photos courtesy of Richard Immel
Happy first weekend of wrestling season to everyone! The beginning of the college wrestling season isn’t a holiday, but it should be. Even though there were many schools that did not compete on the first weekend of the season, it was certainly enough to whet our appetite for wrestling and make us look forward to even more in the weeks ahead. Here are 11 of the top individual performances from this weekend’s action.
11) Joey Goodhart – Drexel
This first time back on the mats officially for Drexel, after redshirting the 2017-18 season, was eventful for Joey Goodhart. Joey started his season with a pin of Keystone College’s Cameron Smith in the first period. It helped seal a 59-0 win for the Dragons. His second match of the day was the most notable. Goodhart knocked off 2018 DII National Champion Terrance Fanning (Wheeling Jesuit) 4-2. That win closed the books on Drexel’s 28-9 win over Wheeling Jesuit and gave them a 2-0 record on the opening weekend of the season. Joey is a two-time NCAA qualifier, both times at 285 lbs, and was an EIWA finalist in 2017.
10) Anthony Ashnault – Rutgers
Also returning to the mat for the first time in over a year was Rutgers’ three-time All-American Anthony Ashnault. If you blinked, you might have missed his season debut, as he only needed nine seconds to pin Centenary’s, Logan Long. He would follow that up with two more falls in Rutgers season-opening quad vs. Johnson & Wales and Fresno State. This was also Anthony’s first appearance at 149 lbs, as he spent the first three years of his career at 141. Ashnault missed all of the 2017-18 season due to injury and was granted a sixth-year of eligibility by the NCAA.
9) Christian Price – Ashland
This honor could have just as well went to the entire Ashland University team after they went 4-0 at the Kent State Duals, which was punctuated by a 21-14 win over the host Golden Flashes. When Price took the mat at 174 lbs for Ashland, the Eagles were leading 18-3. His 5-1 decision over Lane Hinkle extended the AU lead to 21-3. Kent State would try to mount a comeback, taking the final three bouts, however, it was not enough, and the DII Eagles upset their in-state rivals. Price was the only Ashland wrestler to go 4-0 on the day, and he tallied a pair of tech falls along the way.
8) RayVon Foley – Michigan State
18th ranked RayVon Foley got his season off to a great start after winning an Open title in his home gym. Foley earned bonus points in three of his four matches on the day, one of which was a 12-3 major decision over 13th ranked Drew Mattin (Michigan) in the finals. The closest match of the day for RayVon was a 9-4 win over another in-state rival, Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan), 9-4 in the semis.
7) Fabian Gutierrez – Chattanooga
It should not be a massive surprise that Chattanooga came away with a Hokie Open champion at 125 lbs; however it was not their returning 2018 SoCon Champion Alonzo Allen, it was Fabian Gutierrez. The two Moc teammates met in the finals and Gutierrez closed out his day with a first-period fall over Allen. That win wasn’t the only impressive one for Fabian, as he also dispatched three-time NCAA qualifier Elijah Oliver (Indiana) 6-1 and stuck freshman Joey Melendez (North Carolina), a blue-chip recruit for the Tar Heels. We need to keep our eyes on Gutierrez for more. He is currently a sophomore that has compiled a 21-17 record in his freshman and redshirt season combined.
6) Jamel Morris – NC State
One of the wrestlers that have been sitting and waiting his turn on the talented NC State bench is Jamel Morris. Last year while competing primarily at 133 lbs, Morris racked up a 23-5 record and won the Wolfpack Open, the Appalachian Open, and the National Collegiate Open. After winning his first two matches at this weekend’s Hokie Open, Morris would face Rustam Ampar (Cavalier Wrestling Club). Though he is currently training with the University of Virginia, Ampar was a Junior world silver medalist in 2009 and a runner-up at the prestigious Ivan Yarygin tournament in 2016. Morris was able to take advantage of Ampar’s limited folkstyle experience and total eight near-fall points in his 17-9 major decision. In the tournament final, he would defeat NCAA qualifier AC Headlee (North Carolina) 10-6.
5) Will Lewan – Michigan
Even though he is likely to redshirt, we felt like Will Lewan needed to be mentioned on this list. Lewan decided to forego the Freshman/Sophomore age group at the Michigan State Open and entered the Open division. There he would reel off four straight wins, three of which came in sudden victory, to claim the title. His opponent in the finals was a familiar one, teammate and two-time All-American Alec Pantaleo. Lewan would come out on top of the veteran Pantaleo 10-8 in extra time. It was the second time that the freshman Lewan has defeated Pantaleo this year, the first coming in the Wolverines wrestle-offs. Barring any drastic changes, expect to see Lewan kept in redshirt for the 2018-19 season; however he will be expected to make an impact for Michigan the following season.
4) Mason Parris – Michigan
Another true freshman that shined for Big Blue at the Michigan State Open was Mason Parris. Mason’s status in the UM lineup is much more uncertain than his teammate Lewan, at this time. There are no wrestlers of Pantaleo’s ability in the 285 lb weight class so Michigan may be tempted to start Parris in 2018-19. He may have helped force hand of the coaching staff with a championship in the Open division of the Michigan State Open. Mason earned a spot in the title bout after a strong 10-4 win over NCAA qualifier Zack Parker (Ohio). In the final he only needed 14 seconds to pin Matt Stencel (Central Michigan); currently the 15th ranked 285 lber in the nation. While Parris is still slightly rough around the edges, his talent may be too much for the Wolverines to keep in redshirt this year.
3) Brock Mauller – Missouri
A third freshman that will probably redshirt during the 2018-19 season is Missouri’s, Brock Mauller. Brock currently has fourth-ranked 149 lber Grant Leeth ahead of his on the Tiger depth chart at 149 lbs. Mauller excelled and took home a title at the Harold Nichols Cyclone Open with wins over a pair of NCAA qualifiers. This first was Cole Martin (Wisconsin), whom Brock dropped 5-2 in the semis. To get the title, Mauller then defeated NCAA Round of 12 finisher Jarrett Degan (Iowa State) 12-6 in the tournament final.
2) Evan Wick – Wisconsin
On Thursday night, Evan Wick was one of six Badger wrestlers that were victorious and helped usher in the Chris Bono-era with a 25-12 win over Buffalo. Wick was able to pick up a bonus point with his 14-1 major decision win over 2018 NJCAA National Champion Troy Keller. That wasn’t it for Wick either, on Saturday at the Cyclone Open, Evan met seventh-ranked Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa) in the finals, and came out on top 3-2. The meeting being Steiert and the second-ranked Wick, was the only clash of wrestlers in the top ten over the opening weekend.
1) Patrick Glory – Princeton