photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com
The story of the weekend was upsets! Three of TOM’s top 10 dual meet teams (Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and Minnesota) suffered losses. Oklahoma State’s loss was the only one doled out by a team ranked higher than them. Going through the top 20, #14 Missouri was edged by unranked Illinois, #15 Northern Iowa fell to #18 Northwestern, unranked Stanford handily defeated #17 North Carolina, and #25 Oklahoma was dropped by unranked Michigan State. Needless to say, the national team rankings will look markedly different on Wednesday. As we sifted through the results and the carnage that the third week of the collegiate season left behind, we found ten performances that stood out as TOM’s Top Ten College Wrestling Performances of the Week.
10) Army West Point
It may have gone unnoticed since we, as a wrestling fanbase, don’t put a whole lot of stock into team races at early season invitational tournament, but Penn State suffered their first loss in a tournament of this variety since 2010. Instead of focusing on Penn State, let’s look at the team who did win the Black Knight Invitational, the hosts, Army West Point. The Black Knights finished with three champions (Cael McCormick – 165, Noah Stewart – 184, and JT Brown – 197). Three others finished in second and the 197 lb championship was comprised of two Army wrestlers. For the day, 16 Black Knights made it into the top six of their weight class, with eight finishing in the top three. Head coach Kevin Ward’s team personifies the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Only three Army wrestlers are currently in the national rankings, yet they have won three of their first four duals and captured the team title on Sunday. The team’s only loss of the year came by a single point to Wisconsin, who currently holds down the number five ranking in the country.
9) Luke Luffman (Illinois)
Illinois came into their Thursday night dual with Missouri fresh off of a 1-1 performance at the Chattanooga Duals, which included a loss to Army West Point. The unranked Illini seemed ready to get that taste of defeat out of their mouth as they took on the 14th ranked Tigers. With his team hanging on to a 16-14 lead, heading into the final match, true freshman Luke Luffman took the mat at 285 lbs. The winner of the match would also give his team the dual victory, as well. Luke was down 6-3 to Rodrigo Diaz after two periods, but managed to escape and notch a pair of takedowns, coupled with over a minute of riding time to take the match, 9-6. Luffman has extended his season record to 7-0 and has been able to rack up bonus points in two of those seven contests. Luke and his Illinois team will have a few weeks off before hosting in-state rival Northern Illinois on December 6th.
8) Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan)
The lone champion for Central Michigan at Army’s Black Knight Invitational was 125 lber, Drew Hildebrandt. Drew made the finals of the tournament after shutting out his first two opponents by a combined score of 14-0. Hildebrandt’s 6-0 semifinal victory came over Penn State’s freshman Brody Teske. For the championship, Drew got by Trey Chalifoux, of the home team, 7-5 on the strength of takedowns in each of the first two periods. Hildebrandt now sports a 10-1 record and is a winner of his last six matches. For a weight class that has been unpredictable after the top six or seven, Hildebrandt has put himself in a strong position to threaten for the NCAA podium this year.
7) Chase Singletary (Ohio State)
Ohio State had a tough weekend where they had dual meets with two of the ACC’s powers, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. On Friday afternoon, in Pittsburgh, Chase Singletary made his season debut for the Buckeyes against an imposing opponent, Demetrius Thomas. The returning ACC champion was held the number nine ranking at 285 lbs and is more offensively-minded than most big men. This time it was Singletary doing the majority of the scoring and he earned an 8-3 decision in the second match of the dual. Then on Sunday, Chase used a 4-2 decision to defeat Virginia Tech’s John Borst and keep the slim hopes alive for a Buckeye victory in the dual. Singletary’s big weekend comes just about two weeks after Ohio State lost former top recruit and fellow 285 lber Greg Kerkvliet to transfer. Many expected the freshman to immediately find his way into the Buckeye lineup and force Singletary to the bench. Chase’s win on Friday has shown that he can compete with many of the best in the nation and the loss of Kerkvliet may not be as big as once thought.
6) Michael DeAugustino (Northwestern)
Another upset that took place over the weekend was the Wildcats of Northwestern downing 15th ranked Northern Iowa 24-20. As always, whenever an upset occurs from a team standpoint, there’s at least one or two individually that take place. For Northwestern, it was when their 125 lber, Michael DeAugustino, knocked off 14th ranked Jay Schwarm, 5-1. That marked the first dual win in the career of DeAugustino. Last weekend, at Virginia Tech, Michael made his dual debut and lost a tight 2-0 match to Joey Prata. While redshirting in 2018-19, DeAugustino went 10-8 on the year. For those expecting two-time All-American Sebastian Rivera to handle the starting role at 125 lbs, it looks like DeAugustino will have the spot for at least the next month, possibly the entire season.
5) Kendall Coleman (Purdue)
Perhaps the biggest breakout star of the first three weeks of the college season has been Purdue’s redshirt freshman Kendall Coleman. Coleman came into Sunday with a perfect 8-0 record and a title at the season-opening Michigan State Open. At that event, he knocked off three returning national qualifiers. Kendall’s task Sunday included another undefeated freshman, North Dakota State’s Jared Franek. The Bison freshman pushed Coleman into overtime, but Kendall managed to stay perfect by getting a takedown to defeat Franek, 8-6, in sudden victory. Coleman probably deserved a spot in the top performances in week one, but he has continued his hot start and got there after week three.
4) Killian Cardinale (Old Dominion)
So, Old Dominion has a 125 lber who has won six of his seven matches and had defeated an NCAA qualifier in each of his first two weeks. That shouldn’t be a surprise though because the Monarchs have a returning NCAA Round of 12 finisher at 125 lbs in Michael McGee. Well, those wins were not by McGee; they were by redshirt sophomore Killian Cardinale. A winner of the Battle of the Citadel and a runner-up at the Journeyman Collegiate Classic, Cardinale was at it again on Friday night when ODU traveled to NC State. This time he was faced with a highly-touted freshman, #11 Jakob Camacho, who was making his debut in a Wolfpack singlet. Down 5-4 with just over 30 seconds remaining in the match, Killian earned a takedown to get in front 6-5. The Monarch 125 lber was able to ride Camacho out for the remainder of the bout and picked up his first dual win over the year. So far, in 2018-19, Killian has defeated Camacho, Brock Hudkins (Indiana), and Gage Curry (American).
3) Jordan Kutler (Lehigh)
TOM’s Dual of the Week appeared to be very close on paper and ended up coming down to criteria when sixth-ranked Lehigh hosted #9 Oklahoma State. Though the win doesn’t qualify as an upset, like others on this list, anytime the Cowboys lose, it’s a big deal. One of the standouts for the Mountain Hawks was their two-time All-American, 174 lber Jordan Kutler. Kutler’s 20-6 major decision over 2018 NCAA qualifier Andrew Shomers put Lehigh up 11-6 after six matches. The win for Jordan now brings his 2019-20 to 5-0 and he has earned bonus points in four of those bouts. The only match in which Kutler has not earned bonus, was a win over returning All-American Mikey Labriola (Nebraska). Jordan and his teammates will have to be on their game this weekend as they will take on a pair of ranked teams in Princeton and Pittsburgh.
2) Dean Sherry (Rider)
One of the biggest upsets in a weekend filled with them was when the Rider Broncs dropped tenth-ranked Minnesota 21-17. The result that helped swing the dual in favor of Rider was at 174 lbs when Dean Sherry pinned returning All-American Devin Skatzka late in the first period. Sherry jumped on the board early with a takedown from a dump. Then came an exciting sequence where both wrestlers locked in cradles, before they each escaped from danger. Leading 6-4, Sherry stopped a Skatzka attacked and locked in another cradle. After rolling across his back, Dean found the All-American flat on his back for the fall. His teammates won two of the final three duals to lock up the dual meet win. If that wasn’t enough, Sherry also picked up a victory in the Broncs 26-6 win over Northern Illinois.
1) Brent Moore (Virginia Tech)