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The elder statesmen of 157 are all gone. James Green, Dylan Ness and Ian Miller have graduated. Isaiah Martinez, Dylan Palacio and Brian Realbuto have all moved up to 165, leaving a stable of underclassmen dominating this weight.
In the latest rankings, all of the top six and nine of the Top-10 were not seniors. This Sunday, two of the best from the class of 2015 will square off in one of the most pivotal matches of the Iowa vs Oklahoma State dual. Joe Smith closed his high school career at No. 7 on the senior Big Board and Michael Kemerer ended as the ninth-ranked recruit.
Iowa at Oklahoma State: 2pm central this Sunday!
Both entered the winter break undefeated and made the finals of their respective tournaments and had close matches, but one left with a loss from while Kemerer remained unblemished. Smith has only wrestled six matches this year, the dual against Cornell and his second straight Southern Scuffle finals run. A returning All American, Smith's variety of low singles has continued to develop, but he has struggled to extend leads and pull away late in matches to produce bonus points.
Kemerer is a product of Franklin Regional high school and the Young Guns wrestling club, so him ending up at Iowa was never terribly surprising. He has continued his same tendencies from back then, crisp finishes on leg attacks and excellent hip placement making him difficult to score on defensively.
Smith in action at the Scuffle
This match very well could end up like Kemerer's Midlands scraps with Hayden Hidlay and Tyler Berger, as the total score creeps into the teens with both wrestlers having to take a high volume of shots to keep up the pace.
The young Cowboy has both homefield and size advantage here. Smith wrestled his senior year at Stillwater at 170 and could probably go up to 165 if there was room for it on the team. Meanwhile, Kemerer won his Pennsylvania state title at 145 and is coming up from 149 during his redshirt season.
However, Kemerer is a savvy wrestler, especially once shots come down to the mat. He is a better scrambler than Smith, which ended up costing Smith his Scuffle finals against Kutler. The Iowa freshman always seems to know where to take his shots, whether that is re-directing the angle, transitioning to a double or turning it into a scramble.
Kemerer majors NCAA champ Tsirtsis at Midlands
We already have a good idea of how close this match will be, as CP predicted there could be as many as five toss-ups (not including Kemerer/Smith). Along with the matchup of top-ranked Cory Clark against undefeated Kaid Brock, the 157 pound bout is one of the marquee storylines for this dual. Make sure to tune in Sunday at 2pm central for the 51st edition of the best rivalry in college wrestling.
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