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WIN Magazine NCAA Previews • 184 pounds

184-Pound Scouting Report

Is it possible for one of the nation’s best college wrestlers to be over-shadowned on his own team? No, Ed Ruth, the Lion’s returning 174-pound champion who is now ranked No. 1 at 184 pounds will never be overlooked by the Penn State faithful.

In a battle of former champions, Ed Ruth (right) defeated Cornell's Steve Bozak in the Southern Scuffle finals. If these wrestlers meet in the 2013 NCAAs, it will be in the semifinals.

In a battle of former champions, Ed Ruth (right) defeated Cornell’s Steve Bozak in the Southern Scuffle finals. If these wrestlers meet in the 2013 NCAAs, it will be in the semifinals.

But when it comes to talking about a top candidate to win the Hodge Trophy in 2013, the native of Harrisburg is sometimes not one of the first names mentioned. One reason for that fact is that Ruth also competes on the same team with last year’s Hodge Trophy winner, 165-pound David Taylor.

Coming off his second Big Ten championship, Ruth is 28-0 this season and has pinned 10 foes; primarily because of his deadly cradle.

But is Ruth beatable?

Minnesota’s Kevin Steinhaus made the Big Ten championship match close and did not lose until giving up a third-period takedown to the Nittany Lion junior. The Gopher All-American proved that with a good defense Ruth could be subject to an upset.

Kevin Steinhaus

Kevin Steinhaus

Another wrestler to do just that is Cornell’s defending national champion Steve Bosak, whom some said wasn’t favored against another explosive Nittany Lion wrestler — Quentin Wright — during last year’s national final at 184.

Ben Bennett

Ben Bennett

Meanwhile two other All-Americans return with enough mettle to challenge for the crown: Central Michigan’s Ben Bennett, who captured a fourth MAC championship, and Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin, who surprised many fans when he made the 2011 finals where he lost 5-2 to Wright.

 

Bracket Busters

The following wrestlers may are either unseeded or low seeds who could provide upsets at 184:

• Chris Chinonuma spent three years at Lindenwood, where he was an NAIA All-American. That was before he transferred to Oklahoma State and most recently captured 27 wins in 30 matches, and added a Big 12 championship. He got the No. 9 seed in Des Moines.

• Mike Larson of Missouri reached the Round of 12 as an unseeded wrestler last March when the Tiger lost a first-round match to top-seed Joe LeBlanc. But he came back to win three wrestlebacks, including an overtime win against Iowa’s returning AA Grant Gambrall. Unfortunately, his bid for a Top-8 honor ended when he lost to Steinhaus.

• Pitt’s Max Thomusseit was named the Eastern Wrestling League Freshman of the Year in 2011 and wrestled at the NCAAs in Philadelphia that year. However, he did not get to compete in 2012 because of an injury. This year, the Panther was limited to just 17 matches before winning the recent EWL.

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