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Top 10 College Wrestling Performances of the Week – Dec. 10th, 2018

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photo courtesy of Richard Immel

So we have moved past the Cliff Keen in Las Vegas and into December with a decent slate of duals this week. Most schools are getting ready to take some time off of action because of exams and the looming holidays. However, there was still plenty of exciting action and standouts from the past week. Here are the top 10 college performances of the week.

10) Dylan Ryder (Hofstra)

On Sunday Hofstra hosted a pair of opponents for a tri-meet and one of the bright spots for the Pride was 125 lber Dylan Ryder who emerged with a couple of bonus point victories. Ryder’s first win of the day was his most prominent, a 13-3 major decision, over returning NCAA qualifier Rico Montoya (Northern Colorado). The senior Montoya, came into the match 5-0, as he is in his first year competing at 125 lbs and had won all five previous matches by bonus points. In the second match of the day, Ryder kept his high scoring ways going with 15-0 tech fall over Cliff Conway (VMI). That win set the tone for Hofstra who would go on to down VMI 28-15. The true freshman Ryder has been coming around as of late. He recently went 3-2 in at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational coming up a match shy of the podium. At that tournament, Dylan avenged an earlier loss to Shane Metzler (Rutgers) and majored a hardened veteran in Nolan Hellickson (Harvard).

9) Old Dominion

The Monarchs got the weekend off to an exciting start with the early Friday afternoon dismantling of 14th ranked Northwestern. ODU took seven of ten matches from the Wildcats on their home mat. 2018 All-American Sa’Derian Perry (Old Dominion) helped get his squad rolling with a 10-2 major decision victory over a tough customer in Yahya Thomas (Northwestern). A match later, in a bit of a toss-up match, Kenan Carter (Old Dominion) prevailed 7-5 in sudden victory over Shayne Oster (Northwestern). Shane Jones, Seldon Wright, and Antonio Agee at 165-184 lbs all were able to rack up tech falls for Old Dominion, which sealed the fate of Northwestern. Just a week ago, ODU was close to upsetting fifth-ranked NC State, before ultimately losing 16-15.

8) Jake Gunning (Buffalo)

On Saturday Buffalo traveled to George Mason, and the Bulls came away with a 26-7 win over the host Patriots. The exclamation point on Buffalo’s win was 285 lber Jake Gunning’s 3-1 victory over Matt Voss (George Mason) in sudden victory. The loss was the first of the season for the seventh-ranked Voss. Gunning has moved his season record to 8-1 and is now on an eight-match winning streak. The only blemish on Jake’s record was an opening night loss to Trent Hillger (Wisconsin) 3-0. That match now looks much better in retrospect, as Hillger is still undefeated and entered the weekend ranked eighth in the country.

7) Anthony Cassioppi (Iowa)

Anthony Cassioppi’s dominant redshirt season continued on Saturday with a title at the UNI Open. Cassioppi pinned his way through the tournament giving him his third open championships in as many tries (also Lindenwood Open and Grand View Open). Even though Cassioppi has not faced any wrestlers that are ranked at the DI level or returning national qualifiers, his dominance at these events is unreal. He is now 11-0 with 10 pins and a major decision. All but one of his pins have come in the first period. Though are figures that are common at the high school level, but they are pretty staggering when it comes to DI heavyweights. Anthony’s most notable victory has come at the Lindenwood Open where he pinned Iowa State’s starter Gannon Gremmel, a wrestler that number one ranked Sam Stoll (Iowa) was only able to beat 5-1, though it was his first match back from injury.

6) Brent Fleetwood (North Dakota State)

Another solid weekend for Brent Fleetwood has helped him solidify his status as a legit medal stand contender, rather than a guy that is fighting to find his way into the top 20. A week after taking fourth at the CKLV Invitational, Fleetwood used that momentum to fuel him during the Bison’s recent road trip. On Saturday, Brent was able to get past Cole Verner (Wyoming) 6-5. Verner made his name known to the DI world when he upset Zeke Moisey (Nebraska) earlier this season. The next day Fleetwood picked up a 5-0 shutout win over tough freshman Sidney Flores (Air Force). Last season Flores was the National Collegiate Open champion at 125 lbs. Brent’s next opponent should be one of his most significant test’s of the season as he is slated to meet third-ranked Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State) in a dual on 12/20.

5) Rocco Caywood (Army West Point)

After moving into the top ten at 197 lbs (8th), Rocco Caywood got his first chance to either defend his ranking or get upset when Army met Drexel. The Dragons boasted a talented 197 lber themselves, Stephen Loiseau (Drexel). Stephen was in the top ten himself before taking on a few losses in Las Vegas. He checked in at no. 17 in this week’s rankings. Caywood was able to outlast Loiseau 4-3, winning the match with a stall call in the sudden victory period. These two wrestlers met last season with the Drexel wrestler getting the upper hand, also by a 4-3 margin. Rocco now has 11 wins this year against only one loss. That lone loss came at the hands of the next wrestler on this list.

4) Patrick Brucki (Princeton)

It was just a routine weekend for Princeton’s Patrick Brucki as the fifth-ranked 197 lber went on the road to Virginia and dispatched of a pair of top 20 opponents. During Friday’s dual with 16th ranked Virginia Tech, Brucki cruised to an 8-3 win over Tom Sleigh, a three-time NCAA qualifier that currently carries the 18th rank nationally. The next day Patrick met one of the breakout performers from the CKLV Invitational, Jay Aiello (Virginia). No upsets this time around, as Brucki only needed 65 seconds to put away Aiello by fall. The two victories now bring Brucki’s 2018-19 record to 10-0 in a weight class that looks wide open after Bo Nickal (Penn State) and Kollin Moore (Ohio State).

3) Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)

Ryan Deakin could have very well made this list last week after capturing a title at the CKLV Invitational while getting rarely tested in the 157 lb weight class. The now-second ranked Deakin appeared to have another strong challenge this week when Old Dominion’s Larry Early came into Evanston. Early had just upset NCAA runner-up Hayden Hidlay (NC State) the week before and climbed up to sixth in the national rankings. Like in Vegas, Deakin prevailed without much drama taking a 6-1 decision over Early and reaffirming his position as the clear-cut number two at 157 behind Jason Nolf (Penn State).

2) Ethan Smith (Ohio State)

TOM’s Dual of the Week featured ninth-ranked, undefeated Wisconsin traveling to meet Big Ten foe Ohio State, currently the third-ranked dual team in the country. Heading into the meet, it was uncertain exactly who would get the nod for the Buckeyes at 174 lbs. Three-time NCAA qualifier TeShan Campbell was the safe choice, yet freshman Ethan Smith had wrestled in Vegas the previous weekend. It was Smith who had the tall task of facing tenth-ranked Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin) in the pivotal 174 lb bout. Smith blew the match open by getting a takedown in the second period and then cradling Christensen for a pair of back points. Ethan would go on to win 10-9 and help the Buckeyes to a 23-13 win.

1) Dom Demas (Oklahoma)

TOM’s College Wrestler of the Week – Dec. 10th, 2018

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