As we head towards the Christmas break, some college wrestlers might be distracted by final exams. However, these seven grapplers maintained their laser focus on the mat and it showed in their outstanding performances last week. Whether it was pulling an upset, forcefully making a statement against a potential rival, or reminding the D1 folks that wrestlers at other levels can scrap too, these guys didn’t miss a beat.
7) Cody Law represents for Division II
After transferring from Penn State to Pitt-Johnstown after the first semester last season, Cody Law was ruled ineligible and missed the post-season. That may have lit a fire under the junior from Forest Hills, PA, as he rampaged through the bracket at the PSAC Championships, posting tech-fall victories over Damon Greenwald (Seton Hill) and Kyle Hammond (Lock Haven) before putting away Chase Delande (Edinboro), 8-3, in the final. Law is currently ranked fifth at 157 in D2 but he will be tough for anyone to handle going forward.
6) Never forget, Anthony Rubinetti is a pinner
During his high school career, Anthony Rubinetti (Northwestern) pinned 104 of his 160 opponents. During his redshirt season in 2015-16, all five of his wins were by fall. After hitting a tough stretch of competition recently, Rubinetti had lost three of his last four matches, the Wildcat freshman dusted off those pinning skills, nailing #11 Freddie Rodriguez (SIU-Edwardsville) with one second left in the first-period Saturday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The upset sparked Northwestern to a 33-10 dual victory and moved Rubinetti to 7-3 on the season.
5) Stevan Micic makes a statement
At the Cliff Keen last week, Stevan Micic (Michigan) had to storm back to force overtime before eventually beating #13 Mitch McKee (Minnesota), 9-7. There would be no comeback necessary this time around as the Michigan freshman mauled his Gopher counterpart, building a 14-7 lead before locking up a cradle for the fall in 4:56. Micic and the Wolverines are now off until January 6th when they host Iowa.
4) Scott Parker keeps right on scoring
After breaking into the rankings by upsetting Penn State’s Jered Cortez last week, Parker solidified his position with a pair of convincing decisions, first cruising past Pat D’Arcy (Princeton), 10-3, then scoring another upset, 11-5, over #10 Kevin Devoy (Drexel). Scott seems to be over the injury he picked up at the Journeymen Classic and has announced himself as a contender to make the top eight. He’ll be further tested as he travels with Lehigh to the Southern Scuffle to start 2017.
3) Jake Short proves it
There was a time this season when Jake Short (Minnesota) had a 4-4 record and was benched for the Oklahoma State dual. He rebounded in a big way to win the Cliff Keen, with seventh-ranked Brian Murphy (Michigan) in the field, but was still considered an underdog by many heading into a key match-up with Murphy in today’s dual. Short stayed hot with a 5-1 win over Murphy as the Gophers upset Michigan. He also had a 4-2 win over Austin Thompson (Michigan State) which puts his winning streak at seven heading into the Southern Scuffle.
2) Jake McKiernan stuns Brooks Black…again
Two years ago, as a true freshman, Jake McKiernan (SIU-Edwardsville) pinned Brooks Black (Illinois) at the Harold Nichols Open just before time expired. There was no fall this time around, but McKiernan dominated Black, who was up to sixth in the national rankings, on his way to a 6-0 victory on Wednesday night in a home dual for SIU-Edwardsville. McKiernan didn’t surrender a point all week as he posted another shut-out win on Saturday, topping Conan Jennings (Northwestern), 4-0.