141-Pound Scouting Report
A bright spot for Oklahoma during a year when the Sooners have redshirted many of their high-caliber guys is returning All-American Kendric Maple. The junior has been the leader of this OU team and has maintained the nation’s No. 1 ranking in some polls all year. He won the Midlands then recently dominated the Big 12 tournament.
But the Sooner has not faced many other highly-ranked wrestlers this year including Ohio State’s Hunter Stieber, who was given the No. 1 seed over the Maple in this year’s tournament.
Hunter Stieber is the true sophomore and younger brother of the Buckeyes’ top-ranked 133-pound Logan Stieber. Like his brother, Hunter was a four-time Ohio state champion from Monroeville, Ohio, and earned a sixth-place national finish in St. Louis as a rookie. Hunter also is coming off his first Big Ten championship.
Oregon State’s Mike Mangrum also recently won a championship at the Pac-12 tournament … and pinned the Buckeye in last year’s fifth-place match to avenge a quarterfinal loss in St. Louis. The senior makes up one of the more talented Beaver teams to compete at the Nationals in many years.
Meanwhile, there are three other young wrestlers who have already proven their worth on the national level.
Edinboro’s Mitchell Port is just a sophomore, but is coming off an Eastern Wrestling League championship. The native of Pennsylvania also received a conference award for the most points scored during dual competition this winter and stands 30-3 before the NCAAs.
Another sophomore from the Keystone state to keep an eye on actually competes at North Carolina. Evan Henderson, who joined his twin brother, Robert, in Chapel Hill, comes to Des Moines with his first ACC championship.
Meanwhile down south, The Citadel features freshman Undrakhbayar Khishignyam, a native of Mongolia, who captured the Southern Conference title and also finished second in the prestigious Southern Scuffle.
• Franklin and Marshall’s sophomore Richard Durso qualified for last year’s Nationals. This season, he comes to a second tournament with an Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association title.
• Another EIWA youngster to keep an eye on is freshman Charles Cobb, who finished second.
The following wrestlers could provide upsets from either receiving a lower seed or from not being seeded at all:
• Iowa’s Mark Ballweg appeared to stumble at the National Duals in late February, but made the needed corrections and finished second recently at the Big Ten tournament.
• Minnesota’s Nick Dardanes just missed All-American honors last March when he lost in the Round of 12. The Gopher comes to Des Moines with a third-place showing at the Big Tens.
• Cornell’s Mike Nevinger and Harvard’s Steven Keith have each earned All-American honors in the past, but struggled at the recent EIWA tournament. Nevinger, who finished seventh in St. Louis, settled for third at the conference meet where he lost to F&M’s Durso. Keith, who is up a weight after placing eighth at 133, claimed fourth place at the conference meet.