Here it is: my list of DREAM MATCH UPS at Fargo 2014. There are dozens (and dozens) of big time matches I'm looking forward to but none more than those listed below. I'm thinking a lot of these will go down, but at Fargo nothing's guaranteed.
Editors Note: This is an opinion piece so don't please don't get too upset if I ignore a match up that you personally feel is more exciting or important.
Just Missed the Cut - Have to Watch Matches
Vincenzo Joseph (#1) vs Zac Hall (Graduated) at 145lbs
Mason Manville (#2) vs Jo Jo Smith (#3) at 152lbs
Lance Benick (#1) vs Joel Dixon (Graduated) at 195lbs
Max Thomsen (#5) vs Ronnie Gentile (#3) at 145lbs
Boo Lewellan (#7) vs Mike Magaldo (Graduated) at 132lbs
Cole Weaver (Graduated) vs Logan Ryan (Graduated)
#10 - Kaid Brock (#4) vs. Chaz Tucker (#3) at 126lbs
Kaid Brock's coming off a disappointing Junior Duals where he lost to Mitch Mckee and Chaz Tucker. Brock really is better than that, and I think he'll be in top form at Fargo. A Brock/McKee rematch up does intrigue me, but I'm looking forward to the Brock/Tucker rematch most. Tucker gets the job done at Fargo. He took 5th here last year, beating nationally ranked Brandon James and Jaydin Claytin, and 2nd in Cadets the year before that. Can Tucker bamboozle Kaid Brock once again?
Nick's Prediction: #Payback for Brock in a high-scoring match, Brock dec Tucker 12-8.
CP's Prediction: I admire Nick's ability to completely ignore all relevant results just so he could use the "#Payback" Gimme Tucker, 8-4.
#9 - Myles Martin (#1) vs. Dylan Wisman (#2) at 182lbs
A couple months ago, while brainstorming matches to make for this year's Who's #1, I mentioned to Willie that he should reach out to Myles Martin and see if he'd bump to 195 for a super match against #1 ranked Lance Benick..."He doesn't have any competition at 182," I thought. "Not so fast," said Sailor, "...you're forgetting about Dylan Wisman. Kid is the truth." Wisman, a Flonationals champion, is literally the only person at 182lbs who has a shot at taking out Martin. He took 4th in both styles here last year and owns some of the best hips of any upper weight in the country.
Nick's Prediction: Martin outclasses Wisman 8-4 in a battle of the top two 182lbers in the country.
CP's Prediction: Myles too much here, though Wisman's D is formidable. 6-0 Martin.
#8 - Isaiah White (#3) vs Grant Leeth (Graduated) at 145lbs
The new school v the old school, Fargo Cadet Champ v Fargo Cadet Champ. This one should be interesting. Leeth's one of the most active wrestlers in the country, and when he shows up, he performs (Super 32 Champ, Fargo Champ, Folkstyle Nationals Champ). But White fears no one! At Junior Duals he tech'ed Zac Hall and Brady Berge and also beat Logan Ryan twice. That's pretty nasty, like really really nasty. Fun fact: Grant Leeth beat White's team mate, Larry Early, at Ironman this year...OPRF wants some payback.
Nick's Prediction: Leeth scores 3 takedowns to White's 2 FTW, 6-4.
CP's Prediction: Leeth just wins. Nick is that blind squirrel finding a nut on some of these...8-2 Leeth.
#7 - Ke-Shawn Hayes (#1) vs. Tommy Thorn (Graduated) at 132lbs
Hayes is ranked #1 in the country and is coming off a great Junior Duals where he tech'ed Gary Wayne Harding, Jon Marmelejo and beat National Champ Cole Weaver 7-0. He did, however, run into Fargo National Champ Tommy Thorn at Duals...and it was all Thorn in that match. I seriously think that Thorn is the only wrestler at 132lbs who can beat Hayes -there is no one else- so I'm highly anticipating what I think is going to be THE BEST revenge match at Fargo.
Nick's Prediction: Hayes minimizes Thorn's early attacks and wins the rematch 6-5.
CP's Prediction: Hayes the more consistent entity (in my mind). I'll go with him 5-2.
#6 - Lance Benick (#1) vs Sammy Colbray (#3) at 195lbs
Lance Benick is a back to back DOUBLE FARGO CHAMP, which would mean he's the favorite in practically every tournament he enters. Well he might not be the favorite at Fargo this year. He's just two months removed from FILA Cadet Nationals, a tournament where he lost to Oregon's Sammy Colbray, 7-1. Colbray took 5th in FS and 1st in Greco here last year and he's picked up speed ever since. Get ready for a battle of wills in this one.
Nick's Prediction: Colbray wins again but not with a big throw this time, final score: 3-2.
CP's Prediction: Very bold picking a big throw NOT to happen, Nick. Also, this is Benick's, 3-1.
#5 - Larry Early (#4) vs. Jo Jo Smith (#3) at 152lbs
Judging from all of their mid-match trash talking at Junior Duals, I'm going to say there's a bit of bad blood between these two. They've wrestled twice, and Larry Early has won both times: once in freestyle, once in greco. And yet, Larry Early III gets no respect: you'll notice he's still ranked behind Jo Jo for some reason (i.e. Willie Smalls). This should be an absolute war (again) as Jo Jo's hungry for his first win over a kid who has given him fits. Early's simply just trying to get what's his: a Fargo National Title in Freestyle.
Nick's Prediction: Hate to go against my man Early, but Jo Jo's getting his revenge in FS this year, 9-8.
CP's Prediction: Jo Jo gets over the hump against Early. 6-4
This one's going to be fun! The best leg attacker in high school wrestling (Stroker) vs ole' rubber knees (Gross). Stroker's win over Gross at last year's Who's #1 took him from being a top 10 ranked wrestler to the #1 ranked wrestler in the country. But guess what?! Fargo is Seth Gross' playground. He took first at Fargo as a Cadet and first as a Junior (last year, in the same bracket that Stroker took 4th). I expect a lot of great action and scrambling in this one, and you should too.
Nick's Prediction: Seth Gross stays the man at Fargo & beats Stroker, 5-4.
CP's Prediction: Gross prediction Nick. This is Stroker's. 5-2.
#3 - Kamal Bey (#10) vs. Beau Breske (#3) at 170lbs
The absolute highlight of Cadet Freestyle, this year's showdown between Bey and Breske should be epic! Both fellas know their way around the FargoDome: Bey took 2nd in FS and 3rd in Greco here last year, losing to only Mark Hall (twice); Breske just went ahead and won both styles. Bey's a high-flyer type, a human highlight reel; Breske's a dynamo from everywhere, he rarely breaks position. Will Bey be able to open Breske up with his "rather throw ya than know ya" style or will Breske be able to keep Kamal at Bey? <--- see what I did there?
Nick's Prediction: Takedowns all around but Breske gets to work on top, wins 14-8.
CP's Prediction: Breske. Won't be close. 16-6.
#1 Logan Massa (#1) vs Ryan Blees (Graduated) at 160lbs
Considering that Massa tech'ed Blees at FILA Juniors, making this my #1 pick may seem silly to most of you. But I'd like to remind everyone that for Ryan Blees, things change at Fargo. This is where he steps up his game. He's placed out here a handful of times, including last year where he won one of the most stacked Fargo brackets in years. That performance came just weeks after he suffered multiple losses at Junior Duals. Blees made adjustments, he showed up at Fargo, and he set the Dome on fire. You WILL NOT see the same type of match you saw at FILA's. All that said, I'm still taking Massa cuz...he's Massa and he's awesome and he hasn't lost to a high schooler in a while and he's beating college studs on the regular and...
Nick's Prediction: Massa wins his first ever Fargo title with a 7-4 dec over Blees in the finals.
CP's Prediction: Not picking against Massa for the foreseeable future. 5-1 over Blees.