Session 1

During this exclusive live broadcast from Pittsburgh Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan breakdown their thoughts on Session 1 of the NCAA Wrestling Championships. There wasn’t an upset beyond the No. 5 seed and overall the energy was not as high as expected at PPG Paints Arena. They kick off with recapping 125 lbs. Malik Heinselman dropped to Vitali Arujau 12-2. Askren and Dernlan are extremely excited to watch the next round between Arujau and RayVon Foley. Despite an 18-0 win by Spencer Lee Askren and Dernlan agree they didn’t see the typical energy they’re used to from Lee.

133 lbs (6:59)

One of the craziest stories out of the 133 lbs first round was Austin DeSanto vs Codi Russell. Normally the only reason this would be a high profile match was if a 26 seed upset the No. 7. This match called attention to itself because DeSanto got the win by stalling disqualification against Russel 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the first round. Askren and Dernlan have never seen a stall out so quickly. Roman Bravo-Young wins 8-2 over Mario Guillen. This sets up the anticipated RBY vs DeSanto round 2.

141 lbs (9:23)

Someone Askren has been critical of throughout the season was Kaid Brock. He was very impressed with his win over Bryan Lantry. Brock will have a tough task against Joey McKenna next round. Dernlan is always excited to watch Chad Red compete but he doesn’t think he’s up to the task to take out Yianni Diakomihalis.

149 lbs (11:47)

Josh Heil came very close to being upset by Henry Pohlmeyer but ends up reversing him and getting a pin. The biggest upset in the entire first round came from No. 7 Kaden Gfeller losing to former Oklahoma State now Virginia Tech No. 26 Ryan Blees 3-1.

157 lbs (15:33)

At 157 Askren is more excited about round 2 than anything round 1 had to offer. This is a huge round for the Iowa Hawkeyes. If they’re going to stay in trophy contention they have to go through round 2 unscathed. One round 2 match to watch will be Ke-Shawn Hayes vs Kaleb Young.

165 lbs (18:33)

The wrestling community saw the first round matchup of Alex Marinelli vs Joe Smith as almost unfair for a No. 1 seed. Askren called the fact that Smith after wrestling in the Pigtail match would have a limited amount of gas to wrestle Marinelli. This proved to be true as Marinelli wins 7-4. Some really good matches that got overlooked was No. 21 Te’Shan Campbell beating No. 12 Ebed Jarrell 6-0.

174 lbs (21:35)

Jacobe Smith has to go to overtime to get the win over Drew Hughes. Dernlan speaks to the extreme difficulty to start at one weight class, move up and then move back down.

184 lbs (23:40)

Another major upset was Dakota Geer vs Nick Reenan 6-0. Askren and Dernlan agree Geer was ranked to low at 26 and Reenan was ranked to high at 7. For a weight class that Askren and Dernlan haven’t talked much about this year there is a lot of exciting 2 round match ups. Part of the reason they don’t have much to discuss at 184 is how good Myles Martin has been.

197 lbs (26:12)

Askren and Dernlan talk about the importance of putting a close match that you should have dominated behind you. For example, No. 5 Jacob Warner winning a closely contested match over No. 28 Drew Phipps 9-8. You need to wipe the slate clean and focus on executing in the next round. Askren has talked about this during his Mental Mondays. You can’t worry about unnecessary distractions and only focus on what is important to win the next match.

Heavy Weight (28:47)

The 285 lbs weight class gave us the biggest upset of the first round. Mason Parris loses to Sam Stoll 8-5. After a lot of stalling calls, Stoll scored 8 points with only securing 1 takedown.

Team Score (31:15)

While Penn State is already pulling ahead by 5 points there will be a lot of excitement surrounding the 2nd place race.

Hodge Trophy Contention (35:10)

Askren and Dernlan agree there can’t be a split decision or a co-trophy. In the past, it has been obvious who the best guy is but this year it’s split between Jason Nolf and Bo Nickal. Dernlan points out the criteria you have to look at in order to decide. They agree 157 lbs weight class has tougher competition this year. Overall, there is no good answer and it will be exciting to see what they decide.


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Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan host the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast. Askren, World Champion, and Olympic Wrestler joins in official partnership as a content provider for all things RUDIS. Matt Dernlan joins from years of experience in D1 college coaching at Binghamton, Clarion, and Penn State University.

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