DRAGGIN TAIL IN PHILLY, WEST COAST TREMORS OF A NON SEISMIC NATURE, R-U NOT ENTERTAINED, JERZEY, AND A CYCLONE BBQ FAN THRIVING THROUGH LIFES UPS AND DOWNS….
GREEN SCALES FELL LIKE RAIN*….
The Drexel Dragons suffered the defeat of a thousand cuts over the weekend, losing not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 ONE POINT MATCHES in a 23-16 loss to resurgent American University. Capital letters on loan from Drexel Coach Matt Azevedos post match press conference. If there was one. Symbols omitted, this is a G-rated column. The Dragons had what looked like a breakout season in 2018, going 12-4 and scrabbling up the razorblade ladder that is the EIWA tournament to a 4th place finish. 7 Dragons made the podium and 5 went to the Nationals. That’s where things went cattywampus as no Drexel athlete made All American and a former Dragon made a spectacle of himself. 133lb Austin DeSanto wrestled, yelled, screamed and generally lost control in wins and losses, bowing out on the brackets backside after losing to Michigans National Runnerup, and current #1 ranked 133lber, Stevan Micic, in the quarter finals. That’s Ste-FON MEE-chich, near as we can hear. Desantos “decision” to leave Drexel for Iowa was a good thing long-term for all parties. Wether it contributed in any way to the general funk of the current squad is known only to them, but the Dragons are off their feed this year. And no, Knights are DEFINITELY not the dietary supplement they want any part of, Rutgers wasn’t scheduled this year. Probably a good thing. Drexel is 4-7, with one conference win by one point (hey, that victory over Penn kept the Cheesesteak Trophy in the cave for another year!). With hard charging Binghamton and an ambush (thats a group name, really, look it up) of angry Tigers left to contest with in EIWA matches, the Dragons would probably be best served by refocusing on the postseason. Their 3 ranked wrestlers, 165lb Ebed Jarrell, 197lb Stephen Louiseau, and team wins leader hvt. Joey Goodhart, all have a shot at break even records and maybe a blood round match at the Nationals. Placing in the top 8, not this year. Jarrel, #badmadreptile**, could suprise, though, with a favorable NCAA draw.
BIG GAME COMMERCIAL TIE IN, PAST SUBJUNCTIVE TENSE
“What are YOU doing?”
“What ARE YOU doing?”
“I am engaged in removing the detritus of an upset defeat to the California State Roadrunners of Bakersfield by thrashing the 2 time defending PAC 12 Conference champion Arizona State Sun Devils!”
“Spectacular, I shall join you and concurrently submit my critique of Dr. Isaac Asimovs doctoral thesis on the Endochronic properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline!”^
This simulated conversation is Stanford Wrestlings equivalent of
As of this writing “Stanfords stock in the D1 wrestling pecking order” and “Not the Wall” would be 2 correct answers. The Cardinal flushed a nasty loss to CSU-B with a bounce back bump off of Arizona State. The Sun Devils were EVERYBODYS sweetheart pick for the PAC 12 title. Maybe not so much now. Borellis boys 22-15 win over ASU was a kick ’em while they’re down moment, and the Sun Devils may yet have the last laugh come post season. After all, in a 5 team conference tournament, it’s not far from last to first. Still, Stanford is 7-1, and for the Cardinal the future is now AND then. Just 3 starters will be lost to graduation, and none of them, even former AA Paul Fox, have set the mats on fire this season. What has Cardinal fans flying their colors (not their birds) is a group of talented underclassmen like team wins leader 197lb Nathan Traxler, 125lb Gabe Townsell, 165lb Dominic Mandarino, Hvt Hayden Maley, and All Name Team member 149lb Requir Van Der Merwe. Better still, the best of the young bunch won’t be starters till next year. Real Woods and Shane Griffith have both shown top 10 talent in their redshirt efforts this year. Woods is, well, his name, though its pronounced REE-al. Griffith finished this season 20-2, Woods was 14-1, and both project to be starters and All American threats next season and years to come.
GET YOU SOME, FRESNO, GET A LOT
That would be notice, respect, recruits, etc., etc. The kinds of things that go hand in hand with back to back wins over quality teams that crushed you the previous season. As somebody somewhere said recently, last year isnt this year for Troy Steiners Bulldogs. Fresno laid the wood to Oregon State Thursday night, then rose up and took down the top 10 ranked Wyoming Cowboys on Sunday. Good things in the Valley, indeed. Stars are popping out all through the Bulldogs lineup, and 197lb Josh Hokit will have to give up his spot on the All Overlooked and Underrated Team at this rate. The tricky part of sustaining this Fresno wrestling fever is the odd schedule for February. 4 duals for the whole month, 2 on the road the same day. The Big 12 Conference Tournament seeding meeting, where the decisions on who goes where in the brackets are hammered out, should be FIRE. Love to be a fly on the wall for that skull session.
#REDTEAMUPSTREAM FLOWS FAST, KEEPS TIGERS ON THE BANKS
Nice. Score it one more series win, one more Jerzey wrestling title, as Rutgers keeps the Big Ivy Trophy with a 19-18 comeback win over Princeton. While the 149lb showdown between #1 Matt Kolodzik of Priceton and #2 Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers became a beatdown (a 10-2 Ashnault win) neither team disappointed. Upsets, momentum swings, and a down to the last match heavyweight showdown. Way too many story lines in this one so just check the excellent coverage by some fine wrestling writers, like James Kratch of New Jersey Advance Media and Steven Falk of the Asbury Park Press.
FALLING AND RISING TO THE OCCASION
Don Zimmermans a Cyclone through and through, a ’77 Iowa State grad made good in the elevator and lift business, first in the commercial sector and then as an owner/developer of franchises for home assistance. The author met the Ames, Iowa teammate of Kelly Ward, Joe Zuspann, Johnnie Jones, and the amazing Frank Santana at that (now 6 years successful) San Antonio BBQ restaurant where the Scribe achieved late in life gainful employment. Don held a regional staff meeting, and by the smiles all around, the cleaned plates and the very generous tips, a successful and good time was had by all. Another wrestler made good in S. TX, where business and BBQ are made consistently and well, thank you.
SOCON STATUS QUO
Things almost got out of control, but in the end current order was maintained as the Scribes beloved Mocs split their weekends work, stopping Gardner Webb 31-11 but then falling in a highly contested match at 3x defending conference champ App. St. 21-14. Wins and losses fell mostly where expected, with one glaring exception. UTCs Ryan Resnick pinned App States Angel Najar. Najar was undefeated in conference while redshirt freshman Resnick has a losing record. The Mocs have yet to pull the trigger on the post season starters decision at 125, and Alonzo Allen and Fabian Gutierrez both picked up victories. The SoCon scoreboard also showed Campbell camel-handling the Citadel 38-6.
See you next week!
*Peter, Paul, and Mary, a back in the day ballad group, had a song about a sad dragon. Seems appropriate this season.
**a nod to the cheesiest sci fi beast of all time, the magnificently named Bat-Rat-Spider-Crab from the 1950s schlockfest “The Angry Red Planet.” The movies main points of interest: Nora Hayden. R.I.P., Nora, you titian-haired temptress, you.
^A short story by Asimov, referred to in jest by his Doctoral Dissertation Board. He passed. If you don’t know Asimov, finish this column and read him before you come back. You may not return, but that would be all right. You’d be smarter and at least as well entertained.