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174 lb. NCAA Championship Preview

By Brenan Lyon , 03/13/17, 8:00PM EDT


Photo: Tony Rotundo (

Brenan  Lyon

Brenan Lyon


#1 Zahid Valencia (ASU) – 33-0 [24 bonus wins]

  • PAC 12’s – 1st  | Midlands – 1st  | CKLV Invitational – 1st
  • Notable wins:
    • Zach Brunson (ILL) – twice
    • Ethan Ramos (UNC) – twice
    • Lelund Weatherspoon (ISU) – twice
    • Brian Realbuto (COR)
    • Myles Amine (UM)
    • Nick Wanzeck (MINN)

#2 Brian Realbuto (COR) – 23-1 [14 bonus wins]

  • EIWA’s – 1st | CKLV Invitational – 2nd
  • Only loss to Valencia (ASU) 2-1
  • Notable wins:
    • Ryan Preisch (LU) – twice
    • Bo Jordan (OSU)
    • Casey Kent (PENN)
    • Kyle Crutchmer (OSU)

#3 Bo Jordan (OSU) – 14-1 [10 bonus wins]

  • 2X All American
  • B1G’s – 1st
  • Lost to Realbuto (COR) 3-2
  • Notable wins:
    • Mark Hall (PSU)
    • Myles Amine (UM)
    • Alex Meyer (IOWA)

#4 Zach Epperly – 19-1 [10 bonus wins]

  • ACC’s – 1st
  • Lost to Ryan Preisch (LU) 3-1
  • Notable wins:
    • Ethan Ramos (UNC) – twice
    • Taylor Lujan (UNI)

Zahid Valencia is rightly the #1 seed coming into this tournament, not having surrendered a loss on the season, while besting the #2 seed earlier in the season.  Realbuto gets the nod as the two seed, having taken out Bo Jordan in their dual meet, 3-2.  We’ve seen Mark Hall of Penn State get better after every loss this season, and I believe that streak continues. 

A darkhorse outside of the top ten for me is Casey Kent of Penn. Kent worked his way back in the wrestle backs of the 2016 NCAA tournament to snag a fourth place finish as an unseeded wrestler.  Does he have the magic to do it again?  We shall see.

First round matchups:

  • Nick Reenan (NCST) vs. #4 Zach Epperly (VT)
    • Epperly won their first matchup 5-3, but Reenan was right there, nearly pancaking the fourth seed Epperly.  I like Epperly in this bout, but definitely a match and a wrestler (Reenan) to keep your eye on.
  • Jordan Pagano (RUT) vs. #6 Ryan Preisch (LU)
    • Pagano won this match in their dual 10-4, can he make it two in a row against the sixth seed?

Second round matchups:

  • #9 Myles Amine (UM) vs. #8 Ethan Ramos (UNC)
    • Amne has been on a tear as of late, while placing third at B1G’s.  I like him to keep it going against the former NCAA Championships semi-finalist.

Quarter-final matchups:

  • #1 Valencia (ASU) vs. #9 Amine (UM)
    • I think this ends up being a closer match than most fans expect.  Don’t forget, Amine and Valencia battle earlier this year at the CKLV Invitational, with Valencia edging Amine 4-3.  I like the Sun Devil to reach his first national semifinal.
  • #5 Hall (PSU) vs. #4 Epperly (VT)
    • Epperly’s positioning and top work might cause fits for Hall, but as we saw at B1G’s, Hall can takedown just about anyone, I.e. Bo Jordan. 
  • #3 Jordan (OSU) vs. #6 Preisch (LU)
  • #7 Crutchmer (OSU) vs. #2 Realbuto (COR)
    • If we see the Crutmcher that we saw last year, this could very well be an upset for the Cowboy.  He did beat Realbuto at the Southern Scuffle last year 4-3…  However, Realbuto won their only matchup this year, and I like the Big Red wrestler to stamp his ticket to the semis.

Semifinal matchups:

  • #1 Valencia (ASU) vs. #5 Hall (PSU)
    • I think this is a close match, but Hall is able to pull away in the third period against the freshman from Cali.
  • #3 Jordan (OSU) vs. #2 Realbuto (COR)
    • We saw a different Bo Jordan at the B1G’s than what we saw in their past dual.  Jordan avenges his only loss on the season.


  • #5 Hall (PSU) vs. #3 Jordan (OSU)
    • Hall, Bo-Jo 2.0.  This is as exciting of a match as their B1G finals, but I think Cael preps the true freshman phenom to hold on to this match.  I don’t think Hall’s getting reversed on top and his takedowns and scrambling prove to be the difference in the match. 

Why My Kids Will Wrestle by Cael Sanderson

By OWN Staff 02/16/2016, 3:15am EST

Sun Devil Wrestling’s Z. Valenica Makes Junior World Team

By Arizona State Sports Info 05/23/2016, 8:00am EDT

Courtesy: Jim Thrall

IRVING, Texas—Arizona State wrestling’s redshirt freshman Zahid Valencia will represent the United States on the Junior World Team following his win in the best-of-three 84 kg finals on Sunday at the Irving Convention Center.

Due to his place on the 2015 Junior World Team, Valencia awaited the winner of the 84 kg challenge bracket, the 2016 NCAA runner-up at 174 pounds, Bo Nickal of Penn State.

In the opening match, Valencia picked up the 8-2 decision victory, and finished off with the 2-1 edge in the best-of-three second round.

Valencia and the rest of the Junior World Team from the United States will compete at the Junior World Championships, Aug. 30 to Sept. 4 in Macon, France.

Complete Sun Devil Wrestler Results
74 KG – Jacen Petersen
First Round: Joe Smith def. Jacen Petersen: Dec 11-3
1st Conso: Jacen Petersen def. Dewey Kreuger: Tech 16-5
2nd Conso: Larry Early III def. Jacen Petersen: Tech 10-0

74 KG – Josh Shields
First Round: Kimball Bastian def. Josh Shields: Dec 5-4
1st Conso: Josh Shields def. Conston Diblasi: Tech 19-8
Second Conso: Joseph Gunther def. Josh Shields: Dec 7-6

74 KG – Anthony Valencia
First Round: Anthony Valencia def. Mike Dangelo: Tech 10-0
Quarterfinals: Anthony Valencia def. Larry Early III: Tech 11-0
Semifinals: Vincenzo Joseph def. Anthony Valencia: Dec 14-13
4th Conso: Jordan Kutler def. Anthony Valencia: FF

84 KG – Zahid Valencia
Finals Round One: Zahid Valencia def. Bo Nickal: Dec 8-2
Finals Round Two: Zahid Valencia def. Bo Nickal: Dec 2-1

96 KG – Lance Benick
First Round: Malik McDonald def. Lance Benick: Fall 5:48
1st Conso: Andre Lee def. Lance Benick: Dec 7-0

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