Navy dominates All Academy Championship; top teams set to collide
Navy won its sixth consecutive All Academy Championship, outdistancing second-place The Citadel by 16.5 points in New London, Conn., on Saturday. It was the Midshipmen's sixteenth team title in the 20-year history of the event. Air Force, Army, VMI, Merchant Marine, Norwich, and the Coast Guard also competed. Navy crowned Colton Rasche (133), Matthew Miller (174), and Paul Rands (197) as champions. Five other Midshipmen lost in the championship finals. Ugi Khishignyam (141), Aaron Walker (157), and Turtogtokh Luvansdorj (165) earned titles for The Citadel.
76 Years and Counting
The Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational, held in Wheaton, Ill., dates back to 1938 with a wide variety of programs earning championships. Entering the 2014 tournament last Friday, Wisconsin-Parkside had won four of the last five titles. After two days of competition this year it was Wisconsin-Whitewater hoisting the trophy, outdistancing Wisconsin-La Crosse by 35 points. Messiah was 55 points back in third in the 32-team field, composed mainly of Division II programs. Wisconsin-Oshkosh's Nazar Kulchytskyy, the champion at 157 pounds, was voted the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler. UW-Whitewater is ranked second behind Wartburg in the NWCA Division III Rankings.
• Division I's top-ranked Penn State continued to dismantle all challengers, winning eight of ten bouts against eleventh-ranked Michigan on Sunday in Ann Arbor. The 32-9 victory which included five bonus-point wins, moved the Nittany Lions to 13-0 this season.
• Division II's top-ranked Notre Dame (Ohio), who is 8-1 with the only loss to DI Ohio State, will next be in action at the Edinboro Open this weekend.
• Division III's top dog, Wartburg, beat No. 11 Coe 24-10 last Thursday to move to 15-0 for the 2013-14 campaign. The Knights' streak is now 51 consecutive duals and 172 against IIAC opponents. Wartburg hosts rival Augsburg in Waverly on Thursday. The Auggies (5-4) are in the midst of an uncharacteristic four-match losing streak, falling to DII's Augustana (S.D.) the last time out.
Pick Your Poison
After the graduation of two-time NCAA champion Matt McDonough, Iowa entered 2013-14 with a pair of quality 125-pounders. Thomas Gilman, a member of the United State's Junior World squad in freestyle over the summer, appeared to be the man after rising as high as third in the national rankings. After a less-than-inspiring performance in a loss against Minnesota a week ago, Gilman (15-3) watched teammate and fellow freshman Cory Clark take the mat on Sunday against Northwestern. Clark, making his first appearance since Dec. 30 after being ranked fourth in the preseason, beat Garrison White, 10-1, and is now 13-0 this season. Hawkeye head coach Tom Brands has a difficult decision to make as March approaches.
It's Not Snowing Everywhere
Last Thursday in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Oregon State and Cal Poly wrestled within shouting distance of the Pacific Ocean. The Beavers won the final three bouts for a 22-12 victory in a dual held in the plaza of the University Union.
"The environment was fantastic," said Cal Poly head coach Brendan Buckley. "I was happy for our guys to wrestle in an environment where there was such excitement. There was a lot of Cal Poly pride present today."
Missouri's Drake Houdeshelt, an All-American last March, is currently the top-ranked 149-pounder in the country. The junior backed it up over the weekend with victories against 2013 NCAA champion Kendric Maple of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State's Josh Kindig. The O'Fallon, Mo., native is now 27-1 with his lone loss coming to Ohio's Tywan Claxton.
Who is Tywan Claxton you ask? The Euclid, Ohio, native is a transfer from Division II King College in Tennessee where was an All-American. Claxton is ranked seventh and stands at 21-2 after a pair of weekend victories. He beat Houdeshelt 5-3 on Dec. 6.
Oklahoma's Andrew Howe is second behind Penn State's David Taylor in the NCAA's Most Dominant standings entering February. The senior 174-pounder is 17-0 and is expected to face off with Oklahoma State's Chris Perry this Sunday in another installment of the Bedlam Series. Perry, the 2013 NCAA champion at 174 pounds, lost a decision to Howe in December, the Cowboy's only loss in 19 matches this season. Howe is 116-8 for his career, including a 37-0 campaign in 2009-10 when he won the NCAA title at 165 pounds. Perry, also a senior, stands at 110-11 for his career.
The Oklahoma State-Oklahoma dual is not the only major DI matchup this weekend. Top-ranked Penn State travels to Minneapolis to face the Gophers and Michigan visits Carver-Hawkeye to battle Iowa.
Western New England 285-pounder Jamison Sacco pinned three opponents at the Wheaton Invitational to move his season total to 17, tying him with Johnson & Wales' Colin Lenhardt, a 184-pounder who added another to his total last week. Indiana's Taylor Walsh, who is 29-3 with 19 pins, leads all divisions in pins.
Who Wants to Be No. 1?
The 285-pound weight class is a bit hard to call as we hit the homestretch of 2013-14. Minnesota's Tony Nelson, winner of the last two national titles, lost his fourth match of the season this past weekend, falling to Indiana's Bobby Chalfant. Iowa's Bobby Telford started last week ranked No. 1. The junior promptly dropped a match to Northwestern's Mike McMullen. Michigan's Adam Coon, a freshman, opened his collegiate career with 23 wins before losing to Michigan State's Mike McClure. Throw them all in a hat, including a handful of other capable big men, and we will see what happens come March.