Ten Weights, Ten Matches to watch this weekend 1/29
Some of the top matches at each weight class you should be looking forward to this weekend
Last weekend we singled out ten of the top matches at each weight class and after being rewarded with seeing Jason Nolf handing Isaiah Martinez his first career loss, Bo Nickal pinning Zach Brunson, and TJ Dudley locking up a cradle on Sammy Brooks, we didn’t want you fans missing out on any potential wrestling greatness.
125 – #10 Barlow McGhee (Missouri) vs #11 Ryan Millhof (Oklahoma)
A bit of a sleeper weekend at the lightest weight-class, but the Barlow McGhee-Ryan Milhoff matchup has us intrigued. These two have not met in their careers, unless you count the medical forfeit by Milhoff at this year’s Cliff Keen Las Vegas, which we don’t. On the one hand you have Milhoff who is riding a four match winning streaking coming into this weekend, and on the other you have McGhee who has taken tough losses to Dalton Macri and Eddie Klimara in the last two weeks. This should be a great battle between two wrestlers who have made some great strides in where they are now from a year ago.
Also considered: #3 Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) vs #13 Zeke Moisey (West Virginia)
133 – #2 Zane Richards (Illinois) vs #7 Ryan Taylor (Wisconsin)
Maybe it was when Zane Richards called out Iowa’s Cory Clark for not being on his level, but something about the Illinois wrestler has me intrigued at the moment. While the exact phrasing of said comment may not be 100% accurate (Clark is a returning finalist after all), Richard did look pretty dang tough in his 8-2 smack down of Jordan Conaway of Penn State this past weekend. What makes Ryan Taylor an interesting opponent for Richards, aside from him being a top eight guy, is the fact that the last time these two met resulted in a technical fall for the Wisconsin wrestler. Two high caliber guys with that kind of history? Sign me up.
Also keep your eye on the Virginia battle of George DiCamillo and Dennis Gustafson. The latter hasn’t seen much mat time this year, but don’t let the unranked status lure you into a false sense of security.
Also considered: #6 George DiCamillo (Virginia) vs Dennis Gustafson (Virginia Tech)
141 – #3 Kevin Jack (North Carolina State) vs #5 Mike Racciato (Pittsburgh)
This was an easy one to pick with it being a top five meeting between two ACC foes. Kevin Jack had to dig pretty deep to beat North Carolina’s Joey Ward 5-3 back on Monday of this week and now he gets another buzzsaw in Pitt’s Mike Racciato. Racciato is coming off a 7-2 loss to #1 Dean Heil of Oklahoma State, but has looked really good in his junior campaign since making the drop from 149.
The UNI combo of Jake Koethe/Trevor Jauch against Central Michigan’s Zach Horan could be sneaky good, with UNI searching for their answer at this weight.
Also considered: #19 Jake Koethe/Trevor Jauch (Northern Iowa) vs #16 Zach Horan (Central Michigan)
149 – #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) vs #8 Alex Richardson (Old Dominion)
Another match I am feeling highly interested in as Lavion Mayes will test his undefeated record against Old Dominion’s Alex Richardson. Save the loss to Arizona State’s Matt Kraus, Richardson has looked pretty good this season. His only other losses are to Jason Tsirsis and Jake Sueflohn – each of those are forgivable. I would expect a close match that can go either way.
Also considered: #2 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) vs #13 Jake Short (Minnesota)
157 – #1 Jason Nolf (Penn State) vs #9 Brian Murphy (Michigan)
Fresh off his newly minted #1 status Penn State’s Jason Nolf will be right back into facing top 10 opponents with Brian Murphy. After being the first wrestler to officially hand Isaiah Martinez a loss, it feels like momentum will be with Nolf, but as the nation’s only undefeated freshman more heads will start to turn his way.
Luke Smith vs UNI’s Bryce Steiert feels like it has sneaky potential. Steiert has flirted with the top 20 this season.
Also considered: #8 Luke Smith (Central Michigan) vs Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa)
165 –#3 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin) vs #6 Steven Rodrigues (Illinois)
This is the third consecutive weight where we see an undefeated wrestler test their ranking against a top ten opponent and this may actually be the best chance at seeing the upset. Since moving to 165 from 141, Steven Rodrigues has looked great and he will try and continue his new weight’s success against Isaac Jordan, the reigning Big Ten champion.
Also considered: #5 Daniel Lewis (Missouri) vs #12 Clark Glass (Oklahoma)
174 – #8 Nate Jackson (Indiana) vs #15 Myles Martin (Ohio State)
At 174 we have a unique matchup where the under-ranked opponent may actually be the favorite over the top ten ranked Nate Jackson of Indiana. To start the season off Ohio State freshman Myles Martin was able to pick up a 7-5 victory over Jackson in what was Martin’s first collegiate competition. Both wrestlers in the matchup will enter the competition with 20+ wins and only three losses. Jackson will hold the edge when it comes to experience, but in just three short months we have already seen Martin display the level of talent that made him a top 10 recruit in high school. This should be a good match with the potential to shake up the rankings.
Penn State’s Bo Nickal was also considered as a match to watch this weekend, given his top 20 matchup, and the fact that when Nickal puts up a lot of points it can be fun to watch. Mahomes is no pushover, but Bo has rarely struggled this year.
Also considered: #1 Bo Nickal (Penn State) vs #13 Davante Mahomes (Michigan)
184 – #3 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion) vs #7 Willie Miklus (Missouri)
Here we have ourselves a good one between two returning All-Americans with a history of close matches. In the 2014-15 season, Willie Miklus was able to get the better of Jack Dechow in sudden victory, picking up a 9-7 early season win. Dechow would need to wait over three months for his chance at revenge, and he was able to get it coming out on top 6-4 at the MAC conference championships. At times this season Miklus has looked near unbeatable, but inconsistencies have resulted in upset losses to Virginia Tech’s Zach Zavatasky and Oklahoma State’s Nolan Boyd. Depending on which Miklus shows up he could prove to be a real handful for Dechow.
197 – #3 Nathan Burak (Iowa) vs #4 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota)
There is a lot more on the line for Iowa’s Nathan Burak than his undefeated record when he takes on Minnesota’s #4 ranked Brett Pfarr, this will be a big match for Big Ten seeding as well. While it’s true Burak wants this win to extend his career best 17-0 start to the year, the bigger factor here is that the winner of this match most likely receives the #2 seed at Big Tens, making that wrestler’s path in March much easier. A loss from Burak shouldn’t do too much damage in terms of winning the dual meet against Minnesota, but it will most likely be the feature match.
Also considered: #10 Zach Nye (Virginia) vs #8 Jared Haught (Virginia Tech)
285 – #7 Sam Stoll (Iowa) vs #9 Michael Kroells (Minnesota)
Last week we picked Sam Stoll by default being he was the highest ranked wrestler with a ranked match. This week it’s for good reason as we will see Minnesota All-American go up against the young Hawkeye in a top 10 matchup. Stoll has done a great job controlling ties and the center of the mat this year, and his Greco background causes the opposition to be weary of his throw potential. I know we just hit on Burak-Pfarr, but this is one of the bigger matches to watch in the Iowa-Minnesota dual.
Also considered: #13 Billy Smith (Rutgers) vs Dawson Peck (Maryland)