Southeast Open Preview (Mizzou Slant)

Contributed By: Sean Mael

125

Notable wrestlers registered
#25 Fabian Gutierrez, UTC
Dack Punke, MIZZ
Joe Thomas, WVU
Joey Prata, VT
Sam Latona, VT
Cam Valdiviez, MIZZ
Korbin Meink, CU
Paxton Rosen, CU

Thoughts: For an early season open the field is fairly stiff at 125 here. Gutierrez comes in as a slight favorite here over a field that contains two returning NCAA qualifiers in Punke and Meink, as well as Thomas and Prata who both managed over .500 records last season as starters at their respective schools. Latona is a big recruit for Virginia Tech and is likely to push Prata or the job throughout the season. Valdiviez is an excellent scrambler who has the talent to beat anyone. Rosen had a solid high school career in Oklahoma and may need time to grow into the weight, but he has talent. Gutierrez was 17-4 last season including a 6-4 win over Meink. Meink was 1-2 at NCAA’s with a win over Zeke Moisey. Punke is really stingy defensively and has the talent to go with anyone here and could emerge as a champion here. Prata who Punke will meet the day before this tournament and Latona are both solid contenders as well. The knock on both guys for Virginia Tech has been their size. Neither has filled into a large 125 yet. Thomas is the last guy who could push themselves into contender status here. Both Valdiviez and Rosen are solid and have the talent to pull an upset or two, but are unlikely to appear in the finals here. Ultimately I think Gutierrez is narrowly the class of the field here. I like Punke to advance through either Latona or Meink to meet him in the finals. I have the upstart Latona taking third and potentially pushing for the starting spot for the Hokies. I have Meink finishing fourth and Prata taking fifth over Thomas here.

Prediction:

Gutierrez, UTC
Punke, MIZZ
Latona, VT
Meink, CU
Prata, VT
Thomas, WVU

133

Notable wrestlers registered:
#8 Noah Gonser, CU
Jaime Hernandez, UNC
Joe Heilmann, UNC
Allan Hart, MIZZ
Austin Warner, CU
Orion Anderson, MARY

Thoughts: This weight is not overly deep, but it is more top heavy than 125 was. Noah Gonser is an excellent scrambler and an absolute hammer on top. He is a multiple time NCAA qualifier and is a tough wrestler with legitimate AA aspirations this season. Hernandez is a fairly balleyhooed prospect, who will likely be getting an opportunity to start for the Tar Heels this season. Heilmann is taking a redshirt after taking lumps as a true freshman starter at 125 last season, but will see action here. He is undersized for this weight class, but has talent and has been through some battles. I am extremely high on Allan Hart. He does not have the best offense from his feet, but he is a grinder and is extremely tough both in scrambles and from the top position. Hart has a variety of ways to turn guys. Warner had a solid season on the open circuit last season going 7-7 and will be Gonser’s backup this season. Anderson started this past season at 133 for Maryland and went 6-21 in his true freshman campaign. He will be redshirting here and has the potential to place in this bracket. I think Gonser’s top game will elevate him to the top spot here. I have Hart beating Hernandez in what should be an excellent semifinal. Hart is tough on top and I think riding time may be the difference in that bout. I have Heilmann taking fourth and Warner and Anderson fill out the rest of the podium here.

Predictions:
Gonser, CU
Hart, MIZZ
Hernandez, UNC
Heilmann, UNC
Warner, CU
Anderson, MARY

141

Notable wrestlers registered:
#16 Josh Heil, CU
#22 Zach Sherman, UNC
Alex Madrigal, GMU
Chris Debien, UTC
Alex Butler, MIZZ
Dom Latona, VT
Scotty Kiyono, VA
Thoughts: 141 is our first weight in the Southeast Open that features multiple ranked wrestlers. Heil is both a part of the resurgence at Campbell and the younger brother of 2x national champion Dean Heil. Heil is an excellent scrambler and has really fluid leg attacks. Heil is a 2x NCAA qualifier and is coming down from 149 last season. Sherman had a really solid true freshman season in which he qualified for NCAA’s at 133 and won a match. Last season Sherman redshirted and competed at 133 amassing a 13-4 record. This season will be his first prolonged action at this weight. Sherman is really slick and has an exciting style of wrestling. Heil and Sherman are meeting in the middle essentially after competing two weight classes apart last season. One wonders if size will be an issue for Sherman in the match-up. Madrigal started his career at Old Dominion where he was a 2x national qualifier as well. Madrigal is tough on top and very stingy on his feet. He is tough to score on. Debien is likewise a 2x NCAA qualifier. Debien is really solid and is aggressive on his feet. Alex Butler has sat behind some studs in Grant Leeth and Brock Mauller up at 149 the past couple seasons, but is a guy who sets a good pace and can be tough on the mat. Look for Butler to potentially pull an upset or two here, as he is both battle tested and coming down in weight. Latona, and Kiyono have been solid back-ups for Virginia Tech and Virginia respectively and they add depth here. I have Sherman beating Heil in the finals. I think Sherman’s duck under and sweep singles give Heil some match-up trouble as Sherman typically finishes quickly and cleanly, whereas Heil likes to prolong scrambles. Debien is too solid for Madrigal so soon off of an injury. I have Debien third, Madrigal fourth and Butler defeating Latona for fifth.

Predictions:
Sherman, UNC
Heil, CU
Debien, UTC
Madrigal, GMU
Butler, MIZZ
Latona, VT

149

Notable wrestlers registered:
#2 Brock Mauller, MIZZ
#25 Tanner Smith, UTC
Colston Diblasi, GMU
Kyler Rea, WVU
Josh Finesilver, DUKE
Michael Murphy, VA
Seth Hogue, WV

Thoughts: Brock Mauller is an extremely unorthodox wrestler, but he is ruthlessly effective and he is a huge favorite here. It is easy to get to Mauller’s legs, but between the combination of his cement hips, constant motion and funky counter scrambling he is one of the best defensive wrestlers in college wrestling today. Smith is a returning NCAA qualifier at this weight class and is typically a guy who puts up points in flurries. Diblasi (a Park Hill, Missouri alum) was an NCAA qualifier a season ago at 165. Diblasi has not wrestled below 157 to this point in his college career. Diblasi is long for this weight class and will scramble in any position imaginable. He is a classic junker and will through everything and the kitchen sink at his opponents. Look for Diblasi to work his way into the rankings this season, if he can hold the weight class. Rea (a Neosho, MO alum) has been just below .500 each of the past three seasons for West Virginia. Rea is solid, but is a notch below the aforementioned wrestlers. Finesilver is a two time NCAA qualifier who will likely be redshirting for Duke this season. Finesilver went 0-2 at NCAA’s at 141 this past season. Finesilver wrestles hard for seven minutes and will be a tough out here with a full gas tank from cutting less weight. Murphy went 12-14 last season as Virginia’s starter at this weight class and is solid and will keep bouts close. Hogue owns a 4-3 win over his teammate Rea from last season and is a solid wrestler in his own right. He adds additional depth here. Though Mauller is a big favorite in this bracket the scrambles in his bout with Diblasi will likely be incredible to watch and an early candidate for most aesthetically pleasing solid win of the season to date. I do not think Mauller will have too much trouble, but it could be low scoring as Diblasi’s length will slow the pace of the bout. Smith has a good gas tank and is full sized for this weight class. I think his size and pace will wear out the smaller Finesilver. I have Rea defeating his teammate in a tight battle for the starting spot early in the season.

Predictions:
Mauller, MIZZ
Diblasi, GMU
Smith, UTC
Finesilver, DUKE
Rea, WVU
Hogue, WVU

157

Notable wrestlers registered:
#10 Jarrett Jacques, MIZZ
#18 at 165 Josh McClure, UNC
Connor Brady, VT
AC Headlee, UNC
Evan Schenk, GW
Colby Ho, GMU
Phyllip Deloach, MIZZ
Sam Martino, UVA

Thoughts: This weight class will be a ton of fun to watch. Jacques was a MAC champion and NCAA qualifier last season at this weight class. He has great leg attacks and scrambles fluidly as well as being a hammer on top. McClure (A Fulton, Missouri alum) was a national qualifier at this weight class last season and looks to start the season here despite being ranked at 165. McClure is long for the weight class and is tough on top. Connor Brady is a talented true freshman who defeated #17 BC LaPrade in the Virginia Tech wrestle offs. Brady’s redshirt is staying for now, but he is college ready on his feet right now. AC Headlee is a 2x NCAA qualifier at 141 for UNC, who is jumping up a ton of weight to contend with McClure for a starting spot here. Schenk started all least season at this weight class for Garder-Webb. Ho was 22-11 last season as a true freshman starter at this weight class. Ho is long for the weight and is an excellent scrambler and technician. Look for Ho to take strides forward this season now that he has put on some muscle. Deloach is a tough wrestler on his feet who tends to struggle somewhat on the mat. Martino is a solid guy for Virginia who started some duals for them last season down at 149. If Martino is big enough for the weight class, he could have a solid showing here. I have Jacques winning here as I think he can match Brady in neutral and has superior prowess on the mat. Brady might have a slight gas tank edge, so that is something to watch especially early in the season. I have McClure taking third, but on the right day he can beat any of these guys. I think Jacques strength and scrambling would throw him off, as well as Brady’s pace. I like Ho to nab fourth, and undersized Headlee to take fifth and have Martino squeaking into sixth.

Predictions:
Jacques, MIZZ
Brady, VT
McClure, UNC
Ho, GMU
Headlee, UNC
Martino, VA

165

Notable wrestlers registered:
#16 Nick Kiussis, WVU
#24 Quentin Perez, CU
Kennedy Monday, UNC
Peyton Mocco, MIZZ
Luke Fortuna, MIZZ
Rodrick Mosley, GW
Sawyer Davidson, UNC

Thoughts: Kiussus was an NCAA qualifier this past season going 1-2 at this weight class. He is strong for the weight and hard to get out of position. Perez is a 2x NCAA qualifier at this weight class who redshirted last season and competed at 174. Monday was R12 at 157 in 2018, before an injury cut short his season last year. Monday is an AA contender if healthy. He is long for the weight and is excellent at finding angles and exploding through his leg attacks. Mocco had a solid redshirt season last year for the Tigers. He is an outstanding scrambler who generally attacks from space. Look for Mocco to have a good season. If Mocco wrestles from space then Fortuna is the opposite. Fortuna likes to work from a collar tie and front headlock and to wear down his opponents. Mosley had a solid redshirt season for Gardner Webb last season and is being thrust into a starting role this season. Davidson started the latter part of the season for UNC last season and he took some lumps. Despite his current lack of a ranking Monday is likely the class of the field at 165 in this tournament and a definitive AA contender this season. If Monday is healthy look for his pace and quickness, as well as length to suffocate Kiussis here. I think Mocco’s scrambling ability will give Perez fits, but that Monday and Kiussis will both find the scores the need to beat him, as Mocco has somewhat limited offense at this stage in his career. I have Fortuna’s strength and experience netting him the fifth place win over Mosley

Predictions:
Monday, UNC
Kiussis, WVU
Mocco, MIZZ
Perez, CU
Fortuna, MIZZ
Mosley, GW

174

Notable wrestlers registered:
#8 Connor Flynn, MIZZ
#14 Devin Kane, UNC
Clay Lautt, UNC
Neal Richards, VMI
Jeremiah Kent, MIZZ
Phillip Spadafora, MARY
Hunter Fortner, UTC

Thoughts: This will be Flynn’s first tournament up at 174. He is a two time NCAA qualifier at 165 who has a good gas tank, a slick low double/ Hi-C and is tough from top. Kane had a really solid NCAA tournament last season, in which he made the R12 at this weight class. Kane is positionally very solid and is excellent from the top position. Lautt went 24-8 last season in redshirt at this weight class and will be competing with Kane for this spot in the line-up. Richards is a 2x NCAA qualifier including this past season at 174. He is undoubtedly the team leader for VMI and he is a guy that scores a ton of points on his feet. Richards is hyper aggressive in neutral. Kent is coming off a 16-4 redshirt season for the Tigers. He is a really long, smooth wrestler. Kent is tough on top and has a really solid sweep and low single series. Look for Kent to push some of the better wrestlers in this weight class. Spadafora and Fortner both started for their respective teams last season and took some lumps in the process. I would be shocked to see anyone aside from Flynn, Kane and Richards take the win here. I think Flynn gets it done as he has a really strong pace and the best top game of anyone in the field. I expect Flynn to have a low scoring win over Kane, whereas if he sees Richards the score may open up a bit, but I have Flynn winning a barnburner. I have Kent taking fourth and Lautt and Spadafora rounding out the placers here.

Predictions:
Flynn, MIZZ
Kane, UNC
Richards, VMI
Kent, MIZZ
Lautt, UNC
Spadafora, MARY

184

Notable wrestlers registered:
#14 Dylan Wisman, MIZZ
#23 Andrew Morgan, CU
Canten Marriott, MIZZ
Chasen Blair, UNC
Drew Peck, VA
Ben Stacy, UTC

Thoughts: This bracket is not quite as deep as some of the proceeding ones, but presents plenty of firepower at the top. Dylan Wisman is a returning NCAA qualifier who has cement hips and a great Hi-C. Morgan was an NCAA qualifier at 174 this past season and went 1-2 at the big dance. Marriott is a past NCAA qualifier at 184 in 2018. He dealt with injury most all of last season, so it will be interesting to see him against some solid competition here. Marriott at his best has a tremendous gas tank and is relentless on his feet and tough on top. Blair took some hits for the team last season, as he bumped up to 197 and filled in for several duals. Now back at his natural weight look for Blair to have a solid year. Peck went 12-11 last season and was solid at times for Virginia. Stacy went 4-8 last season for the Mocs. I have Wisman winning here, as I believe Morgan and Marriott will both have a tough time finishing cleanly on Wisman. Wisman is an excellent counter wrestler as well. I have Morgan placing ahead of Marriott, because I believe he will be healthier and I do not think Marriott is 100% recovered conditioning wise from his time of last season. I have Blair behind Marriott and that could flip flop depending on how both guys come out, but near his best Marriott is the more technically sound and well conditioned wrestler. I have Peck and Stacy rounding out my top six here.

Predictions:
Wisman, MIZZ
Morgan, CU
Marriott, MIZZ
Blair, UNC
Peck, VA
Stacy, UTC

197

Notable wrestlers registered:
#19 Noah Adams, WVU
Brandon Whitman, UNC
Kaden Russell, Duke
Stan Smeltzer, VT
Cody Howard, VT
Jack Flynn, MIZZ
Austin McNeil, CU

Thoughts: Noah Adams was an NCAA qualifier last season as a freshman. He went 1-2 with a 8-3 win over fellow qualifier and Southeast Open participant Whitman. Adams is hugely talented from his feet and if he can continue to improve his mat game and put on some muscle he could be an AA contender this season. The aforementioned Whitman qualified for NCAA’s, as a true freshman. He is tough on top and really solid on the mat in general, but is physically somewhat outmatched by some of the top guys at this weight. Russell was a solid starter for Duke last season at 184 going 17-15 and it looks like he will redshirt this season. Smeltzer and Howard are battling for Virginia Tech’s starting spot at this weight class. Smeltzer is a bit undersized, but he gets after it. Howard is longer, but not as quick as Smeltzer. Jack Flynn only has four career matches, so he is a bit of an unknown at this stage, but he is tough from the top position and fairly stingy on his feet. McNeil is a solid starter for Campbell, but is unspectacular. I see Adams repeating his prior win over Whitman in the finals here, but I see the match being tighter. I have a slightly undersized Russell taking third over Howard. I have Howard beating Smeltzer to reverse the wrestle off result and then have Smeltzer beating Flynn for fifth.

Predictions:
Adams, WVU
Whitman, UNC
Russell, DUKE
Howard, VT
Smeltzer, VT
Flynn, MIZZ

285

Notable wrestlers Registered:
#24 Brandon Ngati, WVU
Andrew Gunning, UNC
Odgerel Batkhishig, CU
Rodrigo Diaz, MIZZ
Mark Chaid, UNC
Keaton Kluever, UNC
Sean Mullican, WVU

Thoughts: Ngati was an NCAA qualifier last season as a junior. Ngati had a 2-1 TB2 win over Gunning last season. Gunning went 12-6 last season as a back-up for UNC. Batkhishig improved tremendously over the course of last season starting for Campbell. He finished 18-8 and likely will redshirt this season with the return of #7 Jere Heino to the Campbell line-up. Rodrigo Diaz was 10-5 last season in opens for the Tigers. He may end up starting for Missouri this season at heavyweight. Diaz always gives a great effort and he is always in matches, as he rarely gets blown out. Kluever went 15-14 last season including a one point loss to Gunning and splitting bouts with Mullican. Chaid is coming up from 197 last season to test the waters here. Mullican was 10-8 last season in a back-up roll for the Mountaineers. I think Batkhishig has the steepest learning curve and best practice partner here, so I think he will have a strong showing here. I have Ngati second, as he is a savvy heavyweight. I have Gunning over his teammate Kluever for third and I have Mullican just edging Tomero for fifth.

Predictions:
Batkhishig, CU
Ngati, WVU
Gunning, UNC
Kluever, UNC
Mullican, WVU
Diaz, MIZZ

Overall:

This tournament will take place beginning at 8am on Sunday. Coverage is live and archived on Flowrestling. I see Missouri having a strong showing here, but with North Carolina, West Virginia, Campbell and Chattanooga sending most of their starters and some solid redshirts scattered in this is a solid open tournament. This will be a good chance to see young guys like Hart and Mocco get some good bouts under their belts against some really tough competition. It also presents wrestlers like Valdiviez, Butler, Fortuna, Kent, Marriott and Jack Flynn an opportunity to show out and potentially compete for a starting position. I am excited to see how Diaz looks, as he may wrestle a ton of duals for Missouri this season. It should give us a really good gauge regarding where the team is at conditioning wise with several wrestlers doing back to back weigh ins as well. I am also excited to see the potential Flynn vs. Kane and Mauller vs. Diblasi bouts as both pack a ton of potential for excitement. All rankings utilized here are courtesy of Flowrestling. Thanks for reading.

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