DI NCAA News And Notes: Week 5

Tony Rotdundo

Good evening, wrestling fans! Again no Nomad to nourish you with Division I news, notes, nuggets, nibblers, and general wrestling tidings. 

But I will faithfully fulfill his duties as the one they call Nomad is flying over our nation’s heartland on his way to Northeast Ohio to cover the 2017 Walsh Jesuit Ironman. Also, sorry to be tardy to the party but CKLV chaos (more on that in a bit) and the annual Flo Holiday Get-Together unavoidably delayed the completion of this report. 

So let’s cut the chitchat and get to it!

The Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Was Bonkers

Creating a Lovecraftian nightmare for humble rankers across the nation, 101 top 20 wrestlers entered the brackets in Vegas and 29 were upset in the championship bracket on the first day alone

The insanity continued on day two. By the end of the carnival of carnage, five top five wrestlers had taken an "L," two of them at the hands of unranked opponents. Nomad has already done the heavy lifting in researching the top 16 upsets of the weekend, all but one of which occurred at the CKLV. 

As an example of the ridiculous depth of this year’s edition of the Cliff Keen Invitational, at least three All-Americans didn’t make the podium: Ryan Millhof, Kevin Beazley, and Brandon Womack. Logan Massa and Ethan Ramos also failed to place, but those two medically forfeited their consolation bouts after falling in the championship round.

From the smoking bracket wreckage emerged 10 champions, who survived what was essentially a half-strength NCAA tournament and deserve a special mention. 

125: Taylor LaMont, Utah Valley

One of the biggest surprises of the tournament, the redshirt freshman from Utah fights his way into All-American contention.


133: Luke Pletcher, Ohio State

The first of three Buckeyes champs, Pletcher wins a weight class harder to figure out then an AP calculus exam.


141: Yianni Diakomihalis, Cornell

Cornell’s cadet freestyle world champ showed why he was such a coveted recruit when he beat Bryce Meredith in the finals.


149: Justin Oliver, Central Michigan

The Chippewas get fired up by Oliver, who swallowed the competition whole with his praying mantis-like body.


157: Alec Pantaleo, Michigan

Pantaleo returns to form, running through a loaded bracket after losing his last six folkstyle matches.


165: David McFadden, Virginia Tech

If you are not pumped about this weight class, you are not paying attention. McFadden fends off upstart Evan Wick to capture a title.


174: Zahid Valencia, Arizona State

Beat BoJo for the second time this season, though it was a closer match this time around.


184: Myles Martin, Ohio State

The 2016 174-pound NCAA champ looked as good as ever at 184 pounds. The weight class has been put on notice.


197: Kollin Moore, Ohio State

The Mountain Man shook off some early round rust and pinned Jared Haught in the finals in a recreation of their third-place match at last season’s NCAAs. 


285: Adam Coon, Michigan

The future astrophysicist of astronomical proportions survived an OT scare in the finals from Tanner Hall to remain undefeated on the year. 


And finally, here's me at the CKLV, directing Te'Shan Campbell and Isaiah White to the official scorekeeper after they tried to check in with me, merely the humble announcer.

Yeah, There Were Also Some Duals This Weekend

Iowa 18, Illinois 17

The Hawkeyes needed a pin from Sam Stoll in the final match secure a victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Luckily, Stoll did his job, sending Terry Brands into the stands for a Hawkeye Hop. You know, like the Lambeau Leap? No? OK, forget Hawkeye Hop then, but anyway, Brands freaked out and it was cool. 

Lock Haven 22, Rutgers 16

Scarlet Knight head coach Scott Goodale lost to his alma mater as the Bald Eagles pulled off a big upset in front of 2,357 fans in a sold-out Thomas Fieldhouse in Lock Haven, PA.

Rider 19, Penn 15

Lehigh 25, Princeton 13

Pennsylvania and New Jersey split matches in the battle for East Coast private school supremacy. 

Penn State 23, Lehigh 19

Lehigh continues to impress as the defending champs needed a victory in the final bout of the evening to escape a sold-out PPL Center with a win. The crowd of 9,896 was a record for a Lehigh “home” dual; however, the match was hosted about 6 miles to the west of campus in neighboring Allentown, PA.

And In Not-Quite-NCAA-DI News

The UWW Womens World Cup went down in Cheboksary, Russia, located on the Volga River in the Chuvash Republic. And what is the Chuvash Republic? Chebok-sorry I asked. 

The Americans took fourth, beating the hometown Russian squad in pool play but falling to eventual champs Japan in the semifinals and to Mongolia in the third-place match.

Many of the athletes from the recently completed World Cup stuck around Cheboksary to participate in Russia Cup on Monday and Tuesday. Victoria Anthony and Mallory Velte led the way in the traditional individual tournament with two gold medals to go with five other American placers.

Thanks to the lateness of these week's roundup, we're only a day away from a whole new weekend of wrestling goodness.  Stay tuned for the soon-to-be-published What 2 Watch 4 coming your way shortly. 

Meet The Dream Team: 2018 Men's Freestyle Credentials

Josh Conklin
Jordan Burroughs Has Earned The Right To Train And Wrestle Where He Wants

Now that Final X is over, our 2018 men's freestyle world team is set. To say expectations are high would be an understatement. 

Cox Can't Be Stopped: Full 2-Match Series

Josh Conklin
Cox Credits Working With Jackson at OTC

Earlier last week, I wrote that J’den Cox would remind us all just how incredible he is this weekend at Final X Lehigh and, man, did he deliver in a huge way to solidify another spot on the world team. 

Nahshon Garrett vs Joe Colon: 3 Match Series

Josh Conklin
Nahshon Decided to Let It Fly

Nahshon Garrett saved his best performance for last as he earned a spot on the men’s Senior freestyle world team with a lightning-quick showing in match three at Final X Lehigh on Saturday in Bethlehem, PA.

Final X - Lehigh Match Notes

Josh Conklin
Gwiazdowski And Coon Will Scrap At Final X

Ladies and gentlepersons, we have arrived at the final, Final X. Can you believe it!? 

Adam Coon Beat Robby Smith Twice Yesterday

Tony Rotundo

Adam Coon had struggled to even keep it close with USA stalwart at 130kg, Robby Smith.  Yesterday at the Greco World Team Trials, Adam Coon took out Robby Smith in two straight matches, stunning wrestling fans around the country.

Everything You Need To Know For Final X: Lehigh

Tony Rotundo
Final X - Lehigh Men's Press Conference

Today's the day!  The last stop for the Final X is Bethlehem, PA in historic Grace Hall (AKA Snakepit).

J'den Cox's Remarkable Hit List

Tony Rotundo
197lbs Finals Jden Cox (Missouri) vs. Conner Hartmann (Duke)

Three-time NCAA champion J'den Cox is a proven performer. He's made the last two world teams and earned a bronze medal in both years, first at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and last year at the Paris World Championships. 

Flo Predicts Final X - Lehigh

Tony Rotundo
Get Pumped For Final X Lehigh

On Saturday evening, the third installment of Final X takes the stage. Six world team series, as well as a handful of true third matchups, will take place at historic Grace Hall on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.

Tech Notes: Haley Augello vs. Sarah Hildebrandt

Tony Rotundo
Final X Lehigh Hype

Sarah Hildebrandt will obviously make adjustments to how she wrestles Haley Augello this time around. Hildebrandt may own a victory over Augello from their 53kg finals bout at the U.S. Open back in April, but winning a match doesn’t always equate to a perfect performance. 

Tech Notes: Victoria Anthony vs. Whitney Conder

Tony Rotundo
Final X Lehigh Hype

Whitney Conder punched her ticket to Final X Lehigh by taking out Victoria Anthony in the finals of the U.S. Open, and now they will go at it once again in the best-of-three series for the 50kg spot on the world team this Saturday at Grace Hall in Bethlehem, PA.