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College Wrestling Update for January 11th

By Jason Bryant

Two of Division I's top-ranked wrestlers dropped matches over the weekend, opening the door for second-ranked wrestlers to overtake the top spot.

At 133 pounds, Tom Clum of Wisconsin lost to UT-Chattanooga's Matt Keller 9-5 on Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Lone Star Duals at South Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie, Texas. Clum, who moved to #1 after Edinboro's Shawn Bunch lost to Buffalo's Mark Budd last month, has still wrestled just a handful of matches in the 2005-06 season.

It's Bunch that re-takes the top spot - coupled with a victory two weeks ago over third-ranked Mack Reiter, Bunch was the obvious choice to regain the top spot which he'd held in the preseason.

Iowa's Ty Eustice had been seen as a bit of an underachiever until last season when the then-Hawkeye junior managed a fifth-place finish at the 2005 Division I championships in St. Louis.

Now Eustice is the top dog, moving to #1 after beating defending NCAA champion Zack Esposito of Oklahoma State in the Hawkeyes' 18-14 loss to the Cowboys on Saturday night. It's the first time Eustice has reached the top spot in his career.

Not just yet
Second-year coach Eric Van Kley has done a stand-up job in helping built the University of Great Falls wrestling program into a national power in the NAIA. Coming into their dual at third-ranked Dickinson State, the Argos (short for Argonauts in case you were wondering) were ranked second in the NAIA in only the second year of the programs existence.

To quote ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso - not so fast my friend. The Blue Hawks, wrestling in their first dual of the year, won six of ten matches to beat the Argos 24-13 and give Dickinson State momentum heading into the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals this weekend in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Kent State, Cleveland State pick on Buckeyes
They weren't program building wins for Kent State and Cleveland State over the weekend, but they were enough to make collegiate wrestling fans in Ohio double-take. Both Kent State and Cleveland State, members of the Mid-American Conference, beat Ohio State over the weekend.

The Golden Flashes, who will join Northern Illinois and Central Michigan as MAC representatives in the National Duals, knocked off the Buckeyes 25-13, while Cleveland State scored a 25-18 win over Russ Hellickson's crew.

Buffalo puts three in National Ranks
For the first time since the 2003-04 season, the University of Buffalo has three wrestlers ranked in the InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I individual rankings. Mark Budd comes in ranked 14th at 133 pounds, while 2004 All-American Kyle Cerminara comes in ranked fifth at 197 pounds.

In the Bulls 23-21 loss to Northern Illinois last week, heavyweight Harold Sherrell notched a technical fall victory over Joe Sapp. Sherrell, a very unconventional heavyweight that likes to use a move that's a cross between a banana split and several contortionist movements to put opponents in a near fall position. The move, seen on more than one occasion, causes wrestling fans to A) look at the person next to them and ask what the move is and B) pick their jaws up from underneath the bleachers when realizing a heavyweight has the dexterity to pull off a move. Nice job Harold.

Hospitality ahoy
Chalk one up for Lone Star Duals tournament director Barry Boustead - the coaches and media hospitality room at the event is one that will make folks put a damper on their New Year's resolutions rather quickly.

The spread included some amazing BBQ, two kinds of chili, some solid vegetable beef stew and even a taste of Pennsylvania - with some Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Chowder. Then there was the turkey - and we do mean turkey.

Boustead's staff cooked up 24 turkeys (deep fried) for the event and were left with only one after the event. Tender and juicy, there was many a coach leaving the hospitality room having to ease up their belt a notch or two. Good stuff.

Coming up
Two of the largest collegiate wrestling events take place this weekend with the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals presented by PayDay PRO in Cedar Falls, Iowa and the 26th Virginia Duals at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va.

The National Duals started out of the Virginia Duals back in the late 1980's and then the National Duals portion of the event was turned over to the National Wrestling Coaches Association and moved around the country. The Virginia Duals still features two college divisions, while this year's National Duals will feature a seven-division format pitting schools from Division I, II, III, the NAIA, the NJCAA, the NCWA and will also offer a women's collegiate freestyle division.

Fifteen of the 16 teams in the Division I National Duals are ranked in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Top 25, including four of the top five: Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Michigan.

Pairings for the Virginia Duals came out Wednesday, with 15th-ranked Indiana the top seed and 25th-ranked Penn the second seed.
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