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Bryant Bytes: Remembering Jay Hammond

Bryant Bytes

Bryant BytesBy Jason Bryant
Amateur Wrestling News

The wrestling community lost one of its great historians this morning.

Jay Hammond, known to many in the Lehigh community as “Boomer,” lost his lengthy battle with esophageal cancer on Tuesday morning. Many know Hammond as the brain behind WrestlingStats.com, a massive database which contains historical brackets and lists of All-Americans from the start of the Division I tournament.

Jay also built databases for the EIWA, Lehigh and several other programs. Perhaps Jay’s biggest contribution to wrestling was when he penned the “History of Collegiate Wrestling,” a hardback book documenting college wrestling since its inception. If you had to make a list of sport’s greatest historians, Jay would be near the top along with Don Sayenga, John Harmon, Mike Chapman and the late Bob Dellinger and Jess Hoke.

Jay served as one of the official historians for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. I’d had the opportunity to work with Jay on several projects – his book, the Wrestling Stats database and with the National Wrestling Media Association, which Jay was a past president.

Jay’s battle with cancer went on for many years. But he beat it and beat it and beat it. This last time was just too much apparently. I didn’t know Jay as well as many in the sport did, including Jamie Moffatt, a co-author on several projects. Who would have figured a guy from Cornell and a guy from Lehigh would work together on so many things?

Personally, Jay gave me an opportunity to be involved in having my writing published in a book for the first time. He helped the NWMA in its rebuilding effort and he gave wrestling fans nationwide the opportunity to go back and relive some of the sport’s greatest matches by providing us those long-lost brackets.

I have every one saved in my Dropbox account, should I have to settle any bar bets. I’m sure Jay did a bunch of that stuff as well. His legacy will live on in this sport for many years to come.

Jay will be missed.

Mobile Notes
Between the two blog-style columns we post on a regular basis here on AWN, we’re also launching a semi-daily podcast called “Short Time.” This will be a place where you can get most of the day’s notable news in a short podcast. You can listen to it in the background, while you have your coffee or while reading another story here on AWN.

Mondays will be one of the few days we know there won’t be any wrestling results, so that’s one day we can skip over. With no results, there’s nothing extremely telling to talk about, unless some major news breaks.

You can find a link to Short Time and other podcasts, including the On The Mat with Kyle Klingman by clicking here. You can subscribe via iTunes by clicking here.

Rankings schmankings
With the college season fully rolling along, its now time to argue about rankings. One thing AWN has continued to do since the merger with The Open Mat is make sure inactive wrestlers get bumped from the rankings after inactivity. Typically, we go with a two-week absence from scheduled events. This doesn’t include opens if they aren’t on a team’s official schedule. We’ll also contact teams about the length an athlete might be out. If it’s close and that athlete could come back by the next cycle, we might eat the week and keep them in one more cycle.

One thing people might need a refresher on is how the flow of rankings work. Just because you beat someone does not mean you’ll automatically be ranked ahead of them. An extreme point to validate the claim is with this weekend’s Bryce Busler win over Kendric Maple. If the two were ranked 5-6 and the lower-ranked wrestler won, sure, that’s easy. Busler was ranked 15th (at 157) prior to his win. Does this mean Busler gets inserted above Maple in a move up to 149? No.

Then there’s a scenario at 184 pounds, where Jackson Hein beat Jon Fausey. Hein was ranked 12th and Fausey ranked seventh. Hein should be over Fausey, right? That would be the case if Hein wasn’t beaten later in the day by then-No. 20 Jack Dechow of ODU. Dechow further complicated things by losing to Clint Morrison of Rider to start the day. So the lesson here is Fausey drops, Hein drops, Dechow moves up, but not because of the win over Hein, but he also defeated then-No. 16 Alex Utley of North Carolina. Two good wins vs. one bad loss. We’re going to deal with this at every weight every week this season.

Another match worth noting is Josh Kreimier’s loss to Bret Baumach during Stanford’s 30-4 win over Air Force on Sunday. Surely Baumbach, a Pac-12 champion, should slide into the rankings ahead of Kreimier, right? Look back a week. Baumbach’s loss to Cal Baptist’s Brady Bersano will keep Baumbach out until he can offset the loss with another good win. Cal Baptist, in its first year as a Division II school, does reap the benefit in some manner. Bersano was last week’s RMAC Wrestler of the Week.

What’s with the records?
Cornell’s Mark Grey won six bouts en route to the championship at 133 pounds at Saturday’s Bearcat Open. Grey’s official record is 5-0. Matches against wrestlers who are considered “unrostered” are not official. This means wrestlers competing for Finger Lakes Wrestling Club don’t count for or against you. Ivy League wrestlers who are deferring their year also are unofficial. If you may recall last year, Harvard’s Walter Peppelman sat out of school the first semester and competed for the Crimson in the second. Since he was not enrolled in school and not on the Harvard roster, his wins and losses in that first semester didn’t help him or anyone else. The difference between wrestling someone who is redshirting versus one who is in the Ivy and deferring their enrollment might seem minor or a non-factor until conference or NCAA seeding come to the table.

A True Titan
Two-time Division III champion Nazar Kulchytskyy of UW-Oshkosh started his campaing for a third straight national championship by winning the Pointer Open hosted by UW-Stevens Point. Kulcytskyy, a native of the Ukraine, scored two falls and a technical fall to reach the finals, where he defeated Nick Fishback of Division II UW-Parkside 4-3. Kulchtyskyy was also the 2012 FILA Junior freestyle national champion.

Going for (Pem)Broke
One of the top matches at the UNC Pembroke Classic pitted sixth-ranked Daniel Ownbey of UNCP and seventh-ranked B.J. Young of Newberry. Ownbey won the Super Region 1 title last season and beat Young three times during the season. During the 2011-12 season, it was Young who beat Ownbey three times. So how did the first matchup of 2013-14 go? Not good for Ownbey, who was teched in the finals by Young 21-5 in 6:10. Expect the Division II rankings to change shortly. Newberry’s Blake Ridenour, ranked fourth at 165 pounds in Division II, won the Pembroke Classic with five bonus victories. Ridenour had three major decisions and two falls, including a fall over N.C. State’s Mikey Amorando in the final.

Getting your feet wet
Michigan heavyweight Adam Coon won the Michigan State Open at 285 pounds in the Freshman/Sophomore Division. Coon started his college career with two quick falls before beating wrestlers from Division II Notre Dame College in the semis and finals. In the semis, Coon defeated Minnesota native Michael Burckhardt 4-2 and then defated Yassen Mudassar 5-4 in the finals. Mudassar is a transfer from Nassau Community College who finished second at the 2013 NJCAA national championships last season.

Good start
Oregon State won eight titles at the Mike Clock Open in Forest Grove, Ore., over the weekend. Of note was a win by Oregon State true freshman Ronnie Bresser over Division II All-American Skylor Davis of Simon Fraser. Bresser would eventually fall in the finals to teammate Joey Palmer, but the win over Davis was impressive. Davis finished third in Division II last season and is extremely tough on top. It’s a promising sign for the future in Corvallis.

Scenes from Salem
While the Hokie Open didn’t see the numbers it has in past years due to the advent of the Hokie Duals, there were still some notable performances over the weekend. A pair of true freshmen from Virginia Tech won titles, beating nationally-ranked opponents in the process. Florida native Kevin Norstrem earned a 19-6 major decision over Duke’s Brandon Gambucci at 133 pounds, while Zach Epperly from nearby Christiansburg, beat The Citadel’s Turtogtokh Luvsandorj 4-3 at 174 pounds. Virginia Tech’s Dawson Peck also won at heavyweight, beating N.C. State’s Mike Kosoy.