On this episode of the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast, Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan recap the finals of the NCAA Wrestling Championships. They jump right into discussing one of the most controversial topics surrounding the finals. Nick Suriano’s 4-2 win over Daton Fix. After a close score, the match went to a second sudden victory. Suriano got Fix’s legs and took him down. Oklahoma State’s Coach, John Smith, protested that during Suriano’s takedown he grabbed the left shell of Fix’s headgear. The officials reviewed it and called that Suriano’s hand on the headgear did not appear to give him an advantage or Fix a disadvantage giving Suriano the win. Askren says from the stands it didn’t seem that controversial. During the NCAAs the coaching staff is supposed to be charged a team point by leaving the designated corner. This was not called at all during the 133 lbs final.
Hypocritical Calls (5:39)
Another controversial call or lack thereof during Fix vs Suriano was not calling stalling on Fix. Suriano was the aggressor the entire match yet Fix only received 1 warning for stalling. Dernlan says after 8 minutes of wrestling, no offensive points scored and only 1 stall call just shouldn’t happen. Referring to mandatory stall calls, Askren says there needs to be more reinforcement surrounding coaches badgering the referees. Referees prefer calls that aren’t up for interpretation because it gets rid of debate from coaches. During the second overtime, Fix gets both boots in and they end up calling a stalemate after 10 seconds. Although there is debate on both sides, Askren approves of this call. He says after 10-15 seconds of having double boots in, if you’re not making progress towards a turn then it should be called a stalemate.
Headgear Grab (15:13)
It doesn’t appear to Askren that one, the headgear grab was intentional or two, that it helped Suriano. Fix seemingly stopped wrestling and was waiting for the ref to make a call. Askren and Dernlan agree this is Fix’s fault. You can always argue the fact later but you should never rely on a ref to make a call in the moment. They both agree the refs made the correct decision in not calling Suriano on a headgear grab.
Heavy Weight (19:30)
The finals started at Heavy Weight and while Askren and Dernlan approve of a featured match style schedule, they don’t agree with putting this Heavy Weight matchup first. Anthony Cassar got the win over Derek White 10-1. Askren likes Cassar’s story: qualifying for one High School State Tournament and winning to qualifying for one NCAA Championships and winning.
125 lbs (23:00)
Spencer Lee gets the win over Jack Mueller 5-0. This was another match that suffered from a mandatory stall call going against the obvious aggressor. Mueller got called with stalling with 2 seconds left in the second period bringing the score from 2-0 to 3-0. Lee then gets a takedown in the third to secure his back-to-back NCAA title.
141 lbs (26:25)
In another controversial match, Yianni Diakomihalis also claimed his second NCAA title in his win over Joey McKenna. Diakomihalis wasn’t awarded any points during a scramble at the end of the second, Cornell challenged but the call was upheld. Dernlan believes that later takedown call was a makeup for not calling the points earlier in the match.
149 lbs (29:09)
Anthony Ashnault beat Micah Jordan 9-4. It was a slow start for both wrestlers. Askren says this was a mix between Ashnault not wanting to get too tired and Jordan not wanting to get taken down and go on bottom. Overall, Rutgers getting their first two national champions in school history was amazing to watch for the sport of wrestling.
157 lbs (31:42)
Jason Nolf defeated Tyler Berger 10-2 looking like the dominant wrestler. After gaining a big lead early, Nolf seemingly was content with riding out the win. Askren and Dernlan noticed this from Bo Nickal as well. Despite being in that high-pressure situation four other times, the pressure of walking away your senior year with a win can change how someone wrestles.
165 lbs (35:33)
One of the big stories from the tournament No. 8 seeded Mekhi Lewis gets the win over No. 2 Vincenzo Joseph 7-1. Lewis had to go through the No. 1, 4, and 2 seed in order to get his NCAA title. His performance earned him the Most Outstanding Wrestler award.
174 lbs (41:42)
At 174 lbs Zahid Valencia won a 4-3 decision over Mark Hall. Dernlan talks about Valencia being active and attacking enough to keep Hall on his toes and not allowing Hall to apply his own pressure. Askren believes Hall needs to work on setting up his leg attacks.
184 lbs (43:57)
Northern Iowa’s Drew Foster beats Cornell’s Maxwell Dean 6-4 giving UNI their first national champion since 2000. Dernlan loves the brand of wrestling Doug Schwab promotes and puts out on the mat. High energy, going for broke, not scared to take risks wrestling.
197 lbs (45:00)
Bo Nickal beats Kollin Moore 5-1. Askren talks about Nickal not going out there to finish strong but just to win. It goes to show how great Nickal is that he even has the power to seemingly decide how he wants to win the match.
Nickal Calls out Askren (46:02)
Bo Nickal tweets Askren saying they should wrestle. Askren would love to train/wrestle against Nickal. Being under contract with the UFC, in order to do an actual event he would first have to get that cleared by them. Askren has a few ideas of what Nickal and he could do / what stage they could wrestle on. Overall he appreciates the sign of respect and recognition from Nickal.
Come visit Wisconsin it is beautiful this time of year. https://t.co/hReAgpteA0
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) March 24, 2019
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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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