Most Anticipated Matchups for the remainder of the season

There were some match results this past weekend that sparked alot of thought, and awe, and it got me thinking about what matchups I’d like to see sometime this season. These will end up being a lot of #1’s vs #2’s, but I feel they are ones that a lot of people will want to see, so let’s get started.

125 – #1 Nathan Tomasello vs #2 Thomas Gilman (Comparison)

I may be biased here, but Gilman has been ripping through opponents this season, bonusing in all but 2 matches. That includes a MD over #5 Eddie Klimara of OSU in his opening match of the season.

Tomasello has been equally impressive this year, with all but 3 matches ending with bonus points. Right now, Tomasello has the best win under his belt, beating #3 Joey Dance of VaTech back in early December.

In their careers, these two guys are 1 – 1 against each other, where Gilman won in the dual last January, and then Tomasello avenging that loss at the Big Ten tournament last year. Both of those matches were 1 point victories. If/when these two meet up again, you’d have to expect another low-scoring match.

My prediction: I see Gilman opening it up more this season, and will be able to get an early takedown, which will get Tomasello into a position he’s not used to, and will try and force stuff a little too much, and fall short in the end. I’m calling this a 6 – 4 match for Gilman.

133 – #1 Nahshon Garrett vs #3 Cory Clark (Comparison)

Apparently the move up to 133 has helped Garrett. He is wrestling better here, than he was back down at 125. Not only is he undefeated, with 25 wins, but he’s also beaten the returning national champion pretty easily (14 – 9), and has 4 wins against top 10 opponents already this season, including a MD over #5 Conaway. This guy has to be in consideration for the Hodge award this season.

Clark has been having an impressive season, until the Midlands. In his quarterfinal match he tweaked a knee, and had to medical forfeit out of the tournament. Obviously, all Hawk fans were very worried about their only returning finalist being out for any length of time, but Clark showed up in the next dual. With a wrap around his entire leg, Clark lost in SV to Zane Richards of Illinois. Last year, Richards gave Clark a loss, but then Clark came back later that season to beat him fairly easily 8 – 2. Was the loss this season because Clark is/was still not 100%? Very possible, he’s looked much better in his following matches.

My prediction: It’s hard telling if these two will ever meet up this season. If they do, you’d have to assume that it will be in the finals of the NCAA tournament. This is another match that I’d LOVE to see. IF they do meet up, I see Garrett’s explosiveness as being too much for Clark, as he lets guys in on his legs too easy, 7 – 4.

141 – #2 Joseph McKenna vs #8 Micah Jordan (no common opponents)

I would’ve picked Heil vs McKenna here, but we’ve already seen Heil take him down (even though it was by TB), but a potential rematch would definitely be appealing. I’m not picking that matchup because the other intriguing wrestler at this weight is Micah Jordan (in place of Heil).

McKenna is having a fantastic true freshman season (if you want to call it “true”) where he has already beaten 2 top 10 opponents. Obviously, his only loss on the season is to #1 Heil, which I already mentioned above. He’s come into this season with a lot of hype, and has definitely performed so far.

Micah Jordan came to college slated for 157 pounds. After the injury to Hunter Steiber last year, Ryan toyed with the idea of pulling his shirt and having him wrestle at 149 pounds. He built a solid resume their (last season) going undefeated at that weight, including knocking off Solomon Chisko two times. With the expected return of Hunter Steiber, Jordan made the decision to go down ANOTHER weight to wrestle at 141. That weight cut appears to not be affecting him, as he’s also having a fantastic redshirt freshman season where he’s got only 1 loss to #7 Manley, and has a win over #10 Chisko (again), and a MD over #13 Watson.

My prediction: These are very two very young wrestles that have a bright future. If/when they square off, I see McKenna pulling out an extremely close win, only for the fact that he appears to be slightly more battle-tested, 3 – 2.

149 – #1 Brandon Sorensen vs #2 Zain Retherford (Comparison)

Sorensen has steadily improved in his sophomore season. He has already knocked-off Tshirt this season, back at the Midlands tournament, and they met again in the dual at Northwestern. In that match, Sorensen was in another takedown, but before he could finish it, Tshirt got injured and had to default out of the match. Sorensen hasn’t had too many quality opponents, besides Tshirt (twice) and Sueflohn, but he’s won all 3 matches.

Retherford, all I can say is, WOW! When I first heard that he was moving up to 149, I thought that he be a solid AA candidate. At this point, he appears to be the front-runner and expected to win a national championship here. Retherford is coming up a huge win over Tshirt, where he won by MD 15 – 5. Tshirt is known to have some of the best defense in college wrestling, and for Retherford to put up 15 on him, is truly impressive. Is Tshirt still feeling the effects of his injury during the match against Sorensen? Don’t know, but he did appear to want to finish the match against Sorensen so it must not have been too bad.

My prediction: At this point, I’d bet you won’t find too many Hawk fans that would even predict a Sorensen win here. Retherford appears to have taken a major step in the last two seasons since placing 5th at 141 in his true freshman season. Sorensen also has phenomenal defense, but I see Retherford being too much for him here, winning 5 – 3.

157 – #1 Isaiah Martinez vs #2 Jason Nolf (Comparison)

In my opinion, the Hodge award this season is between Martinez and Dieringer. It’s extremely impressive with what Martinez has accomplished in his short college career. Only 2 losses his redshirt season, then going undefeated as a redshirt freshman and winning the national championship. This season, he’s bonus’d every match, except for two. One was an odd 2 – 0 decision over #52 Gene Oliver Pierce (which I’m chalking up as an anomoly), and then an 11 – 5 decision over #6 OSU’s Joe Smith. All of his other wins are by TF, or Fall, there aren’t even any MD’s in there!

Nolf is also having an extemely impressive season, definitely living up to the hype from when he was recruited to Penn State. This season he already has 4 wins over top 10 opponents, and only 2 wins that were NOT decided by bonus points, versus the #4 and #6 ranked guys.

My prediction: This is my 2nd most anticipated matchup of the season (behind 149). The way these two wrestlers go, it is going to be a wild, high-scoring matchup. We should get a chance to see these two go at it in their dual on January 23rd, which I feel will be installment #1 of 3. For this first bout, I see Martinez taking a close one 11 – 8. Who knows what will happen after that (at B1G’s and NCAA’s).

This took a lot more time than I thought, I’ll try and come up with the remaining weights either today or tomorrow. Stay tuned!

4 thoughts on “Most Anticipated Matchups for the remainder of the season”

  1. Great post! As an Illini fan, I anticipate all of IMar’s matches. He’s already ahead of his NCAA-best number of tech falls from last year. He’s not ahead of the pace, he’s already surpassed the total number! Plus, at 157, you have a bunch of goers and tough guys.

    Ian Miller is a tough guy. Nolf and Jo Jo are goers. What an action-packed weight class! Every Muhammad Ali has to have some Fraziers, Foremans and Nortons. With Ness and Green gone, it is good that the new kids are here (and that Miller is back and healthy).

    I’m also interested in seeing if this is the year of the Brunson Burner. Too bad about Zac’s injury, but I hope he recovers completely before meeting up with Nickal. If he has recovered and has got his wind back that should be a barnburner.

    You did a good job. Keep it up!


  2. Nice job on the matchups. This sorta stuff is always interesting as long as there is a reasoned comparison, which there is. Of course, it’s also interesting to entertain other balanced views. I think you may have discounted Brewer a bit early. He’s had a few not so hot matches this year, but last year in the finals he handled Clark without so much as a peep. He might start looking pretty threatening at nationals again. Garrett does look very solid. At 149, you might not be too surprised to find out more than half of the hawkeyes would have their money on Sorenson. Rutherford looks like a pretty solid bet right now, especially the way he mangled T-shirt (love that…where’d it come from); the latter looked pretty horrid as the match moved on, after about the second double — hardly the guy who won nationals two years ago, or who got beat in the semis last year. I’m not sure the physical injury is T-shirt’s only issue at this point; if he recovers his former self, Rutherford won’t dominate him as he did. The match will be much closer. When in any match T-shirt has wrestled in have you not seen him get to his sit? He had poor bottom position — which should be a huge clue about his present state. I’m not even much of a fan — but I won’t allow that to bias my thoughts on his wrestling condition. It’s not so hot.
    And yes, the Nolf/Martinez match looks like it could be very exciting. I think Jo Jo could enter this mix also, but probably not this year.


  3. Awesome website and great job on the matchup article. Not that it really matters at this point, but how can Sorenson be ranked ahead of Zain? I thought I understood your ranking system to be based on strength of victory in common opponents and when I compare the two, Zain seems to clearly have the edge. Like I said, it really doesn’t matter because the Big 10’s and NCAA’s will tell this tale. I just hope things end up so they are on opposite sides of the bracket at NCAA’s. With all the seeding stupidity at NCAA’s last year, is there any chance Tshirt gets seeded #2 at NCAA’s if he knocks off Zain or Sorenson in the Big 10’s?


    1. Thank you. As far as Sorensen ahead of Zain, the reason is because preseason, Sorensen was #2 IIRC, and since Zain didn’t wrestle any collegiate matches, his preseason ranking was the same as an incoming freshman, the default ranking. He’s had a lot longer hill to climb in order to get to #2. Regarding seeding, I honestly don’t see Zain losing, nor Sorensen (except vs Zain), so I don’t see any way they won’t be #1 and #2 come B1G and NCAA tournament time.


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