Spreading the update love around, more good folks you need to read and hear, and a SA BBQ Bison fly by….
SLOW DOWN THE SOCON STUFF, SON
Said no one in particular BUT, in all fairness to those other conferences, theres some fine stories being written nationwide this season. Let’s dip into a few…
THEYRE FREEZIN UP IN BUFFALO, STUCK IN THEIR CARS….
While Stutzmans Bulls just kick butt, with their “No-name All-Stars*….
U-Bs a herd of baaad Bulls this season. OK, you probably know Sr. Hvt. Jake Gunning, a former MAC champ, and lightweight tough guys 125lb Kyle Akins and undefeated 141lb Bryan Lantry. The 3 are all 4 year starters for Stutzman, and they’re helping the Bulls zero in on a 3rd double digit dual win season in 4 years. 133lb Derek Spann is 15-2. Theres a U.S.A. Under-23 world team member in the middle of the Bulls lineup, 157lb Alex Smythe. Smythe just picked up Buffalos Male Athlete of the Week award. Teammates 165lb Troy Keller and 149lb Jason Estevez snagged the same 7 day hoo-rah earlier this season, Estevez for winning the Black Knight Invitational. In short, Buffalo is one tough dual meet matchup. They’re taking aim at the highest spot left to claim in the MAC dual season race (2019 MAC regular season title winner Mizzou says you’re welcome, Mid American Conference, BTW, in a totally DeadPool kind of way). Theres 3 straight MAC matches left on the ledger for Coach Stuzmans Bulls. Slightly down but always dangerous Central Michigan is up first, followed by THE Ohio University Bobcats. They should like that. Win those two, and the silver regular season medal is there for Buffalo to claim if they knock off Northern Illinois. All these will be contested in that chilly city on the shores of Lake Erie. Advantage, Buffalo. Stutzman has amped up his coaching staff, with former OK St All American Austin Marsden and former Michigan/UTC star Sean Boyle lending very capable hands in the Bulls development. A nod to the staffs achievements: Stutzman is the all-time winningest wrestler in Buffalo history, Marsdens a 2X AA, and Boyles a multiple award winner for the Wolverines who took the SoCon title and Conference Wrestler of the Year award in his 6th year transfer season for the Scribes beloved UTC Mocs. Boyle, BTW, wrestled an incredible 181 matches in his D1 college career. Just typing that hurts. A great staff, (including a T.R.G.L.O.W.** member, Administrative Assistant Patti Kindron), a tough team, and a city with famous architecture, food, and more. Sounds like a place for the Scribes bucket list. Just, maybe, in the beginning of a season….#Southern,notsoft,butSTILL…
A BULLDOGS “GARDEN” THE VALLEY
The sleeping Dog got woke in Fresno 2 1/2 years back when Troy Steiner stepped into the return of Fresno State Bulldogs wrestling. More like a resurrection than a reinstatement, the ‘Dogs were back and barking from the get-go after a forced 11 year absence. The ultra quiet, uber-talented Steiner set up a staff, set the parameters, and set out to return wrestling greatness to the Valley faithful. Produce and implement a long term plan? Find the proper conference home for the ‘Dogs? Open the arms wide to embrace the alumni, former wrestlers, and fans? Steiner and crew checked ALL those boxes and more, honing in on home grown talent and landing top quality transfers with deep California roots. Steiner and staffs squads first season back was a highly respectable 2018 campaign. They finished top 10 as a team at the Reno Tournament of Champions, and picked up their first conference win in a road match. 2 Bulldogs came out of the meatgrinder Big 12 tournament to punch their tickets to the National Championships. And the fans came, as Fresno, in their first year back, finished 5th in the nation in attendance. So, what up with the 2019 edition? Glad you asked. On pace to more than double their wins from last year, Fresno is 6-6 this season, with a shot at double digit wins in a power 5 conference, year 2 of the revival. Can we have a Hallelulah from the faithful? Preaching the gospel of brutal workouts (his words) and pushing the pace, 197lb Josh Hokit is 15-3 since returning from his FB duties for the bowl-winning Bulldogs football team. Folks, you are NOT supposed to be doing 2 scholarship sports in the same season at the D1 level anymore. ANYWHERE. AT ALL. Hokit does and he does it well enough to be nationally ranked in his weight class. In all, 4 Bulldogs are top 25 ranked, with 149lb Khristian Olivas, 184lb Jackson Hemauer and hwt. A.J. Nevills also noted as among the nations elite. The Bulldogs placed 7th at the Midlands Tournament and four Fresno St matmen stood on the podium, a heck of a showing for a program in year 2. These next 4 days will give Steiners pack a chance for a bite back. Fresnos next two opponents, Oregon State and conference foe Wyoming, outscored last years first year Bulldogs edition by a combined 73-9. This isn’t last year, and this time OSU and WYO are coming to the Save Mart Center. Mark Branchs top 10 Wild Bunch of Cowboys may be more than Fresno can choke down this season, but the Beavers better watch their tails. A Beaver and a Bulldog would be advantage:rodent, in the water, but this ones high and dry. The match site, that is. Of the 4,000+ Fresno faithful who will pack the Save Mart Ctr. for “Pride of the Valley Night” Thursday, WE….SAY….NOTHING. They, and the Bulldogs, will do the barking, all night long.
LOVE THOSE BBQ LOVIN BIZZZON..
A fam from the wilds of N Dakota stopped by the (darn) fine BBQ restaurant where the Scribe scratches out this column and vacation money mid week. They loved the food, the hospitality and the update on Roger Kishs herd of Bison matmen, headed back to full respectability this year after several less than stellar seasons. ND folks DO love their meat. GO BIZZZON! And, when you go to San Antonio, and you should, ignore the food critics and read the peeps writeups on where to go for good, consistent ‘cue in the Alamo City.
Whether you read, listen, or absorb these folks words/works of wisdom visually, aurally or through some unspecified human-machine interface, your appreciation and enjoyment of the greatest sport will grow like an appetite for avocados after a Jon Lovitz commercial. DO take notice, they are truly worth your time and attention….
Brian Reinhardt, Director of Athletics/Digital Communications, NC State….while school specifics currently make officially linking to Brians amazing WolfPack Online media guides, story notes, highlight package/recaps not possible, this doesn’t mean you, the wrestling fan, can’t find and enjoy them on the web. Or listen to the ever so slightly edgy banter between Reinhardt and the Alpha male of the Wolfpack, Head Coach Pat Popolizio, on the PackMentality Popins Podcast.
Chris Bonos Jump Around Mondays, Wisconsin…
Featuring full frontal news from the one and only Chris Bono, head coach/ powerplant of the Badgers, these weekly 2 minute mini blasts are just that. Really, did you think you could go any longer with Coach B, anyway? You trippin, son.
See you sometime soon!
*You DID know this was a Jimmy Buffett tribute, right? Right? Bonus points if you comment back with the song title, double points and a Landshark Lager if you can identify the northwest state featured in another JB hit….first answered, first served, adults only please…
**The True Real Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a completely amazing group of female athletes, writers, broadcasters, and PR Savants, linked by their talents and desires to spread the gospel of grappling.