The 2018 Southern Scuffle brackets have dropped and we’ve got reactions from CP and Spey. Guess who did which weights!
The lightest weight was seeded as expected. The weight has some serious elite talent with Darian Cruz, Daton Fix and Jay Schwarm. The best early match looks to be Gabe Townsell vs Louie Hayes in a battle of Illinois natives. The Schwarm/Fix semi will be a fantastic contrast of styles. I don’t see anyone stopping Darian Cruz from making the finals here.
The best round 1 match at this weight is Rudy Yates of UNI vs Nathan Boston of Campbell. On the top side, Scott Parker will have a game quarter final bout against the Colby Smith/Jamel Morris winner. Penn State’s Corey Keener looks set up well to make a run to the semi’s if he can get by Northern Colorado’s Rico Montoya. Gary Wayne Harding is in Keener’s section and could play spoiler if he’s wrestling well.
The winner of the Yates/Boston match will take on Cole Manley, winner there gets American sensation/power plant/stud wrestler Austin DeSanto. DeSanto and Mueller look to be on a collision course for another meeting. Mueller has won their two meetings, but their first meeting was very competitive.
On the top side Brian Courtney vs Josh Alber in round 2 will be interesting if nothing else. Alber is probably too solid for Courtney’s scrambles. PSU’s Nick Lee has a great run to the quarter where he will likely face CSU Bakerfield’s Russel Rohlfing. Lee is a great leg attacker, while Rohlfing has some amazing scrambling ability. If Lee wins, he’ll likely face Alber in the semi’s.
Down below, Kaden Gfeller and Jered Cortez look close to being a guaranteed quarter based on their path. Gfeller is a stud, but still a big inexperienced. He’s complete in all phases, and could have a strength/size advantage over Cortez. Luke Karam will need to get by Nic Gil to get to the Cortez/Gfeller winner in the semi’s.
Nothing jumps out majorly in this weight. Zain will roll throughout with no issues. Max Thomsen will have a pretty tough draw for the two seed. He’ll face Cortlandt Schuyler in round 2, then Ok State’s Tristan Moran in the quarterfinals. Moran is a real talent that Thomsen will have to be ready for. Jarod Verkleeren is also in the bottom half and could see App State’s Matt Zovistoski in the 2nd round. The winner of that match could take on Navy’s high flyer Jared Prince.
How about Quentin Hovis and Cam Coy in round 1? Both guys were ranked #1 at different points in their high school career. Keep an eye on Drexel’s Garrett Hammond, he’s been a solid guy before, but he’s been out of the mix for awhile. He’s down in Cole Hammond and Ian Brown’s quarter which is navigable. The winner of that bunch will likely have Mitch Finesilver in the semi.
No seed for No. 18 Lorenzo De La Riva. He could be trouble for the five seed, Drew Daniels in the round of 16.
Cleveland State’s highly touted true freshman Greg Poullas has Campbell’s national qualifier Quentin Perez in the round of 32. The winner will likely see the No. 3 seed Bryce Steiert, making for a very tough early foursome.
We could see some fireworks in the bottom half of the bracket, as Virginia Tech’s redshirting freshman Mekhi Lewis has entered unattached and received the No. 7 seed. He may see Oklahoma State’s redshirting junior and two-time All-American, Joseph Smith, in the quarterfinals.
Waiting for everyone at the top of the bracket is Penn State’s returning champ (the third of five here with No. 1 seeds), Vincenzo Joseph. He could see Lock Haven's Chance Marsteller in the semifinals. How insane of a semifinal would that be? It could be the match of the tournament, and certainly the most anticipated non-finals match.
The top two seeds, Mark Hall and Jordan Kutler, already wrestled each other in a dual this season, but it was a close one, setting all Scuffle watcher's sights on a finals rematch.
174 has one of the more intriguing 4 v 5 seed matchups. We could see Stanford’s Keaton Subjeck and Navy’s Jadaen Bernsten in the quarterfinals. Subjeck is a classic scrambler whereas Bernstein is known for his upper body throws. The two top 20 ranked All-American contenders will make for an electric clash of styles.
Bo Nickal looms over an otherwise wide open bracket. One guy to keep an eye on is North Carolina State’s redshirting sophomore Nick Reenan. Reenan snagged the No. 5 seed. He should make it at least to the quarters where he’ll likely see Navy’s Michael Coleman. If Reenan wins he’ll be a massive underdog against Nickal. If Reenan ends up in the wrestle backs he should be problems for anyone else in the bracket.
There are several worthy candidates to make the finals from the bottom half of the bracket. Don’t sleep on the hometown hero Bryce Carr of Chattanooga as the No. 3 seed. Northern Iowa’s All-American Drew Foster looks to be his toughest competition in would could be a monster semifinal battle.
Penn State has three potential place winners entered. Anthony Cassar has the No. 1 seed. On the lower half of the bracket, neither Shakur Rasheed nor three-time NCAA qualifier Matt McCutcheon received seeds. Rasheed will look to upset the six seed Jacob Seely in the round of 16 and No. 3 Scottie Boykin in the quarters — although Virginia Tech’s redshirting freshman John Borst may have other plans for Boykin in the Round of 16.
McCutcheon will likely see Lehigh’s Chris Weiler in the round of 16. If he get’s by him, the two time blood rounder will probably have CSU-Bakersfield’s Matt Williams, the No. 2 seed, in the quarters.
Utah Valley’s Dustin Dennison drew a pigtail match. He’s been on the bubble of the top 20 all year. If he wins his first two matches he’ll probably see a very tough Jordan Wood of Lehigh in the round of 16.
Hofstra’s Mike Hughes got the No. 3 seed but he doesn’t have an easy round to the semis. Utah Valley’s second heavyweight, Tanner Orndorff, is a brutal round of 16 match up. Lock Haven’s Thomas Haines is ranked eleventh nationally but only received the No. 6 seed at the Scuffle. He will be a handful and then some for Hughes in the quarterfinals.
Looking ahead to the finals, Duke’s Jacob Kasper and Penn State’s Nick Nevills appear on a collision course for their fourth career collegiate match. Kasper won the first round in the quarterfinals of the 2017 NCAA tournament, but Nevills won the 5th place match at the same tournament and then won the rubber match in the finals of the Keystone Classic early this season.
With six of the ten champs from last March here in Chattanooga, we are spoiled for talent at the Southern Scuffle. Get ready to kick of 2018 in style as the action starts at 9:00AM ET on New Year’s day. See you then!