In a Reno Tournament that turned out to be a little underwhelming on the talent side outside of Oklahoma State the Cowboys completely dominated and picked up seven individual titles en route to what was likely the highest team score in the history of the tournament.
Reno typically is a pretty tough tournament, but it really just wasn’t this year. There were definitely some highlights and intrigue for OSU fans though. Let’s take a look.
Joe Smith is back: He and Jacobe Smith both tore through what Flo deemed as one of the toughest weights in the tournament at 174. Joe really looked great and answered a lot of questions most had about how he he’d do after being out of competition for so long. Jacobe also looked great. Both smashed their way to the finals with very little resistance setting up a highly anticipated finals match-up between the two.
The match didn’t happen. I, like most, sat in front of my computer in anticipation of this final, only to see the 184s walk out and realize the all “J. Smith” match would not be a thing. Flo asked John in an interview after the match why they didn’t wrestle. His answer was in part they are a little hurt, but he ultimately had “no plan for them wrestle.” John said “we’re still evaluating and in time we’ll make some decisions.”
Joseph Smith returns to NCAA wrestling at 174 pounds and promptly hits a smooth ankle pick. pic.twitter.com/qI45vmKWLb
— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) December 20, 2018
Nick Piccinnini won probably the toughest weight here that wasn’t highlighted by two All Americans on the same team. He looked strong doing it, picked up bonus all the way to the finals, and in the final controlled No. 8-ranked Rayvon Foley to pick up a 4-1 decision. He’s looking very good so far this year.
Nick Piccininni gets maximum elevation on this single leg. pic.twitter.com/rpRUJ6IJtT
— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) December 20, 2018
Dakota Geer picked up a title at 197. It wasn’t an especially tough bracket at this weight, and he didn’t completely dominate everyone, but it’s clear Geer can handle the move up to 197. Though nothing official has been put out by the coaching staff, my understanding of the injury situation with Preston Weigel is he’s hurt but not necessarily out for the year.
He has had injury struggles throughout his career, so at this point they’re tweaking the lineup to see what the best solution is if Weigel is unable to get healthy, which is an unknown.
With Geer’s success at 197, in the “no Weigel” scenario it’s pretty clear that bumping Geer to 197 with some combination of the J. Smiths and Chandler Rogers from 165-184 would be the strongest lineup.
One early indication I received, prior to Weigel’s injuries, was the intention was to get Joe Smith down to 165. No idea if that’s still the plan or if Joe/Jacobe will go 74/84, which seems to be more feasible right now. It could probably be any combination of the three from 65-84 if Geer is up at 197. With a healthy Weigel I assume Geer will go back down to 184 and they’ll reorganize from there.
Want some more lineup conversation out of this to spin your head?
Kaden Gfeller continues to dominate at 149 pounds, while Kaid Brock is not having the same success at 141 that he had at 133. Gfeller ran away with a title at 149, beating teammate Dusty Hone in the final. Kaid Brock finished third at 141.
To start the season Kaden Gfeller was not in the lineup and Kaid was the starter at 141, while a healthy Boo Lewallen was “the guy” at 149. Smith said last week when Boo comes back he’ll be the starter at 149 and Kaden will go down. With Kaid getting the starting nod at 141 early, one naturally assumes the coaches were seeing things in the room that led them to that decision.
Will the recent tournament/dual results shift anything at 141 when Boo does come back? It’ll be interesting to see.
Daton Fix, Chandler Rogers, and Derek White all dominated their weight classes and won titles.
Unfortunately the Cowboys can’t seem to stop getting banged up this season. Andrew Shomers and Mike Magaldo both injury defaulted out of the tournament.
We probably won’t know much until they get back from the trip and have a media availability where we can speak to the staff. Hopefully both are fine, but if Shomers, who’s been the starter at 157 all year, is out then Jonce Blaylock is more than adept to step in and handle the role. Blaylock finished second behind All American Paul Fox.
It’s insane the depth that this team has. Any other program in the country loses two All Americans and an NCAA qualifier and their season takes a huge hit, that includes Penn State. OSU just plugs and plays.
125: Nick Piccininni (1st)
133: Daton Fix (1st), Andrew Nieman (DNP)
141: Kaid Brock (3rd), Mike Magaldo (DNP)
149: Kaden Gfeller (1st), Dusty Hone (2nd)
157: Jonce Blaylock (2nd), Andrew Shomers (DNP), Wyatt Sheets (DNP)
165: Chandler Rogers (1st), Colton Denney (DNP), Wes Ahrberg (DNP)
174: J. Smith (1st), J. Smith (2nd) (see what I did there?), Christian Bahl (DNP), Travis Wittlake (DNP)
184: Anthony Montalvo (4th), Bear Hughes (DNP)
197: Dakota Geer (1st), Andrew Marsden (DNP), Austin Harris (DNP)
HWT: Derek White (1st), Cornelius Putnam (DNP)