Yesterday we covered the lower weights in our preview and today we’re going to go over the top half of the lineup for the Cowboys and what to expect for them.
165 — No. 8 Chandler Rogers
Rogers got a very tough draw here. He should win his first match then he’ll likely wrestle former teammate Chance Marsteller. If you aren’t aware of Chance Marsteller and his story, it’s a wild one. He came into college the same year as Olympic Gold Medalist Kyle Snyder and in some circles was rated as a higher recruit than him. He got in some trouble here, went to Lock Haven, got in some trouble there, but has since redeemed himself in a lot of ways and has carved out a very nice season this year at Lock Haven. With that I do think Rogers wins this match. When you consider that the staff and Rogers know Marsteller well I think Rogers will be ready here and win.
Then he’d run into two-time NCAA champ and No. 1 seed Isaiah Martinez. That one will be very tough and if he loses he’ll have another tough one to win and become an All-American. Rogers can pin anyone, though, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him completely wreck shop and pin his way to a finish above his seed. But it also wouldn’t surprise me to see him go for his funk and lose a match he should win. Whatever happens with Rogers I can assure you that it will be fun to watch.
174 — No. 13 Jacobe Smith
Jacobe Smith was my final pick in my fantasy wrestling bracket and I think he could really shock some people here. His first matchup he already won once and should win again. In the second round he draws Jordan Kutler, who beat him early in the year, but not by much. If Jacobe doesn’t give up a very late escape it would’ve went to OT. I think he could pick up an upset there and have a very real chance at making the semifinals with one more in the next round.
If he does lose there he’ll still have winnable matches on the backside to get to the consolation quarterfinals and become an All-American, so he’s in a decent spot in my opinion, and if he wrestles well could finish fairly high, well over his seed. Smith’s knee injury is concerning. He seemed okay at the Big 12, but a three-day tournament is tough and if it’s still hurt at all it could give him a rough weekend.
184 — Keegan Moore
Keegan was the only Cowboy to come in unseeded. He draws the 4 seed in the first round, who he lost to in the NC State dual this year, and, in my opinion, could pull the upset there. NC State has been a great team the last few years, but have really bombed at the NCAAs. Keegan wrestled well the last few weeks and that combination of factors makes me think there’s a chance here. If he wins he is in a great spot to make some noise in the tournament. A loss and hopefully he can come back and get a few wins, but it’ll be extremely tough for him to become an All-American after a first round loss.
197 — No. 9 Preston Weigel
A healthy Preston Weigel is a NCAA title contender in my opinion. I’m concerned he’s not 100 percent though. With his loss at the Big 12 tournament he got a pretty tough draw here. He should win Round 1, but then he’ll likely have Big 12 champ Nate Rotert in the second round.
If he wins there he likely takes on the No. 1 seed Kollin Moore from Ohio State. Moore is great and beat Weigel comfortably last year, but hasn’t been as dominant this year as most expected. So at full speed I do think Weigel could pull the upset, but I don’t think he’s full speed based on some of the feedback we’ve received from the staff. If he wins over Rotert the road to being an All-American isn’t too bad. If he drops that one, it’s very tough. If Weigel pulls the upset over Moore he’s in the drivers seat to win the whole thing.
285 — No. 9 Derek White
White has had an incredible year. I don’t think anyone projected him to have the success he’s had with his jump to heavyweight. With that, he hasn’t had the toughest schedule this season, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does here.
White’s second round match is a key match for him. He’ll wrestle the No. 8 seed Hall from ASU and a win there puts him in the quarterfinal with Kyle Snyder, which he’ll probably lose, but be in a manageable position to navigate the consolation bracket and become an All-American. A loss to Hall gives him a lot tougher road.