Watch out! 2010 D1 Tournament Dark Horses

It’s always interesting to look at the brackets for lower seeds or unseeded wrestlers who have a good chance at placing top 8 for All-American status. So we have taken a look at each weight for wrestlers seeded lower than 8th who we believe have a good shot at placing in Omaha later this week.

By Pete Candito and Marc Candito

It’s always interesting to look at the brackets for lower seeds or unseeded wrestlers who have a good chance at placing top 8 for All-American status. So we have taken a look at each weight for wrestlers seeded lower than 8th who we believe have a good shot at placing in Omaha later this week. These wrestlers have either placed before or gone deep into the national tournament. Tournament tested wrestlers can often defeat those who are higher seeds but do not have the tournament experience. So watch out! These guys are not to be taken too lightly come tournament time.


Brad Pataky, Penn State dark horse from the round of 16 last year.
#10 seed Chris Notte of Oklahoma State is not to be taken lightly and could wrestle through #7 seed Nicholson in the 2nd round.


Steve Bell MD ret. 6th is the 9th seed.
Scott Sentes, CMU 7th at 125 last year but 11th seeded up a weight this year.


Chris Drouin, AZ State – 6th last year is unseeded…if he gets by his 1st round match against Alex Krom, MD the 8th seed who defeated Drouin in the 5th place match last year.
Chris Diaz, Va. Tech one round away last year and 11th seed this year.


Torsten Gillespie, Edinboro unseeded and a dark horse to place.
Trenton Washington from Northern Iowa also unseeded and national tournament tested last year when he defeated the then #10 seed Michael Thorn (seeded 3rd at 141 this year).


Matt Moley, Bloomsburg is seeded 9th but took 6th last year.
John Bonilla-Bowman, Hofstra was a round away last year with only one returning place winner on his side of the bracket. First match against Adam Hall from Boise State – the 2 seed – who was also a round away last year. Steven Brown from CMU was a round away at 149 last year and he is the 12th seed.


Paul Gillespie of Hofstra was a round away last year and is unseeded.
#9 seed Andrew Rendos of Bucknell was 5th last year.


Josh Patterson of Binghamton is the 11th seed dropping down from 184 where he was an All-American last year. Patterson beat Kirk Smith in the placing round last year…Smith is the #1 seed at 184 this year.


Mike Pucillo, Ohio State is the #10 seed and took 2nd last year. In the first round he meets unseeded Mike Miller from CMU (2nd at 174 last year) in the first round! Look for the winner of this match to be an All-American this year.


The #10 seed Jesse Strawn, ODU was a round away from placing last year and can improve on that to grab an All-American spot this year.


Returning champ Mark Ellis of Missouri is the #9 seed this year so you have to look at him as a possible place winner. When was the last time a defending national champ lost 10 matches the following year. Is it the national tournament that will motivate Ellis to try to live up to last year’s performance? Chris Birchler, Edinboro is unseeded but was a round away from placing in 2009 so keep an eye on him. Birchler is in the bottom bracket and there is only 1 returning All-American in that semifinal bracket.

One thought on “Watch out! 2010 D1 Tournament Dark Horses”

  1. Great job gents…Just a few more guys that I am high on:
    Jarrod Patterson(Oklahoma)—Was expected to redshirt in 2010, but was pulled out at the midway point and has been awesome ever since…Entering the tournament as the #9 seed, Patterson pulled an upset in the Big-12 finals over #5 seed Andrew Long. If he wrestles this week as well as he did two weeks ago, there is no reason he would not on the podium.

    Eric Morrill (Edinboro)– Slumped a litttle bit down the stretch, but at one point was ranked in the top-10 nationally. He already owns a win over #4 seed/returning All-American Anthony Robles. If the Fighting Scot wrestler regains his top form, watch out.

    #10 Nick Fanthorpe (Iowa State)– An All-American in 2008, Fanthorpe has a 2010 win over #7 seed Mike Grey (Cornell), an opponent he will likely see in the round of 16. A winner in 13 of his past 15 matches, the Cyclone Senior is coming on strong at exactly the right time.

    Unseeded Juan Archuleta(Purdue)– While his 22-12 record is solid without being mind-blowing, what stands out about this young man is how close he has wrestled the best in the nation. I vividly recall watching him battle #4 seed, Reece Humphrey for seven plus minutes before dropping a decision in sv. In addition, he has wrestled the #8 (lost 3-2 to Krom) and #6 (lost 7-5 and 5-2 to Marion) seeds tough. His most impressive performance of the season was his 5-3 victory over third-seeded Mike Thorn…After dropping so many nailbiters, he is due to have his fortune turn around and come out on the winning end of a few. If he does, he makes the podium…He has a tough match to start in #2 seed, Jamal Parks

    Unseeded Kyle Borshoff (American)– Started the season like a firecracker, beating #1 seed Lance Palmer in an unofficial match at the NWCA All-Star classic. While his 5th place finish at the EIWA tournament did put him jeopardy of not qualifying for the national tourney, he has new found life. A surprise All-American in 2009, one cannot dismiss the mental edge that goes along with having been on the podium previously…Having been ranked as high as #2 in the nation at one point during the season, one cannot sleep on this guy. The talent is there to make some serious noise.

    Unseeded Thomas Scotton (North Carolina)– Another guy who like Borshoff has spent time in the nation top-5, Scotton had a breakout performance at this year’s Southern Scuffle, winning the title (behind an early round win over #8 seed, Saddoris of the Naval Academy)…While the second half of the season was not ideal for the Tar Heel junior, it would be a mistake to completely dismiss the potential he showed in the first half…Having started the season 11-0, Scotton has already proven that he is more than capable of going on extended winning streaks. He will need one is he hopes to end 2010 on a high note.

    Unseeded Chris Brown (Old Dominion)– If you remove one bad weekend (the Midlands), Brown would be undefeated headed into the 2010 National tournament. A two-time CAA Champion, Brown defeated HU’s Gillespie multiple times this season. However, for me, it was his 2008 major decision over eventual National Champion, Mark Perry, that made me a fan of his. While not someone who always pushes the pace, Brown is capable of scoring when necessary….Last season, it was Ryan Williams who came up big for the Monarchs in his senior season, making the national finals. While I do not think Brown will be able to make it to the elevated mat, I do believe he has any shot in the world to finish top-8 in Omaha. He has not lost in 2010 (18 straight victories). If his hot streak lasts one additional week, he will have been successful in ending his collegiate career in high fashion.

    #11 seed Rick Schmelyun (Bloomsburg)– Quite frankly, this was a guy who had escaped my radar for the first three years of his collegiate career. However, he certainly caught my attention when he just missed earning a tech fall over defending National Champion/#2 seed Jarrod King of Edinboro. Bringing a solid 28-7 record into the tournament, Schmelyun would likely have commanded a high seed if not for a tough 2-1 loss in the EWL semifinals. With 22 of his wins in 2010 having been accompanied by some form of bonus points, this is a guy who is capable of putting points on the board. If he can sucker his opponents into an offensive war, I could see him pulling upset upon upset.

    Unseeded Jerome Ward (Iowa State)– Another of the guys who wishes that the NCAA tournament was held prior to the National Duals, the Cyclone super sophomore was great from the period between mid-November and January 10th. During this span, he posted a pair of wins over #9 seed Keddy, as well as victories over a pair of returning national finalists, Pucillo and Miller. Down the stretch, he has been slumping, dropping four of his final matches (including 0-2 at the Big-12 tournament). This young man has such natural athleticism and is so strong that he is not easy to finish on. Therefore, if he can come out and score a TD or two in each of his matches, he could easily go far in the tournament via 3-2, 5-3 type of victories. Working against Ward is that the blind draw was not particularly favorable to him, pitting him against top-seeded Kirk Smith in the opening round. One silver lining in this scenario is that if Ward can pull the upset of Smith, it could set up an eventual quarterfinal match-up with Keddy with a shot at AA honors at stake.

    #12 seed David Craig (Lehigh)– The former #1 overall recruit in his senior class, the former Florida great has never quite lived up to the expectations that surrounded him coming out of famed Brandon High School. Making the round of 12 as a true freshman, Craig has always had the natural talent to achieve immense things in this sport. However, working against him is that many question has much his heart is into reaching that next level of glory. Craig himself has suggested that he does not have a deep love for the sport. Hence, it is possible that so close to the finish line, he may be content to just fulfull his committment to Lehigh. On the flipside, his track record over the course of his last semester as a collegiate wrestler suggests that he is as motivated as anyone else in the country. In fact, aside from a pair of losses to the #8 seed, Louis Caputo (Harvard), Craig has been the victor in his last 14 bouts. With a favorable draw in the first round, the question of how much Craig really wants to go out a winner will be answered when he likely meets up in the second round with Big-12 Champion/#5 seed Clayton Foster of Oklahoma State.

    Unseeded Brent Jones (Virginia)– A guy who on paper might not seem like a good choice (having lost the majority of his matches to ranked wrestlers in 2010), there is something about Jones that I have always liked. He is someone who knows how to throw you to your back, as evident when he pinned #6 seed, Eric Lapotsky (Oklahoma) in :15…An upper-body specialist, Jones is one of those guys that can change a match at any time becaue of his ability to toss you for five…As a senior, Jones realizes that this is his final opportunity to get on the awards stand. Having beaten #12 seed Haynes from Mizzou earlier in the year, Jones knows that he is capable of hanging tough with the majority of guys in this weight class. Will he All-American? I truly do not know. However, whenever you have that big move potential in your arsenal, you instantly become a contender to accomplish the feat.

    #11 Pat Bond (Illinois)– Much like Craig, Bond came out of high school as a highly touted prospect (#4 overall behind only Metcalf, Schlatter, and Nickerson), but unlike the three gentlemen who preceede him on the list, the Great Bridge product has not quite turned the corner and achieved all that many believed him capable. With 2010 representing his last crack at glory, Bond should be one of the hungriest wrestlers in Omaha this week…Having split with #8 Seed, Yohn from Minnesota, there is no doubt that the natural ability that made Bond a prep superstart is still present. However, it is up to him to find that missing ingredient…While not a serious title contender, it would not shock him to see Bond put an emphatic exclamation mark on his career with a 7th or 8th place finish at nationals.

    Unseeded Allan Gelogaev (Oklahoma State)– Anyone who has read some of my pieces this season knows that I am a fan of this guy. A traditionist, words cannot express the respect that I possess for his mentor, B. Saitiev (who I saw win a World Title at MSG in 2003). While it has become quite apparent that “Z” is still in the process of transititioning to the college scene (struggles getting out from bottom), the truth is that he might be the most dangerous unseeded wrestler in the entire tournament. Regarded as a takedown specialist, at times during the 2010 season, the Cowboy sophomore was ranked in the top-10 nationally. I can’t help but keep this fact in mind when evaluating his potential…Working in his favor will be the fact that the blind draw did him a slight favor, giving him a first round match-up with #9 seed, Chad Beatty of Iowa (who missed the majority of the second of the season with an injury; might not be back to top form in Omaha)…A win here would likely set up a second-round match against Minnesota’s Yohn, a bout that I believe is very winnable for the more mature and polished Russian wrestler.

    #12 Seed Scott Steele (Navy)– A wrestler who first caught my eye a few years ago when he was locked in a fierce competition for the starting spot with teammate and eventual NCAA bronze medalist, Ed Prendergast. Steele has had some injury issues in the past, but when fully healthy is as talented and dangerous as any wrestler in the field. Having not competed during the first semester (only had one semester of eligibility remaining), Steele was a representative of the United States in the dual against Russia at the New York Athletic Club. In that match, he not only controlled, but dominated his Russian foe…Since returning to Midshipman line-up, Steele has been steady, but has also lost more than his fair share of close ones to ranked opponents…However, anyone who doubts him need refer back to his victory over third-seeded Rey from Lehigh for proof that Steele is capable of beating anyone on any given day…He will be favored in his opening round match, but should receive a BIG test when in the round of 16 when he faces off with #5 seed Dan Erekson (Iowa) who is undefeated in limited action this season, but is coming off of a Big-10 title performance.

    #11 seed Mitch Monteiro (Cal State Bakersfield)-While he has taken some bad loses on the year to opponents that he should have beaten, the truth is that Monteiro made a believer out of me when he beat #1 seed, David Zabriskie (Iowa State) at the NWCA All-Star Classic. While the win does not count officially, it cannot be forgotten as it proves that the talent level is present for this guy to go far. A winner of eight in a row, Monteiro has seemingly regrouped from those few slip ups and is poised to make some noise in Omaha…He’ll get pushed in his first round match with Minnesota’s Ben Berhow. However, should he emerge as the winner, it will likely set up a rematch with #6 seed Nate Everhart (Indiana), an opponent that Monteiro wrestled close, losing 4-3 in early December. Anytime a match is that close, all it requires is for the losing record to do one thing different the second time around to change the outcome. I am not saying it will happen, but the possibility is without question.

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