2015 NCAA D1 Championships

Can't Miss Round 1 Matches!

Can't Miss Round 1 Matches!

Mar 15, 2015 by Christian Pyles
Can't Miss Round 1 Matches!
Every year I marvel at how intriguing the round 1 match ups are at NCAA’s. This year, perhaps more than any other presents a bevy of match ups that would bring about interest and entertainment regardless of the round they occur in. In each weight, I’ve outlined some of the biggest matches that will go down.

A match can be chosen for a variety of reasons: the pure entertainment value (both guys are wide open), team race implications (many teams will have enormously impactful round 1 match ups), or two high quality, high credentialed athletes hitting early.


#9-Dylan Peters v. David Terao-Nevermind the fact that Peters earning a 9 seed is a travesty let’s look at these two athletes and how they scrap. Peters is one of the most dangerous guys at any weight. His cow-catcher has iced some of the nations best (including #4 Nathan Tomasello). Terao wrestles one of the most unique styles in NCAA wrestling. His throw-bys are dazzling, and his upper body stuff is out of control! Not to mention he can ride and turn with the best. You can tell why I’m jazzed up for this one.

#8 Tyler Cox v. Jesse Delgado- Essentially any match Tyler Cox wrestles is must-watch stuff. Now he’s the “favorite” against 2x champ Jesse Delgado? Cox is the big loser in the “who gets an unseeded Delgado in rd 1” sweepstakes. You can expect points to go up on the board in a major way in this one.


#6 Earl Hall v. Eric Montoya-While Montoya is certainly an underdog here, I just have a feeling this one could be super entertaining. Montoya is a great scrambler and high output. Hall is dynamic with a variety of attacks: throws, leg attacks, cement mixer and more. Don’t sleep on this match is all I’m saying.

#8 Kevin Devoy v. Geoff Alexander-Don’t let the “seeding” disparity fool you. These two are quite close. Alexander has been there close with some of the best and has a win over Mason Beckman this year (as does Devoy). This one could be close and has some serious upset potential (though it’s not as big an upset as it appears on the bracket).


#13 Randy Cruz v. Dante Rodriguez-Rodriguez is a scary round 1 match up. He’s unseeded with 6 losses. Those losses? #3 Mayes (by 1), #5 Dziewa, #8 Martinez, #1 Stieber and #14 Heil. Essentially he only loses to good guys. Cruz looked amazing at EIWA’s, but consistency has been an issue. If he’s not on his game he’s at risk. Even if Cruz is on point, Rodriguez can wrestle with him, though he needs to avoid going under Cruz.

#3 Lavion Mayes v. Joe Spisak-Coming into this season this was a borderline toss up. These two’s season have gone in very different directions, but Spisak had a solid ACC’s. Spisak’s struggle will be from neutral, if he can slow down Mayes in the first period, create a few scrambles and get to the 2nd and 3rd close, he can win this match on the mat. Mayes is good, but has shown to be ridable. Potential huge upset here brewing?

Jesse Thielke v. #14 Dean Heil-This one will intrigue just with pure aesthetics. Both wrestle an attacking style. Thielke is as gifted an upperbody wrestler as we have in our country. Heil has been wrestling well of late. If you want a fun match with some dynamic exchanges early, this is your match.


#8 Alexander Richardson v. Chris Perez- I can’t say enough about how even this weight is. I came away from EIWA’s quite impressed with Chris Perez’s game. Richardson has been good this year, but has had his setbacks. This sets up for a potential upset here. It’ll come down to Richardson’s ability to prevent the leg-passes of Perez from his own leg attacks as well as Perez’s ability to get to his high crotch.

#3 Dave Habat v. Josh Kindig-What a joke it is that Josh Kindig doesn’t get a seed. An inexplicable decision. Both guys really get screwed by that decision in my opinion. Habat doesn’t deserve someone so excellent considering the season he’s had and the same can be said for Kindig. (You see that 32-1 next to Houdashelt? Kindigs the “1”). Making an evaluation on this match is very difficult considering we have no clue the state of Kindig’s health.

#14 Cody Ruggirello v. Hunter Stieber - Not a bad spot for Hunter to get dropped in to. How he looks here against Cody will say a lot about his chances at progressing and potentially placing high for the Buckeyes. This is a must-watch match.


#7 Ian Miller v. Doug Welch-Probably nobody more disappointed in Doug Welch not getting a seed than the Kent State fans. This is an incredibly dangerous round 1 match for Miller. Welch notched wins over #4 James Green, #11 Brian Murphy and Dylan Alton (When Alton was a top 7 guy). Miller’s only win of note all year is over Joey LaVallee. He also fell to non-qualifier Jarrett Jensen this year.

#9 Joey LaVallee v. Nick Brascetta-Another seeded guy getting the short end of the stick by a hammer going unseeded. I understand why Brascetta wasn’t seeded, but it still puts LaVallee in a brutal position where I think he is unquestionably the underdog. Brascetta is dangerous in all positions and has a variety of attacks. I think he beats LaVallee with little issue here.


#7 Pierce Harger v. Nick Moore-Moore owns 3 wins over the last 2 years against Harger. However, that version of Nick Moore we have not seen in some time. If the Hawkeyes can get some extra production from Moore, it could mean a tremendous amount for the team race. Harger is the favorite, but this is one you can’t take your eyes off.


#1 Robert Kokesh v. Taylor Massa -Yes, I know last time around Massa got decked in something like 12 seconds. I think Massa still deserves a measure of respect here for what he’s done in the past. I’ll be watching this one even though Robert Kokesh is that dude.


#10 Lorenzo Thomas v. Willie Miklus - Miklus wasn’t able to establish himself as the title contender he was maybe thought to be after his win against Dechow. That being said, he has been solid and was probably deserving of a seed. This one has major team implications. If Miklus falls here and has to crawl back, it will be a long, lonely road where he’d face the Brooks/Abounader loser EARLY in wrestlebacks! Lorenzo is excellent in scrambles, has improved his leg attacks and is a great rider. Not a great match up for Miklus, but don’t forget Thomas lost just a few weeks ago to the unseeded Harner, so he has had his slip ups.

#6 Hayden Zilmer v. Kenny Courts- Zilmer is one of the more under the radar guys at any weight. He’s a blast to watch and I wonder if people forget already he beat Gabe Dean this season. Courts is a well-known commodity. I think skill for skill, Kenny can make this one interesting, but Zilmer is a favorite. I see this as being a fun one, personally with a sliver of a team dynamic in there as well.


#2 Morgan McIntosh v. Zach Nye-This is more of an aesthetic choice. I am not giving Nye much of a shot, but I think the scrambles here will be out of this World. Both guys are comfortable on the low ankle, diving over, passing legs, etc.


#10 Ty Walz v. Nick Tavanello-These two have wrestled a bunch of times already, and they’ll run it back in round 1. Walz pulled out a thriller at VT in November but it required a comeback effort. If Tavanello can get a run going like he did last year, it could mean essential team points for the Buckeyes.

So those are a few that caught my eye. Let’s recall there will be so many crazy matches that you couldn’t even predict happening! Nobody would have called Frisch knocking off #2 Dardanes in rd 1 last year, but it happened. It’s why round 1 is so important, entertaining and must watch wrestling!