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2005 Midlands Championships Pre-Seeds released

Developed from preview material provided by Kevin Morales of Northwestern University. National ranking based upon NWCA/Intermat/NWMA Div. I individual rankings of December 20

125 pounds

Defending Midlands champion Nick Simmons of Michigan State appears to be the early favorite entering this year's tournament. Simmons holds a No. 4 national ranking coming in this year. Simmons doesn't have an easy road to a repeat. Luke Eustice of the Hawkeye Training Club, a former Iowa wrestler who is on the national freestyle circuit, will have a strong chance to win. Northwestern's ninth-ranked John Velez has a legitimate chance of battling for the 125-pound title, competing on his home mats. Returning 2004 Midlands place winners - Iowa's Luke Magnani (4th), Central Michigan's Luke Smith (6th) and Adams State's Rob McCabe (8th) certainly could make a run in this year's tournament. Smith holds a No. 17 national ranking in the most recent NWCA poll. Another top challenger will be Tanner Gardner of Stanford, who is presently ranked No. 11 in the Div. I rankings.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 125 pounds
1. Nick Simmons, Michigan State
2. Luke Eustice, Hawkeye Training Club
3. John Velez (Northwestern)
4. Luke Magnani (Iowa)
5. Tanner Gardner (Stanford)
6. Luke Smith (Central Michigan)
7. Pat Castillo (Northern Illinois)
8. Rob McCabe (Adams State)

133 pounds

This weight class seems to be a wide-open affair, with a number of wrestlers with legitimate shots at taking home the gold. None of the entries have set themselves apart from the others in the field. Jason Borrelli of Central Michigan is at the top of the preseeds, and holds a No. 11 national ranking. Matt Valenti of Penn is ranked right behind him at No. 12 in the NWCA/Intermat poll. The highest ranked wrestler in the preseeds is Robbie Preston of Harvard at No. 9. Others with national rankings who look to challenge are Scott Jorgensen of Boise State (No. 15) and Seth Lisa of West Virginia (No. 17). Sam Hiatt of Northern Illinois and Andrae Hernandez of Indiana are also among the challengers. An interesting competitor who could have an impact is Erkin Tadzhimetov of Utah Valley State, a native of Uzbekistan. Utah Valley State is not yet eligible to compete at the NCAA Div. I Tournament, but Tadzhimetov, a senior, has shown his abilities competing at many major college competitions.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 133 pounds
1. Jason Borrelli, Central Michigan
2. Matt Valenti, Penn
3. Robbie Preston, Harvard
4. Scott Jorgensen, Boise State
5. Sam Hiatt, Northern Illinois
6. Seth Lisa, West Virginia
7. Andrae Hernandez, Indiana
8. Erkin Tadzhimetov, Utah Valley State

141 pounds

2004 Midlands champion Nate Gallick of Iowa State, who was a 2005 NCAA runnerup and holds a No. 2 national ranking at this time, is the early favorite. Gallick had a great summer, taking second on the Senior level at the World Team Trials and winning a University World Games gold medal. At least seven other nationally-ranked wrestlers will also compete for the title, led by No. 4 Andy Simmons of Michigan State, a legitimate threat to win it all. Others with national rankings heading into the tournament are No. 8 Ryan Lang of Northwestern, No.8 Josh Wooten of Northern Illinois, No. 11th-ranked Alex Tsirtsis of Iowa, Harvard's No. 16 Max Metzler, No. 17 Brandon Rader of West Virginia and No. 20 Cassio Pero of Illinois. Rader is one of the freshmen who have already made an impact on the college scene this year.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 141 pounds
1. Nate Gallick, Iowa State
2. Andy Simmons, Michigan State
3. Ryan Lang, Northwestern
4. Max Meltzer, Harvard
5. Alex Tsirtsis, Iowa
6. Josh Wooten, Northern Illinois
7. Cassio Pero, Illinois
8. Brandon Rader, West Virginia

149 pounds

Another defending Midlands champion returns with hopes of a repeat as Iowa's No. 2 ranked Ty Eustice enters the 2005 competition. He could face a former Iowa star and now rising freestyle talente Cliff Moore of the Hawkeye Training Club in the finals if the pre-seeds hold. Two 2004 Midlands placewinners, Central Michigan's Mark DiSalvo and Michigan State's Darren McKnight, look to seriously challenge. DiSalvo is having a breakthrough season, holding a No. 5 national ranking, while McKnight comes in with a No. 15 ranking. There are numerous ranked wrestlers primed to make a run at the title, including No. 6 Ryan Hurley of Cleveland State, No. 7 Doug Withstandley of Purdue, No. 8 Mike Grives of Northern Illinois and No. 12 Anthony Baza of Cal-State Bakersfield. Donald Lockett, who finished third in the Midlands at 141 lbs. in 2004 while competing for San Francisco State, amy compete unattached at 149 lbs.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 149 pounds
1. Ty Eustice, Iowa
2. Cliff Moore, Hawkeye Training Club
3. Mark DiSalvo, Central Michigan
4. Mike Grimes, Northern Illinois
5. Doug Withstandley, Purdue
6. Ryan Hurley, Cleveland State
7. Darren McKnight, Michigan State
8. Anthony Baza, Cal-State Bakersfield

157 pounds

This weight class is loaded with talent, and could very well be a preview of the NCAA Div. I Championships, as the top five ranked wrestlers in the most current NWCA/Intermat rankings are expected to enter. This includes No. 1 Alex Tirapelle of Illinois, No. 2 Joe Johnston of Iowa, No. 3 Brandon Becker of Indiana, No. 4 Trent Paulson of Iowa State and No. 5 Matt Lebe of West Virginia. The Midlands preseeds have them in a different order than the national rankings, with Tirapelle, Paulson, Johnston and Lebe in the top four spots and Becker in the sixth position. Unattached Jeremiah Jarvis is expected in the mix, with a pre-seed at No. 5. Among the others in the field are nationally ranked Ben Cherrington of Boisie State (No. 9) and Eric Neil of Central Michigan (No. 16). Fendryk Sherwood of Sacred Heart looks to make an impact at this division as well. This weight class looks to have one of the deepest fields for the 2005 Midlands.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 157 pounds
1. Alex Tirapelle, Illinois
2. Trent Paulson, Iowa State
3. Joe Johnston, Iowa
4. Matt Lebe, West Virginia
5. Jeremiah Jarvis, unattached
6. Brandon Becker, Indiana
7. Ben Cherrington, Boise State
8. Eric Neil, Central Michigan

165 pounds

This weight class opens up after 2004 champion Mark Perry of Iowa moved up to 174 pounds. Last year's runner up Travis Paulson of Iowa State, who is ranked at No. 7 in the latest NWCA poll, becomes the favorite entering the tournament. It is a post-collegian, Jared Frayer, who brings a wealth of experience and talent to the field, and could be the best bet among those on the national freestyle circuit to win the major folkstyle event. No. 8 Nick Baima of Northern Illinois and No. 17 Will Durkee of Northwestern are the other Div. I nationally ranked wrestlers in the field. Zac Fryling is expected to be among the contenders. Three athletes from other NCAA divisions are in the preseeds, with Div. II wrestlers Evan Copeland of Adams State and J.D. Naig of Nebraska-Omaha in the mix, as well as Div. III Garret South of Luther.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 165 pounds
1. Travis Paulson, Iowa State
2. Jared Frayer, unattached
3. Nick Baima, Northern Iowa
4. Donny Reynolds, Illinois
5. Zac Fryling, unattached
6. Will Durkee, Northwestern
7. Garrett South, Luther
8. Evan Copeland, Adams State
9. J.D. Naig, Nebraska-Omaha

174 pounds

Northwestern's second-ranked Jake Herbert took home the 174-pound title in 2004 and enters the 2005 tournament as a favorite He will be challenged by another 2004 Midlands champion, third-ranked Mark Perry of Iowa who moved up to 174 lbs. this year after competing at 165 lbs. in 2004. Perry is ranked at No. 3 in the most recent NWCA rankings. No. 5 Matt Palmer of Colombia is hoping to use the Midlands as a way to push himself higher on the national scene. This weight class becomes even more interesting when you consider the other top-ranked wrestlers in the field, No. 9 Ken Robertson of Eastern Illinois, No. 10 R.J. Boudro of Michigan State, No. 13 Brandon Sinnott of Central Michigan, No. 16 Christian Arellano of Cal-State Bakersfield and No. 20 Danny Burk of Northern Illinois.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 174 pounds
1. Jake Herbert, Northwestern
2. Mark Perry, Iowa
3. Matt Palmer, Colombia
4. R.J. Boudro, Michigan State
5. Ken Robertson, Eastern Illinois
6. Brandon Sinnott, Central Michigan
7. Christian Arellano, Cal-State Bakersfield
8. Danny Burk, Northern Illinois

184 pounds

This weight class is also be very deep, with the top seven pre-seeds all ranked nationally in the top nine of the rankings. In fact, if you go to the NWCA/Intermat rankings released this week, you will find 2005 Midlands entries No. 2 Paul Bradley of Iowa, No. 3 Benjamin Wissel of Purdue, No. 4 Pete Friedl of Illinois, No. 5 Kurt Backes of Iowa State, No. 6 Josh Glenn of American, No. 7 Ryan Halsey of Cal Poly and No. 9 Mike Tamillow of Northwestern. Bradley is the defending Midlands champion, and will have to beat a number of top talents in order to repeat. Backes was second behind Bradley at last year's Midlands. Add in No. 15 Rudy Medini of Rutgers, and all eight of the pre-seeds are nationally ranked this year. There are a few other top wrestlers who are either nationally ranked now, or could be in the future, who did not receive a pre-seed. This weight boasts as many talented college wrestlers as any in this year's Midlands.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 184 pounds
1. Paul Bradley, Iowa
2. Kurt Backes, Iowa State
3. Ben Wissel, Purdue
4. Pete Friedl, Illinois
5. Josh Glenn, American
6. Mike Tamillow, Northwestern
7. Ryan Halsey, Cal Poly
8. Rudy Medini, Rutgers

197 pounds

Coming into the tournament, No. 1 Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan may be one of the nation's hottest wrestlers. Michalak, a sophomore, defeated two-time national champion Jake Rosholt of Oklahoma State a week ago to take the No. 1 NWCA/Intermat ranking, and he is undefeated for the season so far.This weight class is wide open, with No. 7 Brady Richardson of Indiana, No. 8 Matt Deguyd of Northwestern, No. 10 Casey Phelps of Boise State, No. 13 Tyrone Byrd of Illinois and No. 20 Nathan Moore of Purdue all seeking a title. Joe Dennis of Cleveland State is also a top challenger, as is Div. II star Corey Jacoby of Shippensburg. This makes the 197-pound division one of the hardest to predict this year.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 197 pounds
1. Wynn Michalak, Central Michigan
2. Matt Delguyd, Northwestern
3. Tyrone Byrd, Illinois
4. Brady Richardson, Indiana
5. Casey Phelps, Boise State
6. Joe Dennis, Cleveland State
7. Nathan Moore, Purdue
8. Corey Jacoby, Shippensburg

285 pounds

The top three pre-seeds in this division are bunched closely in the national rankings, with No. 6 Matt Fields of Iowa, No. 7 Bode Ogunwole of Harvard and No. 10 Dustin Fox of host Northwestern in the field. Ogunwole, a 2005 Junior World medalist, received the top spot in the pre-seeds. Top talents from the other divisions of college wrestling, Div. II star Les Sigman of Nebraska-Omaha and Div. III star Ryan Allen of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, adds depth to the field. Other Div. I wrestlers with national rankings in the field this year are No. 12 Adam LoPiccolo of American, No. 16 Payam Zarrinpour of Sacred Heart and No. 20 Joe Sapp of Northern Illinois. This weight class is so balanced that it could be taken home by any of these ranked athletes.

2005 Midlands Pre-seeds at 285 pounds
1. Bode Ogunwole, Harvard
2. Dustin Fox, Northwestern
3. Matt Fields, Iowa
4. Les Sigman, Nebraska-Omaha
5. Ryan Allen, Wisconsin-LaCrosse
6. Adam LoPiccolo, American
7. Joe Sapp, Northern Illinois
8. Payam Zarrrinpour, Sacred Heart

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