2019 Midlands Championships

Midlands 157 Is Too Deep

Midlands 157 Is Too Deep

Ryan Deakin, Kaleb Young, Quincy Monday, and Kendall Coleman. Midlands 157 is one of the best brackets of the season.

Dec 27, 2019 by David Bray
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Midlands and Scuffle week often give the wrestling community some of the best late Christmas presents we could ask for. This year's Midlands 157 bracket is one of those gifts we really don't deserve.

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Midlands and Scuffle week often give the wrestling community some of the best late Christmas presents we could ask for. This year's Midlands 157 bracket is one of those gifts we really don't deserve.

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First, take a look at the loaded field that will be in Midlands at 157 this year. Eleven ranked wrestlers enter this weight class, so at least three ranked guys won't even make the quarterfinals. If the seeding committee were to use our rankings as seeds, here's what they would be:

1: #1 Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)

2: #5 Kendall Coleman (Purdue)

3: #6 Quincy Monday (Princeton)

4: #8 Kaleb Young (Iowa)

5: #9 Anthony Artalona (Penn)

6: #13 Justin Ruffin (SIUE)

7: #16 AC Headlee (North Carolina)

8: #18 Justin Thomas (Oklahoma)

9: #21 Mason Kauffman (Northern Illinois)

10: #22 Eric Barone (Illinois)

11: #25 Logan Parks (Central Michigan)

Quarterfinals: 4 First-Time Matchups

If the rankings become the seeds, we'll see the following quarterfinals:

#1 Ryan Deakin vs #18 Justin Thomas

#5 Kendall Coleman vs #16 AC Headlee

#6 Quincy Monday vs #13 Justin Ruffin

#8 Kaleb Young vs #9 Anthony Artalona

We haven't seen any of these matchups yet, so this would be a fun round. Deakin would be expected to cruise through this quarter as he has looked dominant so far this season.

The Coleman vs Headlee quarterfinal is a bit more interesting. While Coleman will be favored and has looked outstanding so far this year, Headlee is a savvy veteran who is up at 157 this year for the first time. He already had an win over another solid freshman, Will Lewan, when North Carolina wrestled a dual at Michigan.

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Quincy Monday has established himself as one of the top guys at this weight and should win against Justin Ruffin, but the SIUE sophomore could make things interesting. He's coming off a week in which he upset then #4 Larry Early and has proven that he can notch high-level wins.

Young and Artalona are ranked 8th and 9th respectively. Young started the year at #2 after his All-American finish while Artalona is new to 157 after a round of 12 finish at 149 at last year's NCAA tournament. Despite the close ranking, Young will be the clear favorite here.

A Rematch and a Dream Match in the Semi's

If the seeds hold to the semifinals, the top half of the bracket could feature round 4 in the Ryan Deakin vs Kaleb Young series. Deakin won their first meeting at the Midlands last year, but Kaleb Young won their two meetings at last year's NCAA tournament.

Deakin's win was a 6-2 decision while both of Kaleb Young's wins were relatively high-scoring matches that were decided by Young takedowns in sudden victory.

Deakin has looked outstanding so far this year while Young already has a couple of losses. Based on the first couple months of the season, it's hard to imagine Young beating Deakin, but strange things can happen when familiar opponents meet. Circle this match as one of the top semifinals of the entire tournament.

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The second semi at this weight would be #5 Kendall Coleman against #6 Quincy Monday. Both of these guys have significantly improved over their performances from past seasons and appear to be All-American contenders at 157.

This match features two youngsters with two of the most exciting styles in the country, and this semifinal could be the first match between opponents who could become very familiar with one another throughout their careers.

Youth vs Experience in the Finals

If seeds continue to hold, we'll see Coleman vs Deakin in the finals. Coleman has had a very solid season, but he has not yet earned a win over someone as solid as Deakin. His losses to #2 Hidlay and #3 Carr at CKLV suggest that he wasn't quite ready for that level of competition a few weeks ago. We'll see what kinds of adjustments he's made for Midlands.

Ryan Deakin, on the other hand, has looked almost untouchable so far this year with convincing wins over Hidlay and Carr. It's hard to see him losing this match. Still, the depth at this weight and the intriguing potential matchups make this one of the top brackets of the year.