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Flo's top 20 US Wrestlers

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Flo's countdown of the top 100 US wrestlers of all time is at #21 as of now, coming out 10 at a time.  Who makes the top 20, and in what order?  Can't say I know, and can't say I agree with their placement in a lot of their earlier choices, buuuuuut... here's my quick stab.  What's yours? 

Notes:  I tried to omit those who appeared earlier in the list (though I may have missed a couple).  Tried to use their basic approach too, including their biases and apparent weighting -- e.g. of men vs. women, old vs. recent, college vs. international, free vs. Greco -- without saying I agree with it.  (I don't, but that's another topic.)  Yes, I'm sure I'm forgetting someone obvious, but oh well.

 20.  Mensah-Stock

19. Cox

18.  Tom Brands

17.  Rulon

16.  D. Taylor

15.  D. Schultz

14.  K. Monday

13.  H.  Maroulis

12.  Cael

11.  D. Gable

10.  L. Kemp

9.  Dake

8.  KJ

7.  M. Schultz

6.  Uetake (not sure if he counts b/c Japanese?)

5.  Snyder

4.  Adeline

3.  Bruce

2.  JB

1.  Smith

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25 minutes ago, Mokoma said:

Who do you take off from BAC’s list, or were some of them already in the countdown?

I wouldn't edit BAC's list because I don't know where he would place those guys in the top 100.

I don't think those guys have been listed by FLO yet.....but I haven't been following that closely. 

If they aren't FLO is an embarassment again.

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52 minutes ago, hammerlockthree said:

I wouldn't edit BAC's list because I don't know where he would place those guys in the top 100.

I don't think those guys have been listed by FLO yet.....but I haven't been following that closely. 

If they aren't FLO is an embarassment again.

Alli Ragan never should have made the top-100.  I'd start with her.

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4 hours ago, hammerlockthree said:

I wouldn't edit BAC's list because I don't know where he would place those guys in the top 100.

I don't think those guys have been listed by FLO yet.....but I haven't been following that closely. 

If they aren't FLO is an embarassment again.

My sense of the Flo rankings is that they are focused on the international styles, with collegiate success as more of a tiebreaker, so a lot of folkstyle-only guys didn't make the cut.  

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Bruce.

If 84 wasn't a boycott, slim chances that he wins gold. Salman was the heavy favorite and Bruce was something like 0-6 against him. 

He struggled with smaller wrestlers. Lost to the soviet from the lower weight class in 87, Salman, and Demir. He also had a unusual match up issue with Shumillin. Bruce was so consistent and clutch at the domestic level, its strange how many times he lost to guys he was better than internationally, 

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3 hours ago, BAC said:

My sense of the Flo rankings is that they are focused on the international styles, with collegiate success as more of a tiebreaker, so a lot of folkstyle-only guys didn't make the cut.  

Whats the evidence of Metcalf's international career? Is Pat Smith on there? Bill Koll? Retherford? Guerrero?

Simons was a 6 time National Tournament (I believe NAIA/NCAA d1) outstanding wrestler! 

Edited by hammerlockthree

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16 hours ago, hammerlockthree said:

Whats the evidence of Metcalf's international career? Is Pat Smith on there? Bill Koll? Retherford? Guerrero?

Simons was a 6 time National Tournament (I believe NAIA/NCAA d1) outstanding wrestler! 

I'm not defending Flo's list or all of their methodologies, but I do think they were fairly consistent in making this an internationally focused list.  The vast majority of guys on the list have at least one world-level medal to their credit, with only a handful of spots left over for the folkstyle-only crowd.  And I see nothing wrong with doing an internationally-focused list, as there's no shortage of collegiate all-time lists.

To your point, Metcalf Zain and Guerrero have no world-level medals, but each did make multiple world-level teams, and they also comprise the bottom of the list (98-100).  Bill Koll comes in a little higher at 92, but besides being unbeaten in college, he did take 5th at the Olympics.  

I'm not saying Simons doesn't have a claim, as he made two Olympic teams besides being a D1 3xer, though he didn't medal in either.  I'd have no quarrel with anyone choosing him over Metcalf/Zain/Guerrero, or maybe some of the other non-medalists that made the lower part of the list (Askren, Koll, Mills, Schalles, P. Smith), or some of the lesser choices in Women's (which should have been a separate list IMO) or Greco. There's definitely a recency bias at play in Flo's list which hurts a guy like Simons, but since he never medaled its hard to put him that high in an internationally focused list.

Not so sure about Haselrig though.  I had the pleasure of watching him compete and he was amazing, but he didn't compete internationally (though he'd have been a force if he did).  I can't think of a good reason to pick him over all the many other 3x D1 champs to not make the list (e.g. Ruth, Dieringer, Bonomo, Zalesky, Caruso, Churella, Lee, Jones, Nickal, Nolf, Roderick, Hutton, etc etc).  And that's without getting into the Olympic champions of yesteryear that seemingly didn't make the list unless they're in the top 20 (e.g. Brand, McCann, Wells ... though come to think of it, since apparently Uetake isn't in Flo's top 20, its probably Wells).

If your argument is that Simons and Haselrig are superior because they are 6x champs (since they won NAIA/D2 the same year they won D1s), sorry, I'm going to have to disagree that NAIA/D2 championships add anything meaningful to their credentials.  What 3xer wouldn't also be a 6xer if they too had to go through DII/III/NIAA first?  And no one wants to have Marcus LeVesseur dragged into this conversation.  :)

 

Edited by BAC

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1 hour ago, BAC said:

I'm not defending Flo's list or all of their methodologies, but I do think they were fairly consistent in making this an internationally focused list.  The vast majority of guys on the list have at least one world-level medal to their credit, with only a handful of spots left over for the folkstyle-only crowd.  And I see nothing wrong with doing an internationally-focused list, as there's no shortage of collegiate all-time lists.

To your point, Metcalf Zain and Guerrero have no world-level medals, but each did make multiple world-level teams, and they also comprise the bottom of the list (98-100).  Bill Koll comes in a little higher at 92, but besides being unbeaten in college, he did take 5th at the Olympics.  

I'm not saying Simons doesn't have a claim, as he made two Olympic teams besides being a D1 3xer, though he didn't medal in either.  I'd have no quarrel with anyone choosing him over Metcalf/Zain/Guerrero, or maybe some of the other non-medalists that made the lower part of the list (Askren, Koll, Mills, Schalles, P. Smith), or some of the lesser choices in Women's (which should have been a separate list IMO) or Greco. There's definitely a recency bias at play in Flo's list which hurts a guy like Simons, but since he never medaled its hard to put him that high in an internationally focused list.

Not so sure about Haselrig though.  I had the pleasure of watching him compete and he was amazing, but he didn't compete internationally (though he'd have been a force if he did).  I can't think of a good reason to pick him over all the many other 3x D1 champs to not make the list (e.g. Ruth, Dieringer, Bonomo, Zalesky, Caruso, Churella, Lee, Jones, Nickal, Nolf, Roderick, Hutton, etc etc).  And that's without getting into the Olympic champions of yesteryear that seemingly didn't make the list unless they're in the top 20 (e.g. Brand, McCann, Wells ... though come to think of it, since apparently Uetake isn't in Flo's top 20, its probably Wells).

If your argument is that Simons and Haselrig are superior because they are 6x champs (since they won NAIA/D2 the same year they won D1s), sorry, I'm going to have to disagree that NAIA/D2 championships add anything meaningful to their credentials.  What 3xer wouldn't also be a 6xer if they too had to go through DII/III/NIAA first?  And no one wants to have Marcus LeVesseur dragged into this conversation.  :)

 

Pat Smith didn't make any world teams to my knowledge.

I can see what you are saying, but I think the weighting of the list is a product of recency bias, and just Flo's proclivity for sucking up to famous wrestlers as opposed to some sort of disciplined scholarly outlook on their part. 

Levessaur was a 0X d1 champ btw so i don't know where you were going with that.

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2 hours ago, hammerlockthree said:

Pat Smith didn't make any world teams to my knowledge.

I can see what you are saying, but I think the weighting of the list is a product of recency bias, and just Flo's proclivity for sucking up to famous wrestlers as opposed to some sort of disciplined scholarly outlook on their part. 

Levessaur was a 0X d1 champ btw so i don't know where you were going with that.

I'm more on board with these critiques.

Pat Smith's inclusion at a relatively high rank (#59) is hard to square with the international focus of the rankings, where his sole claim to fame is being a D1 4xer.  Smith did have some freestyle success but, being stuck behind Monday, it was limited.  I could see putting him near the bottom of an international list, after cycling through the top medalists, but ranking him ahead of so many Olympic/World champs undercuts the use of international medals as a barometer, and opens the door to other folkstyle-based arguments.

No question that many of Flo's picks reflect a recency bias. Love Askren, but hard to say he's a better pick than the Olympic champions omitted, or even Simons who has 2 Olympics appearances to Askren's one (and more D1 titles).  Same with some of the other newer non-medalists in the 80-100 band.  Flo's approach of counting up world medals also discriminates against the era before World Championships were held, which hurts legends like Robin Reed who is grossly underranked.  Flo could have avoided this criticism by limiting its rankings to the "modern era" (e.g. post WWII), but they didn't.  I'd even be sympathetic to the argument that early Olympic titles should be discounted because the sport was in its developmental stages -- but they forfeit that argument when they mix men's wrestling with women's wrestling, which barely existed 30 years ago.  How do you justify putting Tricia Saunders at #23, but omitting 2x Olympic champ George Mehnert -- two people who found success while their sport was in its infancy?  Either you include all trailblazers or you include none of them.

That said, I don't want to be overly harsh on Flo.  Any top-100 list is going to generate some dissent.  And while Flo's approach does suffer from some bias, if you watch the videos, its clear Flo did do some homework here -- and the video clips are awesome, with solid narration.  This isn't just thrown together.  I also like that they tried to make it internationally focused, and retained a measure of objectivity by focusing on actual international accomplishments.  I'd have preferred that they do separate rankings for men and women and limited them to the modern era, and were more upfront in disclosing (and consistent in applying) their methodology, but overall its decent work and worth watching the videos.

BTW, my point with LeVesseur is that including non-D1 titles in your argument, as you did with Simons/Haselrig, doesn't make it stronger (IMO).  But whatever.

Edited by BAC

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can confirm that international results where a bigger factor than NCAA results. also collegiate results in anything other than D1 were not factored in at all. 

bringing Kyle Klingman on board has been a huge benefit to this project. guy is a walking wrestling encyclopedia. the Hall of Fame has also been extremely helpful. 

there was also plenty of disagreements within Flo about the rankings. I don't think there is one person here that agrees with every single ranking. 

glad its generating debate, that's one of the main purposes of the project!

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24 minutes ago, Jaroslav Hasek said:

can confirm that international results where a bigger factor than NCAA results. also collegiate results in anything other than D1 were not factored in at all. 

bringing Kyle Klingman on board has been a huge benefit to this project. guy is a walking wrestling encyclopedia. the Hall of Fame has also been extremely helpful. 

there was also plenty of disagreements within Flo about the rankings. I don't think there is one person here that agrees with every single ranking. 

glad its generating debate, that's one of the main purposes of the project!

I've enjoyed it.  Klingman's commentary is great.  You also have my criticisms which, along with $6.50, will get you a small latte at Starbucks.

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38 minutes ago, BAC said:

I'm more on board with these critiques.

Pat Smith's inclusion at a relatively high rank (#59) is hard to square with the international focus of the rankings, where his claim to fame is being a D1 4xer.  Smith did have some freestyle success but, being stuck behind Monday, it was limited.  I could see putting him near the bottom of an international list, after cycling through the top medalists, but ranking him ahead of so many Olympic/World champs undercuts the use of international medals as a barometer, and opens the door to other folkstyle-based arguments.

No question that many of Flo's picks reflect a recency bias. Love Askren, but hard to say he's a better pick than the Olympic champions omitted, or even Simons who has 2 Olympics appearances to Askren's one (and more D1 titles).  Same with some of the other newer non-medalists in the 80-100 band.  Flo's approach of counting up world medals also discriminates against the era before World Championships were held, which hurts legends like Robin Reed who is grossly underranked.  Flo could have avoided this criticism by limiting its rankings to the "modern era" (e.g. post WWII), but they didn't.  I'd even be sympathetic to the argument that early Olympic titles should be discounted because the sport was in its developmental stages -- but they forfeit that argument when they mix men's wrestling with women's wrestling, which barely existed 30 years ago.  How do you justify putting Tricia Saunders at #23, but omitting 2x Olympic champ George Mehnert -- two people who found success while their sport was in its infancy?  Either you include all trailblazers or you include none of them.

That said, I don't want to be overly harsh on Flo.  Any top-100 list is going to generate some dissent.  And while Flo's approach does suffer from some bias, if you watch the videos, its clear Flo did do some homework here -- and the video clips are awesome, with solid narration.  This isn't just thrown together.  I also like that they tried to make it internationally focused, and retained a measure of objectivity by focusing on actual international accomplishments.  I'd have preferred that they do separate rankings for men and women and limited them to the modern era, and were more upfront in disclosing (and consistent in applying) their methodology, but overall its decent work and worth watching the videos.

BTW, my point with LeVesseur is that including non-D1 titles in your argument, as you did with Simons/Haselrig, doesn't make it stronger (IMO).  But whatever.

At the risk of being obnoxious, please shorten up these posts.

I think there is something to be said for these guys getting it done at small schools.

 

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57 minutes ago, Jaroslav Hasek said:

can confirm that international results where a bigger factor than NCAA results. also collegiate results in anything other than D1 were not factored in at all. 

bringing Kyle Klingman on board has been a huge benefit to this project. guy is a walking wrestling encyclopedia. the Hall of Fame has also been extremely helpful. 

there was also plenty of disagreements within Flo about the rankings. I don't think there is one person here that agrees with every single ranking. 

glad its generating debate, that's one of the main purposes of the project!

On what day do you release the new set of ten. I haven’t caught on…

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11 minutes ago, Lurker said:

There’s still 20 still to go…

Right.  That's what my original post is ... a guess as to who they may be.  (Jaroslav says Uetake doesn't qualify, so I'm swapping in Wells, probably in the 15-20 band.)

If your point is I should wait for Flo's final 20 to come out before criticizing who's omitted, I guess that's fair.  But after seeing Flo's countdown from 100 to 21, I'm seeing trends in their methodology that make me feel pretty confident in guessing who gets left out.  (They're favoring recent medalists and everyone in my top 20 list except Cael won at least 2 World-level titles post-1970, so I'm thinking I'm pretty close on who gets included, though I'm sure my order is way off.)

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1 hour ago, hammerlockthree said:

At the risk of being obnoxious, please shorten up these posts.

I think there is something to be said for these guys getting it done at small schools.

 

LOL.  Maybe stick to Twitter if you get lost after 280 characters?

I'm all for looking out for the little guy, but not going to support affirmative action for small school products in a top-100 all-time wrestler list.

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Simons being left off the 75th anniversary team, which was decided by a fan vote, reeked of recency bias and lack of education on the voting public. Kyle being involved really makes sure the old timers are at least going to get a shot to be talked about. 

Simons is a top-five lightweight all-time. A number of coaches I've talked to about him say he's one of the few guys from the early 60s who could have been successful in today's style of wrestling because of his speed. When he was the head coach of that school in Norfolk, we'd go over his house for cookouts after the season and the tapes of his matches was something to see - you'd see it jitter because his movements were too fast for the tape it was recorded on at the time. 

Somewhat coincidentally, the next Etched in Stone podcast series the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is doing is on Gray Simons. I start the recording process next week. 

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For what it's worth, when I wrote the top 10 NCAA wrestlers of all time article for Flo, I cheated and made #10 a fan vote and added 25 names to choose from, included therein was Simons and a few other golden oldies. Uetake was #2.

And here's an article Nomad did, also from 2018, on Haselrig and the rarity of three-time NCAA heavyweight champs. 

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22 minutes ago, JasonBryant said:

Simons being left off the 75th anniversary team, which was decided by a fan vote, reeked of recency bias and lack of education on the voting public. Kyle being involved really makes sure the old timers are at least going to get a shot to be talked about. 

Simons is a top-five lightweight all-time. A number of coaches I've talked to about him say he's one of the few guys from the early 60s who could have been successful in today's style of wrestling because of his speed. When he was the head coach of that school in Norfolk, we'd go over his house for cookouts after the season and the tapes of his matches was something to see - you'd see it jitter because his movements were too fast for the tape it was recorded on at the time. 

Somewhat coincidentally, the next Etched in Stone podcast series the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is doing is on Gray Simons. I start the recording process next week. 

Curious how you'd rank him (in folkstyle) against the 5 lightweights who did make that 75th team:  Abas, Smith, Uetake, Brands and Gable?

Will check out that podcast. 

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