What did we learn from the 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals? That being No. 1 isn’t so easy.
Oklahoma State entered this past weekend 15-0 and as the top seed in the eight-team field in Minneapolis. During the regular season the Cowboys knocked off Iowa and Minnesota. But during two days it was the Gophers who proved to be the top dog. After beating Iowa in the semifinals Saturday afternoon, head coach J Robinson’s Gophers matched up with the Cowboys — it was the second consecutive season the two powers faced off in the Duals finals and the fourth time in the tournament’s history.
|MINNESOTA WINS NATIONAL DUALS|
Minnesota beat the top two teams in the country to win the National Duals, culminating with a win versus Oklahoma State in a repeat of last year’s title match. • Full story
Storley, ranked No. 1 at 174 pounds, was one of many top-ranked individuals in battles during the weekend.
Two Hawkeyes — Matt McDonough and Derek St. John — took losses in the third-place dual against Missouri. McDonough, who entered with one loss this season and ranked No. 1 at 125 pounds, dropped a 4-0 decision to Alan Waters, who remains unbeaten. McDonough is a two-time NCAA champion and a three-time finalist.
“That’s a match I’ve been looking forward to for the past three years,” said Waters (26-0). “I haven’t had the chance to wrestle [McDonough] in my college career yet, and it’s a big win for me. I want that to happen in the finals at nationals. This doesn’t mean anything other than maybe moving up in the rankings, so I’m just looking forward to a possible rematch in March.”
Logan Storley’s surprising pin at 174 pounds, Kevin Steinhaus’ late takedown at 184, and Tony Nelson’s pin at heavyweight highlighted a 28-9 beatdown of the top-ranked Cowboys.
“Being at home for the National Duals is nice,” said Steinhaus, a two-time All-American. “And to beat Iowa and Oklahoma State in the same day is a great feeling. And to do it in such dominating fashion, you aren’t going to forget that. The pins, the overtime wins, the comebacks … it’s great.”
|MISSOURI WINS CONSOLATION MATCH|
Missouri won the third-place match at the National Duals on the strength of upset wins by Alan Waters and Kyle Bradley versus a pair of top-ranked Iowa grapplers. • Full story
Four bouts later it was senior Kyle Bradley’s turn to take down No. 1. The 157-pound Bradley scored a takedown to beat the previously unbeaten St. John, an NCAA finalist last March.
The shoe was on the other foot for the Tigers earlier in the day. Missouri heavyweight Dom Bradley had not lost in 30 matches this season, but dropped a 4-3 decision to Oklahoma State’s Alan Gelogaev, who entered the weekend ranked third.
The top man at 149 pounds, Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver also had a nail-biter. Leading 5-4 against Minnesota’s Dylan Ness in the third period, the lanky Gopher was putting on a ride, approaching a possible riding-time point to force overtime when Oliver (28-0) worked a combination from underneath for an escape. Ness, an NCAA finalist in 2012, had 56 seconds of riding time in the 6-4 loss.
Heading toward conference qualifiers in two weeks, only five weights — 133 pounds, 141, 149, 165, 184, 197 — have unbeaten wrestlers at the top. Oliver is joined by Ohio State’s Logan Stieber (133), Oklahoma’s Kendric Maple (141), Cornell’s Kyle Dake (165), Penn State’s Ed Ruth (184) and Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore (197).
The battles for No. 1 filtered down to Division II, as well. In Waterloo, Iowa, at the Super Regional III Championship, top-ranked heavyweight Matt Meuleners of Northern State was beaten by No. 2 Jake Kahnke of St. Cloud State in the finals. Meuleners beat Kahnke in the 2011 and ’12 national finals.
• Notre Dame (Ohio) claimed top honors at the Division II Super Regional II in Ashland, Ohio, during the weekend. The final tally showed Notre Dame with 142 points and Central Oklahoma with 140. The Bronchos took a lead in the team race when Kelly Henderson pinned Notre Dame’s Eric Burgey in the 174-pound finals. But the Falcons, in their first year of DII competition, got titles at 197 pounds by Brandon Johnson and heavyweight Orlando Scales.
• St. Cloud State backed its unbeaten dual season with a championship at the Super Regional III. The Huskies routed the field, finishing 45 points in front of second-place Upper Iowa. Shamus O’Grady, one of four SCSU champions, was named the Outstanding Wrestler.
• Newberry rolled to its sixth consecutive Super Regional I title, outdistancing Pittsburgh-Johnstown by 28.5 points. Newberry’s Blake Ridenour had three pins on his way to the 165-pound championship.
• Defending DII champion Nebraska-Kearney also rolled, winning the Super Regional IV tournament in Chadron, Neb. The margin between first and second was 52.5points. Nebraska-Kearney’s squad has two Division I transfers — Chase Nelson, from Oklahoma; and Patrick Martinez, from Wyoming. Nelson won the 165-pound title, but Martinez fell in the 174-pound final to Western State’s top-ranked Eliot Copeland.
Two Binghamton seniors will be worth keeping an eye on in March. Fans might remember Donnie Vinson from the 2012 NCAA Championships. The 149-pound Vinson lost in the first round but won seven consecutive matches to finish third. This season, as a senior, Vinson is 27-1 overall, No. 7 in the NCAA’s RPI and No. 4 in the Coaches’ Panel Rankings. His only loss is to Virginia Tech’s Nick Brascetta in the finals of the Midlands Championships in December. His 126 career victories are the most in Binghamton history.
Nate Schiedel, a senior 197-pounder and three-time NCAA qualifier, is 24-2 and 115-30 for his career. He is No. 16 in the RPI ratings and ranked fifth in Coaches’ Panel Rankings.
This past summer, the NCAA announced a new format for the qualification to the Division III Championships. The new system includes six regionals with the top three finishers in each weight class advancing to the DIII finale in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 15-16. Instead of the old system with seven qualifiers and 170 total wrestlers advancing, there will be 180 competing at the DIII Championships.
The six regional hosts this weekend include: Loras (Iowa) College, College of New Jersey, Ohio Northern, Elmhurst (Ill.) College, Worcester (Mass.) Polytechnic Institute and Augsburg (Minn.) College. Top-ranked Wartburg will compete in the Iowa region in Dubuque.
Although attendance for Saturday night’s finals at the 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals was listed at 2,334, the crowd was a very vocal group. The National Wrestling Coaches Association continues to push for the importance of dual meets in college wrestling. However, the fan base continues not to cooperate. … Penn State finished its dual season with a 34-0 shutout of Rutgers during the weekend. More than 3,500 fans in Piscataway, N.J., watched the Nittany Lions’ fifth shutout this season and head coach Cael Sanderson’s 100th career coaching victory. … Only 11 wrestlers, at least those with a significant number of matches, remain unbeaten. … Navy continued its domination of Army on Sunday, beating the Black Knights 22-10. It moved the all-time series to 47-5-5 in Navy’s favor. … Clarion senior James Fleming (157 pounds) moved his season record to 29-2 with a victory Sunday. The All-American Fleming is 121-18 for his career, tied for 10th in Clarion history with Bill Simpson, a national champion in 1973. … Boston University beat Rider this past Saturday, giving head coach Carl Adams his 300th career victory at the school. Adams has 322 coaching victories at the DI level, good for fourth among active coaches. Only 20 coaches have won 300 duals at one school. … Cornell’s Kyle Dake takes a 68-match win streak into the postseason. Penn State’s Ed Ruth is riding a 61-match win streak, and Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore has won 54 in a row. Ruth, a junior, has two career losses.