Last week the conference tournaments were absolutely insane and I’m not talking about the medical forfeits or seeding head scratchers, I’m talking about the actual action that went down on the mats.
There were some huge upsets last weekend, which ultimately (should have) had an impact on seeding at the NCAA tournament. So instead of talking about it, let’s be like these dudes who pulled off some upsets, and be about it. But just know that my focus was the championship side of the brackets.
7. 141: Chris Sandoval def. Josh Alber, 5-3
I know that Alber got some pretty quick revenge when they met on the backside, but in first round of the tournament Sandoval was the one with his arm raised in victory after taking out the top seed 5-3.
6. 184: Max Dean def. Ryan Preisch, 3-0
Thanks to Max Dean, our very own Christian Pyles has no farms left. In the EIWA finals last season, Preisch didn’t just defeat Dean to win the title, he pinned him, in 4:31 to be exact. But my my what a difference a year makes. Dean just downright controlled Preisch. He dug an underhook and push him all over the mat on their feet then saddled up and rode him for the entire second period to force a second stall warning on Preisch, and got out from bottom. It was workmanlike and Dean was ready for battle this time around.
5. 125: Pat Glory def. Vito Arujau, 10-8
This was high octane from the jump. Scrambles, takedowns, reversal and just about everything that resulted in a 18-point overtime thriller. Now why would I have it in here as an upset? First, because rankings. It’s slight with Arujau coming in as #7 and Glory #9, but still. Second, and this is the impact play here, last time they met, Arujau dominated the match. Coincidentally, he pinned Glory in 4:31 (look at the time stamp in #4 for the coincidence). Big this time around, Glory put up a 10-point round block that Arujau couldn’t overcome.
4. 141: Chad Red def. Mike Carr, 8-4
Was last weekend the return of Strawberry Saucin’? It may have been. Red came firing out the gate with a 49-second fall in the first round then followed it up by taking out the top-seeded Mike Carr in the quarters. He’s had a bit of a shaky season and wasn’t his ultra offensive self until recently, and he’s hitting his stride at the perfect time. He may not have won the Big Ten title, but he showed out and proved that he still has the All-American juice.
3. 165: Demetrius Romero def. Joe Smith, 12-8 SV
If you look at the seeds, this isn’t an upset. But honestly, we all know the truth. Joe Smith may not have the resume at 165 to warrant any type of seeding we all know he’s capable of having, but, he’s an AA and how he competed this season at the Southern Scuffle alone is enough evidence. However, we can throw all that out the window for this one. Early on it was all about Smith. The Romero mounted a serious comeback in the third period and ultimately went on to get the win.
2. 149: Jared Prince def. Matt Kolodzik, 5-4
There’s some EIWA history here. For the past three years now, Kolodzik and Prince have met in the same round of the EIWA Championships and until this year, it was all about Kolodzik. In 2017, Kolo won 3-1, then last year was his biggest margin of victory over Prince with an 8-2 win. But this year was Prince’s time. His two reversals in the second period and ability to hold center and pressure Kolodzik to earn a pair or stalling calls to get the deciding point in the third period is what did it.
1. 285: Anthony Cassar def. Gable Steveson, 4-3
Anthony Cassar’s move up to heavyweight proved to be a good one from the start. Since the beginning of the year we’ve all been talking about the match up with him and Steveson and it did not disappoint whatsoever. But this win only had as much shock value as it did because we watched the young man child that is Gable Steveson, strong arm the heavyweight opposition all season. But Cassar came to scrap and it showed as he not only took down the multiple time Cadet and Junior world champion, but rode him the final seconds of the match to get the win in the finals to give Steveson his first loss of the season.