photo courtesy of Cam Kramer
There’s now only one week of regular season action remaining on the DI schedule. With some of the performances that we saw over the past week, it appears that there are plenty of wrestlers who are already in postseason form. This week’s top performances are comprised of multiple competitors who came out victorious in clashes between top-ten wrestlers and others that are currently on long winning streaks.
So, enjoy the top 10 college wrestling performances of the week.
In two Big Ten dual meets over the last week, the Iowa Hawkeyes outscored their competition 72-11, finished their conference slate with an undefeated 9-0 record, and clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship. Including their out of conference slate, the Hawkeyes are now 14-0 and sit at third in the national rankings for the dual format. Iowa only lost three matches combined in their duals with Indiana and Wisconsin and recorded four falls. The 13 team points scored by Nebraska on February 3rd was the most that any Big Ten team has been able to accumulate on them in the 2018-19 season. On Sunday, Iowa will close out their regular season schedule with a trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma to meet the undefeated, second-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys.
9) Cameron Kelly (Ohio)
16th ranked Cameron Kelly continued his excellent run through the second semester of the Ohio Bobcats schedule with a 7-2 win over Bryan Lantry (Buffalo) on Sunday. The loss was the first of the season for Lantry. Kelly and Lantry have had quite the rivalry over the collegiate careers. In their last meeting, it was Lantry who majored Kelly 15-3 at the 2018 MAC Championships. However, in their five previous matches, the OU wrestler prevailed. Friday, Kelly was able to rack up bonus points in an 18-2 technical fall victory over Lewis Williams (Bloomsburg). Just a week ago, Cameron downed 2018 All-American Sa’Derian Perry (Old Dominion). These wins are big for Kelly heading into the MAC Championships, as they would almost guarantee that he is on the opposite side of the bracket from two-time All-American Jaydin Eierman (Missouri). The Bobcats will conclude their regular season slate with a trip to Gardner-Webb. Kelly will take a nine-match winning streak into that dual.
8) Jake Woodley (Oklahoma)
The 2018-19 season was supposed to be a big one for redshirt freshman Jake Woodley. Last year, while redshirting, Woodley ran up a 15-3 record and earned a title at the National Collegiate Open. That performance helped secure him a place in the preseason national rankings at 197 lbs. After opening his year with a title at the Michigan State Open, Jake lost his first match at the Journeyman Collegiate Classic and then went 1-2 at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. He then lost two of his first three bouts following Vegas. Lately, Woodley has come around and this weekend he was able to register two quality wins. The first came over Anthony McLaughlin (Air Force) an alternate at the 2018 NCAA Championships, 5-3. Jake closed out the week with a 3-1 victory over 13th ranked Josh Hokit (Fresno State). The win snapped Hokit’s eight-match winning streak. Not only did Woodley get two wins, but his Sooner squad also did as well 31-9 over Air Force, and 25-16 over Fresno State.
7) Trent Hillger (Wisconsin)
The lone bright spot in Wisconsin’s 35-2 loss to Iowa was a victory at heavyweight by freshman Trent Hillger. Trent was able to get a workmanlike 1-0 victory over returning All-American Sam Stoll (Iowa). The win means that Hillger has gotten his hand raised against All-Americans in two of his last three contests. On February 2nd, Trent took down Maryland’s Youssif Hemida. The win over Hemida stopped a brief three-match losing skid for the freshman and has propelled him to win three in a row. The Badger has been streaky throughout his freshman year, as he started his career with 14 straight wins. Currently, Trent sits at #10 in the national rankings, but he is certain to go up after his victory over Stoll.
6) Demetrius Thomas (Pittsburgh)
Even with an elite heavyweight in your corner, it’s difficult to head into the final match of a dual down by four points and expect that your team will come out on top. That is what happened for the Pitt Panthers who trailed upstart Duke 19-15, with Demetrius Thomas taking the mat. Thomas knew five points were what his team needed and proceeded to earn them by scoring a 22-6 tech fall victory over Araad Fisher. This is the second dual in a row where the Panthers were trailing entering the last match of the dual and had Thomas propel them to victory. His 17-5 major decision last Sunday helped Pitt top conference power NC State 18-16. In his first season competing at the DI level, Demetrius has amassed a 23-4 record and currently has a ranking of seventh overall in the 285 lb weight class. Before Pittsburgh, Thomas earned an NAIA national championship at Williams Baptist as a freshman, then was a runner-up as a sophomore.
5) Stevan Micic (Michigan)
The 133 lb weight class has been chaotic and unpredictable the entire year, save for the man currently number one in the rankings, Stevan Micic. Stevan brought his record to a perfect 13-0 with a pair of wins on the weekend, first on Friday by pinning Orion Anderson (Maryland) and then he escaped fellow 2018 NCAA runner-up Nick Suriano’s (Rutgers) upset bid, 3-2. Micic was able to stymie several takedown attempts from Suriano and crisply finished a reshot, for the only takedown of the match. Coming into this weekend, Micic had not seen most of the top contenders at the weight, due to missing the CKLV Invitational, so this was a big win for him. The fall over Anderson now gives him three for the season and nine bonus-point victories in 13 attempts.
4) Oklahoma State Seniors
The Oklahoma State Cowboys had a tough task at hand traveling to Missouri to take on the fourth-ranked Tigers, who were trying to add to a 35 match winning streak. In a dual that came down the final bout, it was the senior leaders that came up big for the Cowboys. All four seniors (Chandler Rogers – 165, Jacobe Smith – 184, Preston Weigel – 197, and Derek White – 285) picked up key, hard-fought wins, against opponents that are all projected to make the NCAA tournament. Ultimately, it was White’s win in sudden victory against talented freshman Zach Elam that clinched the 19-15 win for OSU, but the win itself would not have been possible without the contributions from his three classmates. As mentioned above, the Cowboys will host Iowa Sunday in one of the biggest dual meets of the season.
3) Brock Mauller (Missouri)
Though his team had their long winning streak come to a halt against Oklahoma State, Brock Mauller was one of the standouts for the Tigers. Mauller extended his season record to a blazing 25-1 with a win over fellow freshman Kaden Gfeller; currently the fifth-ranked 149 lber in the country. Brock’s 10-4 victory over Gfeller is his 16th in a row and his biggest win since a mid-January W over All-American Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa). Sunday, Brock will face Iowa State’s Jarrett Degen, the only wrestler to have defeated him in this, his true freshman season. Mauller did upset the 2018 Round of 12 finishing Degen 12-6, during the season-opening Cyclone Open.
2) Alex Marinelli (Iowa)
The biggest win during Iowa’s route of Wisconsin came in sudden victory, as second-ranked Alex Marinelli maintained his perfect 2018-19 by defeating number three Evan Wick. The two had clashed earlier this season in the Midlands finals, where Alex had won 4-3. This time Marinelli was in trouble down by a point on the scoreboard, and Wick was on top, where he is dangerous, with riding time locked and only just over a minute remaining. Marinelli was able to reverse Wick, then ride him out for the remainder of the period to force overtime. In the sudden victory period, Marinelli used a double leg to get the winning takedown on an afternoon when Wisconsin and Iowa were both honoring his friend and HS teammate Eli Stickley, a Badger wrestler that was killed in an auto accident over the summer.
1) Max Dean (Cornell)