Complete Preview & Predictions - RTC Cup Presented By Titan Mercury

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The pools are set for the RTC Cup Presented by Titan Mercury where we'll see two days of incredible action. Here's a breakdown of the weight classes and the matches we expect to see during pool competition and how they could set up Saturday's bracket.

Watch the 2020 RTC Cup Pres. by TMWC LIVE on FloWrestling

Friday, Dec 4 - Saturday, Dec 5

Ohio RTC vs NJRTC/SERTC (2:00 PM)

This one starts off with 2018 Final X Champion Nahshon Garrett and 2018 U23 World 5th place finisher Jack Mueller. Nahshon's resume and size make him the favorite although Mueller's freestyle savvy is formidable.

The second bout will be critical, and we'll find out how James Green looks coming off the scale. This will be the two-time World medalist's first time wrestling less than 70kg since 2016. If he's fresh, he might be the favorite in any match he has. He'll see either Sammy Sasso or Anthony Echemendia. Both fell short on the Burroughs vs Zahid Card against seasoned opponents, but both are long-term threats at this weight.

Junior World champ Mekhi Lewis will be the favorite in match 3, but Carson Kharchla has the feeling of someone who could open a lot of eyes next weekend. At 86kg, Sammy Brooks will look to get back to his winning ways against Nate Jackson who beat him for the first time in freestyle at the 195 lb 8-Man Challenge in October. Before that, Brooks had two monster comebacks over Jackson. The guarantee when these two have met over the years has been action, and we'll hope to see that again.

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Up at 97kg, Kollin Moore will also try to replicate a win. He beat Ty Walz in a wild 4-4 criteria match at Senior Nationals in October. The final match between Amar Dhesi and Jordan Wood is a rematch from the NCAA quarters where Wood got the 7-3 win.

Ohio RTCWTNJRTC/SERTC
Jack Mueller57Nahshon Garrett
Anthony Echemendia/Sammy Sasso65

James Green/Matt Kolodzik

Carson Kharchla74Mekhi Lewis
Sammy Brooks86Nate Jackson
Kollin Moore97Ty Walz
Amar Dhesi125Jordan Wood

Predictions

Bray: NJRTC/SERTC

CP: NJRTC/SERTC

Bratke: NJRTC/SERTC

Askren: NJRTC/SERTC

Spey: NJRTC/SERTC

JD: Ohio RTC

Ohio RTC vs Spartan Combat RTC (3:00 PM)

Jack Mueller vs Vito Arujau and Anthony Echemendia vs Yianni Diakomihalis are dream matches. In October at Senior Nationals, Mueller and Arujau met for the first time since the 2017 Junior World Team Trials. As expected it was an action packed bout that Vito won 11-6, and a third match between the two should be just as exciting. 

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Yianni's next-level scrambling and Echemendia's power and unique feel create a clash of styles that should yield entertaining exchanges. This just might be the start of a budding rivalry. Yianni's two Cadet World gold medals and two NCAA titles make him the favorite, but Echemendia has been looking forward to this one, and it could be anyone's match.

Carson Kharchla is just a freshman at Ohio State, but he's probably the favorite over Canada's Jevon Balfour who's filling in for Dake. Both teams have replacements at 86kg, so we'll get Sammy Brooks for the Ohio RTC and Drew Foster for Spartan Combat. Brooks has won their two previous meetings, but Foster has been coming on. In their most recent meeting, Foster jumped out to an 8-2 lead but Brooks ended up winning 19-11. Until Foster proves otherwise, Brooks is the favorite.

Kollin Moore is #4 at 97kg domestically, and he'll be the favorite over Boykin. At Heavyweight, Amar Dhesi and Dom Bradley will meet in a rematch of the 2019 Bill Farrell semis. That one was all Bradley, and he'll be the favorite here as well.

Ohio RTCWT

Spartan Combat RTC

Jack Mueller57Vito Arujau
Anthony Echemendia/Sammy Sasso65

Yianni Diakomihalis

Carson Kharchla74Jevon Balfour
Sammy Brooks86

Drew Foster

Kollin Moore97Scotty Boykin
Amar Dhesi125Dom Bradley

Predictions

Bray: Spartan Combat RTC

CP: Ohio RTC

Bratke: Ohio RTC

Askren: Ohio RTC

Spey: Spartan Combat RTC

JD: Ohio RTC

Spartan Combat RTC vs NJRTC/SERTC (4:00 PM)

This dual starts off with a bang when former training partners Nahshon Garrett and Vito Arujau meet for the first time in a match. Vito is one of the top challengers at 57kg, but since this match is +3 kilos, Nahshon's size could be a big factor. Familiarity could help Vito, but Nahshon is the favorite.

James Green vs Yianni Diakomihalis sounds like a hypothetical match posed by wrestling superfans, but we could actually see it! At this point, Green will have been off the scale for several hours, but the cut could still have lingering effects. He has made five consecutive World Teams and brought home two medals, so he's the favorite, but Yianni's senior level progression suggests he could definitely win this match.

Junior World champ Mekhi Lewis will be the favorite over Jevon Balfour at 74kg. At 86kg, we'll see a rematch of a semi from this year's Senior Nationals between Nate Jackson and Drew Foster. Jackson won that one 7-4, and we should expect a competitive rematch. Spartan Combat will probably need Foster to flip that result to have a shot at winning this dual. Foster is capable as he beat Jackson during their college days.

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Ty Walz is the favorite at 97kg over Scotty Boykin, and the veteran Dom Bradley is the favorite over Jordan Wood at 125kg. 

Spartan Combat RTCWTNJRTC/SERTC
Vito Arujau57Nahshon Garrett
Yianni Diakomihalis65

James Green/Matt Kolodzik

Jevon Balfour74Mekhi Lewis
Drew Foster86Nate Jackson
Scotty Boykin97Ty Walz
Dom Bradley125Jordan Wood

Predictions

Bray: NJRTC/SERTC

CP: NJRTC/SERTC

Bratke: NJRTC/SERTC

Askren: NJRTC/SERTC

Spey: Spartan Combat RTC

JD: NJRTC/SERTC

Cliff Keen WC vs Gopher WC (6:00 PM)

Seth Gross is filling in for Stevan Micic who will be heading to Serbia for the UWW Individual World Cup, and he'll be a favorite over either Sanders or Russell. It will be interesting to see if Dylan Ragusin takes the mat for Cliff Keen as he had a technical superiority win over Sean Russell in the Senior Nationals semis.

The combination of Habat and Pantaleo has just a little more senior level seasoning that Gopher WC's McKee, Lee combo, so Cliff Keen is favored here, but don't forget that Mitch McKee made a Junior World final and has a devastating head-pinch.

Logan Massa and Evan Wick have quite a rivalry in Folkstyle. Wick is 3-2 vs Massa in college matches, but the two haven't hit recently in freestyle. Massa's two consecutive Senior Nationals titles give him the edge, but this one is intriguing.

At 86kg, Myles Amine is a heavy favorite over Pfarr or Skatzka. His hard-earned Olympic qualification proves that he's one of the top 86kg freestylers in the world. Zillmer and Dudley met twice at Senior Nationals in the quarterfinals and 3rd place bout and Zillmer won both times. The first match was close but the second wasn't.

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At heavyweight, we have all kinds of possible matches, but the one people are most curious about is Gable Steveson vs Mason Parris. Gable has gotten the better of Mason in the past, including the 2020 Big Ten finals, but they haven't had a senior level freestyle match. Gable is the favorite, but Mason is right there.

Cliff Keen WCWTGopher WC
Seth Gross/Dylan Ragusin57

Zach Sanders/Sean Russell

David Habat/Alec Pantaleo65

Mitch McKee/Brayton Lee

Logan Massa/Malik Amine74

Evan Wick/Elroy Perkin

Myles Amine/Dominic Abounader86

Brett Pfarr/Devin Skatzka

Timothy Dudley97Hayden Zillmer
Mason Parris/Adam Coon/Youssif Hemida125

Gable Steveson/Tony Nelson

Predictions

Bray: Cliff Keen WC

CP: Cliff Keen WC

Bratke: Cliff Keen WC

Askren: Cliff Keen WC

Spey: Cliff Keen WC

JD: Cliff Keen WC

Cliff Keen WC vs Wolfpack WC (7:00 PM)

We could see a matchup of NCAA Champions right out of the gate here as Seth Gross and Darian Cruz are in the lineup for these two squads. Gross won when they met in the 2019 Bill Farrell semis, so we'll see if Cruz has made the right adjustments.

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Both Habat and Pantaleo have had more freestyle success than Jack or Wilson, so Cliff Keen will expect to win at 65kg. At 74kg, Massa could see Hidlay, who finished 3rd at Senior Nationals, or Gantt, who split with Massa in 2019. Either matchup would be incredible, but Massa is the highest ranked US wrestler of this group at #6, so he's the favorite.

Myles Amine makes four favorites in a row for Cliff Keen. He was 5th in the world in 2019 and the most accomplished of this group, but Reenan was second on the US ladder in 2018 to David Taylor. If he can find that form, he could make this interesting.

Mike Macchiavello was 3-0 against Tim Dudley in 2019 between the US Open and World Team Trials, and the Wolfpack WC will be counting on him here.

The 125kg bout is the most anticipated match of this dual. We should find out how prepared Junior World champ Mason Parris is for senior level success when he takes on two-time World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski in this heavyweight super pool.

The Wolfpack WC can certainly pull off an upset in one of the first four matches, but the Cliff Keen WC is expected to win this dual.

Cliff Keen WCWTWolfpack WC
Seth Gross/Dylan Ragusin57Darian Cruz/Jakob Camacho
David Habat/Alec Pantaleo65

Kevin Jack/Tariq Wilson

Logan Massa/Malik Amine74

Hayden Hidlay/Tommy Gantt

Myles Amine/Dominic Abounader86

Nick Reenan

Timothy Dudley97

Michael Macchiavello/Timmy McCall

Mason Parris/Adam Coon/Youssif Hemida125

Nick Gwiazdowski/Owen Trephan

Predictions

Bray: Cliff Keen WC

CP: Cliff Keen WC

Bratke: Cliff Keen WC

Askren: Cliff Keen WC

Spey: Wolfpack WC

JD: Cliff Keen WC

Wolfpack WC vs Gopher WC (8:00 PM)

The final dual of day 1, starts with Darian Cruz against either Zach Sanders or Sean Russell. Cruz's recent addition to the squad is critical as he was 2-1 against Sanders and 1-0 against Russell in 2019.

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The Gopher WC just might have the edge at 65kg as Junior World silver medalist Mitch McKee's freestyle accomplishments are a notch above Jack and Wilson's.

At 74kg, Wick has battled both Hidlay and Gantt in the past. He has split with Hidlay but lost their most recent meeting in the 3rd place bout at Senior Nationals. He lost a 10-4 match to Gantt in 2019 as well. Wolfpack may be the on paper favorites here, but this is a coin flip.

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Hidlay will be the favorite over Pfarr at 86kg based on their results at Senior Nationals, and Macchiavello is favored over Zillmer at 97kg since he won when they met at the World Team Trials in 2019.

That sets up a rematch from Final X in 2019 between Gable Steveson and Nick Gwiazdowski. Gwiz won both matches in that best of three series on criteria. He showed the ability to score late, coming from behind in both of those matches to get the better of Gable.

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The Wolfpack WC is in position to win this dual. If they do, and if the other two duals play out according to paper, pool B will finish like this 1) Cliff Keen WC, 2) Wolfpack WC, 3) Gopher WC.

Wolfpack WCWTGopher WC
Darian Cruz/Jakob Camacho57

Zach Sanders/Sean Russell

Kevin Jack/Tariq Wilson65

Mitch McKee/Brayton Lee

Hayden Hidlay/Tommy Gantt74

Evan Wick/Elroy Perkin

Nick Reenan86

Brett Pfarr/Devin Skatzka

Michael Macchiavello/Timmy McCall97Hayden Zillmer
Nick Gwiazdowski/Owen Trephan125Gable Steveson/Tony Nelson

Predictions

Bray: Wolfpack WC

CP: Wolfpack WC

Bratke: Wolfpack WC

Askren: Wolfpack WC

Spey: Wolfpack WC

JD: Wolfpack WC


The Bracket

The duals above are just the ones we know we'll see, but don't forget that these bouts all build toward Saturday's bracketed tournament. The first place finishers in each pool will have a bye to the semis while the second place finisher from each pool will wrestle the third place finisher from the opposite pool in the quarterfinals.

Based on the on-paper predictions above, that would mean that the Cliff Keen WC would see the winner of the NJRTC/SERTC and the Gopher WC while the Spartan Combat RTC would wait for the winner of the Wolfpack WC and the Ohio RTC. Don't count on the bracket looking exactly like this though. Somebody's going to pull an upset and topple this whole thing.

Regardless of how the bracket gets seeded, it's worth knowing that the quarterfinal losers will meet for 5th, semifinal losers will meet for 3rd, and semifinal winners will square off for the $50,000 grand prize. Check out the team's predictions for who takes home the $50,000 grand prize:

Predictions

Bray: Cliff Keen WC

CP: Cliff Keen WC

Bratke: Cliff Keen WC

Askren: Cliff Keen WC

Spey: Spartan Combat WC

JD: Cliff Keen WC


Weight Class Previews

We've broken down each of the six weight classes that will be on display, so if you want to read more about each of them, dig in.

57kg: 57kg Mercenaries Could Swing The RTC Cup

65kg: Who Will Steal The Show At 65kg At The RTC Cup?

74kg: 74kg Grudge Matches On The Menu At The RTC Cup

86kg: Amine vs Domestic 86kg Standouts At The RTC Cup

97kg: 

125kg: Get Excited: 125 kg Will Be An Olympic Trials Preview This Weekend


In-Depth Interviews

Gable Steveson Full Interview Before The 2020 RTC Cup

The Full Kyle Dake Interview Before The 2020 RTC Cup

Yianni Diakomihalis Full Interview

Gabe Dean: Uncensored

Vito Arujau Full Interview Before The 2020 RTC Cup

Match Notes: #15 Ohio State vs #22 Rutgers Goes To The Wire

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We've got Sunday Big Ten wrestling on tap between #8 Ohio State and #14 Rutgers. The action starts at 12:00 PM EST, 11:00 CT. With 12 ranked individuals including #1 Sebastian Rivera at 141 and #1 Sammy Sasso at 149, this will be an action-packed dual.

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Match Notes: #4 Nebraska Overpowers #24 Northwestern

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It's a great afternoon for a Big Ten Live Blog, in my humble estimation.

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Match Notes: Iowa Routes Minnesota 35-4

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#1 Iowa cemented they would be the team to beat this year with a dominant performance last week against top ten tournament and #4 dual ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. Now they're back on the mat against a tough Big Ten opponent in #12 Minnesota.

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Live Updates: #14 Pittsburgh vs #5 NC State

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Keep up to speed with everything going down between #14 Pittsburgh and #5 NC State with live updates of every second. Be sure to refresh often. My friend and enemy Christian Pyles live blogged the other top 20 showdown in the ACC, #19 Virginia vs #10 Virginia Tech, right here. 

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Virginia Tech Downs UVA, 19-15

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Virginia Tech holds off a scrappy UVA team in Blacksburg, VA!  Check out all the details below.  

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6 Reasons To Watch Oklahoma vs UNI & Iowa State

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Oklahoma makes its way to West Gym on Sunday for a pair of duals against Northern Iowa and Iowa State. This event is packed with 16 ranked wrestlers and 5 ranked matchups and plenty of good reasons to tune in.

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How to Watch: 2021 Oklahoma vs Iowa State

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Here's how to watch the 2021 Oklahoma vs Iowa State on FloWrestling.

SIx Michigan High School Wrestlers To Watch In 2021

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With eight nationally-ranked wrestlers, 26 returning state champions and 11 Division 1 recruits (and counting), the state of Michigan is loaded with grappling talent. 

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Why Penn State Has A Mountain To Climb, & Why They Still Can

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In order for Penn State to maintain its run of dominance, a new crop of youngsters will need to get up to speed quickly. That's a tall order for a number of reasons, but if anyone can lead a fresh group of wrestlers to a title, it's Cael Sanderson and company. Here's why this crop of Nittany Lions has a number of obstacles in its way, and why they just might be up for the challenge.

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How to Watch: 2021 Oklahoma vs Northern Iowa.

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Here's how to watch the 2021 Oklahoma vs Northern Iowa. on FloWrestling.