College Wrestling News

Ten DI Matches to Watch 2/21-2/23


photo courtesy of Cam Kramer

The final weekend of the regular season is upon us. We’ll close out the 2019-20 season with 47 duals this weekend, and there are plenty of great matches to be tuning in to. From Iowa-Oklahoma State to Minnesota-Nebraska, and even some EIWA and MAC duals, the final weekend of this season should be an entertaining one, so make sure to catch the following 10 matches. 

125: No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa) vs. No. 4 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State)

This is a match that I marked on the calendar at the beginning of the season. You know these two are going to be great every year and when they go head-to-head, it’s must-watch. Lee is a perfect 14-0 on the year, while Piccininni is 23-1. His only loss came back on Dec. 6 in the dual against Princeton, where he dropped a 9-4 decision to Pat Glory. 

Last year this dual was in Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, and Piccininni was able to pin Lee in the second period. This year’s dual returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and the rematch between these two should be one of the best of the season. 

133: No. 5 Chas Tucker (Cornell) vs. No. 17 DJ Fehlman (Lock Haven)

We’ve got some EIWA vs. MAC action going down at 133 pounds this week with Tucker taking on Fehlman when their teams take the mat in Lock Haven tomorrow night. Tucker is a perfect 27-0 on the season for the Big Red, a mark that includes winning the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in December. 

Fehlman takes the mat with a 21-6 record, and he’s won his last eight times out, which includes a championship at the Edinboro Open on Feb. 1. It’s too bad these guys aren’t in the same conference, because seeing them face off in March would be exciting. But we’ll have to take what we get and tune in to this dual tomorrow night. 

141: No. 5 Mitch McKee (Minnesota) vs. No. 9 Chad Red (Nebraska)

McKee has been a constant in the rankings this season, hovering in the top 5 all year long but not able to make much movement upwards. He comes into this weekend’s dual with a record of 23-5, but he’s lost his last two matches. Mitch lost by fall to Penn State’s Nick Lee two weeks ago before losing an overtime decision to Iowa’s Max Murin last weekend. He’ll look to right the ship and get some momentum going before the Big Ten Championships with a win over Red tonight.

Red comes in at 14-6 on the year, coming off back-to-back victories against Indiana and Michigan. While Red doesn’t have quite the win total that McKee does this year, he does have something he doesn’t: a win over Murin. Red defeated Murin 6-2 last month. Tonight we’ll see if he’s able to pick up a win over McKee as well to close out the regular season. 

149: No. 3 Pat Lugo (Iowa) vs. No. 6 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State)

I’m not sure any match in the Iowa-Oklahoma State dual will live up to Lee vs. Piccininni, but Lugo vs. Lewallen will come close. Lugo is 17-1 on the year, his only loss coming to Ohio State’s Sammy Sasso back in January. Since then, he’s won four-straight matches and will look to close his regular season on a high note. 

Like Lugo, Lewallen was briefly ranked #1 in the nation and had a record of 18-1. He’s won his last three times out and is coming off a major decision victory against Oklahoma’s Jacob Butler. He’ll have his work cut out for him when he takes the mat against Lugo, but it should be one of the best matches to watch this week. 

157: No. 14 Justin Thomas (Oklahoma) vs. No. 23 Jacob Wright (Fresno State)

We had to go a little lower in the rankings for the 157-pound match this week, but it should still be a fun one. Fresno State and Oklahoma close out their regular seasons on Sunday afternoon in Norman. Thomas comes in at 18-7, but he’s coming off a loss to Oklahoma State’s No. 13 Wyatt Sheets.

Wright is 21-5 on the year and is fresh off a win over South Dakota State’s Peyton Smith. He’s also picked up wins against wrestlers from Iowa State, Wyoming and Air Force recently. He can take some momentum into the Big 12 Championships with an upset over Thomas on Sunday. 

165: No. 10 Tanner Skidgel (Navy) vs. No. 14 Cael McCormick (Army)

I’ve been waiting for this match all year. Navy and Army were both at the Battle at the Midway during the first weekend of the season, but they didn’t face each other then. Now they’ll end the regular season against each other, and we get to see two of the best in this weight class go at it. 

Skidgel is 15-4 on the year while McCormick comes in at 18-4 and riding a six-match win streak. When you have two guys ranked this high facing off in a historic rivalry, you know it’s a match you have to keep an eye on this weekend. 

174: No. 6 Mike Labriola (Nebraska) vs. No. 8 Devin Skatzka (Minnesota)

I love seeing matches this close, when guys are separated by just two spots in the rankings. Labriola comes into tonight’s dual with a record of 17-6 for the Cornhuskers. He’s won his last two after dropping a decision to Purdue’s Dylan Lydy a few weeks ago. 

Skatzka meanwhile is 24-8 on the year, but has lost his last two outings. He dropped a decision to Penn State’s Mark Hall before losing by fall to Iowa’s Michael Kemerer. This match features two guys who have a chance to compete in the postseason, but they’ll both need some momentum to get them there. 

184: No. 2 Hunter Bolen vs. No. 8 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh)

Bolen will look to close out his stellar sophomore season with a win over Bonaccorsi in Pittsburgh tomorrow night. He’s 22-1 on the year and coming off a 3-1 decision over No. 3 Trent Hidlay last weekend. Another top-10 victory should give him plenty of confidence and momentum going into the ACC Championships. 

Bonaccorsi comes in at 19-4, winning his last three since dropping his match against Hidlay 6-2. He’s shown he’s able to bounce back, but tomorrow we’ll see if he can take on the toughest competition in his weight class.

197: No. 3 Patrick Brucki (Princeton) vs. No. 19 Jordan Pagano (Rutgers)

Patrick Brucki has had an impressive season at 17-3 on the year, he just got unlucky having the two guys ahead of him in the rankings both go undefeated this year. He had a good weekend his last time out, picking up tech falls against Drexel and Penn last weekend. Now he and the Tigers will close out the year taking on in-state rival Rutgers, and he’ll go up against Jordan Pagano. 

Pagano is 21-7 this season for the Scarlet Knights. His most recent outing was a 3-0 loss to Northwestern’s Lucas Davison, but one week prior to that, he picked up an upset victory against Rider’s Ethan Laird. He’s shown he can compete against tough competition, and the rivalry aspect of this weekend’s dual is sure to motivate him even more as he takes the mat against Brucki on Sunday evening. 

285: No. 6 Tanner Hall (Arizona State) vs. No. 9 Jordan Wood (Lehigh)

We end this week with another great heavyweight bout. Hall is 19-3 on the season and has won his last nine matches, including a win over Harvard’s No. 10 Yaraslau Slavikouski. 

Wood hasn’t wrestled as much, sitting at 12-4, but he’s got the momentum as well, winning his last eight matches, which includes a win over Army’s No. 19 Ben Sullivan. This should be an entertaining match tonight, and a great way to end the regular season. 
As always, if you need help finding each of these matches, check out TOM’s Live Stream schedule, and enjoy the final weekend of the regular season.

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