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Top 10 College Wrestling Performances of the Week – February 17th, 2020

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photo courtesy of Cam Kramer

Before we know it, the wrestling season is almost gone. After this week’s action, only one weekend remains in the regular season. If you’re not cutting weight, wrestling season flys by. Looking back at the results that came out from over the weekend, we saw some of the Big Ten heavyweights square-off. The fallout from one of those clashes was a top-ranked wrestler going down. For the second consecutive week, an ACC dual stole the show and was one of the best of the year. Looking outside of the Big Ten and the ACC, there were a couple of teams that have quietly put together notable winning streaks. So, without any further ado, let’s get to the top ten performances of the week in college wrestling.

10) Cam Sykora (North Dakota State)

In case you may have missed it, the North Dakota State Bison are surging! With wins over #15 Stanford and Air Force this weekend, head coach Roger Kish’s crew have now won six straight duals and sport an overall record of 9-3. One of the wrestlers responsible for this run has been their 133 lber, three-time national qualifier Cam Sykora. Cam brought his season record up to 12-4 with a pair of bonus-point wins over the weekend, after pinning Stanford’s Luciano Arroyo and majoring Jared Van Vleet of Air Force. The fall over Arroyo was Sykora’s first of the season and he now has eight-bonus point wins in his 16 matches. NDSU will be tested on the final weekend of the season with #18 Iowa State and #22 South Dakota State looming. The Cyclones will likely present #21 Todd Small which will be a tough matchup for Sykora. 

9) Hofstra

Another team that has gotten hotter as the season progressed has been the Pride of Hofstra. With only a dual against Sacred Heart remaining on their schedule, Hofstra has been able to amass a 10-5 record. Coach Dennis Papadatos’ group is one of only two EIWA teams that have not lost a conference dual this season. The Pride brought their conference mark up to 6-0 this weekend after wins over Harvard and Brown on Sunday. Those wins brought Hofstra’s current winning streak to seven, the team’s longest since the 2011-12 season. Against Harvard, three consecutive bonus-point wins staked the Pride to a 14-0 lead and they would hold on to win 20-17. There was no drama in the victory over Brown as Hofstra took eight of ten bouts. Standouts for Hofstra include 125 lber Dylan Ryder, who was undefeated on the day and now owns a seven-match winning streak. Sage Heller (174 lbs), Charles Small (184 lbs), and Trey Rogers (197 lbs) were the other team members who went 2-0 Sunday.

8) Izzak Olejnik (Northern Illinois)

Speaking of teams on winning streaks, Northern Illinois fought their way to a fourth straight win Friday as the staved off a challenge from Buffalo, before prevailing 19-16. The dual saw four matches go into extra time, three of which were won by the Huskies. Perhaps the biggest of those wins came at 165 lbs when redshirt freshman Izzak Olejnik took out the defending MAC champion Troy Keller, 5-3, which happened to be only the fourth loss of the year for Keller. In the latest national rankings, Olejnik comes in at #30 and is now riding a four-match winning streak, like his team. Earlier this year, Izzak took eighth place at the Midlands after posting a win over NCAA qualifier Shayne Oster (Northwestern). 

7) Parker Filius (Purdue)

Members of the Purdue Boilermaker team have found themselves in the top-ten performances often this year as they have put together their finest season in more than a decade. This time it’s Parker Filius’ turn to get the limelight. The #32 ranked Filius was instrumental in leading Purdue to a 12th win on Sunday after his 8-6 upset of #13 Dylan Duncan (Illinois). Purdue went on to defeat the Illini by the score of 18-14 which stopped a three-match losing streak. The win brings Filius’ record up to 17-7 on the year and 5-4 in the Big Ten. That’s a massive improvement from 9-20 in 2018-19, as a freshman, up at 149 lbs pounds. Parker finishes the regular season with four of those wins coming against opponents that have previously qualified for the NCAA Championships. 

6) Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State)

Coming into the year, weren’t sure what to make of the South Dakota State team, but one thing we knew was that Damion Hahn’s team had a promising prospect at 197 lbs, with Tanner Sloan. That has proven to be accurate, regarding Sloan, and the Jackrabbits have come around and fought their way into the top-25. Sloan has had a very consistent redshirt freshman season and is now 17-5 after a pair of wins over the weekend. On Saturday, Tanner’s 9-0 shutout of Dominic Kincaid helped SDSU to a 26-12 win on the road, at Fresno State. A day later, Sloan notched his most significant victory of the year by downing 2019 NCAA Round of 12 finisher and Pac-12 champion Nathan Traxler (Stanford). That was one of nine wins on the day for the Jackrabbits in their 34-4 rout of #15 Stanford. Tanner has only lost once since the calendar has turned to 2020 and that came via injury default. He is certainly a contender in a Big 12 conference that is deep with 197 lb talent.

5) Max Murin (Iowa)

After being sidelined for the last four duals, Max Murin returned to the Hawkeye lineup in style on Saturday night. Murin was tasked with facing one of Minnesota’s top grapplers, #4 Mitch McKee. Last season, Murin lost to McKee in the dual meet, along with the Big Ten Championships. This time it was Murin who turned the tables on the Gopher All-American with a 6-4 win in sudden victory. Murin was extremely close to ending the match in regulation, as he was in deep on a shot in the closing seconds of the period. Max’s victory brings his season record to 11-1 on the year. Before setting his sights on the Big Ten Championships, Murin will need to get by #21 Dusty Hone during Iowa’s match with hated rival Oklahoma State on Sunday. 

4) Greg Bulsak (Clarion)

In a meeting of the top-two 197 lbers in the new-and-improved MAC Conference, #11 Greg Bulsak came out on top of #14 Ethan Laird (Rider) 8-1 on Friday. Bulsak was the favorite to capture the EWL championship last season, but had an off tournament, with resulted in Laird coming away with the title. That wasn’t Greg’s only match of the weekend; on Friday, he disposed of #32 Collin McCracken (Kent State), 6-1. Bulsak has now won his last 11 straight matches, with his most recent loss coming in the fifth-place bout at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. With a few of the 197 lbers ranked above Bulsak losing this week, expect to see him in the top ten Tuesday. Greg will close out the regular season on Sunday with a dual against PSAC rival Edinboro and Dylan Reynolds, one of the two conference opponents who upset him last year at EWL’s.

3) Sammy Colbray (Iowa State)

In early January, the Iowa State upperweights pulled a switcheroo with Sammy Colbray dropping down to 174 and Marcus Coleman moving up to 184. Understandably, Colbray experienced a mid-season slump, dropping three of his first seven matches at the new weight. He seems to be adjusting to the cut well now, as Sammy has won three matches over the last two weeks, and two of those wins have come against top-12 opponents. Last week it was Oklahoma’s Anthony Mantanona that went fell to Colbray and on Sunday #5 Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa) met the same fate. Colbray’s 7-6 win was huge in an 18-16 win for the Cyclones over their in-state rivals. Also this week, Sammy notched a major decision win over a Big 12 opponent in Scott Joll (West Virginia). With a week left in the season, Colbray still has a pair of matches against past NCAA qualifiers on the docket with Connor Flynn (Missouri) and Lorenzo de la Riva (North Dakota State).

2) Jarrett Trombley (NC State)

For the second consecutive Friday, NC State was engaged in an exciting dual meet against a top-ten conference rival. Last week, they held off North Carolina and this time, they rallied to stay unbeaten against Virginia Tech. The wrestler that clinched the win for the Wolfpack was 133 lber #24 Jarrett Trombley. Jarrett was opposed by the Hokies redshirt freshman #26 Collin Gerardi. Just 44 seconds into the match, Trombley was able to lock up a cradle and sent the Reynolds Coliseum crowd into a frenzy after a fall was called. Trombley is now 17-7 on the year and snaps a mini two-match losing streak to conference foes. His team ended up winning 21-18 in what had to be one of the best duals of the season. Virginia Tech had two pins on the evening, while the Wolfpack pulled upsets at 285 lbs then 125 to get back into the match.

1) Nick Lee (Penn State)

TOM’s College Wrestler of the Week – February 17th, 2020

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