With all 25 of the nation’s prime wrestling groups in motion this weekend, there’s no scarcity of nice matches to look at. Between Penn State’s anticipated conflict with No. 6 Ohio State to No. 11 Cornell’s matchup in opposition to Ivy League foe No. 20 Princeton on Saturday, this weekend has all of it.
These matches and extra will preserve the crew race thrilling and supply new insights into the depth and energy of every of those applications, however, from a person standpoint, delight and rankings are on the road as properly.
Right here’s an inventory of the seven particular person bouts that you just received’t need to miss in a jam-packed weekend of school wrestling.
No. 3 Shane Griffith vs. No. 7 Anthony Valencia | 2 p.m. ET Friday | Pac-12 Insider
After some pleasant Twitter trash-talking earlier this week, Stanford will journey south for a enjoyable Pac-12 rivalry twin that options numerous ranked matches, however none extra intriguing than the potential 2021 convention championship rematch at 165 kilos between No. 3 Shane Griffith and No. 7 Anthony Valencia. The final time these two athletes met, Valencia delivered Griffith the primary lack of his varsity profession — two weeks later Griffith would go on to win the NCAA championship and Valencia would end eighth.
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Quick ahead a 12 months, and these two All-People are set to satisfy once more to run it again. Each athletes have losses on the season with Griffith dropping matches in opposition to Cal Poly’s Evan Wick and Cornell’s Julian Ramirez with Valencia posting only one loss in opposition to Wick, however convention standings and seedings can be on the road with this battle. The 165-pound weight class is deep, however each of those guys are within the title dialog, and this match may reveal lots about what to anticipate from the defending NCAA champion and defending Pac-12 champion come March.
From a crew standpoint, the Solar Devils have a critical benefit on paper in opposition to the Cardinal, however it is a match that Stanford might want to win to remain within the twin. After wrestling underneath extra secure situations this 12 months than final 12 months, can Griffith earn revenge in opposition to his Pac-12 foe? Discover out on Friday afternoon.
No. 1 Carter Starocci vs. No. 7 Ethan Smith | 7 p.m. Friday | Large Ten Community
5 hours after Shane Griffith wrestles, one other NCAA champion will take the mat as No. 1 Carter Starocci seems to be to increase his successful streak in opposition to Ohio State’s No. 7 Ethan Smith. Starocci comes into this bout recent off a win in opposition to NCAA finalist and Large Ten champion Michael Kemerer in sudden victory, however Smith has a powerful resume of his personal. The Buckeye junior is 12-4 on the 12 months, and whereas he did simply take a loss to Kemerer two weeks in the past by a rating of 6-3, Smith wrestles everybody robust and can probably nonetheless put up a battle in opposition to Starocci on this first assembly between these two All-People.
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The Nittany Lions are considerably favored, close to the crew rating, in opposition to the Buckeyes, so whereas the twin is unlikely to come back right down to this one weight, a win for Starocci would assist him preserve his undefeated report alive and maintain down that prime spot. The Penn State sophomore will need to placed on a present for his residence followers within the Bryce Jordan-Heart — the query can be whether or not or not Ethan Smith can problem Starocci and make him really feel some stress on this stage.
No. 8 Cameron Caffey vs. No. 28 Jaron Smith | 7 p.m. Friday | BTN+
Each weight class presents its personal distinctive set of storylines, and Maryland’s Jaron Smith proved final weekend that 197 kilos is definitely a weight price following. In entrance of his residence crowd, Smith topped Michigan’s No. 10 Patrick Brucki in sudden victory to say Maryland’s lone win within the twin and transfer himself up within the rankings to No. 28. He’ll have one other take a look at on his fingers this weekend in opposition to No. 8 Cameron Caffey, a Large Ten finalist and a Spherical of 12 finisher on the NCAA event, but when he can preserve issues shut with Caffey and push for an upset, he may create an much more important shuffle within the rankings at this weight.
Caffey, a fifth-year junior for the Spartans, is 21-4 on the 12 months with losses to Penn State’s Michael Beard, Navy’s Jake Koser, Oklahoma’s Jake Woodley and Illinois’ Matt Wroblewski, however he bumped himself up within the rankings after a 3-2 choice in opposition to Max Dean two weeks in the past. The outcome stays Dean’s solely loss on the 12 months, however it’s one that might have penalties by way of seeding on the Large Ten event.
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Dean and Smith haven’t wrestled but this 12 months, and Smith has additionally by no means wrestled Caffey, however each wrestlers have proven flashes of greatness thus far this 12 months. Smith holds a 15-7 report for the season with related loses to Woodly and Koser, in addition to Braxton Amos, Tanner Sloan, Alan Clothier and Nino Bonaccorsi, so whereas Caffey holds the benefit of paper, rankings change each week at 197 kilos.
No. 8 Chad Crimson vs. No. 11 Stevan Micic | 9 p.m. Friday | Large Ten Community
Talking of the Large Ten, No. 8 Nebraska will welcome No. 3 Michigan to its residence gymnasium late Friday evening for a battle between two top-10 groups and a slew of bouts that includes particular person stars. Whereas this match can be a barn-burner from 125 to 285 kilos, essentially the most attention-grabbing weight of this twin is 141 kilos the place NCAA finalist and Olympian Stevan Micic will meet No. 8 Chad Crimson for the primary time in his profession and look to place himself again on observe after some surprising losses earlier this 12 months.
Micic returned this season after two Olympic redshirts through the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and he’s 3-2 on the 12 months thus far with losses to Cole Matthews of Pitt and Jake Bergeland of Minnesota. An eighth-year senior for the Wolverines, Micic has spectacular expertise and a excessive wrestling IQ, however he’s nonetheless discovering his footing up a weight at 141 kilos and competing within the collegiate fashion that he’s moved on from over the previous few seasons. Micic unquestionably has the basics to compete with the perfect of the perfect on this weight, however he’ll have a novel opponent this weekend in Nebraska’s Chad Crimson, a cool wrestler with a excessive tempo who pushes even the perfect of his opponents.
With a report of 9-2 on the 12 months, Chad Crimson’s solely losses have come in opposition to North Carolina’s Kizhan Clarke and Northern Colorado’s Andrew Alirez, each wrestlers who compete with a extra tactical fashion and keep affected person on the mat. Crimson hasn’t confronted anybody with Micic’s credentials but this 12 months, however count on this one to be shut. The Wolverine has the sting on paper, and his crew will probably have the momentum at this level within the twin following Nick Suriano and Dylan Ragusin at 125 and 133 kilos, so Micic will look to hold that power whereas Crimson can be doing all the pieces in his energy to maintain the Huskers on this twin.
No. 2 Pat Glory vs. No. 3 Vito Arujau | 1 p.m. Saturday | ESPN+
The Ivy League conflict between Princeton and Cornell on Saturday afternoon simply could be the twin with essentially the most intense particular person matchup, as No. 2 Patrick Glory and No. 3 Vito Arujau are anticipated to face off for the primary time this season in a match that can have convention and nationwide seeding implications. These two athletes have cut up 1-1 of their earlier two conferences, with Arujau taking the primary win by fall and Glory reversing the result and topping Arujau by choice of their most up-to-date bout.
Glory’s win in that final twin gave him the sting within the rankings, however these two haven’t wrestled one another in folkstyle since March 2019, and each wrestlers need an opportunity to indicate off their improved skillset. Each Glory and Arujau have full confidence of their talents to win a person title, and whereas the winner will probably profit from a seeding standpoint on the nationwide event, very similar to the winners of all of those high-profiles matches, they’re simply targeted on beating one another and placing factors on the board for his or her crew.
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This match is private from a crew standpoint, too. Princeton beat Cornell 19-13 of their final assembly again in 2020, and that victory elevated the Tigers to their first Ivy League title since 1986, however Cornell outplaced Princeton that very same 12 months on the EIWA event. The Large Crimson come into the twin ranked 9 spots increased than the Tigers, so one other win for Princeton would trigger shakeups within the nationwide rankings in addition to the EIWA standings. Cornell can be wrestling underneath new management, and head coach Mike Gray continues his sturdy first 12 months on the helm of this program. Whatever the end result, credit score belongs to each of those applications for creating this rivalry and constructing the depth of the Ivy League in the present day.
No. 4 Jacob Warner vs. No. 22 Braxton Amos | 3:30 p.m. Saturday | Large Ten Community
Wisconsin’s Braxton Amos entered the season as one of the hyped true freshmen within the NCAA, and whereas he’s wrestled properly with that stress and highlight, he’s taken a number of losses, together with three latest choice losses final month to Thomas Penola, Eric Schultz, and Greg Bulsak. These outcomes are typical of true freshmen who emerge on the NCAA scene and look to seek out their place, however wins over Maryland’s Jarron Smith and North Carolina’s Max Shaw show that Amos is wanting like somebody who may qualify for the NCAA event and proceed to enhance. He’ll have one other take a look at in opposition to an elite Large Ten wrestler this weekend although, as he’s set to wrestle No. 4 Jacob Warner in a bout that can enable him to check himself in opposition to probably the greatest within the convention.
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Warner, a junior for Iowa, holds a powerful 11-2 report along with his losses coming in opposition to Yonger Bastida of Iowa State earlier this 12 months and Penn State’s Max Dean final week. Warner is massive and hard, and he’s bodily on the mat, however Amos’ strengths come from his impartial wrestling and his skill to throw opponents by leveraging his Greco background. The intrigue round Amos completely comes from his unbelievable freestyle success final summer season, as he received the 2021 Junior World Championships at 97kg, and people credentials have translated properly to folkstyle success prior to now for earlier NCAA champions together with Mekhi Lewis and Mark Corridor, particularly.
Warner will nonetheless be considerably favored on this match on paper, however the extra expertise Amos beneficial properties in folkstyle competitors, the higher he’ll turn out to be.
No. 2 Keegan O’Toole vs. No. 10 Travis Wittlake | 2 p.m. Sunday
Whereas the Large Ten steals a lot of the wrestling highlight, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Oklahoma are forcing followers to concentrate to the Large 12 and preserve their eyes of the crew race that turns into extra aggressive each week. In what is predicted to be an epic Midwestern showdown, the Cowboys will wrap up this weekend’s faculty wrestling motion with a top-15 battle in opposition to No. 12 Missouri.
Mizzou is at the moment 9-3 on the 12 months with losses to Virginia Tech, NC State and South Dakota State, whereas Oklahoma State is recent off two losses to Iowa State and Northern Iowa, however there are variety of notable people on each of these groups that can be competing for prime particular person honors this 12 months as approach. Sophomore Keegan O’Toole of Mizzou has been one of the spectacular rivals at 165 kilos this 12 months, posting a 14-0 report with 80+ % bonus, a dominance report to reveals simply how expert this younger star is. O’Toole has only one loss in his complete faculty profession in opposition to Jake Wentzel by choice on the NCAA event, and he is put himself able to compete for a title within the deep 165-pound weight class this 12 months.
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Oklahoma State’s Travis Wittlake, although, just isn’t far behind O’Toole, as he is at the moment tenth within the nationwide rankings however completed fourth in final 12 months’s NCAA event after dropping the third-place match to his Tiger opponent 4-3. Wittlake has had a strong season, and he confirmed early indicators of greatness in his aggressive match with Shane Griffith earlier this 12 months the place he fell 3-0 however put the champ in some robust positions. A latest loss to Austin Yant of Northern Iowa dropped Wittlake down within the rankings, but when he is in search of a top-ranked win to assist him transfer up within the standings, he’ll have his likelihood this weekend in opposition to a younger Missouri wrestler who has his eyes on an NCAA crown.