dual meet losses on the year. So why does the 2019 season have a bit of a smell to it, kind of like something didn’t quite come all the way off the boots? 2 big things: massive lineup manueverings throughout the year that took points off the board and put private and painful decisions in public, and the tragic passing of an Oklahoma State icon, Lee Roy Smith Sr, just before the Big 12s. Father of Ok St Head Coach John Smith, 1st ever 4x National D1 College Champ Pat Smith, NCAA champ and multiple World silver medalist Lee Roy Smith Jr. and 3X NCAA All American Mark Smith. Grandfather of current Ok St star and 2X All American Senior-to-be Joseph Smith. Patron saint of the Orange and Black. LRS Sr., despite sharing 83 years of brilliance, was a guiding light that went out too soon, because NEVER is the only good time for men like that to leave. But leave they must, and the effect of his passing was fully felt in Stillwater and throughout Cowboy Nation. Fully known? Only to God. Still, at last count, OK St was 10 spots up the ladder from last years 13th to this years 3rd place finish, and thats a climb any Cowboy can and should be proud of. Heck, from that high up you can almost see Lee Roy Sr. smiling.

Minus 1 sure fire All American and with a 1 legged heavyweight the Iowa Hawkeyes finished 4th. Tom Brands Black and Gold bunch placed 6 on the podium in Pittsburgh, more All Americans than anyone except (sorry, NO points for this answer) Penn St., and a strong lineup set to return for next season. Among those, 2X All American Michael Kemerer, powering up to the 174lb class and “ready to do damage,” to paraphrase Coach Brands. Kemerer was damaged goods this year, sitting out, recuperating, and getting stronger, better, faster. Enough to crack open the 3 yr, 174lb-ruling troika of 2X Champ Zahid Valencia of Arizona St, 2017 champ and 3x finalist Mark Hall of Penn St., and Bronze-level warrior Myles Amine of Michigan? Too soon to tell, but 2 spots among the top 8 somewhere are there for Kem-Dawg to claim if hes good to go through the 2021 campaign. 2s good for Hawkeye sophomore sensation Spencer Lee as well. Lee dominated at 125 to take his 2nd straight championship and stay on course for the 4 titles in 4 years career. Some really good coach, somewhere around Columbus, Ohio, possibly, noted that more men have walked on the Moon than have won 4 D1 college wrestling championships. Thats a fact, Jack, and Jill. NOT the Moon landing, though. And BTW, stay away from Area 51 if you know what’s good for you. Avocados with your barbecue, for example, are good for you.(6) Good for Iowa, ALL their All Americans return for next season. Moving forward, look for the Hawkeyes to challenge again in 2020.

Michigan may have finished 1 spot off the podium (and 1 place lower than last year) but the Wolverines finished STRONG on Saturday. In wrestling parlance the phrase is “finish in odd numbers.” That means you walked off the mats a winner in your last match. The #MGoBlue crew did that in spades, going 6 for 6 in the medal rounds Saturday as 133lb Stevan Micic, 174lb Myles Amine, and departing 3X AA 157lb Alec Pantaleo wrestled back to 3rd place. Coach Bormets freeze frame smile in his post Nationals interview spoke volumes about the pride the 1st year Head Coach had in the way his crew wrapped things up. There’s room for progress, and the talent to produce it returns to Anne Arbor for next season. Only Pantaleo and Malik Amine depart and half the starters could and probably will be ranked top 8 preseason.

Meanwhile, Coach Brian Smiths Mizzou squad had #TigerStyle on full display with their 4th st year of 4 wrestlers earning All American status. The Tigers consistency was shown in the team race as well, as Mizzou was either 5th or 6th after every round. This with one of if not THE youngest team Coach Smith has fielded in 21 years in Columbia. 4 Tiger cub freshmen qualified, and 149lb Brock Mauller earned AA status. It’s true that a lot of talent isn’t returning for the Tigers next year. 4XAA Daniel Lewis has completed his amazing career. 3X AA Jaydin Eierman is taking an Olympic Redshirt year. AA Grant Leeth may or may not return from injury. AA John Erneste has finished. And guess what, folks? Mizzou will be even BETTER in 2020. Nearly half their returning National qualifiers are just sophomores with years to improve. In a new, stronger, expanded conference. In the system known as #TigerStyle. Its a thing. A really, really successful thing.

Just one spot back of Mizzou in 7th was an equally young Cornell team. Cornells 141lb Yianni Diakomihalis followed Iowan Spencer Lees lead, taking a second title in his 2nd year of competition. The Big Red had a second finalist in 184lb Max Dean, 4 All Americans, and a top 10 finish at Nationals for the 11th straight season. Only 1 of the Big Reds 5 returning National qualifiers comes back without having already earned AA status. A monster recruiting class, a 300+ dual-meet winning coach, some of the friendliest, most knowledgeable fans around, and one of the VERY best Vet schools in the country.(7) Whats not to love? Go Big Red!

Minnesotas best season since the school dumped and tried to dump on iconic 30 yr head coach J Robinson two years back ended with a fine 14-3 dual meet record, a top 4 finish at the Big 10 tournament, and 8 wrestlers who went to Nationals. Day one was all Abelskiver pancakes with Ligonberry sauce for Coach Brandon Eggums crew as every Gopher was still alive and kicking. Minnesota was top 4 and looking tough. Then, the reality of day 2s quarter and semi final rounds plus wrestlebacks turned Minnesotas tournament to a pile of Hodag poo. Only 1 Gopher made the semis. There, freshman phenom 285lb Gable Steveson was handed his 2nd and final loss of the season at the hands of eventual National Champ Anthony Cassar from (stop the Scribe if you’ve heard this before) Penn State. The Gophers 2019 positives? 4 All Americans, 8th place at Nationals, 9 spots up from last years dismal 17th, and a dynamic new assistant coach in Trevor Brandvold. The negatives? Ask A.D. Mark Coyle, hes up on everything “wrong” about Gopher Athletics. Just sayin.

Suprising Rutgers finished 9th, celebrating its first ever National Champion, and it was so nice the Scarlet Knights did it twice. Nick Suriano took the 133lb title while teammate Anthony Ashnault ruled the 149lb roost. The Scribe happily admits SERIOUS Jerzey-born bias,(8) but realistically R-U will be hard pressed to maintain their lofty status next season. It will take a serious level jump by several currently rostered wrestlers (20 of 24 returnees are Jerzey guys, BTW) and a bona fide breakout season by somebody (Joe Grello? Christian Collucci? Stephan Glasgow? Billy Janzer?) to sniff the top 10 in 2020. And, to stay in the stratosphere, Rutgers, don’t let the Patrick Glorys and Lewis Fernandes of the future get away.

Nebraska had their 5th straight top 10 finish, powered by 4 All Americans, 3 of whom return next season. With 2018 AA Taylor Venz also back the Huskers just might make a bit more noise in 2020. All 6 of their returning national qualifiers have good shots at improving their points total, both at the Big 10s and at the NCAAs. Nebraskas finished top 10 at Nationals 5 years running. They’ve got a streak of 4 times top 5 at the Big 10s going as well. How far up from here? Not sure, but surely N-Us enjoying some wonderful years in the neighborhood.

READ/LISTEN/WATCH/LEARN

The Scribe was able to bring forth this weekly rambling on the Worlds greatest sport by using some or most of the above methods to absorb small amounts of the excellence produced by all of the below. Time well spent, INDEED, and thank you, all of you!

Mark Palmer, sr. writer, Intermat. David Mirikitani, podcaster,writer,rankings specialist, TrackWrestling. Earl Smith, The Open Mat. Mike Finn, W I.N. Magazine. Ben Askren, Matt Dernlan, Cary Kolat, podcasters, Rudis Wrestling. Christian Pyles, Willie Saylor, Kyle Bratke, Daniel “Nomad” Lobdell, et al, Flowrestling. Jason Bryant, MatTalkOnline.com-Inside Virginia Tech Wrestling-The Old Dominion Monarch Matcast-The Short Time Wrestling Podcast. Brian Reinhardt, PackMentalityPopins Podcast. Andy Hamilton, TrackWrestling-Reporter, Podcaster, Writer, Savant, “7 Minutes with…”, Writing Time. Mr. Headlock and Cael “The Coach” Dangerud, ND Headlock Podcast. Joe Wedra, The Coleman Scott Show. Alex Steen, Trackwrestling. Tony Hager, Kyven Gadson, et. al., Takedown TV. Hager, Steve Foster, Michael Harvey, Brad Johnson, Jeff Murphy, Erik Zamora, et. al, Takedown Radio. The Higher Standard Podcast, Princeton Wrestling. (More episodes, PLEASE!) Michelle Van Dorn, UNI. Leah Howard, Michigan. Travis Blanshan, Fresno St. Brandon Davis, San Francisco State. Doug Spatafore, Lock Haven. Bret Strelow, Appalachian State. Sydney Harbaugh, Binghamton. Rene Ferran, The Oregonian/OregonLive.com. Daniel Boyette, Al.com. Brant Parsons, Orlando Sentinel. (SOMEBODY get this guy an assistant, PLEASE!) Don Zimmerman, ISU, loyal customer, friend. Aaron Chimenti, Kent St. Michael J. Carpenter, VMI. Mollie Hanke, Arizona State. Ryan Bridges, Gardner-Webb. Carl Perry and Heath Eslinger, FCAW. The Chattanooga Times Free Press. Brad “Anthony Robles Redux” Wilson, Express Times, LehighValleyLive.com. James Kratch, NJ Advance Media, The Star-Ledger and NJ.com. Steven Falk, Asbury Park Press. Shannon Scovell, NCAA com. Sam Mustari, Tyler Silvy, The Greeley (CO) Tribune. Cody Goodwin, The Des Moines (IA) Register, TrackWrestling.

VERY VERY SPECIAL THANK YOUS

Honored, humbled, and grateful that the following coaches in a variety of sports found time in their incredibly busy lives to give valuable insight into their programs.

Head Coach Kyle Ruschell, UTC

Head Coach Chris Bono, Wisconsin

Strength and Conditioning Coach Charles Dudley, UTSA

LINKS

Daniel Boyettes story on the documentary “Wrestle”, the story of Huntsville, Alabamas HS team, its coaches, and the school, both on and off the mat. http://s.al.com.AWZ7PMB

American University wrestler Michael Spragues trip to the National Championships ended with a consolation round sudden-victory loss. A far more brutal and horrifying loss occured 30 minutes later when his father died in the stands. This is where you’ll send help, because he and his family need it and you are of that quality:

https://t.co/jlRaZWrbg

1) Mark Hall earned $400 for a Childrens Cancer charity by whipping a Recorder from his backpack at the Big 10 Championships and attempting to play it. As of this writing Rasheed has yet to challenge his own talents in such fashion.

(2) The catchphrase of Foghorn Leghorn, the Rooster avatar of all things DeepSouth and star of the second best Geico Commercial ever.

(3) American Track and Field hero Dick Fosbury brought the sideways flop over the High Bar into international competition back in the day-day.

(4)Nelson Bunker, Lamar and William Herbert Hunt tried to corner the Silver Market in March 1980…and nearly did. The epic attempt and equally enormous failure shook the financial world.

(5) Ferocious taunting compliments of the French Knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

(6) Avocados from Mexico, BBQ from that (kinda getting pretty well known) restaurant on Blanco Avenue in San Antonio. 7 meats, 7 desserts, 11 sides, lots of happy customers. ALWAYS room for more!

(7) SHOUT OUT, Dr. Dan Mertens, Carolina Veterinary Specialists, Charlotte. The care you gave and the quality of life your skills provided the Scribes family will NEVER be forgotten.

8. You gotta problem with that??

GOOD LUCK, GOD BLESS, AND GOODBYE FOR NOW!

Ted Carreras

SECOND SEASON, COLUMN 29

“CALMATE, CALMATE, CALMATE, QUIERES LUCHAR HOY?”*

No, you do not want to wrestle today, you want to be wrestling on Saturday in Pittburgh. That means you have triumphed over the longest, toughest season in all of collegiate sports, and that you are an all-American wrestler. Literally millions of kids, whether they began rolling around on the front lawn, living room, gym, or club, are pared down to just a few thousand at the Division 1 collegiate level, and that select few see only 330 of their group make the season ending tournament. Then, 3 days of Hell and Heaven combined hurtle 80 towards their ultimate goal: a spot on the podium as one of the 8 best in the nation at their weight. The event has grown from something barely noticed and in the news, if at all, weeks later in passing, to a multi network 3 day extravaganza in front of millions of eyes and ears. There’s no bad way to enjoy the National championships, but there are less expensive ones. Such as a sports bar or restaurant with friends, food and drink, and a big screen and multiple outlets for your laptop. And maybe even some good barbecue.** Had a chance to look at advance ticket prices for the 2020 championships at a 60,000 seat football stadium. Saw some really good seats for about 1350 apiece. Thats 4 numbers with a comma in between the 1 and the 3. And a decimal point after the zero, but before taxes. Hmmm. A blue collar sport has evolved a white collar price tag that would leave a lot of wrestling fans budgets in the red. Thank goodness for sites like Intermat, TrackWrestling, Flowrestling, The Open Mat, and others, networks like ESPN and FOX, W.I.N. Magazine, and even the venerable NCAA itself. The Scribe is 100% Capitalist all day long, its just wished that more could afford to see the greatest show on Earth once, in person. At least we have the next best thing. Experience that amazing, wonderful, incredible, maddening, marvelous, heartbreaking, soul uplifting event this Thursday-Saturday, however you choose. CAN’T WAIT!!!

NEWS & NOTES LOOSE ENDS

There is no time! THERE IS NO TIME!!!***

The past few months, and especially the past few weeks, saw earnest effort by the Scribe to provide you with a reason or three to appreciate this seasons efforts by some of the lesser covered teams in the D1 wrestling world. The beautiful reality of a non-media life has simply taken away the time necessary to give some squads, pre Nationals, their just due. Que lastima, here are a brief few notes on some squads not yet noted….

NORTHERN ILLINOIS-The Huskies had a #worklikeadog year, facing teams from every conference but the ACC in an 18 dual meet, 3 tournament season. A just under .500 record in and out of conference was highlighted by multiple place winners at the Michigan St Open to start the season, two on the podium at the Midlands, and a duo headed to Nationals this weekend. RS freshman 174lb Brit Wilson is the bomb-diggity in the Huskies arsenal this year. 14 bonus point wins in his 25 victories on the season, and 3 of his 5 losses are to 2nd ranked Daniel Lewis of Missouri and Northern Iowas 8th ranked Taylor Lujan. Wilson and fellow RS freshman 125lb Bryce West will test the field in Pittsburgh starting Thursday. Coach Ryan Ludwigs squads streak of qualifying a wrestler, or 2, or 3, for Nationals got extended this year to a staggering 48 seasons in a row. The last time Northern Illinois DIDN’T have a wrestler competing at Nationals the Vietnam War was going on, per gallon prices for milk and gas were $1.18 and 36 cents****, respectively, and G. Gordon Liddy was exercising his commercial plumbers license.***** Multiple freshmen at Nationals and just 4 seniors leaving a 31 man roster show the youth movement is being served in DeKalb.

OLD DOMINION-The ODU Monarch MatCast, on The Mat TalkOnline Podcast Network. Hosted by 3X National Wrestling Broadcaster of the year Jason Bryant. An Old Dominion alumnus. Really no sense in saying anymore, Jason’s already said it better. Well, maybe just this little….ODU was a tough out, going 9-7 with a 1 point loss to Top 10 ranked NC St. and laying a 30-10 beatdown on Northwestern. 4th at the 16 team Navy Classic, minus 2 starters! 3rd out of 22 at the Reno Tournament of Champions. They hosted and finished 4th at the MAC Tournament with 4 finalists and a 2x champ, true sophomore 125lb Michael (thats MahKALE, please) McGee. That result might be seen as a let down after tying for 2nd in the regular season. Still, ODUs small in quantity, big in quality contingent should perform well in Pittsburgh. Placing? Hmmm. SHOUT OUT, 141lb (and, may we add, 2018 all-American) Sa’derian Perry, Lake Gibson, FL, 165lb Juwan Robinson, Allen, TX.

PENN-The Quakers are a unique squad, an old-school (and we mean OLD-SCHOOL) Ivy Leaguer in the rough and tumble E.I.W.A. They have a hard core cross street rival for Philadelphia wrestling affection in Drexel. Just across the River, budding powerhouses in Princeton and hard charging Rider. Oh, and theres that BIG10 squad close by. You know, that Top 15 Jersey State champion #RedTeamUpstream, Rutgers? To say nothing of just being in PA, the toughest wrestling state in the U.S. of A.^ Where there are Mountain Hawks and Eagles and Nittany Lions, oh my. Quakers give not a whit for these foolish concerns, Good Sir or Madam. They have the Roger Reina Class of ’84 Head Coach on their side. That would be Head Coach Roger Reina. No, not the son, THE MAN. Yeah, its like that at Penn where Roger is the once and future King of Penn Wrestling. He became the most successful coach in Quaker wrestling history after starting as their youngest ever head coach. Then Senior Associate Athletic Director. Now back for a second run at all things good in Penn wrestling. Which, to Reina and company, is one thing: excellence. And youth. LOTS of youth, as in 6 out of 10 starters being freshmen, the youngest team in their conference. 8 first year starters overall, and still Penn finished top 10 at the EIWAs. OK, 10th, but still. Now some Penn notes that truly warm the cockles of the Scribes heart (much like the Pinot Noir reviewed below) : SHOUT OUT: 149lb freshman E.I.W.A. Champion Anthony Artalona, Seffner, FL, Tampa Prep. The Scribe watched your Uncle Chris kick butt for powerhouse Brandon, FL HS as a finalist and two time placer before his career as a UTC Moc. SHOUT OUT, 141lb Grant Aronoff, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, St. Thomas Aquinas. And one final SHOUT OUT: to Brandon Slay, 2X Quaker AA, Director, the Penn Regional Training Center and Freestlye Olympic Gold Medalist, straight outta Amarillo, TX. Go ON with your bad self, you Tascosa HS Rebel, you!

WINE-DING DOWN WITH THE SCRIBE-2017 Meiomi Pinot Noir. Rating, 4.0 glasses, properly chilled to about 55 degrees. An extra half glass of rating points for the artificial stopper. #Savethecorktrees

*Benicio Del Toro asked this about death, not wrestling, in the shattering bridge scene from “Sicario”. Simply one of the truest films ever. EVER.

**there’s a place on Blanco Road in San Antonio where the briskets more on point than Brad Pitts spear in Troy. And there’s an outside big screen. Just sayin.

***Martin Sheen as General Robert E. Lee, dressing down Joseph Fuqua as Cavalry Commander Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, in “Gettysburg”.

****when did THIS ratio go so wrong?

*****read his book “WILL”. Powerful and startling.

^Knowable, measureable, and unarguable.

ITS MARCH MATNESS, BABY!!

Ted Carreras

SECOND SEASON COLUMN 28

A “MIRIKILTANIOUS” MIDWESTERN WRESTLING EVENT, PLEASING WITH THE FIFTH (NEWS N NOTES INSTALLMENT, THAT IS) AND…NOT WINE..

AN X-TREMELY EXCITING DAY, IT’LL BE A BRAWL,Y’A.W.L.

David Mirikitani does these things very, very well:

Broadcasts about wrestling

Writes about wrestling

Ranks wrestlers and teams

Networks for wrestling at all levels

Wrestles (used to, but you probably still don’t want ANY of that)

Coaches wrestling (you DO want that, much as you can get)

Puts on an amazing event that supports, promotes, and advances all levels of wrestling, AND raises funds for the American Veteran Community.

That man, David Mirikitani, and that event, the Missouri Border Brawl, will be front and center at Kansas City Union Station Sunday March 17th. Buy your ducats at http://www.nitrotickets.com. There’s a livestream available at http://www.trackwrestling.com as well. So why? Because the following:

20 high octane matches between some of the Show Me States best young grapplers, male and female….

The presence of A.W.L., American Wrestling League, superstars…

A 3 way Battle Royale between American sensations Kamal Bey and Aaron Brooks, who’ll bang heads, chests, arms, legs and will in a match with ALL 3 major wrestling styles, Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco-Roman. (One period each only, Vasily).*

Benefits going to Randy Coutures XCGIF, Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation, a 501(c) doing fantastic things for those who did the dangerous and deadly work so few of us could even contemplate, let alone survive.

There’s much more, check for yourself. And, please, if you feel you can’t get behind this event because you’re not behind our troops, feel free to….you know by now.

NORTH DAKOTA STATE-The Bison bounced back from several sub par (for them) seasons with a strong 2018-19 campaign. A winning conference record in the ever-toughening Big 12 (5-4 with a victory over Fresno St) and overall (10-6) had the Bison in the top 25 virtually all season. The strong 1-2 combo of 125lb Brent Fleetwood (A Central Michigan transfer in his 6th yr) and 133lb Cam Sykora along with 174lb CSU-Bakersfield transfer Lorenzo De La Riva and 165lb Andrew Fogarty have led the Bison charge. Fleetwood and Sykora placed at the uber-tough Cliff Keen Invitational, 2 of a staggering 29 podium spots the Bison claimed in the seasons first full 30 days alone. The roughest patch Coach Roger Kishs crew encountered early on, besides a sloppy beat down by Wyoming, was the turbulence that reduced their plans for a multi day South Beach, FL funfest to a 1 day, 3 match marathon. Needless to say, THAT did not go according to Kish. However, a strong second half of the season had the Bison seeing 8 of 10 wrestlers seeded heading into last weekends Big 12 tournament in Tulsa. There, 4 Bison placed, led by Fleetwood and Fogartys 2nd place finishes and De La Rivas 3rd. Lorenzos finish was especially sweet as he avenged two losses against Wyomings Hayden Hastings to take the bronze medal spot. 157lb Luke Weber, another transfer (from Nebraska) finished 6th. While that finished Webers season, Sykora will have a rematch at the Nationals with Wyomings top 10 ranked All American Montorie Bridges in round 1. Fleetwood, meanwhile, faces Cole Verner from (you guessed it) Wyoming. Cowboys and Bison DO have a history, just sayin.

NORTHERN COLORADO-Head Coach Troy Nickerson reconfigured his coaching staff in this, his 5th season as the Bears mentor, promoting former Iowa State 2XAA Mike Moreno to the top assistant position and adding Garrett Kiley. Sometimes this process takes a bit to bear full fruit, but the growing season in Greeley is shorter than in some climes. A 28 strong roster, 16 of them homegrown Centennial State (had to look that one up) talent, made progress throughout the season. While all the Bears were done after Day 1 at the Cliff Keen, they took 2 of 3 dual meets on an East Coast road swing in December and also took a double victory lap, California style, in January. The Bears beat both Cal Poly and CA college wrestling champs CSU-Bakersfield. In between the two fer two trips, UNC saw super sr. 125lb Rico Montoya earn the highest ever finish for a Bear at the Southern Scuffle, dropping a tough 7-2 Gold medal match to undefeated Nick Piccinnini of OK ST. Uber-talented, oft injured 197lb Jacob Seely showed out, Scuffle style, as well, taking 5th with a Major decision smashing of Edinboros Dylan Reynolds 9-0. Nickerson won the Colorado wrestling Coach of the year award for last years efforts, and he and his staff won multiple recruiting battles to bring in a class for next season that has more than half ranked in the nations top 100. So, what up right here right now**? The climate indicator for UNC athletics is the Greeley Tribune, and the 4 decade plus wordsmith of things athletic there is Samuel Mustari. He and editor Tyler Silvy produced and approved a story that seemed a storm warning for the University. The link to it that they graciously gave may be found in column 19. Sam is a 100% been there, done that, for d%mn near as long as you’ve been alive kind of guy. This the Scribe has learned. To learn more about the current state and future fate of the Bears, we defer to his excellence. UNC will send 3 to the Nationals, Montoya, Seely, and 141lb Chris Sandoval, and they will all give their all. Thats all the Scribe knows for now.

*A paraphrase of one of the truly seminal Sean Connery movie lines of all time, just behind “They send 2 of yours to the hospital, you send 3 of theirs to the morgue. Its the Chicago way”, The Untouchables, and a line from Goldfinger.

**a phrase heard happily and often at that “big old TX friendly” bbq restaurant on Blanco Avenue in San Antonio, when family and friends gather to feast 7 days a week. Your “BIG BLANCO” is on the way, so sit a spell and you’ll soon be smiling!

See you sooner rather than later!

Ted Carreras

SECOND SEASON COLUMN 27

BRINGING FORTH THE FOURTH (NEWS N NOTES INSTALLMENT, THAT IS), A BRIEF FL TRAVEL TIP, AND, WAIT FOR IT…WINE! OK, DON’T WAIT…

The Division 1 conferences all had their tournaments this past weekend, and all but two went according to Hoyle. Or, in the case of the EIWA, not according to Koll. The Nations biggest and oldest tournament saw the Lehigh Mountain Hawks retain the title they took away from Coach Rob Kolls mighty Cornell squad last season. Truly an and/or, if/maybe title, but one that Coach Pat Santoro and his Lehigh matmen will cherish their whole lives. Freely admitted author bias here*, but by God the Mountain Hawks have flown through a Cat-4 Hurricane (at least) this season and have come out the other side still airborne.

The other tournament with a possibly suprise titlist was way out West, where Stanford refused to let Arizona State Pat Riley the PAC 12 and denied the Sun Devils a three peat. Next year both teams figure to be significantly better, so keep an all season eye out there. And on Bakersfield, who split with Stanford and ASU in the regular season.

All of the other tournaments fell into place, with defending National Champ Penn St winning the BIG 10, OK ST taking the BIG 12, Missouri the champs of the MAC, Cary Kolats Campbell Camels the SoCon winner, Lock Haven making it two straight EWL titles, and NC ST standing atop the team podium in the ACC. Congrats to ALL the participants from champs to the 0-2 ers, coaches, staff, event organizers AND fans. Now let’s look at some squads not yet highlighted, both what they’ve done this season so far and what they might do at the Nationals in Pittsburgh March 21-23.

HARVARD-the College Wrestling Top Grade Point Average Award 5 times this decade. A 24 year head coach with multiple All Americans and 2 National Champions to his credit. Thats Harvards wrestling past. Its current ended Sunday with Sophomore 149lb Brock Wilsons loss to Armys P.J. Ogunsanya at the EIWA Tournament. No Crimson wrestlers qualified for this years Nationals, and the odds of any receiving at at-large bid is….wait, wait just a minute, that acceptance letter postmarked Cambridge, Massachusetts is around here SOMEWHERE. Sure of it. 6% sure anyway. The Crimsons Sr. class comprises a quarter of their roster, though one of their captains, 157lb Hunter Ladnier, returns next year. Wither Harvard from here? To the Universe and beyond, of course. They’re Harvard. On the mat? Hard to say. SHOUT OUT, 141lb Tucker Ribman, Dallas, TX, St Marks School, 174lb Leo Tarantino, Tarpon Springs, FL, Blair Academy.

HOFSTRA-the Pride had minimal reasons to roar this season, going 6-14 with 4 of their wins coming against depleted and/or downtrodden SoCon squads. Tournament results were not much better for Coach Dennis Papadatos and assistant Michael Patrovichs squad, finishing 8th out of 8 teams at the Black Knight Invitational and 29th at the tough CKLV. In that big Las Vegas-based event Hofstra wrestlers produced a 10-20 combined record. New assistants Jamie Franco and Michael Hughes, Hofstras AA heavyweight from last season, have a good incoming mix of 9 recruits and transfers to bolster hopes for next season. This season ended Sunday at the EIWAs. Just 3 seniors leave so, on paper, the Prides strength in numbers should be noticeably better. The breakup of the brothers Burkert, Connor and Ryan, and the siblings Haddad, Omar and Nezar, due to Ryan and Nezars graduation, knocks the Hofstra roster down to just the Heller boys, Sage and Holden, being an intact set. Hey Michigan parents, any Dean or Amine combos currently available? Asking for a friend.

KENT STATE-a full 30 man roster with 19 being homegrown Buckeye state brawlers and a half dozen from nextdoor prep wrestling power Pennsylvania. A no nonsense head coach, Jim Andrassy, and feisty young assistants in Danny Mitcheff and Shawn Scott. A historic program, nearly 90 years of wrestling and just 8 head coaches. Andrassy was a winner as a Kent St wrestler and is as the Golden Flashes coach. Thats what must have made this years 7-15 season (with just 1 conference win) all the more maddening. Sprinkle in not 1, not 2 but 3 embarrassing shutout losses (they regularly have one of the nation’s toughest schedules AND they won a match against Penn State, so theres that) and you’d think Andrassy and company couldn’t wait for next season. Wrong, Grog** breath. Coach Jim was upbeat and honest in his pre MAC tournament interview. He was right to be, as Kent State had two of their guys, soph. 184lb Andrew McNally and Jr. 133lb Tim Rooney, wrestle way above expectations and earn a trip to Nationals. Rooney finished 3rd and McNally took 2nd, and he had to wrestle for the silver spot twice. After losing in the finals to Missouri’s Dylan Wisman, McNally faced CMUs Jordan Atienza in a “true 2nd place” battle for a nationals qualifying spot. He won by pin. So, off the 2 Flashes go to Pittsburgh. 29 are set to return next season to the mats for Kent State, with 165lb Isaac Bast being the lone finishing Flash for 2019.

SUNSHINE STATE TRAVEL TIP

Tampa, FL, is known and reknowned for a large number of reasons, all wondrous in their own right but not necessarily suited for review in this column. The Scribe will leave it to your own opinion but in ours there are fewer funner places to eat, drink, listen and watch the world go by than at Skippers Smokehouse. A North Tampa Institution for decades, this place is reasonable, accessible, and funkier than a fat brass monkey. In our eyes thats a beautiful thing. You have been warned.

WINE-DING DOWN WITH THE SCRIBE

2014 Callejon del Crimen Gran Reserva Malbec. RATING 4 GLASSES. According to experts, a wine worth $50 that sells for under $20. According to the Scribe, DELICIOUS. And not readily available around these here parts anymore, que lastima.

*The GREAT Lehigh teams of the late 70s and early 80s were the Scribes first favorite and the Mountain Hawks remain in his heart to this day. Special spots reserved for Jersey legend, 4X National Finalist and 2X National Champ Darryl Burley, and the Wolf of Lawrenceville, current Lehigh 165lb Gordon “Funkalicious” Wolf. Darryl, cause hes just a baaad man, and Wolf for his assistance to, among many others, the Scribes Grand Nephew. D*mn we’re old.

**Grog, the hulkish caveman from the comic strip B.C., was once Kent States mascot. As was a golden retriever. And a masked rider. And various humans in suits bearing lightning bolts. Currently, its a highly stylized Golden Eagle. All this from the Kent State website, so it must be true.

See you sooner or later!

Ted Carreras

SECOND SEASON COLUMN 26

PRE-POST SEASON N & N, PART TROIS

DAVIDSON-At first glance, you might think this North Carolina-based pack of Wildcats had a “shoulda stayed in the den” season in 2018-19. Probably fooled by early success in wins over Greensboro College and UNC-Pembroke, Coach Andy Lausiers crew started snarling perhaps a bit louder than was justified. Unfortunately everyone was listening, and Davidson went O for the rest of the season. There were/are reasons. When you pare your roster down to 9 athletes (there are 10 wt classes, just sayin), and when you’re a tiny (sub 2000 enrollment) Liberal Arts school where the only things higher than the yearly tuition are the average test scores and academic expectations of the students, the numbers are not conducive to quick turnarounds. Lausier is up for the challenge, and one of the growth plans is a quality staff. Enter smooth Joey Dance, the 2X All American from VA Tech, to help with that. Davidsons “Magnificent 7” freshmen class hail from 5 different states and hit campus with multiple state titles, National tournament placings, Valedictorian honors, and serious drive to succeed. 133lb Kyle Gorant and Hvt Mitchell Trigg have been especially competitive with 29 wins between them. Gorants tied for the team lead with 6 pins, and his 15 victories are tops for the squad. His HS resume included 150 wins, 3rd place at the National Preps, and 3 team captancies, 2 in wrestling and 1 in Cross Country. In Pennsylvania. ‘Nuff said. Trigg hails from Minnesota. You know, the state thats boasted 2 MULTIPLE TIME World Champions wrestling in his wt class while he competed. Tough to get noticed that way, but here Mitchell is. Don’t let his 14-13 record fool you. Hes battled toe to toe with Maryland AA Yousif Hemida, George Masons top 10 ranked big man Matt Voss, and App Sts SoCon champion Cary Miller. Though the regular season concluded 2-13 with a nasty 42 to -1 loss to conference co favorite Campbell, theres been progress. A youthful, energized coaching staff, promising young talent, a conference affiliation (The SoCon) thats rising in quality and quantity (HELLO, Presbyterian, glad to have you come on board! You don’t happen to know Arkansas-Little Rocks number, do you?) and guaranteed entry into a GREAT mid season tournament for team testing purposes. Winner, Winner, chicken dinner! Wildcats like that. SHOUT OUT, 125lb Zamir Ode, Land’O Lakes, FL, Steinbrenner.

DREXEL-This seasons Column 21 fully highlighted the lows of the Dragons flight plans this season. Fortunately, the regular season difficulties are behind them with a shot at redemption in Binghamton, NY this weekend, at the EIWA Championships. Unfortunately, injuries, repeated agonizingly close losses and a dear teammate deathly ill are scenarios that combined to drop rocks on Drexels head every time the Dragons tried to come out of their cave. Don’t look at their deceiving 4-11 record, this team is built for tournaments, not duals. Don’t look at their 7 match losing streak to end the season, look at their 3 nationally ranked stars tuning up for a post season push for redemption. DO look at your bank account and find some small amount, please, for the GoFundMe page to assist the family of Ty Smith, a Drexel freshman who had to medically withdraw from school. The treatment plan for the 4 time Nevada St. champions Ulcerative Colitis has included multiple blood transfusions and continuing home care. As to Dragon post-season fortunes: 165lb Ebed Jarrell is an EIWA tournament title favorite, and sr. 285lb Joey Goodhart (with a team leading 28 wins) could join him atop the podium. While fellow sr. star 197lb Stephen Loiseau remains nationally ranked, two brutally hard losses (to VTs Tom Sleigh and Princetons 3rd ranked Patrick Brucki) may have dinged him up enough to keep him from a top 4 spot. Louiseau should still make the trip to Nationals, though, as the EIWA will send 6 197lbers to Pittsburgh. SHOUT OUT, 165lb Dakota Greene, Brandon, FL.

EDINBORO-Well, it could have been worse. The Fighting Scots finished 2-9 with a season-opening win over the Citadel and a double digit defeat of Cleveland State. They were right there with George Mason and Bloomsburg, 4 points away from a win over Clarion, and not too close to any other potential victories. The mass exodus from the program that included Athletic Director and American wrestling icon Bruce Baumgartner, double decade coaching legend Tim Flynn, and more excellent wrestlers than you could shake a Claymore at has been well documented. A VERY well connected expert has bluntly stated Edinboros on life support and Nurse Ratched just took over the ICU ward. How sad, if true. For right now, get behind srs. Nate Hagan, Avery Henry, Arick Shankles, Coaches Matt Hill, Mike DePalma, Pat Bradshaw, Andrew Church, and the rest of the Scots depleted roster. Those who chose to stay (probably NOT an option for some who left) have already become champions. SHOUT OUT, 125lb Lucas Rodriguez, Kissimmee, FL, Gateway, and Orlando, FL, Boone.

FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL-much like their liberal arts brethren at Davidson, the Diplomats of Franklin and Marshall overcome a lot to field a functional D1 wrestling team. Academic rigor of a very challenging level. Astonishingly high entrance requirements and tuition costs. And, to make things just a tat more difficult, competing in the EIWA, the nations biggest and oldest Division 1 wrestling conference. As a D3 school. The ONLY school in the nation that has to climb that particular mountain. Diplomats dont care. They just adhere to their mantra, scrolling across the wrestling website header. The header that lists their Academic All Star Team Members, their 80+ EIWA placewinners and titleists, their SEVENTEEN All Americans and their 2 National Champions. Quote: “RICH WRESTLING HISTORY IN A RIGOROUS ACADEMIC SETTING.” Thats right, put the whole thing in caps. They don’t, they’re humble. We will, we’re impressed. The Diplomats head into Friday and Saturdays EIWA Championships with 3 of their 10 wrestlers pre-seeded. 141lb Wil Gill leads the team in wins with 25, and 285lb Antonio Pelusi is aiming for a 3rd st trip to the Nationals. Pelusi and 8th seeded 197lb Philip Robilotto will join Gil in the 20+ wins club after this weekends competition. Will Gil, Phil, and Tony “the Thrill” get to Pittsburgh? As a favorite cartoon marsupial once opined, “Its possible, Its possible.”* SHOUT OUT, 157lb Noah Chan, Houston, TX, The Kincaid School, 197lb Steven Mercadante, Sarasota, FL.

WINE-DING DOWN WITH THE SCRIBE

2016 Slow Press Cabernet Sauvignon RATING: 2.5 glasses. Like the 3.0 rated 2015 vintage, this wine pairs well with almost any cheese while binge-watching episodes of Takedown TV.

See you sometime soon!

Ted Carreras

*Possible Possum, of course, the TerryToons star of swamp and small screen.

SECOND SEASON COLUMN 25

AN INCOMPLETE “GRADE”-IATION: SOME Cs, NO Ds, AND AN E FOR EFFORT, CHARGERS N RATTLERS N JAGUARS N PANTHERS N COYOTES OH MY, PLUS….WINE!

The pre post-season news continues from Column 24 with the following….

CAL-ST. BAKERSFIELD-…WOW! It’s a simple word, 1 syllable, three letters, but it means the world for Coach Manny Rivera and his Roadrunners. The former Minnesota All American built his coaching chops up in Minneapolis, in Charlottesville with UVA, and with a 5 yr stint at North Dakota State. Rivera experienced success everywhere but came way out West to come home. Bakersfield had lost their rebuilder coach, Mike Mendoza, who swallowed a Boise St. lie and moved to Idaho. Then the Broncos President eliminated his tradition-rich wrestling program, but thats ANOTHER column. BTW, hows that Baseball team that you destroyed wrestling for coming along, Boise? We digress. Back to Coach Manny and the Fabulous Bakersfield Boys, 2019 version. Hows this WOW? Half the team ranked nationally. Or this one? The Roadrunners are the Kings of California wrestling, they SWEPT their Golden State opponents this season. Or this WOW? 5 freshly hatched ‘Runners, 4 freshmen and a Sophomore, found a podium perch at the California Open. Open the Roadrunners guide/record book on line and you can feel the pride pour out, dozens of pages worth of National Champions, tournament titles, All Americans, Olympic level competitors, and on and on. Add one more WOW to this seasons bunch- they’re ALL of them, the whole team, from California.

CAL POLY- theres tough, theres double tough, and then theres finding success at Cal Poly. Whoa Nellie, the Mustangs had a season to forget as Coach Jon Sioredas (please, its suh-REE-dus), new head assistant coach Chris Chionuma, and assistant Mike Hatcher saw their charges start the season with a second place showing at the Menlo Open. To the home team. An NAIA home team. A really good NAIA team. But an NAIA team. It got worse fast. 39th at the CKLV. 29th at the Midlands. Back to Menlo for another tournament, where they finished 9th. 10th at the California Open. Cal Poly competes as an affiliate member in the PAC 12. They went 0-4 in the 5 team conference, being outscored 125-30. So, whats to like? 197lb Tom Lanes 6th place finish at the Midlands. If Lane wins the PAC 12 tournament he will hit Pittsburgh with 20 victories and a little momentum. A 2019 recruiting class ranked 8th in the country with four top 100 wrestlers, 9 of them home grown CA talent. And an incredible academic showing, with Cal Poly earning a top 8 spot in the NCAAs Academic Progress Rate two years running. That shows Sioredas and crew are truly producing STUDENT-athletes. Cal Poly will move on after the post season to brighter days, bigger win totals, and better showings all around. BTW, mark March 16th on your calendar and send prayers and pleasant thoughts to the Cal Poly family as they hold a celebration of life for Pat Lovell. Lovell, the striking, silver haired ambassador of CP wrestling and 1964 USA Olympian, went home Nov. 29th last year at the age of 81. A moving tribute can be found on the Mustangs web site. As for the current crew, SHOUT OUT, 125lb Brandon Staley, Oviedo, FL, Winter Springs.

CAMPBELL-The #RollHumps crew from Buies Creek, North Carolina finished as regular season tri-champs in the Southern Conference, tied with App St. and the Scribes dear, not near enough, team, UTC. Campbell set up their season with 6 tournaments from November through Januarys first weekend and the Camels earned a whopping 27 podium finishes. The biggest step up was not 1, not 2, but 3 Camels placing at the Midlands, something no Campbell wrestler had ever accomplished. Their one dual match in the seasons 1st half resulted in a solid 19-13 win over a tough Ohio Bobcats squad. The only blemish all season long was an 18-12 conference loss to….(D*mn objectivity!) Kyle Ruschells UTC Mocs. 174lb Andrew Morgan and the lightweight trio of 133lb Noah Gonser, 141lb Nathan Boston, and 149lb Josh Heil will all come out of the SoCon tournament as 20+ match winners (Morgan and Heil are there already). They all have good shots at a trip to Nationals. Boston and 197lb Austin McNeil are the only starters not returning and, with quality redshirts and a 40+ man roster, these Camels have depth they can depend on. A media star coach*, a top flight new facility, and the confidence that comes from a near perfect regular season (who WAS that who beat them? Thats right…) the Camels are coming, the Camels are coming!** So nice we starred it twice. SHOUT OUT, 184lb Cole Maddox, Marianna, FL, 141lb Troy Nation, Land’O Lakes, FL, Tampa Prep, 174lb Quentin Perez, Arlington, TX, John Weiss, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, St Thomas Aquinas.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN-So theres this team in the Mitten State thats PDG at wrestling. They flat OWNED their league before Missouri bought the Mid American Conference penthouse a few years back. While the past six seasons have seen fairly predictable conclusions come MAC tournament time, the Chippewas just seemed a little less formidable as time went on. Coach Tom Borelli noted changes he made and admitted to some he should have made sooner in a long form preseason piece, and as usual the multi decade master of the Chippewas matmen was spot on. There were athletes who just didnt pan out and others who wanted to conclude their search for wrestling gold in other waters. Made for some choppy seasons by old Lake Gitche Gumee***, but CMU seems to have steadied the canoe. They balanced tough out of conference losses to BIG 12 NDSU and the ACCs up and coming Virginia with wins over BIG 10 teams Maryland and a regular season ending upset of Purdue. Only ODU and mighty Missouri put the wood to Central this season, but what perhaps hurt most were back to back defeats to bitter rival Ohio University and a first time EVER loss to Buffalo. By 4 points. Total. GAAHH! All the while, 184lb Jordan Atienza, the squads lone sr., is finishing a 5 yr battle with adversity of all sorts while imparting the most important of wrestling truths to his young teammates. Its not how you start, its how you FINISH.^ CMUs best finisher last yr, this yr, and seemingly for at least 2 years to come is 285lb Matt Stencel. The Scribe has been sky high on the building-sized building block of Borellis rejuvenation plan since catching his early efforts last season. Mighty Matt had a 28 win, 15 pin season while winning a conference title. As a redshirt freshman heavyweight. YO. He takes a 24-4 record and a 15 match win streak into the MAC tournament this month. 157lb Logan Parks and 125lb Drew Hildebrandt (brother of World Silver Medalist Sarah Hildebrandt) could join Stencel in the 20 win, NCAA qualifier club this season. Its a long shot for Atienza, but dont count him out this yr, and count on CMU coming back strong going forward.

CLARION-a 3 match win streak to start 2019 ended with a 5 outing alternation of losses and victories for the Golden Eagles, and they finished 7-7. Frankly, any chance Coach Keith Ferraros squad had at making significant squawks this campaign went away early when uber tough 141lb Taylor Ortz and superstar 149lb Brock Zacherl both went down in a heap at the CKLV tournament first week of December. Ortz and Zacherl swapped wt classes from 2018, when Taylor had challenged teammate Greg Bulsak for EWL Freshman of the Year honors and Zacherl, undefeated till last Marchs conference finals, made his 3rd st. trip to Nationals. The back to back bangers were declared done for the season mid December and are aiming for medical redshirts to return in 2020. Great for next year. This year thats 20 dual meet wins, multiple tournament placements and points, and most importantly, a heart and soul temporarily (we hope) shelved. 184lb Tyler Bagoly and 197lb Bulsak (of 615lb deadlift fame), meet pressure. They did, and did well, but two tough guys out of four still equals half strength. In the EWL, with Lock Haven soaring and Rider rising, thats not enough. Not with a schedule that included contenders from 3 Power 5 Conferences and MAC force Buffalo to boot. YEEESH. 7-7 actually looks pretty good from that vantage point. Hey, Coach Ferraro, its the PAC 12 and the Indian Pro League on conference call. Put em on hold? With a Turk ride to a Claw? A Golden Eagles favorite combo. BTW, The Scribe and Bride encountered a Golden Eagle once, driving on the outskirts of a tiny N Central TX town in the aftermath of a small but violent tornado. The post-storm gloom barely revealed trunk shattered trees and huge fenceposts askew. Then, one of the fenceposts looked back, spreading MASSIVE wings. Awesome, and a bit, just a bit, unsettling. #MetalencasedmammalsRsafe/maybe.As regards the PA flock, nobody threatened the 20 win plateau but Bulsak will get there with a good EIWA run, earning a trip to Nationals in the process. Who else? Maybe 125lb Tyshawn White, maybe/maybe Bagoly. SHOUT OUT, 174lb Max Wohlabaugh, Winter Springs, FL.

COLUMBIA-Zach Tanellis Lions roared through the year, tying a team win record with 10 victories. They opened up with fine showings at multiple tournaments culminating with 4 Lions earning break even or winning records at the Southern Scuffle. A sturdy blend of numbers (29) states (11 different present on the roster, from CA. to MD. and FL. to NY., with MO. and TX. repping the Mid and Southwest) and grades****(8 srs, 5 jrs, 7 sophs, with 9 Lion Cub freshmen) has Columbia poised to pounce. Just one thing: KEEP the ubercool color scheme but change that mascot design, please. The grinning blue Lionface is just a tat too anthropomorphic; “he” looks like hes laughing while eating you. Maybe that’s the point? SHOUT OUT, Riley Jacobs, Austin, TX, Vandegrift, Lawrence Kosoy, Boca Raton, FL, Olympic Heights.

CORNELL-They’re big, they’re bad, they’ll beat you, bigly and badly, and they have, next to Lehighs group, some of the most knowledgeable and entertaining fans to sit next to. Though at times you’ll feel that they are slightly disappointed in your lack of wrestling knowledge and your socio-political worldview. But they are too polite to express either opinion. They will probably recapture the EIWA tournament title from Lehigh and they will finish in the top 10 nationally without question. They have a defending national champion, 141lb Yianni Diakomihalis, who is undefeated this year after winning his title last year with a destroyed knee. They have 5 other legitimate All American hopefuls with a 2018 season AA wrestler not even starting. Their brilliant, sardonic, trend-setting coach, Rob Koll, has built and maintained a wrestling Empire in Ithaca, New York for nearly 2 dozen years. That means they’re one of “The Big Boys”, so that’s more than enough about you and your team in THIS column, sir. And please say hello to Assistant Coach Gabe Dean, who bowled over the Scribe at the 2015 Southern Scuffle with his on mat ferocity and off mat geniality.

WHAT DO CHARGERS, RATTLERS, JAGUARS, COYOTES AND PANTHERS EAT?

Whatever they want, and that regularly seems to be BBQ. Whether theyre local school athletes from Churchill, Reagan, and Johnson, down the road a piece warriors from Uvalde, or up from the Valley matmen and women from Weslaco, they seem to like stopping by that big old friendly SA BBQ restaurant on Blanco Road. The food is good, fast, and filling, the atmosphere friendly, and all those who give their all out on the mat will always get an all out welcome. Like the Churchill middleweight who cruised into regionals his first yr. on varsity. Or the promising Reagan lightweight who was prepping hard at off season summer tournaments. Or the busload of Panthers from down Weslaco way who celebrated their hard work and post season success (3 state qualifiers and a regional champ!) on a recent visit. Gentlemen and Ladies, continue to carry the torch for TX wrestling, and remember you’re always welcome inside, or outside under the trees. No desserts till off season, though. Coaches orders.

*Catch Cary on the “Ask Kolat” podcast and his teamwork with Matt Dernlan on “The Way”, both put out by RUDIS wrestling.

**A nod to a GREAT Cold War Comedy, “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming”. Vladimir Putin and Natalia Veselnitskayas favorite.

^BIG credits to Andy Sneddon, master wordsmith of all things CMU. We are paraphrasing his words, and perhaps parroting his season ending article and continuous excellence, but these thoughts needed spreading.

***Applause and a free dessert to the first customer at that (getting a little bit) famous San Antonio BBQ restaurant who can tell the Scribe the author or the main character of this referenced EPIC American poem.

****School yr designation, NOT letter. C’mon, its Columbia. These guys could run circles around most folks GPA with half a decimal point shift.

NEW SEMI OCCASIONAL FEATURE:

WINE-DING DOWN W/ THE SCRIBE

Beringer Brothers 2016 Bourbon Barrel Aged Caberbet Sauvignon. RATING: 4 glasses. NO, NOT ALL THE SAME NIGHT, PLEASE. Put those goblets DOWN, Hoda and Kathy Lee.

See you early next week!

Ted Carreras