Ten Weights, Ten Matches to watch this weekend 2/5
125 – #1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) vs #4 Nico Megaludis (Penn State)
The easiest pick of the group by far this is a match that let’s be honest, we’ve been talking about since last season. Nico Megaludis is a two-time NCAA finalist and considered one of the biggest threats to knock off defending sophomore NCAA champion Nathan Tomasello to start this year. Nico has lost just one match on the season, and ironically it was the last wrestler he defeated before taking his redshirt.
Tomasello will be putting his undefeated record, and in all likelihood the top seed for the Big Ten conference on the line this weekend, making this must see wrestling.
Darian Cruz vs Dalton Macri should be a good match at this weight as well. Macri has slayed a few giants in his freshman season, and Cruz isn’t known to be consistent.
Last week’s match: Ryan Millhof (Oklahoma) decision Barlow McGhee 3-2
Also considered: #14 Darin Cruz (Lehigh) vs Dalton Macri (Cornell)
133 – #5 Jordan Conaway (Penn State) vs #10 Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State)
Don’t turn away from the Ohio State-Penn State dual because our 133 match follows the 125 matchup. I don’t think it is a stretch to say coming into this season most fans thought Gulibon would handle the weight bump better than Jordan Conaway when Penn State decided to bump their 125 and 133 starters to make room for Megaludis. That hasn’t been the case so far as Conaway has done a really nice job of cementing himself as a top five guy at this weight.
That leads us into Ohio State’s side, Johnni DiJulius, who seems to be a perennial top ten guy at this weight, but can never put it all together at the end of the season. What makes this match so great is that if DiJulius wrestles a consistent match he can beat Conaway, which would be huge for an Ohio State upset, or DiJulius can falter like he did last time out dropping a 3-1 decision to unranked Luke Welch of Purdue.
Last week’s match: Zane Richards (Illinois) decision Ryan Taylor (Wisconsin) 5-4
Also considered: #8 Earl Hall (Iowa State) vs #15 Josh Alber (Northern Iowa)
141 – #5 Mike Racciato (Pittsburgh) vs #10 Solomon Chishko (Virginia Tech)
The ACC has a lot of good wrestlers at this weight class, which may be why it seems to always have an interesting matchup week in and week out. Pittsburgh wrestler Mike Racciato returns as a guy to watch this week again, this time he will be the favorite over Virginia Tech standout Solomon Chishko.
Chishko enters this contest on a nine match winning streak compared to Racciato who has dropped two straight to two of the top wrestlers at the weight. This will be a big win for either wrestler.
Also keep an eye on that Ohio State-Penn State matchup at this weight as well. Ohio State will need a big win from Jordan in their quest to topple the #1 team.
Last week’s match: Kevin Jack (North Carolina State) decision Mike Racciato (Pittsburgh) 3-0
Also considered: #14 Jimmy Guilbon (Penn State) vs #4 Micah Jordan (Ohio State)
149 – #11 Matt Cimato (Drexel) vs #15 BJ Clagon (Rider)
The 149 pound matchup sets up well with Drexel’s Matt Cimato taking on Rider’s BJ Clagon in a top 15 meeting. The interesting note about this matchup is that while Ciamto is ranked four spots higher than Clagon, the Rider wrestler has won the previous two meetings between the pair. To go even further, Clagon actually won both of those meetings by major decision. This match has all the makings for an upset.
Last week’s match: Lavion Mayes (Missouri) decision Alex Richardson (Old Dominion) 2-1
Also considered: #4 Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern) vs #16 Jake Short (Minnesota)
157 –#8 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) vs #12 Dylan Palacio (Cornell)
Early season injury has prevented us from seeing more of Cornell’s Dylan Palacio so far this season, but the former NCAA All-American is finally back on the mat and looking to find his groove. He only carries a 4-1 record into this weekend’s meeting with Oklahoma State’s true freshman standout Joe Smith, which will make this a huge match for his March resume. Smith has won his last four matches by a comfortable margin, and Palacio will be his first true test since the Southern Scuffle for the Cowboy.
Last week’s match: Jason Nolf (Penn State) tech fall Brian Murphy (Michigan) 22-6
Also considered: #10 Mitch Minotti (Lehigh) vs #13 John Boyle (American)
165 – #4 Max Rohskopf (North Carolina State) vs #14 Austin Wilson (Nebraska)
This was a tough weight to pin down with a good portion of the top wrestlers facing off against opponents in the “teens” portion of the rankings. This one is interesting because Max Rohskopf is undefeated at 165 pounds this season (his only loss is to Kyle Crutchmer at 174) and he will be going up against the stingy Austin Wilson of Nebraska. I am not saying these guys don’t like to score points, but a majority of their tough matches have been tightly contested, which means this is a match that could go down to the wire.
Last week’s match: Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin) decision Steven Rodrigues (Illinois) 5-2
Also considered: #2 Bo Jordan (Ohio State) vs #17 Shakur Rasheed (Penn State)
174 – #5 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) vs #6 Brian Realbuto (Cornell)
We thought these two would meet in the finals of the Southern Scuffle, and I don’t think anyone was expecting them to wrestle for fifth at that tournament, but in early January that’s what we saw, with Kyle Crutchmer coming out on top of Brian Realbuto 4-3.
Since then we have seen Realbuto rebound with a solid win over Missouri’s Blaise Butler and post three bonus victories after that. Crutchmer on the other hand lost to Butler a few weeks ago, and is coming off a narrow win against Iowa State’s Lelund Weatherspoon. Right now it looks like Realbuto is the hot hand to ride, but a win by Crutchmer could kick off a streak of his own.
Last week’s match: Myles Martin (Ohio State) decision Nate Jackson (Indiana) 6-5
184 – #9 Matt McCutcheon (Penn State) vs #13 Kenny Courts (Ohio State)
When two top ten dual teams are facing each other you are bound to have several matches that have two ranked wrestlers going head to head, and we round out our Ohio State-Penn State matches with the 184 meeting between Matt McCutcheon and Kenny Courts. It’s hard telling who actually holds the advantage in this match since Courts is the returning All-American, and he has won the prior two meetings.
McCutheon comes in the higher ranked wrestler and is also coming off a leg injury suffered a few weeks ago. Both wrestlers appear to be on a bit of a hot streak, so we will see which is able to find the upper hand and come out on top.
Last week’s match: Willie Miklus (Missouri) did not wrestle
197 – #5 Conner Hartmann (Duke) vs #10 Zach Nye (Virginia)
In the first installment of this piece we highlighted this matchup for the very same reason it is highlighted today, it’s a top ten matchup. Earlier last month this dual was postponed due to bad weather, but all indications are that this should be a great match. The pair have met on three occasion with the first two bouts being tight victories for Conner Hartmann, and the latest a 5-0 victory for the Duke wrestler. Nye has been able to keep it close in previous meetings which should make this a good matchup.
Last week’s match: Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) decision Nathan Burak (Iowa) 6-5
285 – #5 Austin Marsden (Oklahoma State) vs #16 Ross Larson (Oklahoma)
Truth be told, Adam Coon vs Billy Smith is also a good pick, but we almost went the entire preview without a Bedlam matchup. The last time these two met it was a 6-1 win for Marsden, but Larson was in a bit of a rough patch. He is coming off three straight wins, two of those being falls and has made a few adjustments since the December meeting.
Last week’s match: Sam Stoll (Iowa) decision Michael Kroells (Minnesota) 7-3
Also considered: #4 Adam Coon (Michigan) vs #13 Billy Smith (Rutgers)