With less than a month before the start of the 2014 Southern Scuffle presented by Defense Soap and Flips Wrestling, TheSouthernScuffle.com is breaking down the field. Today’s opening preview takes a look at the 125 and 133 brackets.
There are 34 teams in this year’s tournament, one of the biggest in the history of the event. While the quantity has grown, the quality certainly has not taken a hit. All totaled, there are 34 All-Americans, eight NCAA finalists and a host of Scuffle placers returning for the Jan. 1-2 showcase.
Competition at 125 is going to be tough with a pair of All-Americans in the mix. Penn State junior Nico Megaludis leads the pack as a two-time NCAA finalist and the 2013 Scuffle champ. He is a veteran of the tournament, also placing fourth in 2012.
Megaludis is currently 8-1 on the year and ranked No. 3 in the Intermat Top-20. His lone setback was a 6-5 loss to Cornell sophomore Nahshon Garrett in the finals of the Binghampton Open on Nov. 10.
Garrett, a 2013 All-American, is also in the Scuffle’s 125 bracket and is No. 2 in the nation with a 12-1 record. He just won the 2013 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational to go with his win at the Binghampton Open.
Megaludis scored a 3-1 decision over Garrett in the semifinals of last year’s tournament and a rematch could be on tap in this year’s Scuffle. In order for these two to hook up in the last match at 125, they will have to fight off a field that includes three placers from the 2013 Scuffle and six others currently ranked in the Top-20.
Air Force sophomore Josh Martinez is No. 8 in the nation and coming off a third place finish at the Cliff Keen Invite. He is 10-1 overall and has experience at the Scuffle after finishing fourth as a freshman last year.
Old Dominion’s Jerome Robinson and American’s David Terao are the other two returning placers from 2013. Robinson was fifth while Terao was eighth. Terao currently sits at No. 20 in the nation.
Other ranked competitors at 125 include No. 9 Anthony Zanetta (Pittsburgh), No. 11 Evan Silver (Stanford), No. 13 Corey Keener (Central Michigan), No. 14 Nathan Kraisser (North Carolina), No. 16 Eddie Klimara (Oklahoma State) and No. 18 Joey Dance (Virginia Tech).
RANKED WRESTLERS AT 125 (Intermat 12/3)
|Rank||Name||School||Year||2013 Scuffle Place at 125|
|3||Nico MegaludisFF||Penn State||Junior||1st|
|8||Josh Martinez||Air Force||Sophomore||4th|
|13||Corey Keener||Central Michigan||Freshman|
|14||Nathan Kraisser||North Carolina||Sophomore|
|16||Eddie Klimara||Oklahoma State||Sophomore|
|18||Joey Dance||Virginia Tech||Freshman|
|Jerome Robinson||Old Dominion||Junior||5th|
*Denotes All-American Honors
FDenotes NCAA Finalist
|Oklahoma State's Jon Morrison won the Scuffle at 133 pounds in 2013.|
The 133 bracket looks to be even tougher with three All-Americans and four of the top ten in the nation set to compete. This is also a very experienced group with four seniors ranked in the top-10.
Oklahoma State senior and defending Scuffle 133 champion Jon Morrison returns at the head of the list. He is 6-0 on the year, having just scored a 3-2 decision against fellow Scuffle competitor, Minnesota senior David Thorn, in their dual match on Dec. 8.
Thorn is a 2013 All-American and is returning to the Scuffle after finishing third in 2012. Morrison’s toughest competition could come from Stanford’s All-American senior Ryan Mango. Mango is currently No. 2 in the country with a 10-0 record.
There are four others ranked in the top 20 in the field, including No. 10 Joe Roth (Central Michigan), No. 11 Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State), No. 14 Mark Grey (Cornell) and No. 17 Shelton Mack (Pittsburgh).
Gulibon lost to Morrison (9-5) in the quarterfinals last year before finishing fourth as an unattached true freshman. Grey managed a seventh place finish while also wrestling unattached.
Chattanooga native and Virginia freshman Zach Watson could be in the lineup. He also competed unattached in 2013, finishing sixth overall while teammate George DiCamilo placed fifth.
Fans should watch out for Chattanooga Mocs junior Nick Soto as a sleeper in this bracket. After competing at 125 in 2013, he is back up to 133 where he had an outstanding freshman campaign.
A two-time Southern Conference Champion, Soto placed second at the Scuffle at 133 in 2012. He scored a 5-1 overtime win against Thorn in the semifinals, launching himself into the top-10 of the national rankings.
He will have to hit another hot streak to advance in this field, but with three wins over top-10 opponents in his career, he certainly has the potential to compete well into the second day.
RANKED WRESTLERS AT 133 (Intermat 12/3)
2013 Scuffle Finish
|3||Jon Morrison*||Oklahoma State||Senior||1st|
|9||David Thorn*||Minnestoa||Senior||3rd ('12)|
|10||Joe Roth||Central Michigan||Senior|
|11||Jimmy Gulibon||Penn State||Freshman|
|15||Jimmy Gulibon||Penn State||Freshman||4th|
|19||Mark McGuire||Kent State||Sophomore|
|Nick Soto||Chattanooga||Junior||2nd ('12)|
The 2014 Southern Scuffle, presented by Defense Soap and Flips Wrestling, takes place at the McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Jan. 1-2.
New for this year is lower level reserved seating. An all session lower level seat is $40 while a general admission ticket for both days is $30. Tickets are available now on www.TheSouthernScuffle.com or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627).