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National Duals Preview: Mat Mayhem kicks off around the country this weekend



Mayhem can be defined as a state of rowdy disorder. The sport of wrestling has long been known as a rowdy one and with the new format of the Division I portion of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, it should continue to be as such.

The NWCA launched Mat Mayhem to build support for a true national dual meet championship. In the past, this event has been held in tandem with other divisions across the sport of wrestling. Now, the event is being taken on campus at four sites around the country to maximize exposure and recognize the importance of making the regular season and dual meets matter.

Cornell, Rutgers, Iowa State and Oklahoma State will host the four regional competitions, with each hosting six teams in a bracketed format where the winners will advance to a final four of Division I wrestling.

At Cornell, the top-seeded Big Red come in ranked third in the nation and will face the winner of the Purdue-Central Michigan dual, while second-seeded and seventh-ranked Illinois will face the winner of the Oklahoma-American dual.

Purdue comes in unranked and takes on 25th-ranked Central Michigan. The Chippewas have long been a major factor in dual meet competition. Oklahoma is ranked 12th in the most recent NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll and takes on American, a strong tournament team. This will be the first time first-year Oklahoma coach Mark Cody will face his former team in dual meet competition. Oklahoma’s 165-pounder, Bubby Graham, wrestled at American last season and followed Cody to Oklahoma.

None of the teams in this regional have met previously this season. Individually, 41 ranked wrestlers out of a possible 60 starters will compete at Newman Arena, so 68 percent of the wrestlers taking to the mats are ranked in the Top 33 by the NCAA Coaches Panel Rankings. The field also includes 10 All-Americans and one national champion – Cornell’s Kyle Dake at 157.

Ranked Individuals at Cornell Regional
125 pounds
#5 Frank Perrelli, Cornell
#7 Jesse Delgado, Illinois
#10 Jarrod Patterson, Oklahoma
#15 Joe Roth, Central Michigan
#33 Thomas Williams, American

133 pounds
#5 B.J. Futrell, Illinois
#9 Jordan Keller, Oklahoma
#11 Cashe Quiroga, Purdue

141 pounds
#3 Kendric Maple, Oklahoma
#15 Matt Mariacher, American
#19 Mike Nevinger, Cornell
#28 Daryl Thomas, Illinois

149 pounds
#13 Ivan Loupouchanski, Purdue
#15 Nick Lester, Oklahoma
#17 Eric Terrazas, Illinois
#22 Chris Villalonga, Cornell

157 pounds
#1 Kyle Dake, Cornell
#3 Ganbayar Sanjaa, American
#11 Matt Lester, Oklahoma
#24 Donnie Corby, Central Michigan
#30 Tommy Churchard, Purdue
#33 Jackson Morse, Illinois

165 pounds
#10 Conrad Polz, Illinois
#19 Bubby Graham, Oklahoma
#24 Mike Ottinger, Central Michigan
#26 Marshall Peppelman, Cornell

174 pounds
#9 Jordan Blanton, Illinois

184 pounds
#4 Steve Bosak, Cornell
#5 Ben Bennett, Central Michigan
#18 Braden Atwood, Purdue
#21 Erich Schmidtke, Oklahoma
#25 Tony Dallago, Illinois

197 pounds
#2 Cam Simaz, Cornell
#13 Mario Gonzalez, Illinois
#14 Dan Mitchell, American
#19 Keldrick Hall, Oklahoma
#25 A.J. Kissel, Purdue

285 pounds
#1 Ryan Flores, American
#17 Peter Sturgeon, Central Michigan
#23 Roger Vukobratovich, Purdue
#33 Maciej Jochym, Cornell

At Rutgers, the host Scarlet Knights will welcome Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Kent State and Cal Poly into the RAC on Saturday, the only competition held on February 11.

Top-seeded Minnesota comes in ranked fourth and won a share of the Big Ten regulars season championship. J Robinson’s Golden Gophers will face the winner of the Rutgers-Kent State dual, while second-seeded Michigan, ranked 11th, will take on the winner of the Missouri-Cal Poly dual.

Missouri has split with Kent State this season, but the two teams are on different sides of the bracket. Minnesota beat Michigan 23-15 back on January 27 in Minneapolis. Missouri, ranked 13th, is fresh off a win over then 10th-ranked Oklahoma.

Host Rutgers started off the season strong, but has since dropped out of the rankings, but the Scarlet Knights could pose matchup problems for Kent State, which comes in ranked 14th.

A key weight class to watch is at 125 pounds, where of the four ranked wrestlers in the event, three are ranked in the top four. Overall, 42 of the 60 projected starters are ranked in the Top 33 (70 percent) and the group includes seven All-Americans and one national champion – Michigan’s Kellen Russell at 141 pounds.

Ranked Individuals at Rutgers Regional
125 pounds
#2 Zach Sanders, Minnesota
#3 Alan Waters, Missouri
#4 Nic Bedelyon, Kent State
#32 Vinnie Dellafave, Rutgers

133 pounds
#7 Chris Dardanes, Minnesota
#8 Nathan McCormick, Missouri
#15 Zach Stevens, Michigan

141 pounds
#1 Kellen Russell, Michigan
#2 Boris Novachkov, Cal Poly
#9 Nick Dardanes, Minnesota
#12 Tyler Small, Kent State
#23 Billy Ashnault, Rutgers

149 pounds
#6 Eric Grajales, Michigan
#7 Ian Miller, Kent State
#8 Mario Mason, Rutgers
#10 Dylan Ness, Minnesota
#18 Kyle Bradley, Missouri

157 pounds
#14 Drake Houdashelt, Missouri
#27 Mallie Shuster, Kent State
#33 Brandon Zeerip, Michigan

165 pounds
#14 Cody Yohn, Minnesota
#17 Dan Yates, Michigan
#18 Scott Winston, Rutgers
#20 Zach Toal, Missouri

174 pounds
#4 Ryan DesRoches, Cal Poly
#5 Logan Storley, Minnesota
#7 Justin Zeerip, Michigan
#17 Dorian Henderson, Missouri
#14 Greg Zannetti, Rutgers

184 pounds
#7 Kevin Steinhaus, Minnesota
#15 Mike Larson, Missouri
#22 Casey Newberg, Kent State

197 pounds
#5 Sonny Yohn, Minnesota
#7 Brent Haynes, Missouri
#12 Max Huntley, Michigan
#17 Ryan Smith, Cal Poly
#22 Dan Rinaldi, Rutgers
#29 Keith Witt, Kent State

285 pounds
#4 Tony Nelson, Minnesota
#9 Ben Apland, Michigan
#16 Brendan Barlow, Kent State
#26 Devon Mellon, Missouri

As the tournament heads to the Midwest, both Iowa State and Oklahoma State will be hosting regional events at their storied facilities.

At Iowa State, the host Cyclones haven’t had a year to celebrate, but a recent win over Northern Iowa did vault Iowa State into the third seed in the region and they will face sixth-seeded Wisconsin with the winner facing the second seed, Oregon State, which comes in ranked 16th in the most recent NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll.

To no one’s surprise, the top seed in the region is Iowa. The Hawkeyes will face the winner of the Northern Iowa-Virginia Tech dual. Iowa beat Northern Iowa handily earlier this season, but some fans might be awaiting an Iowa-Virginia Tech matchup for a few reasons. One would be a Midlands rematch at 133 pounds between Iowa’s Tony Ramos and Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter, and the other, well, most people know the other reason.

Interestingly enough, five of the six teams are coached by former Hawkeyes: Kevin Dresser (Virginia Tech), Barry Davis (Wisconsin), Tom Brands (Iowa), Doug Schwab (Northern Iowa) and Jim Zalesky (Oregon State).

Statistically speaking, this region is the most bottom heavy, with only three of the six teams ranked nationally. Individually, the region will have 33 ranked wrestlers, which is good for 55 percent. The field includes just three All-Americans (all from Iowa) and past NCAA champion Matt McDonough.

Ranked Individuals at Ames Regional
125 pounds
#1 Matt McDonough, Iowa
#16 Ryak Finch, Iowa State
#26 Ty Mitch, Virginia Tech
#27 Pat Rollins, Oregon State

133 pounds
#2 Devin Carter, Virginia Tech
#4 Tony Ramos, Iowa
#10 Joe Colon, Northern Iowa
#22 Garrett Drucker, Oregon State

141 pounds
#4 Michael Mangrum, Oregon State
#6 Montell Marion, Iowa
#17 Luke Goettl, Iowa State
#17 Zach Neibert, Virginia Tech

149 pounds
#14 Scott Sakaguchi, Oregon State
#23 Nick Brascetta, Virginia Tech
#30 Mike Kelly, Iowa

157 pounds
#13 Derek St. John, Iowa
#18 R.J. Pena, Oregon State
#25 David Bonin, Northern Iowa

165 pounds
#4 Andrew Sorenson, Iowa State
#7 Mike Evans, Iowa
#9 Pete Yates, Virginia Tech
#11 Ben Jordan, Wisconsin

174 pounds
#8 Ethen Lofthouse, Iowa

184 pounds
#6 Ryan Loder, Northern Iowa
#17 Boaz Beard, Iowa State
#24 Vinnie Wagner, Iowa

197 pounds
#16 Taylor Meeks, Oregon State
#20 Grant Gambrall, Iowa
#30 Nick Vetterlein, Virginia Tech

285 pounds
#5 Clayton Jack, Oregon State
#12 Matt Gibson, Iowa State
#13 Bobby Telford, Iowa
#29 Blayne Beale, Northern Iowa

In Stillwater, the rafters are filled with NCAA championship banners. Should the NCAA approve a national dual meet championship in the future, John Smith would love to hoist a few more up to the ceiling at historic Gallagher-Iba Arena.

When the initial regions were revealed last year, on paper, this appeared to be the weakest region. Good thing matches aren’t wrestled on paper.

The top-seeded Cowboys are ranked atop the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll and will await the winner of the opening round tilt between Chattanooga and Wyoming. Oklahoma State’s already beaten 10th-ranked Wyoming 24-17 this year in a match that was tighter than many anticipated. A rematch would put both Wyoming’s Mark Branch and Chris Pendleton against the team the both competed and coached for. The Oklahoma State brand of Cowboys are unbeaten this season. Chattanooga’s had a solid season despite losing a SoCon dual last week against Appalachian State. It was the first SoCon dual the Mocs had dropped since Terry Brands was the head coach in Chattanooga.

In the bottom half of the bracket, freshman-laden Ohio State is the second seed and ranked sixth in the country. The Buckeyes will await the winner of the Nebraska-Boise State dual, where the Huskers will be heavily favored.

Earlier this season, Nebraska upended the Buckeyes 18-16 in Lincoln. Other than the Nebraska faithful, the wrestling world could be pulling for an all OSU final so they can see Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State square off with Ohio State’s Logan Stieber. In all, 42 ranked wrestlers are in the field (40 if counting Boise State All-American Brent Chriswell) and six All-Americans, including NCAA champion Oliver. That’s good for a 70 percent rate.

Ranked Individuals at Oklahoma State Regional
125 pounds
#14 Jon Morrison, Oklahoma State
#17 Johnni DiJulius, Ohio State
#18 Michael Martinez, Wyoming

133 pounds
#1 Jordan Oliver, Oklahoma State
#3 Logan Stieber, Ohio State
#12 Nick Soto, Chattanooga
#16 Zach Zehner, Wyoming
#19 Ridge Kiley, Nebraska

141 pounds
#5 Hunter Stieber, Ohio State
#7 Jake Sueflohn, Nebraska
#14 Josh Kindig, Oklahoma State

149 pounds
#2 Jamal Parks, Oklahoma State
#12 Cam Tessari, Ohio State
#32 Dean Pavlou, Chattanooga
#33 Brandon Wilbourn, Nebraska

157 pounds
#6 James Green, Nebraska
#12 Albert White, Oklahoma State
#15 George Ivanov, Boise State
#21 Josh Demas, Ohio State
#28 Daniel Waddell, Chattanooga

165 pounds
#3 Shane Onufer, Wyoming
#6 Robert Kokesh, Nebraska
#23 Dallas Bailey, Oklahoma State
#32 Brandon Wright, Chattanooga

174 pounds
#3 Chris Perry, Oklahoma State
#6 Nick Heflin, Ohio State
#19 Patrick Martinez, Wyoming
#21 Tyler Koehn, Nebraska

184 pounds
#1 Joe LeBlanc, Wyoming
#8 Josh Ihnen, Nebraska
#10 Jake Swartz, Boise State
#11 Cody Magrum, Ohio State
#23 Chris McNeil, Oklahoma State

197 pounds
#10 Alfonso Hernandez, Wyoming
#8 Blake Rosholt, Oklahoma State
#18 Andrew Campolattano, Ohio State
#21James Nakashima, Nebraska
*Brent Chriswell, Boise State

285 pounds
#2 Alan Gelogaev, Oklahoma State
#8 Tucker Lane, Nebraska
#19 Peter Capone, Ohio State

Overall, the four regions will see four past NCAA champions, 26 All-Americans and 158 wrestlers ranked in the top 33 of the Coaches Panel Rankings. Over 65 percent of the wrestlers competing this coming weekend are ranked and are likely NCAA qualifers.
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