Live On Flo This Week: Dec 29-30: Mt Mat Madness | Dec 29-30: Powerade | Dec 29-30: Prep Slam IX | Jan: 1-2 Southern Scuffle
The Southern Scuffle sets itself apart from other tournaments in a variety of ways. The depth of the tournament is always tremendous. This is bolstered by the Scuffle's willingness to allow very tough redshirts and unattached wrestlers to compete.
In just the last two years we've seen redshirting athletes reach the Scuffle finals. Last year, Joseph Smith torched his way to the finals while he was still under redshirt. Logan Massa made the finals a year ago as well before falling to Hodge Trophy winner Alex Dieringer. The same was true a year prior when Jason Nolf made the finals of the Scuffle, downing Brian Realbuto in the process.
Though it's tough to say if we'll have another unattached finalist in this tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Jan. 1-2, the possibility certainly exists.
Off the top, the most discussed entry in this tournament is Mark Hall. The Penn State freshman has been testing himself in multiple opens. The Scuffle will certainly be his biggest challenge to date. While we know Hall for his freestyle wins (two-time world champion), he is still honing his folkstyle chops. On the mat is often the toughest learning curve for younger wrestlers, a fact that reared its head for Hall against Christian Brucki. Hall is the most credentialed unattached wrestler, but he finds himself in what looks to be the most loaded weight.
My jaw hit the floor of the Fargodome watching Ben Darmstadt torch his way through the Fargo Junior bracket. When you consider his motor, variety of attacks, and insane top game, he's a dynamite contender here at 197. Though he did suffer a loss to Rocco Caywood at the Hokie Open, I am still bullish on Darmstadt as a prospect. Though he's not technically enrolled at Cornell, we've seen countless times how good upper weights perform. There's little question that a blue-chipper with the pedigree of Darmstadt will thrive among the Cornell upper weights. The question is simply when will he have his breakthrough? It could be this weekend.
Chattanooga's Mike Pongracz and Scottie Boykin are two solid UTC wrestlers who are taking a redshirt year. They've been ranked nationally before and would still be had they been competing attached for the Mocs. Mike Hughes (Hofstra) and Mitch Finesilver (Duke) are another pair of wrestlers who have tasted varsity competition but are taking a redshirt year. They are also rankable commodities if they were competing attached.
Last year, Finesilver downed Anthony Collica, Pat Lugo, and CJ Cobb at the Scuffle. He later would beat Jason Tsirtsis at NCAAs.
Finesilver Downs Collica
Some additional true freshman redshirts to watch will be Taylor Lamont and Rudy Yates at 125. We've seen this pair succeed at national tournaments at the high school level. Quality wins from those two shouldn't come as a huge surprise.
This is far from an all-encompassing list. Certainly there are other redshirts that will be in the mix. Redshirts time and time again will make noise at the Southern Scuffle, and with the glut of talent, you should expect them to place and to place high.
Popular Right NowComplete Southern Scuffle Entries, Over 60 Ranked
The Ultimate Midlands Preview
The Race For Powerade OW
Top 7 Must-Watch Powerade Matches