Ten Takeaways from the 2017 Championships
By Danny Tomaszewski
10. Zain Retherford extends winning streak to 63.
Zain had been one of the most dominant wrestlers over the past two years. He has not only been winning, but dominating his opponents. Retherford has only lost three matches, all of which came his freshman year, having a combined record of 96-3, he’s been almost unstoppable. Retherford has finished the last two seasons on top, winning two National Championships and two Big Ten Championships. The questions we should start asking, “Is there anyone out there that can stop him next year?”
9. Penn State loses Big Ten Championships, comes back and dominates.
Many questions arose when Ohio State came away with the Big Ten title in early March. What happened to top ranked Penn State? With Ohio State getting the upset, could Penn State win without Nick Suriano? This question was answered relatively fast. Penn State starting dominating early, slamming on the gas pedal, and never letting up to leave no doubt they were the best team in the country.
8. From Olympic gold medalist to two-time national champion.
After seemingly walking through the tournament last year, and then this summer surprising people all over the world by winning gold in the Olympics, he kept his winning streak alive picking up his second title. Snyder, the youngest gold medalist in U.S. history, started the tournament with two technical falls but found some trouble in the quarterfinals. Late in the match, while on bottom, he got up holding his ribs. The arena immediately started questioning if he could continue against likely opponent in the finals, Connor Medberry. Snyder left no doubt the ribs were an issue by dead lifting Medberry for a takedown in the first thirty seconds and controlling the rest of the match. Buckeyes have a three-time national champ in the making.
7. Bo Nickal upsets Gabe Dean.
Bo Nickal the obvious underdog to Gabe Dean comes up big for Penn State.The match went back and forth but was decided by Nickal’s two escapes and takedown versus Dean’s one takedown and one escape to win by decision 4-4. Nickal, a redshirt sophomore, is just one of Penn State’s young talents who have the opportunity to win multiple national titles. The matchups of the night didn’t disappoint.
6. Cox ends collegiate career Olympic Bronze Medalist and Three-Time National Champion.
J’den Cox ends an outstanding career at Mizzou a three-time National Champion and Olympic bronze medalist. Cox was one match away from being one of the few four-timers, but lost to none other than Kyle Snyder in the 2015 National Championships. With his collegiate career at an end, Cox is likely to pursue international competition, after suprising everyone at the 2016 Olympic Games. Cox is an outstanding athlete and has been argued lately as the greatest athlete to come out of the University of Missouri.
5. Vincenzo Joseph upsets Isaiah Martinez.
Considered one of the most dominant and least likely to lose, I-Mar was making his way through the tournament as usual. However, some people said he didn’t have the same drive and lacked his usual motivation to dominate. He was asked about it earlier in then tournament and denied this and said that everyone knew who he was, and they were studying how to stop him. Well someone must have done their research. Coming up huge, redshirt freshman, Joseph came out on top in the finals against Martinez with a pin. Even without the pin, Joseph had the lead, 6-5, and looked to be taking control of the match. Martinez looked for double unders but Joseph was able to lower his level for an inside trip for the fall to bring the Scott Trade Center to their feet.
4. Hall wins despite all the questions.
Arguably the biggest recruit of the last decade, six-time Minnesota state champion was highly sought after. After choosing Penn State, he was put on redshirt but the conversation quickly turned to pulling the shirt after he won one of the biggest tournaments in the nation, The Southern Scuffle. The conversation became a reality with Cael Sanderson pulled his shirt to face Alex Meyer inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Disappointment came early, Hall would go down to Meyer but Hall began to quiet the doubters by winning and winning often.
Hall’s tournament was full of controversy and some questionable calls. In the semifinals wrestling the No. 1 seed Valencia, Hall was behind and was taken down for two which may have lost him the match as Hall went down 3-1 with 18 seconds left. However, a challenge flag was raised by Penn State, to challenge an illegal grabbing of the head gear by Valencia. The takedown was overturned, giving the lead back to Hall 2-1 with the technical violation point. Hall then scored a quick takedown to end the match winning 4-3 after a stalling call and escape. Then again in the finals, multiple controversial calls went Hall’s way but in the end his hand was raised and he continues his dominance in wrestling.
3. Penn State is a dynasty
Penn State keeps rolling. They keep winning and they keep getting better. Cael Sanderson’s teams have seemed unstoppable, which sounds pretty similar to his college career. Penn State dominated this year’s championships not only having five champions, but five in a row! Penn state won every weight class from 149-184, all five of which will be back again next year. It seems as if their reign of dominance has no end. With five champions returning it seems as if they have another one on the bag next year. As long as they stay good, they’re going to get to recruits, and that means better wrestlers, and continued dominance. Who’s going to be the one to take them down, and when?
2. ESPN’s continued support for wrestling
Every round, every watch was visible on ESPN and ESPNU, and that only means more strides forward for the sport of wrestling.With the continued coverage of the sport and the continued support of ESPN, the sport may start to gain popularity. Not many people understand the difficulty and struggle that wrestling is as a sport, but many people are starting to realize it. People are looking at the sport from a different point of view and understanding the culture it has along with it. This can only lead to good things and an expansion of the sport.
1. The Hodge Trophy narrows down to four!
The Hodge Trophy is down to four finalist after multiple upsets. J’den Cox, Jason Nolf, Zain Retherford and Kyle Snyder. VOTE HERE