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Big Ten Wrestling Championships Important Tournament for Penn State

by on March 05, 2013 12:23 PM

Sure, the country is collapsing (Maxine Waters says we may lose 170 million jobs), meteors are crashing down on earth, murder and mayhem continue all over the place and injustice abounds. It is times like these when I am reminded to focus on the important things in life. So I’ll continue to fight to bring Hooters back to State College and in the meantime, we must get ready for the Big Ten Wrestling Championships.

Time flies, even if John Madden doesn’t, and so it is that we are already preparing for another college wrestling postseason. A preview of the toughest conference tournament in the country.

Although Democrats insist Penn State doesn’t need so many weapons, the Nittany Lions do have the potential to score a perfect ten just like Nadia at the Olympics (yes, I remember when Nadia AND wrestling were in the Olympics).

If Penn State wrestles to its preseeds, it will in fact qualify all ten wrestlers to for the NCAA Championships.

125: The top three wrestlers at this weight are all national title contenders this season. Nico Megaludis has been consistent all season long and has shown a remarkable ability to rise to the occasion. But Matt McDonough of Iowa and Jesse Delgado of Illinois are both outstanding talents in their own right. Megaludis will likely need to beat both to come on top here. The order of the top three will likely determine the order of the 2-4 seeds for nationals.

Prediction: Nico Megaludis, Big Ten champion (but no order would be especially surprising with the top three here)

133: The undersized, overachieving Jordan Conaway continues to blossom under the tutelage of the Penn State coaching staff and he could be a difference maker in the team race this weekend. Logan Stieber of Ohio State is a strong favorite to win the title and Tony Ramos is a strong runner-up candidate. Slots three through seven should be fun to watch and Conaway figures to be right in the mix.

Prediction: Jordan Conaway 5th, Logan Stieber, Ohio State, Big Ten champion

141: Nothing has come easily for Bryan Pearsall but the 5th-year senior has battled into a strong position to qualify for his first national tournament. Pearsall is likely to be the four seed with the top six qualifying automatically for the NCAA tournament. The combination of confidence and determination should allow Pearsall to have a good showing.

Prediction: Bryan Pearsall 4th, Hunter Steiber, Ohio State, Big Ten champion

149: Andrew Alton is explosive and dangerous but has struggled at times to keep up the pace in the third period. Alton’s tournament showing could go a long way toward determining how strongly Penn State finishes. The weight class is loaded and there should be several entertaining and intriguing bouts.

Prediction: Andrew Alton 3rd, Dylan Ness, Minnesota, Big Ten champion

157: Dylan Alton is wrestling at an elite level and just has a different demeanor this season. While some early losses have him seeded third for the conference tournament, he should be a strong challenger for the national title this season. The top four contenders here are all capable of doing big things at nationals.

Prediction: Dylan Alton, Big Ten Champion

165: Although the focus is already on a potential NCAA finals rematch against Cornell’s Kyle Dake, David Taylor has plenty of business to complete in Champaign first. Taylor has never lost to a Big Ten opponent.  That doesn’t figure to change although second-seeded Conrad Polz of Illinois did put a scare into Taylor in their dual meet match with a late reversal that nearly resulted in a pin.

Prediction: David Taylor, Big Ten Champion

174: Minnesota’s Logan Storley has clearly been the most dominant wrestler at this weight throughout the season but any of the top six and maybe seven seeds are capable of having great runs at the conference tournament. Matt Brown has learned some valuable lessons during the season and seems primed for a big postseason. Staying in good position and winning the scrambles will be the key for Brown to have big success.

Prediction: Matt Brown, 3rd Logan Storley, Minnesota, Big Ten Champion

184: With a 60-match win streak, Ed Ruth has clearly been the class of the weight class, not just in the Big Ten but nationally, all season long. Ruth just has a great understanding of the sport and of what he needs to do. There are certainly some other good wrestlers in this weight but when Ruth is on, no one can match his skill set.

Prediction: Ed Ruth, Big Ten Champion

197: Quentin Wright is looking to close out one of the truly great careers at Penn State and is hoping to finish up with an undefeated season. Wright will be tested in the conference tournament but his big-point potential is unmatched. There is a quiet confidence and a steady focus that has served Wright well all season long and that doesn’t figure to change for the former Bald Eagle star who has consistently performed at his best on the biggest stages.

Prediction: Quentin Wright, Big Ten Champion

HWT: This weight class may be the toughest to predict the order of finish. Jimmy Lawson was in a battle with Jon Gingrich for the starting job all season long. Tony Nelson of Minnesota is clearly the man to beat but there are a bunch of good wrestlers who could finish anywhere from 2nd through 10th this weekend and Lawson will be right in the mix. There will likely be a lot of one-point decisions and it will be one move here or one move there that makes the difference in each bout.

Prediction: Jimmy Lawson, 6th Tony Nelson, Minnesota, Big Ten Champion

The predictions are sure to go wrong but it will be fun seeing how it all unfolds. Penn State, Minnesota and Iowa figure to be a tight battle for the team title with Ohio State being a dangerous team that could crack the top three as well. If the above predictions hold true, Penn State clearly wins the conference title and brings a full contingent to Des Moines to pursue a third straight national title as well.

Jeff Byers has been the wrestling team’s traveling announcer since 1990.
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