The Next Test For Every #1

As the first semester of the college wrestling comes to a close, we have yet to see a top-ranked wrestler in Division I go down. But there is plenty of season left to wrestle and opportunities for them to be unseated from their thrones.

So let's go through and identify the next big test for each of the #1s, some of which come as soon as this weekend.

125 | Nathan Tomasello (Ohio St.), SR: 0-0

Next Test: Sunday, January 7th at Rutgers

We have yet to see Tomasello wrestle this season, but he is supposed to be coming back around this time. It would not shock us if Ohio State coach Tom Ryan decided against Tomasello's first match of the year being against #2 Nick Suriano (or #3 Ethan Lizak five days later). And while we're at it, let's throw in the potential for a Spencer Lee match on Jan. 21.

133 | Seth Gross (South Dakota St.), JR: 6-0

Next Test: December 29-30 at Midlands [LIVE ON FLO]

Last year, Gross' only loss prior to the NCAA finals was in the Midlands semis; however, that was against All-American Eric Montoya. There won't be any other Top-10 guys there, but it's his last major tournament before Big 12s.

141 | Dean Heil (Oklahoma St.), SR: 10-0

Next Test: Tuesday, Dec. 19, at Wyoming [LIVE ON FLO]

Heil is 4-0 all-time against Wyoming's Bryce Meredith, but every match was within three points. The Big 12 match had the most misleading score, as Heil scored all the takedowns in a 10-7 win. A few weeks after the Wyoming dual, Heil battles Kevin Jack in Naples, Italy.

149 | Zain Retherford (Penn St.), SR: 8-0

Next Test: Saturday, Feb. 10, vs. Iowa

Given Zain's dominance, it was tempting to just put the U.S. Open. But then we look back to one of the best matches of the 2016-17 season, when Brandon Sorensen pushed him to the brink in a 9-8 overtime barn burner at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

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157 | Jason Nolf (Penn St.), JR: 8-0

Next Test: Monday-Tuesday, Jan. 1-2, at Southern Scuffle [LIVE ON FLO]

Nolf's closest match last year was five points, and he has seven pins and a tech so far this season. So the test by itself could be seeing what happens if someone keeps it close with Nolf, something maybe Alec Pantaleo could do based on his performance at CKLV.

165 | Vincenzo Joseph (Penn St.), SO: 3-0

Next Test: Monday-Tuesday, Jan. 1-2, at Southern Scuffle [LIVE ON FLO]

Cenzo missed both the Keystone Classic and Lehigh matches, allegedly due to weight issues. We'll see if he wrestles this Sunday against Indiana and then cross our fingers that he'll get the opportunity to be pushed at the Scuffle.

174 | Zahid Valencia (Arizona St.), SO: 10-0

Next Test: Friday, Feb. 9, vs. Lehigh

Zahid impressed me enough at CKLV to feel he won't be pushed by what is, on paper, a less impressive Midlands field. But a match with Lehigh's Jordan Kutler would give Valencia the opportunity to wrestle every wrestler ranked between second and fifth this year.

184 | Bo Nickal (Penn St.), JR: 8-0

Next Test: Saturday, Feb. 3, vs. Ohio State

Since this is in the regular season, the oddsmakers favor Nickal against Ohio State's Myles Martin, whom Nickal has previously beaten 4-3, 11-5, and 8-2. Meanwhile, Nickal is 1-2 against Martin in March, splitting at the Big Ten championships and losing in the NCAA finals. Martin has the most recent win, as you can see below. Given their history and the team race, this one should probably be the match that closes out the national tournament in Cleveland this year.

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197 | Kollin Moore (Ohio St.), SO: 10-0

Next Test: Sunday, Jan. 21, vs. Iowa

We have no idea if Pat Downey will be eligible to wrestle for Iowa next semester and if he will even go 197. But considering Moore's schedule the rest of the way, I would circle this date just to be safe.

285 | Kyle Snyder (Ohio St.), SR: 3-0

Next Test: Sunday, Feb. 11, at Michigan

The last time Snyder wrestled Michigan's Adam Coon was in the 2016 Big Ten finals, where Coon was the one seed and Snyder was the two seed. It was just a 7-4 decision for Snyder, who at that time had yet to win an NCAA title and was "only" a junior and senior world champ.

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By The Numbers: Iowa & Oklahoma State's Season So Far

The Hawkeyes and Cowboys are on a collision course scheduled for impact on Sunday, February 24th in historic Gallagher-Iba Arena. Both teams are loaded, with marquee matchups slated for just about every weight. Both teams have also gone through plenty of changes this season. We breakdown their respective journeys below. 

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Second Coaches Poll And RPI Breakdown

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The second coaches' poll was released this week, this time with an RPI accompaniment. Over 400 individual wrestlers made at least one of the lists. We've copied those two lists at the end of this article. Before them is a breakdown of the implications of both lists. 

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Daton Fix's Path To The 1 Seed At NCAAs

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Daton Fix came into his redshirt freshman year as one of the most hyped recruits in history, having won a Junior world title in 2017 and wrestling in Final X before ever wearing the Oklahoma State singlet.

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Iowa Travels To Wisconsin On Sunday With B1G Seeding Implications At 165

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Iowa finishes up their Big Ten schedule this weekend, starting with senior day against Indiana at Carver Hawkeye on Friday. Two days later, they make the trip to Madison to close out their conference duals.

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Can Oklahoma State End Missouri's 35-Match Winning Streak This Saturday?

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The #4 Oklahoma State Cowboys and #10 Missouri Tigers renew their rivalry this weekend in Columbia. The home team owns a 35-dual winning streak, which includes last year's 21-19 win in Stillwater.

Chris Ayers' 7 Ways To Defend A Leg Rider

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Plenty of us have had trouble with a tough/savvy leg rider. 

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Jody Strittmatter's Spencer Lee-Like Top Game

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Spencer Lee is an absolute hammer on top. 

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FRL 353: 165lb Big Ten Seeds + Micic/Suriano Will Tell Us A Lot About 133

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FRL 353 - 165lb Big Ten Seeds + Micic/Suriano Will Tell Us A Lot About 133

What 2 Watch 4: It's Game Time

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Do nothing but watch wrestling this weekend. Don't even think about doing anything else. I've got all the links and matchups for you right here. If you screw up this weekend by not watching wrestling, you have only yourself to blame!

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PIAA AAA Recap: Bethlehem Catholic On Historic Run

For the third time this year Bethlehem Catholic defeated Northampton. The all District 11 final provided plenty of drama as the Konkrete Kids pushed the Golden Hawks to the limit in the final dual of the year. All bouts are archived on FloArena and can be played on-demand. Here are some finals thoughts from Hershey.

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