It may be weird, but Minnesota is involved in both Duals of the Week to kick things off. The Gophers have probably the hardest start to a season.
This week we are focusing on two duals. We generally try not to focus on any one team in this segment, but this week there is no way around it.
This week we will look at #3 Minnesota vs. #6 Cornell for the first dual and #2 Penn State vs. #3 Minnesota in the second.
#3 Minnesota vs. #6 Cornell
(Line-ups may change)- Based on TOM rankings
125: #2 Zach Sanders vs. #7 Frank Perrelli
133: #6 David Thorn vs. Joe Stanzione
141: #9 Nick Dardanes vs. Villalonga/#20 Nevinger
149: #6 Dylan Ness vs. Craig Eifert
157: #9 Jake Deitchler vs. #1 Kyle Dake
165: #8 Cody Yohn vs. #20 Marshall Peppelman
174: Logan Storley/Kaleb Young vs. Michael Alexander
184: #6 Kevin Steinhaus vs. #4 Steve Bosak
197: #2 Sonny Yohn vs. #1 Cam Simaz
285: #3 Tony Nelson vs. Stryker Lane
Well, this one is loaded. We have 15 ranked wrestlers scheduled to compete in this one. This should be a real battle for sure. Minnesota is favored in six of the weights on paper, while Cornell will send two number one ranked wrestlers out on the mat. Both of these teams have a mix of old and young wrestlers, which should make this one more interesting. A lot will depend on how the young people react in a big time dual. To add pressure it is the first dual of the season and for many the first dual of their career.
The gophers bring in a very balanced line-up at that will cause problems for any team in the country. The injury to Storely may play a role here. If he does not go, the Gophers may have more work cut out for them. Nine out of the ten wrestlers Minnesota will send to the mat are ranked in the top 10.
Cornell is also very balanced. As we stated earlier they boast two number one wrestlers in Dake and Simaz. Many are excited to see Peppelman take to the mat this year. He may be the key as to whether they win this dual or not.
125: Sanders is coming off his third straight All-American run and is currently ranked second in the country. He is known for his motor and will look to push the pace here. Perrelli is no slouch and should be better than last year. These two met twice last year with Sanders winning both. The scores were close though with scores of 4-3 and 3-2. Look for Sander to take a close match here.
133: Thorn is coming off a good freshman campaign that saw him go only 15-12 but that was with a rather tough schedule. He did go 2-2 at nationals. Stanzione was 12-11 and end the season on a six match losing streak. Do not let that fool you though, those loses came at the hands of some very good wrestlers. Thorn won their only meeting last year 8-6. We expect Thorn to be better than last year and we see him winning a decision here.
141: Minnesota will have Nick Dardanes. Dardanes posted a 20-4 record during his redshirt year. He might be better known for his international style accomplishments, but should not be overlooked when it comes to the collegiate style either. He will face Cornell’s Mike Nevinger or Chris Villalonga. Nevinger went 24-9 in his first year. This should be an exciting match-up. It will influence the outcome of this dual. In a close match we give the edge to Dardanes.
149: Well, we are sure Minnesota fans are excited to see Ness part II. Ness comes into the season with high expectations. Ness went 16-1 last year in his redshirt. He had several impressive wins for a freshman and should be stronger with a year under his belt. Craig Eifert will be the guy for Cornell. Eifert went 18-8 last year with some impressive wins of his own as a freshman. This should be a good match between two tough young wrestlers. Ness should be able to get the win here, or at least that is what we are predicting.
157: Is there a better way to start your college career then to face the two-time defending national champion Kyle Dake of Cornell? Heck no, this could turn into a very exciting match. It will be interesting to see how Deitchler stacks up here. This could be a very exciting one or a one sided win for Dake. It is hard to tell, but the good news is that we will know in a few short days. We see Dake with the upper hand and getting the win here.
165: Coming into this Yohn is the favorite, but we suggest you do not count Peppleman out. Yohn is coming off a solid season and is in the top 10 to start the year. Peppleman was a five-star recruit that posted a 9-3 record last season. We have Yohn winning this one, but we are putting the upset alert on this match. If Peppleman wants to win this one, he will have to do it from his feet.
174: With the Storley most likely out here, things get more interesting. Young is a person who has been around for a long time and will be ready to make his debut this season. Alexander was 6-8 last year. We have Young winning a close decision. We also would not be surprised to see this go the other way.
184: This one would be considered the match of the night, if it was not for 197. Bosak won both meetings last year between these two and is favored to do so again. Steinhaus should be better than last year with the added experience. We expect this one to be rather close, but we have Bosak coming away with the hard fought win.
197: What should be the first number one versus number two bout of the year. Simaz is favored and should be. The two did not meet last year in the dual due to injury. Simaz is one of the best, Yohn will have had to improve from neutral to have a shot here. Simaz is also a hammer on top. Simaz wins the decision.
Heavyweight: Nelson comes in as the heavy favorite here. The two met last year with Nelson winning 11-4. We are being told Nelson added about 15 pounds to his already large frame. Lane will need to have improved to make up the points in this one. Nelson wins here.
Cornell – 9
#3 Minnesota vs. #2 Penn State
(Line-ups may change)- Based on TOM rankings
125: #2 Zach Sanders vs. #18 Nico Megaludis
133: #6 David Thorn vs. Derek Reber
141: #9 Nick Dardanes vs. #19 Sam Sherlock
149: #6 Dylan Ness vs. #1 Frank Molinaro
157: #9 Jake Deitchler vs. #11 Dylan Alton
165: #8 Cody Yohn vs. #1 David Taylor
174: Logan Storley/Kaleb Young vs. #2 Ed Ruth
184: #6 Kevin Steinhaus vs. #1 Quentin Wright
197: #2 Sonny Yohn vs. #16 Morgan McIntosh
285: #3 Tony Nelson vs. #5 Cameron Wade
Things get interesting right out of the gate this year when Penn State and Minnesota clash. Last year we predicted a 17-16 win for Penn State and it ended in an 18-18 tie. It was a great dual to watch and had something for every fan. We expect nothing less this time. Matter of fact we think it will be even closer this time around. Let us jump right into this one.
The key for both teams in this one will be bonus points. The big news here is the injury suffered by Minnesota freshman Logan Storley. We have yet to confirm that he is out of this one, but based on what we saw, we would be surprised to see him make the trip.
In about half of these matches there is not a lot separating these guys in the rankings. It is very early in the season and should be a good measuring stick to where these two teams are early on. They both should be even tougher by the end of the season as their young guys gain experience.
This dual will most likely go to the team that wins 157.
TOM will have live Audio and Blog at this event.
125: Sanders is a three-time All-American and is poised to be a four-time by the end of the season. His strength is his motor; he will keep coming at people. On the surface you would think that having a true freshman this early in the season is a liability and a guy like Sanders should at least major. However, not so fast, Megaludis is one tough wrestler that should be more than prepared to step up to the next level. He was highly sought after and the Penn State staff feels he is ready to get things done at the next level. Megaludis is hard to score on and does have a gas tank of his own. The Gophers will be yelling for Sander to push the pace hard in this one, try to open things up by third period, and try to look for the Major. We are not sure he gets one, it is possible, but we are going with Sanders and a decision.
133: Thorn will go for the gophers, but we are told they also have Chris Dardanes making the trip. Either way the match should be a good one. For now, we are projecting Thorn as the starter in this dual. Thorn started coming on hard last year at the end and should be improved this year. Reber is a transfer from Bucknell who did have a very good year two years ago. However, was near .500 last year. Reber will have to show a lot of improvement from last week to have a shot here. Look for Thorn to really come after him early and often and look for bonus. We are giving Thorn a decision, but we would not be surprised to see him put up some extra points in this one.
141: This match is a pivot match in the dual. It will be very important for Minnesota to win these first three, without them the Gophers will need some help along the way. Dardanes is projected as the starter here and is very solid. He will face Sherlock who many have said has shown great improvement. We are not sure if he will wrestle at the level as Alton last year, but he will be solid. In a close match, we see Dardanes coming out on top with a decision.
149: This is one match of many during this dual we are looking forward to watching. Molinaro is the clear favorite, but by how much, we think is up for debate. Ness is much like his brother and very tough on top. He is also very good from the tie position. Molinaro will need to make sure he stays away from big points on his feet and he will need to get out fast. We see Molinaro with a slight edge in this one. Look for him to win a hard fought decision.
157: This one is tough to predict. It really is a toss-up. Dietchler has been hyped for two years and fans are cautiously waiting for him to wrestle the top people. Alton is another highly sought after recruit that fans are waiting to see. Will he be able to come out of the gates as his brother did last year? We will find out here. He only suffered two losses last year and both those were to nationally ranked wrestlers, one of which he reversed at the end of the year. Dietchler did win his first tournament last week, but his finals match was not very impressive. Alton did knock off another ranked wrestler last week, but did have some of his own issues. We are leaning Dietchler in this one, but would list it as a pick’em.
165: Well it is Taylor. Yohn will be doing everything he can to keep this one close and not give up more than a major. If he can keep it do a decision that would be a victory for the Gophers. That will be every important as it relates to the out come of this dual. His best shot will be to ride out if possible. Taylor will dominate on his feet. We have Taylor getting a major or technical fall.
174: This match is one we were very much looking forward to. With the likelihood of Storley being out, the perspectives of this match changes. Young will have to be at the top of his game. Ruth is dynamic on his feet and appears at times to be able to score at will on his feet. Young will have to try to slow this one down. Ruth has a tendency to get a nice lead and become complacent. We just think Ruth will be too much here. We have Ruth getting a fall.
184: It just keeps getting better. We now get to see Steinhaus vs. Wright IV. They met three times last year with Wright winning two of three. Looking at the combined score of the three matches it was 18-18. This one should be a real battle. Wright seemed to be widening the gap in each. We do expect a fresh and more experienced Steinhaus to put up a heck of a fight. In a back and forth match we see Q getting the win.
197: We have Sonny as the favorite against the impressive true freshman McIntosh. We think that McIntosh will be better later in the year. We expect McIntosh to give Yohn some problems on his feet. He is very aggressive and strong and should be all over Yohn’s legs. The problem we see will be on the mat. Yohn is an excellent rider and maybe be able to build riding time and or some back points. In a very close match, we see Yohn winning this one.
Heavyweight: Then we end with another great match-up. Nelson and Wade had an exciting one last year where Wade came out on top. Nelson came back and beat him at the Big 10 tournament. Wade has gotten better ever season and if that hold true this should be very close. We have Nelson winning something like 4-3.
Minnesota – 18
Penn State- 17
*** The winner of 157 most likely decides this one. Although, there are so many matches that could go differently in this dual. We could also see at 19-15 PSU win.
Overall, this should be fun and we see the dual 100% up for grabs.