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WIN Magazine NCAA Previews • Heavyweight
Heavyweight Scouting Report
There looks to be more talent at heavyweight than Division I wrestling has had in years.
Last year, some were surprised when Minnesota’s Anthony Nelson left St. Louis with a national championship; joining former Gopher heavyweights Leonard Levy (1941), Verne Gagne (1948-49), Brock Lesnar (2000) and Cole Konrad (2006-07) as NCAA champions.
There were also many who thought the Minnesota native would have a lot tougher time duplicating his 2012 effort — a 4-1 victory over 2011 national champion Zach Rey of Lehigh in the finals — considering how much the weight improved this year.
That included Missouri’s Dom Bradley and Central Michigan’s Jarod Trice, who won All-American honors in 2011 but took Olympic redshirts last season. Then there was Oklahoma State’s Alan Gelogaev, a native of Russia, who was ranked No. 1 towards the end of last season but suffered a shoulder injury and could not compete at the national tournament.
The same thing could have been said about Pitt’s Zach Thomusseit, who was also forced to sit out last winter because of an injury.
They’re all back this year … as is Oregon State’s Chad Hanke, the former 197-pounder who redshirted and got bigger just in time to replace last year’s Beaver All-American Clayton Jack.
There are also three other heavyweights who earned All-American honors in 2012 — Northwestern’s Mike McMullan (third), Iowa’s Bobby Telford (fifth) and Ohio’s Jeremy Johnson (seventh) — who are back. (That doesn’t include Nick Gwiazdowski, who finished eighth as a freshman for Binghamton, but sat out this year after transferring with his coach to North Carolina State this year.)
With the log jam at the top, one or two of a number of these talented big men will likely leave Des Moines without a medal.
The Gopher has the No. 2 seed after he claimed a second-straight Big Ten championship — beating McMullan in the finals — and three weeks before he pinned Gelogaev in the final dual of the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, held in Minneapolis.
The Gopher is seeded No. 2 behind Missouri’s Bradley, who defeated him at the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 2, and many believe the Tiger — who sat out three years while waiting for 2010 national champion Mark Ellis to graduate — is the one who will claim a national crown in Des Moines.
Bradley’s only loss came in overtime to Gelogaev and he recently defeated Trice for the MAC championship.
The following heavyweights could provide plenty of upsets after entering the NCAAs as low seeds or unseeded wrestlers:
• Connor Medbery came to Wisconsin as an NHSCA national champion from Colorado. The Badger freshman recently finished fourth at the Big Tens.
• Odie Delaney, who stands 6-foot-3, recently qualified for his fourth straight NCAA after winning a fourth straight Southern Conference championship. (The Bulldog actually redshirted in 2011.) Last year, the native of Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., came to St. Louis unseeded, but upset Maryland’s No. 4-seed Spencer Myers and then defeated Michigan State’s Steve Andrus to reach the quarterfinals. A loss sent Delaney to the wrestlebacks where his chance at a first All-American honor ended with a Round-of-12 loss to Ohio’s Jeremy Johnson.
• Arizona State’s Levi Cooper also came up short by one victory of earning an All-American honor in 2012 — losing to Iowa’s Telford in the Round of 12. This happened after the Sun Devil claimed an eighth-place finish in 2011.