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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/20/2020 in Posts

  1. 10 points

    Carson Karchla

    It's the disease of the internet. Some people are so eager to correct others and pick fights that their brain alters everything they read.
  2. 10 points

    RIP Dan Hodge

    Dan and I met for the first time in 1975 when I drove to Perry to interview him for my book "Two Guys Named Dan". He and his wife Dolores became very dear friends with my wife Bev and me. They were our guests many times at the WIN Memorabilia Show during the NCAA tournament and the fans loved him. I never knew a celebrity that was more patient and kind to all those who came to meet him and get an autograph. Some were even brave enough to shake his hand, and once in a great while someone would say "Give me a shot, Dan!" and in seconds they were begging him to let go! While Dan was entertaining the fans, Dolores was working with Bev behind the tables. They were an incredible team for over 60 years! In 1995, I created "The Heisman Trophy of wrestling" and named it for Dan. In 2009, I wrote his biography entitled "Oklahoma Shooter: The Dan Hodge Story" and it sold out within a year. Dan and Dolores stayed with us many times in our home in Newton, Iowa, and we have stayed with them in Perry. I have never known anyone like him and today there is a big hole in my heart. -- Mike Chapman
  3. 8 points

    Kolat not wasting any time

    I think so. I feel like any top tier wrestler who can get into Princeton is choosing Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, or UVA. Maybe a couple others (Michigan, American, Brown?). Princeton is on the list for every single one of those. Attending Navy is insane. Your whole life revolves around the Navy. It takes someone who really wants to make a career in the Navy. There just aren’t that many high level recruits like that.
  4. 8 points

    Rogan podcast with JB

    JB did great. Represented himself very well. Thank god he is the accepted voice of our olympic sport in a lot of ways.... If that were Dake, the entire podcast would have devolved into conspiracy theories, and if you are a frequent Rogan listener, you known exactly what Im talking about. Thankfully JB is interesting enough not to let that happen.
  5. 8 points
    Just going to leave this here.
  6. 8 points

    Anthony Echemendia's Instagram

    I have wanted a sugar mama my entire life. If anything, I am jealous of Echemendia.
  7. 7 points


    Yesterday (Tuesday), Bryan Van Kley of WIN and I presented the Dan Hodge Trophy to Spencer Lee, in a small gathering of media and UI officials (including Tom and Terry Brands of course) in the press area of the Iowa football stadium. It was a wonderful event and Spencer told us he met Dan Hodge when he was an 8-year-old competing in the Tulsa Nationals. Spencer said it was a real honor to meet Dan and said he wished he could meet him again.... My wife Bev reminded me of a great story. Once at our WIN Show, there was a long line of kids to get Dan's autograph. Dan was tired from a day-long event but wouldn't stop. The last boy arrived and shoved a piece of paper at him and said said nothing. Dan smiled but did nothing. The boy stared sheepishly, and mumbled "Sign." Again, Dan did nothing, just smiled. The little boy looked around nervously and then Dan said "What else should you say?." The boy paused and said softly, "Please." Dan jumped up with both arms raised, grinning -- "You said the magic word!" and sat down and signed. The boy's dad was standing next to me, and said: "What a great lesson Dan Hodge just gave my son! What a great man!" That's the Dan Hodge I knew and admired so deeply. My entire column in the next issue of WIN will be about Dan. -- Mike Chapman
  8. 7 points

    Suriano to Arizona

    More opportunity to be shirtless outside.
  9. 7 points

    Iran Wrestling News

    Must say, the banter between Iranian wrestling fans is priceless. You guys know the sport, do your homework, and pull no punches, most especially on Iranian wrestlers. Love the contributions you make to the forum and appreciate the brutally honest takes. May you enjoy a blessed new year and may we all hope 2021 treats the world better.
  10. 6 points
    Hey BigTenFanboy! If you want to grow the sport's viewer base why don't you convince the BigTen Network to put all their 2021 content on YouTube for free. What better opportunity to expose the sport to the world than to broadcast the events on the largest video streaming platform in the WORLD. As a Fanboy of I'm sure they will listen to you. ;)
  11. 6 points
    125- Justin Cardani- So. Breakdown: Justin Cardani returns at lead-off for the Fighting Illini after an impressive 16-win freshman campaign highlighted by numerous ranked wins and the 21st seed at the NCAA tournament. Cardani does the majority of his damage in neutral where he prefers to wrestle from space using his length and footwork to stay at a range where he can get to his outside single, but opponents generally cannot get to him. Cardani’s style is a bit vexing. He appears to be almost retreating a good deal of the time. He gets opponents to chase and then, bang, he’s in on a single leg. It reminds me a little of the way Jesse Delgado used to get to his offense. Cardani is a proficient finisher from this outside single position and equally proficient in the scrambles that often ensue. Defensively, Cardani uses his length and footwork to limit clean entries and when opponents do get to his legs, his length and scrambling present a difficult finish. This combination makes Cardani a pretty stingy customer. Cardani held every opponent but three to 5 points or less over the entire season. He held top-10 ranked opponents Devin Schroder and Drew Hildebrandt to 3 and 1 point respectively. Cardani is solid on the floor and despite some occasional difficulties getting off bottom, he generally gets the match back to neutral and resumes his game plan. It would be nice to see Cardani diversify his neutral offense a bit to create a few additional pathways to victory. Even a modest improvement in this area should see Cardani drift up into the mid-teens in the rankings and could see Cardani favored in his first-round match-up at NCAAs. Best Wins: Michael DeAugustino, Brandon Courtney, Jack Medley, Liam Cronin (3 times), Nico Aguilar, Elijah Oliver Worst Losses: Probably Bryce West and Logan Griffin Most Anticipated Match-Ups: Spencer Lee is out of reach for basically everybody, but beyond Spencer, there is a lot of parody in the Big 10 at 125. I am anxious to see how Cardani stacks up with RayVon Foley, Brock Hudkins, and Devin Schroeder. Waiting in the Wings for Illinois: Potential 4x California State Champion Maximo Renteria signed with Illinois. Illinois has enjoyed some decent success with California talent as their last 5 individual national titles each came courtesy of the Eureka state. 133- Lucas Byrd- Fr. Breakdown: Lucas Byrd came to Champaign as the #1 ranked prep 120 pounder in the country. His prep accolades included three Iron Man top-3 finishes, a Super 32 title, two Ohio state titles, 3 Fargo All-America medals, and greco world team appearance. Wrestlers of this pedigree generally acclimate themselves pretty well right out of the gate and I expect Byrd will do the same. An accomplished greco guy, Byrd likes to wrestle from underhooks and control ties limiting his opponent’s opportunities while creating opportunity for his own throw-bys and short offense. When he’s not in ties, Byrd likes to limit openings by dropping a hand to the mat into a three-point stance or sometimes dropping to a knee until he can get his hands back on his opponent. Byrd is not a high-volume leg attack guy but he does pop-off his fair share of shots and is a competent finisher when opportunity strikes. Byrd should be fine on the floor as well. He is active and athletic on bottom and seems to have enough top to handle short time ride-outs or mitigate riding time advantages when necessary. Byrd may be better suited as a 125 pounder at this point, however last season Byrd jumped from high school 120 pounders to D1 133 pounders and was still generally able to move guys around and take territory. He’s had another year to get bigger and better so I don’t believe size will be too much of an issue. The 133 waters are always deep, but anything less than a trip to the NCAAs for a blue-chipper like Byrd would be a little disappointing. Best Wins: Byrd had a solid redshirt season but didn’t hit a ton of high-level guys. His best win was Indiana standout Cayden Rooks. He also had a nice win over solid Wildcat veteran Colin Valdiviez. Worst Losses: Byrd took 4 losses during his redshirt. All were to solid guys. An early season loss to Jordan Hamdan may have been his toughest loss of the year. Most Anticipated Match-Ups: Guys like Jordan Decatur, Mike DeAugustino, and Boo Dryden will likely be the crowd fighting for those final few Big 10 qualifying positions. I am anxious to see where Byrd is with this tier of opponent. Waiting in the Wings for Illinois: Byrd is just a Freshman and appears to still have some room to grow into a full-sized 133. I would anticipate Byrd to remain the guy for a while. Illinois has capable depth in We Rachal and Maximo Renteria may project as a 133 as well. 141- Dylan Duncan- Sr. Breakdown: Much like Travis Piotrowski last year, Dylan Duncan’s hits his Senior season in Champaign having already accumulated 60+ career wins, three trips to the NCAAs, and enough quality wins to climb into the teens in the rankings. However, much like Travis Piotrowski last year, Duncan heads into his Senior season having consistently come up short against the nation’s elite. Duncan appears to be one of those gatekeeper types. He doesn’t have any NCAA hardware himself, but he generally doesn’t lose to anyone except for the guys competing for NCAA hardware. Up to this point, Duncan has been almost a perfect measuring stick for success. If you lose to Duncan, you are not quite ready for the big time. If you beat a guy as solid as Duncan, you have probably arrived and are ready make a run at NCAA hardware. Illini fans should expect another solid season, another NCAA appearance, but likely not enough elite wins to make it to Saturday at NCAAs. Duncan bumped up to 141 last season and the move appeared to be a pretty welcome one. Duncan looked definitively more active and was still wrestling strong late into the season. Piotrowski bumped up a weight class as a senior and surprised most by putting together a 27-4 senior season (with two wins over Sammy Alvarez) to vault from the middle of the rankings into the top 8. Here’s hoping that Duncan’s senior year looks the same. 141 is incredibly top heavy with Sebastian Rivera, Nick Lee, Jaydin Eierman, and Chad Red each considered high AA contenders. However, beyond these top contenders, the remaining field appears to be within in reach for a guy like Duncan. Maybe, just maybe, Duncan takes one final step forward and ends his Illini career in style on Saturday at NCAAS. Best Wins: Mitch McKee, Jason Renteria, John Erneste, Devin Schroder, Ian Parker Worst Losses: DJ Lloren and Parker Filius Most Anticipated Match-Up: I’m anxious to see if a highly touted youngsters Anthony Echemendia and Joey Silva can get past a guy like Duncan. A match-up with Minnesota transfer Michael Blockhus would also be fun. Waiting in the Wings for Illinois: The Illini bring-in prep star Danny Pucino at 141. He’s a little off the national radar, but very tough. Illinois also landed a pair of Illini younger brothers in Michael Gunther and Trey Piotrowski both of whom project at 141. 149- Mikey Carr- Jr. Breakdown: Mikey Carr is my favorite current Illini wrestler. Mike Poeta once told me that Mikey Carr and Isaiah Martinez are the only two guys that he coached who train so hard that the coaching staff actually needs to force them to rest on occasion. How do you not pull for a kid like that? Unfortunately, Carr has missed two full seasons to injury and has pretty much been banged up for his entire Illini career. However, in his relatively brief window between injury, Carr has racked up a super-impressive hit list including the likes of Nick Lee, Chad Red, Tommy Thorn, Kanen Storr, Max Murin, Tristan Moran, and Mitch McKee. Carr’s success is nearly entirely predicated on relentless pace and effort. He prefers to wrestle from neutral where his offense is predicated on constant motion, repeated fakes, and a high-volume of leg attacks. His style demands a tremendous amount of output. It’s a style that tends to take a physical toll over the course of a long grueling season and can be problematic for a guy with Carr’s injury history. To that point, Carr has been limited by injury during the post-season every season so far. However, this season, Carr bumps up to 149 and perhaps the additional nutrition and strength from a bump up in weight class combined with the abbreviated 2021 covid schedule will be just the recipe that Carr needs to finally be relatively healthy in March. If so, I really love Carr’s chances to scratch and claw his way on to the NCAA podium. Best Wins: Nick Lee, Tommy Thorn, Chad Red, Max Murin, Kanen Storr, Mitch McKee, Tristan Moran Worst Losses: No “bad” losses. Career NCAA losses to Max Murin, Matt Findlay, and Sa’Derian Perry are all matches that I thought Carr would win. Most Anticipated Match-Ups: Sammy Sasso, Brayton Lee, Max Murin, Yahya Thomas, and Kanen Storr will all be great match-ups with likely NCAA seeding implications. Waiting in the Wings for Illinois: High upside recruit and NHSCA junior national champ E’lan Heard likely projects at 149. Luke Odom could also very well land at 149. 157 Johnny Mologousis- Jr. Breakdown: Eric Barone’s graduation means a changing of the guard at 157 for the Fighting Illini. The spot is certainly not settled at this point, but Johnny Mologousis appears to be the man most prepared for the job. Mologousis was a prep stand-out. He was a 2x IHSA state runner-up for former Illini great Griff Powell and had plenty of national exposure as a prep. He has three years of college wrestling under his belt and despite being a backup to this point, Mologousis has flashed an ability to compete with varsity level competition and has even pulled off a few signature wins. Mologousis is not a prolific leg attacker. He generally implements more of a counter offense style with go-behinds and re-attacks and he can frustrate opponents with an ability to far-ankle scramble out of danger. On the floor, Mologousis is tough on top and most proficient when riding legs with a power-half. It’s a top game that certain opponents can really struggle with, even some high quality opponents. This makes Mologousis a good bet in my mind to compete very solidly against the back half of the conference and to possibly steal a few high-level wins against guys who struggle with quality leg riders. With 157 being a little more navigable then most weight in the Big 10, a trip to NCAAs is not out of the question for Mologousis. Best Wins: Mologousis has careers wins over hammers Wyatt Sheets and Jarrett Jacques. Worst Losses: Mologousis had a number of close losses to solid guys last year. His worst loss was likely to OKSt freshman Jalin Harper. Most Anticipated Match-Ups: IHSA match-ups with Will Lewan, Fernie Silva, and Kendall Coleman would be entertaining. Waiting in the Wings at Illinois: Freshman Big Boarder Luke Odom likely projects as a 157 pounder. 165- Danny Braunagel- So. Breakdown: I was super-impressed with Braunagel’s freshman campaign and not just because he led the team with 23 wins and earned the #15 seed at NCAAs. What stood out even more, was the way Braunagel went about his business with a relentless drive to improve and tremendous will to win. His championship approach to training and competing raised the bar for the entire Illini squad. So much so, in fact, that Jim Heffernan named Braunagel and his twin brother Zac as captains of the team already as freshman. On the mat Braunagel is a total grinder. He is always coming forward hard, hand fighting, taking ground and attacking. He’s got a sneaky nice single leg and is a physical finisher when he gets to the legs. Guys who constantly push forward can at times struggle defensively, yet Braunagel is better defensively than most realize. He scrambles surprising well and does a lot of damage with short offense and re-attacks. On the mat, Braunagel’s game is likewise more-or-less predicated on pace and effort. In the top position, he brings toes-in-the-mat heavy forward pressure and hard mat returns. On bottom, it’s consistent motion, effort, and activity. The freshman version of Braunagel was already problems for most of the country, but not quite on par with the nation’s elite. I am certain that the sophomore version of Braunagel will be even better. Potential conference match-ups with 165 title contenders like Marinelli, Wick, and Carson Karchla will be great opportunities to see where Braunagel stands with the very best. While it may be a bit premature to suggest Braunagel is ready to go with these guys, it is certainly realistic to slot Braunagel just below the very best and squarely into fringe All-American territory with about a dozen or so other guys. These dozen guys can be found every year grinding through the backside of the NCAA bracket for three or four or five tough do-or-die matches. When it comes to sorting through this group of guys, I always lean towards the guys with the biggest will to win. In my mind, this gives Braunagel better than a puncher’s chance. Best Wins: Kennedy Monday, Zach Hartman, Cam Amine x 2 Worst Losses: Braunagel’s nine losses were all to national qualifiers. His most surprising loss was probably NIU national qualifier Izzak Olejnik. Most Anticipated Match-Ups: I’m looking forward to seeing Braunagel tangle with Marinelli and Karchla, but match-ups with the next tier guys like Joe Lee, Emil Soehnlen, Jacob Tucker, and Cam Amine may have a larger impact on his NCAA seed and his pathway to All-American. Waiting in the Wings: Illinois has home grown Kenny Kerstein backing up Braunagel who should be a career 165. 174- DJ Shannon- Fr. / David Riojas- Sr. Breakdown: The Illini have several options to replace Joey Gunther at 174 pounds. Veteran David Riojas has been around now for four seasons after being forced into starting duty prematurely as a true freshman in 2018. Riojas struggled through a brutal Big 10 schedule as a true freshman, but now, three years later, he is far better suited to compete. Last year Riojas entered the Midlands where he won two bouts and wrestled to a tough 4-0 loss to #6 Dylan Lydy suggesting that he has covered plenty of ground since 2018. Should Illinois start Riojas, expectations would be similar to those of Mologousis at 157. Illinois would be looking for Riojas to be competitive with the back half of the conference and to minimize damage against the conference’s elite. However, an alternative for the Illini may emerge in DJ Shannon. DJ Shannon took a slightly circuitous route to Champaign. A native of the East St. Louis area, Shannon prepped across the river in Missouri where he won three Missouri state titles. He originally committed to West Virginia, but decommitted after Sammy Henson departed. Shannon instead spent that year in Colorado Springs working with Kevin Jackson at the Elite Accelerator Program. He then signed with Illinois and redshirted last season. On the mat, Shannon is an exciting and explosive prospect with no limit to his ceiling. Like many elite prospects his offense is currently ahead of his defense and his neutral wrestling is ahead of his mat wrestling. When you put these ingredients together you get some really encouraging wins mixed with a few head-scratching losses. For example, during his year at the EAP, Shannon knocked off PSUs Joe Lee and gave Nate Carr a legitimate scare on his way to a 6th place finish at the US junior nationals. Likewise during his redshirt season at Illinois he knocked off #13 Anthony Mantanona. At the same time, Shannon takes some bad losses to guys that you might think Shannon just too talented to lose to. The Illini coaching staff may have to put a little extra developmental time with a prospect like Shannon, but at the end of the day, the juice could really be worth the extra squeeze with a kid this talented. Best Wins: Shannon has wins over Anthony Mantanona, Cody Surrat, and Fritz Shierl. Riojas pulled off a nice win over Maryland’s Phillip Spadafora. Worst Losses: Shannon’s worst loss was probably Oklahoma’s Elijah Joseph. Riojas dropped a bout to highly regarded freshman Nate Jiminez last year. Most Anticipated Match-Ups: Match-ups with Drew Hughes, Bailee O’Reilly, or Joe Grello will likely be fairly indicative of Illinois chances of qualifying for NCAAs at 174. Waiting in the Wings for Illinois: Ohio State Champ and NHSCA Senior National runner-up Trey Sizemore is dropping to 174 and could factor in this competition as well. Illinois has also signed Dylan Connell who is chasing his 4th IHSA State Title this season and is going to be a really good one. 184- Zac Braunagel- So. Breakdown: Zac Braunagel also had an outstanding freshman season. He won 20 matches in a brutal 184-pound division and carried the 15th seed into the NCAA tournament. Braunagel deserves all the same credit as his brother for his championship mindset and for setting the bar in terms of hard work and commitment for the entire squad. Zac was also named captain of the team as a freshman. Zac Braunagel has an extensive greco background. He won a Fargo Greco National title in 2018, an US Junior Greco National title in 2019, and took 3rd in the US Senior Greco Nationals this summer. Not surprisingly, Braunagel’s folkstyle game reflects some of his greco prowess with a lot of effective hand fighting and control ties. A bit more surprisingly, Braunagel also brings solid leg attacks and leg attack defense to the party. His reattacks and short offense are among his best folkstyle weapons. Braunagel is proficient on the mat and rarely struggles to get away on bottom. His top game is equally solid. Perhaps more importantly, Braunagel never gets outworked or outhustled and seems to be constantly growing and improving. Unfortunately for Braunagel, despite earning the #15 seed at NCAAs as a freshman, three other Big 10 Freshman were seeded even higher in Rocky Jordan, Abe Assad, and Aaron Brooks. For the moment, Braungael is still looking up at this group along with Husker All-American Taylor Venz and Wolverine star Myles Amine. Still, Braunagel isn’t too far behind this group and seems to be gaining ground by the day. Braunagel upset seasoned Gopher NCAA runner-up Brett Pfarr in a freestyle match this offseason and then finished third at the Senior Nationals in greco, knocking off former age level world team member and Senior level WTT finalist Marcus Finau along the way. NCAA medals may yet be in the not-so-distant future for Braunagel, but they going to arrive. Best Wins: Braunagel knocked off Cameron Caffey, Nelson Brands, Billy Janzer twice, Jelani Embree twice, and Owen Webster. Worst Losses: Probably Max Lyon Most Anticipated Match-Ups: Just about every 184 matchup in the Big 10 is amazing. Braunagel did not hit Taylor Venz or Myles Amine last year, so I’m looking forward to those matchups. A matchup with Wisconsin transfer Chris Weiler will be fun as well. Waiting in the Wings for Illinois: Trey Sizemore would likely bulk up into this weight if it were necessary. 197- Matt Wroblewski- Jr. Breakdown: Matt Wroblewski will return as the starter for Illinois at 197 after an 11-15 sophomore season. Wroblewski was largely competitive in his first run as a starter but just didn’t translate enough of these competitive matches into victories to really arrive on the national scene. Wroblewski wrestles a bit more like a light weight than your typical 197. He’s got a little flash to his game. He’ll go inside trip, ankle pick, or attempt a toss. He’s got nice athletic entries to either side and shows a fairly consistent ability to get his hands locked around the legs. His problem is finishing once he gets there. Wroblewski is taller, leaner 197 and he seems to get horsed a little bit by the bigger thicker variety of 197s. He’ll tend to get stuffed and stretched out underneath or get his hands ripped too often when he gets to a standing single. Things look somewhat similar on the floor. Wroblewski has the ability to turn with tilts, legs, or cradles however he struggles to hold down bigger and stronger opponents who seem to be able to explode to their feet off the whistle and negate any opportunity to work from top. If Wroblewski can tidy up his finishes in neutral and find a way to shut down his opponents first move on top, he is capable of a significant step forward and possibly into ranking consideration. If he can not improve in these areas, then another season hovering around .500 will likely play out, leaving Wroblewski on the outside looking-in at NCAAs. Best Wins: Alex Hopkins, Marty Mueller, and Kevin Snyder Worst Losses: Wroblewski had no “bad” losses. All 15 were to guys with winning records. His toughest losses were probably to UTCs Rodney Jones or Missouri’s Wyatt Koelling. Most Anticipated Match-Ups: The IHSA match-ups in the conference will be fun as Jacob Warner, Eric Schultz, Cameron Caffey, Peter Christensen, and Wroblewski are all former IHSA champs. Waiting in the Wings for Illinois: The Illini recently signed Joey Braunagel, the youngest and largest of the Braunagel brothers. He is a rising senior coming off a junior year state title and possessing many of the same characteristics as his brothers. Heavyweight- Luke Luffman- So. Breakdown: Man, wrestling heavyweight in the Big 10 was just ridiculously tough last season with the murderer’s row of Gable Steveson, Mason Parris, Anthony Cassioppi, and Trent Hillger, just to name a few. Luke Luffman jumped into this frying pan as a true freshman and acclimated himself quite nicely winning 17 matches and ultimately winding up as the only true freshman in the NCAA Championship heavyweight field. Luffman is a good one. He’s another young Illini starter with a 12-month competitive calendar, a penchant for hard work, and a championship character. Luffman has an extensive greco background which can be particularly useful against the larger heavyweights in the division. However, Luffman is also an athletic former HS 220 pounder with quality leg attacks, solid finishes, and high-level neutral defense which allows him to contend with the smaller more athletic heavies in the division. Luffman’s freestyle and greco are likely a little ahead of his folkstyle at this point. This is due mostly to a par terre game that is more dangerous than his current folkstyle top game. Luffman just earned an All-American medal in freestyle at the 2020 UWW U23 Nationals and he won both freestyle and greco national titles at Fargo in 2019. As Luffman gets bigger and stronger and he makes the requisite adjustments to D1 folkstyle mat wrestling, he should ascend further and further up the rankings and ultimately contend for Big 10 titles and national honors. However, this ascension is not going to happen this year in a Big 10 heavyweight field which may be actually approaching all-time levels with the return of Steveson, Parris, Hillger, and Cassioppi plus the additions of age level World Champion Kerkvliet and talented Ohio State transfer Tate Orndorff. It’s likely going to have to be the iron sharpening iron thing for another year for Luffman. He will surely take some losses at the hands of this talented crew, however, he will be very battle-tested and prepared for all-comers by the time he hits the mats at the NCAA Championships in March. Best Wins: Thomas Penola, Bobby Heald, Alex Esposito, and Jordan Earnest Worst Losses: All losses were to NCAA qualifiers. An early season loss to Max Ihry may have been his toughest. Most Anticipated Match-Ups: Luffman missed Cassioppi last season. I’d like to see that match-up of IHSA champions. Match-ups with Indiana transfer Garrett Hoffman as well as Christian Lance, Christian Rebattaro, and Christian Colucci surely have NCAA implications. Waiting in the Wings: Illinois added Sandburg heavyweight Mike Bosco to the room this year. Team Breakdown: The Illini had a nice 10-4 bounce-back season in 2019-20 which included notable victories over Missouri, Rutgers, Northwestern, and Michigan. Perhaps more impressively, the Illini accomplished all of this with arguably their best wrestler, Mikey Carr, out with an injury and four Freshman in the starting lineup. The Illini’s recent efforts to shift their recruiting focus back home to Illinois seems to have paid dividends as Illinois led the nation with eight homegrown NCAA qualifiers. Additionally, Illinois’s decision to bring Bryan Medlin in to oversee the Illinois Regional Training Center seems to have also paid dividends. Medlin’s reputation as an outstanding greco coach saw the migration of senior level greco standouts Max Nowry, Ellis Coleman, Joe Rau, Travis Rice, and West Cathcart to Champaign to train with Medlin. It also helped usher in a collegiate roster littered with their own greco accolades. Cardani owns a 3rd place medal from Fargo in greco. Lucas Byrd made a greco world team. Dylan Duncan took 2nd in greco at fargo. Danny Braunagel was a greco all-american. Zach Braunagel and Luke Luffman were each greco national champions. Additionally, Illini reserves We Rachal, Luke Odom, and Michael Gunther were each Fargo greco all-americans. The presence of Medlin and the IRTC seems to be attractive to prep recruits who excel at greco and who want a 12-month training environment with a staff who can build on their high level greco skill set. The past few off-seasons have seen Illini wrestlers hit the podium at Junior Nationals, U23 Nationals, and most recently at the 2020 Senior Nationals where Danny Braunagel took 7th in freestyle and Zach Braunagel finished 3rd in greco. This off-season success should excite Illini fans because it is a strong indication of a winning culture being developed and taking root. I spoke with coach Heffernan briefly at the IHSA state tournament and I asked him for his impressions of the team. Heffernan almost immediately referenced the team’s character and made special mention of the maturity and commitment he was seeing from the youngsters like Braunagels, Cardani, and Luffman. Heffernan seemed genuinely excited for this group. This season’s lineup will once again be a young one with six underclassmen projected to start and only one senior in Dylan Duncan. The Fighting Illini will not yet be ready to contend with the nation’s elite for a team trophy, but they will be a hardnosed and well-prepared team-on-the-rise. The Illini should enjoy their share of dual meet success and once again qualify a nice contingent of individuals to the Big Dance. More importantly, with the requisite culture in place, Illini fans should enjoy watching this team continue to collectively improve and grow towards eventual realistic expectations of competing for a team trophy. If this group is a special as Heffernan says, they just might be the group to finally get it done.
  12. 6 points

    Best Wrestlers in Oklahoma History

    And once again, someone doesn't understand how this works. It's strictly objective. All by the numbers. Team points for placement. No adjustments, no opinions. If you don't like it, make your own list.
  13. 5 points

    Kolat not wasting any time

    Looks like he's already made a splash to the Navy Program...Beats #18 Lehigh for their 1st win in 10 years over them 21-9...He has 55 guys on roster and great facilities...I think Navy in the near future will start having some great results.
  14. 5 points

    Bo Nickal

    So he suffered a career ending injury
  15. 5 points
    I honestly feel everyone's pain on the ads. the folks at Flo who, like you, watch and enjoy wrestling, have no control over what ads play and when and we are forced to watch them as well. In this case, however, Flo did not produce the event, and had zero control over the event or the ad runs. you would have seen the same production and ads no matter what platform they event streamed on. that said, I find the anger at Spartan Combat Races a little discouraging. this is a sponsor coming from outside the wrestling space who is investing a lot of time and money into the sport. they are helping provide opportunities for post collegiate wrestlers to stay in the sport and compete. it is a very good thing for the sport that a company like Spartan Combat has taken such an active interest in promoting and developing senior level wrestling. I'm sure Spartan Combat will welcome the constructive feedback. I agree that the ads were overkill. but I also think a little perspective and understanding is also warranted.
  16. 5 points
    drag it

    Gable documentary on Flo

    It's New Years Day, there is ice everywhere, it's a quarantine, and I don't like football much. So here is a long boring post. The new/old Gable documentary is up on Flo (behind the paywall). https://www.flowrestling.org/collections/6839009-the-life-of-dan-gable?playing=6848834. I don't think I've seen anyone comment on it here, so here's a thread starter for those interested. Flo apparently bought this from HBO or someone, I guess it was originally aired 1999ish. The filmmakers got access during Gable's famous last year in 1997. It's interesting because there is a book on that season where the author had the same access -- Zavoral's A Season on the Mat. I liked the book, which I've read several times, a lot more. Beyond the fact that a good book is better than a film version 90% of the time, I think the book is more for wrestling people, the film more for a general audience. On the latter point, one thing that I'll compliment the film for doing well is capture how Gable was unique among wrestlers in his appeal to the public. They show tons of huge newspaper headlines on the front page and on the front page of the sports section. They show him on national TV as THE attraction for the NCAAs/Wide World of Sports and Olympic coverage. They show him on Dick Cavett. Etc. Beyond the obligatory John Irving interviews, they also show thoughtful explanations by Nancy Schultz and Al Franken talking about how almost all of the interest in wrestling is usually from wrestlers, and how Gable broke through that. The film also did a nice job of vividly bringing out the role of Gable's murdered sister in his life, both before and after the crime, and informing his entire wrestling career. The interviews with him on it drive home how deeply personal this was and how conflicted he was about the conversation he had with the killer that, with 100% hindsight, was a warning. This has been covered before but I thought was done well here. But I found the film mostly plodding. It followed him in his last coaching season with his record setting team, with the adversity of his hip replacement in the middle of the season. But it seemed like they spent more time on his competitive career than on his coaching. They would show him coaching and then would cut in with flashbacks to lengthy tapes and descriptions of him competing which I thought were pretty clumsy and didn't really relate to the coaching tape they had just shown. I just don't think they used all this access and film they must have shot in nearly as productive way as they could have to demonstrate his coaching greatness. The book nicely captured his skill and intelligence as a coach, and added a lot to the common belief that he just worked worked worked worked the athletes. For instance, the book describes Gable navigating a very tricky complicated personal and medical issue with McIlravy, his father, and the team trainer, something that required some subtlety and nuance. And the key coaching decision he makes during the year is a conscious change in the training schedule at the end to back off. The film actually shows some tape of the result of this (the wrestlers wrapped in sheets and laying on the mats), but doesn’t let the viewer understand that this was part of a very significant strategic decision and that it went with a general downthrottling in the workout levels. His wrestlers are not drawn out at all as characters in the documentary. I don’t think they interviewed any of the wrestlers on the team (I think only Penrith as a former wrestler), they don’t interview (or I think even identify) his assistant coaches, and barely even identify the wrestlers by name (only when Gable or a TV announcer says their names), etc. Also there is just a lot of clumsy stuff in there. They talk about Gable cutting weight as a sophomore I think, to 95, but don’t really elaborate if this was a career-long issue for him. They show the wrestlers in the sauna but don’t really document any of their tough cuts (the book has some incredible scenes with Gable and Tom Brands and some of the wrestlers, particularly one with Mena). It’s still well worth watching. There isn’t much mainstream stuff out there on wrestling. Gable of course is always compelling. And they do have some memorable behind the scenes film. For instance, Joe Williams gassing out and then restarting a buddy carry up the Carver steps. And a compelling (and hilarious) scene where an exhausted McIlravy starts shouting at Gable when he makes them run an extra sprint because someone lagged on the last one, and rather than shout back, Gable deftly deflects him and says, in a faux helpless voice something like, What can I do? He’s part of the team. There is also some very sharp footage mat level at the NCAAs, including a terrific shot of the sea of a crowd going absolutely bonkers as Whitmer celebrates his semifinal win over Teague Moore, as well as the Brands coaching (with Tom having to calm Terry down in a foreshadowing of later years) and the pain in Gable's eyes and body language after a tough loss. Beyond the comparison with the book, it’s also interesting to compare this to the ESPN The Season documentary from the early 2000s, which of course is on youtube and I thought was more engrossing. For instance, in watching Gable in 1997 in the Flo film with Zalesky in the background as assistant, you can see how Zalesky as coach in The Season struggled to find his own identity. This happens a lot when someone is a disciple of an extraordinary leader, they end up imitating the original leader to sometimes embarrassing extremes and of course fail because no one can duplicate the original. Zalesky’s yelling at the team in The Season is a straight imitation of Gable, the same gestures and intonation and chopped diction, and it just doesn’t work, because it’s Gable, not him. I figure that it didn’t matter as much those first three seasons after Gable retired and they won NCAAs, since the team would have still included some Gable guys, but was probably a bigger problem the further out he got (as the results got worse). OK enough of my meaningless meanderings. Happy New Year everyone.
  17. 5 points

    Anthony Echemendia's Instagram

    This post is creepy, weird, and embarrassing for an adult to make.
  18. 5 points

    Anthony Echemendia's Instagram

    I'm assuming that's his wife in the background hovering over him?
  19. 5 points

    Russians looking fantastic

    Depends on what you think the intention of a World Tournament is. Personally, I would like it to be a competition of the best wresters in the World, and where they stand, so I would like more Russians able to attend, as they often have 2-3 of the top 10 sitting on the sidelines.
  20. 4 points

    2004 NCAA Champions

    Iowa and West Virginia?
  21. 4 points

    Is Dake a Big Story?

    I am really surprised the Living the Dream medal fund doesn't get brought up more often. At the world championships that pays $50,000 for gold, regardless of if it is at 74 or 79 kg. I am sure that Kyle does well between his contract with Spartan Combat, Cornell, and various sponsorship opportunities (recently to also include pro card appearances), but the additional $100,000 over the last two years has certainly improved things for his family. the fund also pays $25,000 for silver and 15 for bronze. I am of the opinion that Kyle would have taken one if not both of JB's last two world team spots, but considering his career ledger against JB to date, it does not take a degree in advanced statistics to understand the motivation to be a near lock in 18 & 19 to finish in the money. The venture at 74 would have been a coin flip to make the team, and you can't medal if you're not in the bracket. The gold medals up at 79 are just as shiny. Legacy is important too, but Kyle has a chance to tackle that in Tokyo, where the medal fund increases to $250,000 for gold. This is a lot of words to say that the term "ducking" is overly critical. I am glad to see our medal fund working, as it was intended to keep our top guys wrestling, and maybe another consequence is that it spreads our talent out in a manner that maximizes our annual medal yield.
  22. 4 points

    IL vs WI vs tOSU tri meet

    Illinois has now beaten Ohio State, Michigan, Missouri, and Rutgers in the past 12 months (along with Wisconsin and Northwestern). I really, really appreciate Flo and all that they do for the sport, but if I could offer one criticism it would be their allegiance to pet programs and their complete disregard for others. Last year, I probably listened to at least a combined 4 hours of talk about Rutgers, 4+ hours of talk about Michigan, countless hours of talk about Ohio State, and not 4 minutes combined about Illinois, who has now beaten all three. Flo spent hours stroking Sammy Alvarez and never once mentioned Piotrowski who pinned him twice. Can Illinois finally get a little love?
  23. 4 points

    Is Dake a Big Story?

    I still can’t believe he hit the Rock Bottom in a senior level freestyle match. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  24. 4 points
    How about “over hyped”?
  25. 4 points

    Nebraska vs Iowa

    Classic Warner. Not that either guy was doing anything, but what a hilarious way for Warner to get taken down. Spinning hard looking for the run around and falling on his face.
  26. 4 points
    Goodale is the best coach to ever be this unwanted by his own. The man has proven himself and was national coach of the year in 2019. He is a resounding success and nice to interact with. I'm not interested in debating the minute details of the successes and failures of his career, but will simply pass along a friendly warning: be careful what you wish for. I see no indicators, regardless of the pedigree of his eventual successor, that the next guy will deliver more success to the NJ faithful than Scott has. I could be wrong and there could be an unrealized ceiling to the Rutgers program just waiting to be unlocked by a superstar coach. I am firmly of the opinion that, while elements of his resume lack some of the sex appeal of some of his peers, you already have your superstar coach.
  27. 4 points

    PSU vs Rutgers

    Penn States All Time biggest Wrestling supporter/Staff member is not Happy with this
  28. 4 points

    Wrestling eligibility?

    The only rule about eligibility in NAIA is you can't have grandchildren.
  29. 4 points
    Some good competition here. Sharifov who beat Snyder the last time they met will be there. Just go to an App Store and download a VPN so you can watch on UWW site. It’s free and has worked like a charm for me. Here’s a link to entries: https://unitedworldwrestling.org/article/henri-deglane-grand-prix-france-preliminary-entries
  30. 4 points
    Nope. The only people who cared when JB won Olympic gold are wrestling fans. The JRE is literally the most popular podcast in the world. Millions of people have now been introduced to JB and wrestling that otherwise would not have.
  31. 4 points
    What a bizarre subset of the population one must occupy to love wrestling enough to visit and post on themat.com message board and still not be aware of the NCAA eligibility relief for the truncated 2021 season. In all seriousness, appreciative of everyone who visits this board to discuss our great sport.
  32. 4 points
    Did they wrestle 15 years ago and they're just showing a replay?
  33. 4 points


    When it comes to stipends or prize money paid by USA Wrestling, I think they should be the same. But when it comes to the types of PPV events we've been having, whether it is dual meet style or tournament, then there is no other way to go than what the market demands in terms of opportunity and pay. You can't force Flo to hold a card with a women's headliner match and pay to match that of JB/Taylor (whatever that amount may be). It just wouldn't be financially feasible. I am glad they are getting women's matches on some of these cards, which will help with exposure and may lead to more interest. All that said, if all of the wrestlers want to start a union to demand equal pay and opportunity for these types of matches, that would be their right. But you won't see the top names willing to take a hit to their bank accounts to force that kind of move. There is just not enough money in wrestling to go around like that.
  34. 4 points

    Mizzou Lineup

    I agree and it looks like both guys will face enough top guys to have a strong resume. O'Toole should hit Franek (NDSU) this weekend and Carr (ISU) and Teemer (ASU) on Jan 17th. He'd also have Sheets (OkSt) and Dellavecchia (Rider; twice including MACs) later in the season. Depending on the ranking service, that's 2 guys in the top 5 and 3 more in the top 15. Elam should get Noah Adams (WVU), Tanner Sloan (SDSU; this weekend), Bulsak (Clarion at MACs), Norfleet (ASU), Coleman (ISU), and Holschlag (UNI). The number 1 guy, another top 7 guy, and 4 more in the top 15. Hopefully it doesn't happen, but COVID or injury will probably cause some of these guys to miss each other. On the flip side, maybe there will be fewer 'ducks' to protect seed with so few available matches.
  35. 4 points

    BTN TV schedule

    It's the Big 10, and they have Keven Warren, so if like football, you will see them make poor decisions, and they will announce them late, and will appear to be the most screwed up, poorly run, and inept conference in America,... oh and dont forget that all the while, a pantyweight liberal political agenda will be front and center.
  36. 4 points
    And you get this from Paul’s 2 fights versus...a YouTuber and a retired basketball player?
  37. 4 points

    Iran props

    I love Iranian wrestling fans and have a ton of respect for their wrestlers. I ran across this article today and thought I'd share it with people who also appreciate Iran. Great community spirit. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2005/10/13/stars-seize-iranian-imagination
  38. 4 points

    Anthony Echemendia's Instagram

    Why is him being married to a rich girl a cause for concern? Unless i'm missing something (which I may be??), the only thing concerning is how much you seem to care about the relationship of somebody in college.
  39. 4 points
    pa in taiwan

    Russians looking fantastic

    No, I don't really love Russia. You guessed wrong. I appreciate their talent and ability. I love to watch the Russians wrestle. Guess what? I appreciate Iran's talent and ability. I also love to watch the Iranians wrestle. True competitors. The Japanese as well. They're coming on strong in certain weight classes. The Azerbaijanis are excellent as well. Do you see what I'm getting at? I am American, and I love our team, but I also admire and enjoy watching and even rooting for the wrestlers from other nations. By the way, I don't think anyone expects a similar performance from the Russians in the Olympics. And even if they perform well, there will be no team title.
  40. 3 points

    Kolat not wasting any time

    With what he was able to do with Campbell, I am sure you are right.
  41. 3 points

    JB and DT moved to Lincoln.....

    Impressed that Burroughs almost beat him! I think that loss looks better for him than the win did for Taylor.
  42. 3 points
    BTN puts most of their big matches on youtube within 24 hours. Which is probably the best of both worlds IMO. Available for free eventually, but if you want it live you need to pay up.
  43. 3 points

    Make the Spartan Ads stop!!!!

    Unbearable. I will be boycotting any and all Spartan events for this. Flo should not have let them rape their event, and Spartan should be ashamed of this. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  44. 3 points

    Wrestling eligibility?

  45. 3 points

    Rogan podcast with JB

    He’s not wrong. There probably isn’t much crossover on a venn diagram between Rogan listeners and GMA watchers - I think it’s fair to say this did expose Burroughs to a group of people who may not have known anything about him or heard of him. He won Olympic gold nine years ago and those spots aren’t fresh in the minds of too many. I’m about halfway through the episode and I’m grateful he’s such a great ambassador for the sport.
  46. 3 points

    Shane Sparks Interview

    A buddy of mine had Shane Sparks on his podcast the other day and I really enjoyed it. Shane seems like a great dude.
  47. 3 points

    JB on Rogan

    Rogan has some of the top podcast listening ratings, nice to see some wrestling exposure on it.
  48. 3 points


    Oh, now you're playing the victim card?
  49. 3 points

    Gable documentary on Flo

    Promotional and marketing discussion notwithstanding, I think this is an extremely valuable thing for Flo to have done with this doc. I hadn't seen it before, but it's one of those things we would have lost if they weren't persistent about getting the rights to bring it back to our eyes. I'm working on projects to bring some of the historical articles and things written in old AWNs and NCAA guides back into a new digital world. Some of that will involve podcasts of content that's absolute historical gold, but the only way to access them is actually own the hard copies. Making this available for a new generation of viewers is extremely important. We've got a crop of wrestlers coming through who don't have access to things in the pre-internet and pre-video era. We've been fortunate enough to document the greats like Burroughs in real time. The old timers on this board got that through the printed word for the most part - video features like this were few and far between, so Flo bringing it back, as somewhat of an archivist and historian, should be praised.
  50. 3 points

    Anthony Echemendia's Instagram

    Much has changed in our universities since the 1700s when you attended. He is not at any disadvantage.
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