I only have some relatively weak allegiances to Rutgers and Maryland when it comes to college athletics, so I tend to root for whatever makes for a more interesting story. So without further ado, here’s who I’ll be rooting for in the finals of the 2015 NCAA wrestling tournament and why!
125: Zeke Moisey – West Virginia
Because he’s an unseeded true freshman, how can you not root for this kid? Nathan Tomesello has an entertaining style with nonstop attacks, but its not enough to overcome Moisey’s bracket blitz through the 15th, 2nd, 7th and 6th seeded wrestlers in that order.
133: Cody Brewer – Oklahoma
Because the junior 2X All American was snubbed in the seeding meeting and when on a revenge fueled tear of major decisions over all his higher seeded opponents on the way to the finals. Wouldn’t mind if Cory Clark from Iowa prevailed though, because I am so over the Iowa bashing already.
141: Logan Stieber – Ohio State
Because I’m only human. Mitchell Port upsetting Stieber would actually be a bigger story but I’ll be pulling for guy who the NCAA rearranged the order of the finals for. Logie should cap off the season with his 4 individual championship (joining a club with just 3 other members) and Ohio State’s first team championship ever.
149: Dave Habat – Edinboro
Because Edinboro deserves a champion, and it might as well come from this year’s least exciting weight class. I’m sure Edinboro fans are sick of hearing about how disadvantaged their program is but it’s a DII regional state school. I mean come on! That this program can compete with the flagships and obscenely endowed universities is a great story that needs to be heralded at every opportunity.
157: Isaiah “i” Martinez – Illinois
Because he’s the most ‘electric’ wrestler in the game is also an undefeated freshman. The hype can only grow from here. 157 was a crazy fun weight class this year (should have been taking notes 149!) and iMar has convincingly trounced all the incumbents. Plus there was that whole escape-thing with Realbuto, the less said about the better at this point.
165: Taylor Walsh – Indiana
Because he’s NJ’s lone representative in the finals, and because Walsh is a pinning machine who’s talents for securing the pinfall does not get enough press. Walsh qualified for the previous 3 tournaments but had yet to reach All American status until this year. I have no delusions that Walsh is going to beat super star Alex Deringer, but I’ll still be pulling for him.
174: Tyler Wilps – Pitt
Because he’s a senior who’s highest finish before today was 7th. I don’t know too much about Wilps but he’s coming from an ACC school, so it would be nice to spread the national champions around a bit. Penn State has won quite a few over the last several years if you haven’t noticed.
184: Nate Brown – Lehigh
Because I like seeing these mid-major schools make headlines. I also have some familial connections to Lehigh, and I like it when my friends and family are happy about things. Unfortunately for Brown, his opponent is a familiar one and I think Gabe Dean has beaten Brown every time they’ve met. Dean is also a manimal.
197: Kyven Gadson – Iowa State
Because Kyven is a senior, and when in doubt I root for guys to end their careers on top. Snyder is the superfrosh de jour, and he will have a long and successful career, I’ve no doubt, so tonight I’ll be hoping for Gadson to get some time in the spotlight, for himself and for Iowa State.
285: Nick Gwiazdowski – North Carolina State
Because he’s got the longest name in the tournament. Honestly between his last name and his school he’s making it tough on the he headline writers. He’s also from another ACC school and its cool seeing wrestling make waves down Tobacco Road.
So that’s my squad. Everybody in the finals is a unquestionable bawse and I won’t be disappointed to see any of them accepting a gold medal. Been a really fun year. Maybe the funnest? And freestyle fury is right around the corner.
Also sorry but I won’t be reformatting all the pics to make them the same size. the finals are less than an hour away, so deal. And enjoy – cheers!