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OSU Cowboy Wrestling Targets Big 12 and NCAA Success

October 28th, 2012 by Tom

 STILLWATER"Fielding a lineup led by four All-Americans plus two other veteran starters, the Oklahoma State wrestling team is in its customary position to figure prominently into the Big 12 and national championship races.

"We're going into a collegiate season with the top seven or eight programs from last year," OSU head coach, John Smith, said. "Most everybody is back on every team, and it makes it really competitive. We helped ourselves out a little bit by getting, Tyler Caldwell, and I believe that we'll fill some spots where we were weak last year."

Despite the departure of All-American, Cayle Byers, Big 12 champion, Jamal Parks, and NCAA qualifier, Albert White, from last year's team, the Cowboys enter the 2012-13 season with six wrestlers ranked in the top 15 of their respective weight classes in the preseasonAmateur Wrestling News, weight class rankings.

Junior 174-pounder, Chris Perry, is ranked No. 1 nationally with 165-pounder Caldwell and 285-pounder, Alan Gelogaev, both ranked No. 2 in their respective weight classes., Jordan Oliver, enters the season ranked No. 4 at 149 pounds but will factor into the NCAA title discussion no matter where he wrestles. Rounding out the list of Cowboys appearing in the preseason, AWN, rankings are 197-pounder, Blake Rosholt, (seventh), 125-pounder, Jon Morrison, (15th) and 141-pounder, Josh Kindig, (15th).

The weight classes most likely to show fluidity during the course of the season are 125 pounds and 133 pounds, with Morrison, Ladd Rupp, and, Tyler Dorrell, all in the mix for those two starting spots. Morrison has seen the most meaningful action of the batch, but has yet to assert clear control based on his career body of work. Rupp has been in the Cowboy wrestling room for three years and is a very real candidate to become a starter for the first time in his career. It is probable that Morrison and Rupp will compete for the 133-pound spot while Dorrell sees most of the action at 125 pounds, but it is possible for Morrison and Rupp to see 125-pound action as well.

There could also be some shuffling at 141 and 149 pounds, where, Josh Kindig, and, Jordan Oliver, headline the list of preseason candidates to start.

Oliver's presence is particularly significant because he spent the first four years of his collegiate career cutting weight to get down to 133 pounds, where he was nothing short of dominant. A three-time All-American and two-time national finalist, Oliver won the 2011 NCAA title as a sophomore. Smith said Oliver's weight-class switch is done in part with an eye toward the future.

"It's just a natural move for him," Smith said. "We haven't decided if he'll be at 141 or 149 yet, but for his progression of moving into international wrestling after this season - he sees himself at 145 there - this move would be a good transition for that."

It should come as no surprise that Oliver developed a taste for world-level wrestling given that he spent the summer of 2012 with the U.S. Olympic team as a training partner for bronze medalist Coleman Scott and Jared Frayer.

"That experience that he got during the summer - sometimes you don't see it right away - but as he moves on into the future, it will benefit him greatly," Smith said.

The final weight class where there is some question as to who will start is 157 pounds, where junior, Dallas Bailey, and redshirt freshman, Alex Dieringer, will likely compete for the starting spot with senior, Joe Ali, also an option. While Bailey is an experienced member of the program, he hasn't put together the kind of career résumé that would make him a lock to start over the decorated redshirt freshman Dieringer.

Things get more solidified as you move up in the weight classes and it starts at 165 pounds, where two-time All-American and 2011 NCAA runner-up Caldwell is likely to make an impact from the start. After spending his first two years competing for Oklahoma, Caldwell took an Olympic redshirt year in 2011-12 before transferring to Oklahoma State. He should be a national presence for the Cowboys at a weight class where they haven't had an All-American since, Johny Hendricks, in 2007.

For the first time in his collegiate career, Perry carries the No. 1 ranking nationally in his weight class. The Stillwater native placed third at NCAAs in 2012 and is a two-time Big 12 champion. The two wrestlers who finished ahead of him last season are both out of the mix this year, with NCAA champ Ed Ruth of Penn State moving out of the weight class and Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford out of eligibility.

OSU is likely to start a newcomer at 184 pounds in, Chris Chionuma, who was impressive in the wrestling room and in open tournaments while redshirting last season. Chionuma wrestled the first three years of his career at Lindenwood University, where he was a three-time NAIA All-American, two-time NAIA finalist and 2011 NAIA champion at 174 pounds. Other options at 184 pounds include, Zach White, and, Colton Hill.

After wrestling at a high level last year, Rosholt will start at 197 pounds for the Cowboys. Rosholt was part of an embarrassment-of-riches scenario a year ago, as both he and Byers wrestled at an All-America level throughout the course of the season but only one could compete in the postseason and the nod went to the senior Byers. Rosholt now holds commanding control of the weight class and is positioned for a big year after taking his lumps as a fill-in heavyweight his freshman year and sitting out of the postseason as a sophomore.

One of the most intriguing wrestlers to watch nationally will be Cowboy heavyweight, Alan Gelogaev, who established himself as an NCAA title contender by stringing together a 24-0 record with nine wins over ranked opponents before suffering a season-ending injury last year. He's back this year with a title squarely in his sights. Should he go down, Tyson Yoder, is a capable veteran backup., Austin Marsden, who stepped in for Gelogaev last season, is ticketed to redshirt this year.

"Right now, it's all about developing the weight classes where we struggled last year," Smith said. "It's also really important that we keep everyone healthy. I'm excited for our veterans in the lineup. We have a really good atmosphere in the room and great team unity. There's where great seasons start."

Creston-OM wrestling champion Marlin commits to Hawkeyes

October 27th, 2012 by Tom

Captain America plans to return, to Iowa City.

Creston-Orient-Macksburg three-time state champion, wrestler Jake Marlin, received the, nickname last year as some Panther teammates referred to each other by, superhero characters. University of Iowa will benefit from his talents in the future.

Marlin confirmed that he orally committed Sunday to wrestle next year for the Hawkeyes and head coach Tom Brands, following an official visit to the campus last weekend.

Iowa wasn't at the forefront of his list as Marlin was considering the University of Nebraska and University of Wisconsin. He was won over during his trip that began Friday and concluded Sunday.

"It just clicked," Marlin said. "It's unlike any place in the world. They have one of the best followings. They are constantly one of the top teams in the nation."

Marlin said his style meshes well with the team and coaching staff.

"I would say," Marlin said with a laugh. "I'm a little bit crazy."

He is a really good, too. According to Creston Coach Darrell Frain, Marlin owns a 148-5 record. Marlin has won Class 2A individual titles at 130, 135 and 138 pounds for the Panthers. He expects to compete at 138 again this season, attempting to become the 22nd four-time state champion in Iowa history.

Marlin said he will wrestle 141 pounds with a possibility of growing into the 149 weight class. He has big aspirations, and considers the Hawkeye wrestling room the place to achieve them.

"I'm planning on winning at least two (NCAA titles)," Marlin said. "That's my goal."

Frain said he thinks Iowa is a perfect for the Marlin. He said former Hawkeye Mario Galanakis has been on the Panthers staff, guiding Marlin. Frain said he has witnessed Marlin's ability to zone in on a feat and never, slow down, until it is accomplished.

"Once he gets a goal he gets focused on it," Frain said. "He puts blinders on and he goes and goes until he

According to Amateur Wrestling News, Marlin was a double All-American at Fargo, N.D., in 2010, placing fourth in freestyle and seventh in Greco-Roman. He said his performance this summer her his stock, dropping him from national rankings, but he is fueled to prove doubters wrong.

"Right now, I'm working hard," Marlin said. "I'm ready to go."

According to AWN, Marlin is the second prep to commit to the Hawkeyes, joining Broc Berge, a projected 197-pounder from Kasson-Mantorville, Minn.

South Plainfield New Jersey wrestler Anthony Ashnault commits to Rutgers

October 26th, 2012 by Tom

South Plainfield High School senior Anthony Ashnault, who hopes to become New Jersey's first undefeated four-time state champion, has made a nonbinding commitment to continue his wrestling career at Rutgers University.

One of the nation's most coveted scholastic grapplers, Ashnault will take a 130-0 career record into the 2012-13 season.

He turned down scholarship offers from some of the nation's top programs including Penn State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Michigan.

Ashnault, mature beyond his years, informed Rutgers University head coach Scott Goodale of his decision by phone Thursday, only after he contacted the other coaches recruiting him to thank them for their interest.

"It was very stressful," Ashnault said of making an early commitment, which will help him focus on the upcoming season. "I think it will give me a better chance of making history."

Ashnault has won individual state titles at 103, 112 and 126 pounds. He led the Tigers to the state Group III team championship two of the past three years.

NCAA regulations prohibit Goodale from commenting on AShnault until the wrestler signs a National Letter of Intent.

No. 2 nationally at 126 pounds in Amateur Wrestling News' final 2011-12 rankings, Ashnault is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Billy, and South Plainfield head coach Kevin McCann, who both wrestled for the Scarlet Knights.

A three-time NCAA qualifier who graduated from Rutgers earlier this year, Billy Ashnault was named the school's Director of Wrestling Operations in August.

Billy's role with the program was a factor in Anthony's commitment. Ashnault said Rutgers' proximity to home and its academic offerings also contributed to his decision.

"I believe in where they are as a program right now and where they are headed," Ashnault said of the Scarlet Knights, who rose to national prominence in just four seasons under Goodale, being ranked as high as ninth nationally two years ago.

Ashnault will attempt to become New Jersey's third four-time state champion. Delbarton's Mike Grey (158-2 career) accomplished the feat in 2008, while Bound Brook's Andrew Campolattano (175-1) followed suit in 2011.

The only New Jerseyan to finish his career unbeaten with more than 130 wins is current Rutgers redshirt senior Scott Winston, who won three state titles (injury prevented him from reaching a fourth final) and compiled a 137-0 record.

Ashnault's commitment is a coup for the Scarlet Knights, who will have wrestle-offs for the 2012-13 season on Sunday in the College Avenue Gym.

Rutgers was among others receiving votes in the 2012-13 USA Today/NWCA/AWN Preseason Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll, finishing three positions out of a Top 25 ranking.

The Scalret Knights dropped five of their last six dual meets to finish last season with a 13-8 record. They also placed seventh in the EIWA Championships and boasted five NCAA qualifiers.

Of the 14 wrestlers Goodale landed for his 2012 recruiting class, 10 are New Jerseyans.

Recruiting battle finally over for Berge

October 19th, 2012 by Tom

 When it boiled down to it, Broc Berge had to follow his heart.

It's unfortunate for University of Minnesota wrestling fans, but Berge's heart decided his best option was to leave his home state.

After a long recruiting battle and many sleepless nights, the Kasson-Mantorville senior standout gave his verbal commitment this week to wrestle for the University of Iowa.

Berge was considered the nation's No. 1 recruit at 195 pounds by several publications. He's ranked the No. 11 overall recruit in the country by Amateur Wrestling News. With Simley's Jake Short already committed to Minnesota, Berge was the state's top remaining prospect.

The Mantorville native is a two-time state champion, and a 2012 USA Junior National Freestyle runner-up.

Berge was perfect last season, going 48-0 with 28 pins on his way to the Class AA state title at 195. He went 40-1 as a sophomore and won the state crown at 189. As a freshman, Berge placed fourth at 189.

About a month ago, Berge said he narrowed his college list to Minnesota and Iowa. Wisconsin and North Dakota State had offered Berge full-ride scholarships, but he said it never was about the money.

Berge visited both Iowa and Minnesota recently. The visit to Iowa went well, Berge said.

"I like (coaches) Tom and Terry Brands a lot," Berge said. "I will get the same coaching down at Iowa as I do in our room from (former Hawkeye and current K-M co-head coach Jamie Heidt). That was a big pull for Iowa. I got along with the guys really well. Plus, I saw some of their workouts and their intensity and just their overall attitude in the room, and it was the place I needed to be to succeed and win the national titles I'm hoping to get."

Berge said the recruiting process wore on him. He grew tired of the constant questions. Berge said it got to the point that after school he would go to football practice " he's also one of the area's top running backs " then go straight home every day, simply to avoid the questions.

"It was stressful. It wasn't bad stress, but it was still stressful," Berge said.

Wrestling practice begins in a few weeks, and Berge said he wanted to make his decision immediately so he could focus on the KoMets' goal of winning a state team title.

Still, the decision was far from easy. Berge said he did feel allegiance to his home state. He said he felt pressure from Minnesota fans, but everything that happened in the recruiting process pointed Berge toward Iowa.

"I liked that Iowa City is a little smaller; I'm from a small town, and it just seems like the Cities would be more stressful and take away from my focus," Berge said. "With (friends) like (Jake) Short and Nick Wanzek (both of Simley) going to Minnesota, I did feel comfortable there. But Iowa just ended up being the best fit."

It helped that Terry and Tom Brands made it clear how badly they wanted Berge to be a Hawkeye. Berge said he felt that love right away from the Hawkeyes.

"It came down to me feeling that Iowa was the best place to shape me, not just as a wrestler, but as a person," Berge said.

Six Husker Grapplers in Preseason Rankings

October 13th, 2012 by Tom

 Amateur Wrestling News released its 2012-13 preseason rankings for each weight class on Monday as six Nebraska wrestlers were named to the list. The top 20 Division I wrestlers in all 10 weight classes earned spots.

At 133 pounds, Ridge Kiley earned the No. 15 ranking. The senior started at 133 pounds last season for the Huskers, going 17-16 with an 11-8 record in duals. Kiley took eighth place at the Big Ten Championships and earned an invitation to the NCAA Championships.

Jake Sueflohn is No. 10 in the 141 weight class preseason rankings. As a freshman last season, Sueflohn went 25-11 and 13-4 in duals. After a fifth-place showing at the Big Ten Championships, the Watertown, Wis., native went 1-2 at the NCAA Championships. Additionally, Sueflohn finished second at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open and took third at the Cliff Keen Invitational.

Fellow sophomore James Green is ranked sixth at 157 pounds. Green was an All-American as a true freshman last season, earning a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Green won a team-best 34 matches in 2011-12, going 14-4 in dual meets. His 13 major decisions also led the team.

At 165 pounds, Robert Kokesh earned the No. 6 ranking. The sophomore from Wagner, S.D., went 30-7 as a redshirt-freshman in 2011-12. He led the Huskers with a 17-2 record in dual meets, compiling 68 dual points in the process. Kokesh finished third at the Big Ten Championships before going 2-2 at the NCAA Championships.

Senior Tyler Koehn is ranked 13th, in the 174 weight class after going 20-13 last season. The Pittsburg, Kan., native went 13-5 in duals, earning 43 points for NU. Koehn was one of eight NCAA qualifiers on the Husker squad as a junior. In addition, Koehn finished second at the Nebraska-Kearney Holiday Inn Open.

Fellow senior Josh Ihnen is ranked sixth at 184 pounds. The 2012 All-American went 26-8 as a junior and 16-3 in duals. His 60 dual points were second on the team while his eight major decisions were third. Ihnen, who was named Nebraska's Most Outstanding Wrestler in 2012, finished second at the Big Ten Championships before earning an eighth-place result at the NCAA Championships.

The Huskers open their season on Nov. 4 at the Warren Williamson/Daktronics Open in Brookings, S.D.

Amateur Wrestling News Preseason Division I College Rankings
133 pounds "No. 15 Ridge Kiley, Sr. (17-16)
141 pounds "No. 10 Jake Sueflohn, So. (25-11)
157 pounds "No. 6 James Green, So. (34-9)
165 pounds "No. 6 Robert Kokesh, So. (30-7)
174 pounds "No. 13 Tyler Koehn, Sr. (20-13)
184 pounds "No. 6 Josh Ihnen, Sr. (26-8)

2011-12 records in parentheses

Beaver Wrestlers Given Top-10 Ranking in Pre-Season Poll

October 12th, 2012 by Tom

 OSU in at No. 9 in D1 College Wrestling's 2012 pre-season poll

CORVALLIS, Ore. "“, When the Oregon State wrestling team takes to the mats to begin the 2012-13 campaign, it will do so with a number in front of its name. That's because D1 College Wrestling has tabbed the Beavers as the ninth best team in the nation in their pre-season poll, released Monday.

Last season, OSU garnered pre-season rankings of No.'s 18 and 22 to begin the season, but the top-10 slot it was awarded heading into this year is the highest pre-season accolade the team has received in the, Jim Zalesky, era.

Just ahead of the 'Beavs in D1's pre-season poll is Ohio State at No. 5, Illinois at No. 6, Missouri who is No. 7 and Cornell at No. 8. Rounding out the Top-10 is Virginia Tech as Penn State grabs the top spot, followed by Minnesota (No. 2), Iowa (No. 3) and Oklahoma State at No. 4.

Oregon State enters the 2012 season with a total of seven wrestlers also ranked in D1's individual season poll. Those student-athletes are as follows:, Pat Rollins, (No. 17/125 lbs), Mike Mangrum, (No. 3/141 lbs.), Scott Sakaguchi, (No. 7/149 lbs.), RJ Pena, (No. 11/157 lbs.), Ty Vinson, (No. 18/164 lbs.), Taylor Meeks, (No. 12/197 lbs.) and, Chad Hanke, (No. 8/285 lbs.).

Couple D1's pre-season poll with Amateur Wrestling News' that came out last week and now a total of seven OSU wrestlers have been awarded pre-season individual rankings heading into the 2012-13 season.

Zalesky's squad started participating in open practices last week and will have their first official practice of the season starting, Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Nine Gophers Receive Individual Rankings by Amateur Wrestling News

October 11th, 2012 by Tom

 Minnesota boasts talent in nine of 10 weight class selections

Minnesota Wrestling is in for another great season and Amateur Wrestling News agrees. The publication has listed many Gophers among the nation's best, releasing its 2012-13 Preseason Division I College Individual Rankings. Someone from Minnesota has been named one to watch in nine of the 10 weight classes of competition. Only one Gopher is ranked outside the top 10 while two wrestlers took the top spot.

David Thorn, is tabbed at No. 13 in the 125 class. Thorn will drop down to step in for four-time All-American, Zach Sanders, who graduated last May. Thorn competed at 133 last season for a 14-2 overall record.

Brothers Chris and, Nick Dardanes, each made the top 10 in their respective weight classes. After recording a 25-12 record and finishing fourth at 133 lbs. at the NCAA National Championship, Chris is picked for the same finish this year. Nick is ranked at No. 7 in the 141 pound weight class after a 22-10 campaign last fall.

As the first of two wrestlers claiming the preseason top spot, Dylan Ness, ranks first in the 149 class. In his freshman year with the Gophers, Ness went 24-9 and surprised many by charging through to the NCAA Championship final where he finished runner-up.

Senior, Cody Yohn, and sophomore, Logan Storley, are also expected to continue last year's successes. Yohn, who finished 2011-12 with a 21-11 record, is dubbed No. 9 among all 165-pounders. Storley weighed in at No. 4 among the 174 lb. weight class. Last season, Storley worked his way to a 25-9 record and a sixth place finish at nationals. He also earned Minnesota's Most Exciting Wrestler award after pulling off multiple upsets and sudden victories, many over ranked opponents.

2012 Big Ten Champion, Kevin Steinhaus, is back at 184 for his junior season with the Gophers and is picked as the No. 4 wrestler after a season where he went 34-6, including a 21-match win streak and a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Tournament.

Filling the void for the graduated, Sonny YohnScott Schiller, claims the No. 10 sport among the 197 weight class. Schiller competed primarily in open tournaments last year, posting three pins, seven major decisions, and two technical falls en route to a 26-4 finish.

Rounding out the preseason picks in 2012 National Champion Tony Nelson. Nelson, who also pulled in the 2012 Big Ten title, is poised to remain the dominant heavyweight wrestler in the nation. Nelson strung together a near-perfect 32-2 record, culminating in the defeat of 2011 National Champion Zach Rey of Lehigh in the NCAA final match. He was named Male Athlete of the Year for a season that boasted seven pins, two major decisions, and a 25-match winning streak.

For full rankings by Amateur Wrestling News, click, here.

The Gophers begin their quest for a National Championship Team title on Nov. 9. Minnesota hosts Hofstra at 7:00 p.m. CT in the Sports Pavilion.

Half-Dozen OSU Wrestlers Honored in National Pre-Season Poll

September 24th, 2012 by Tom

 CORVALLIS, Ore. "Amateur Wrestling News has released its preseason Division I rankings for the 2012-13 season and a total of six Oregon State wrestlers can be found on the list. The half-dozen Beaver student-athletes are broken up among the top-20 within their individual weight class, with reigning All-American Mike Mangrum the highest rated OSU wrestler at No. 2 in the 141-pound group.

The second-highest on the list comes in the 149 weight class, as fellow 2012 All-American Scott Sakaguchi is listed at No. 7. Next up is senior Chad Hanke, who is ranked 10th in the nation at 285 pounds. Following Hanke is a pair of Beavers at No. 12, with junior RJ Pena in the 157-pound weight class and sophomore Taylor Meeks in the same slot but at 197 lbs.

Sophomore Pat Rollins is the sixth and final Oregon State wrestler on the list as the sophomore comes in at No. 14 on the 125 pound list.

With the graduation of Clayton Jack, OSU returns two of their three All-Americans from a season ago. Jim Zalesky's crew officially begins practice for the 2012-13 season, Thursday in Corvallis.

PSU’s Sanderson seeks to end Hawkeye hex on mat

January 22nd, 2012 by Tom

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. " Cael Sanderson accomplished just about every notable achievement during his illustrious career as an amateur wrestler and collegiate coach.

However, there's one notable exception.

In nine tries as a wrestler and coach at Iowa State, and now the coach of Penn State, Sanderson has never defeated Iowa in a dual meet.

"Is that true? Is that right?" Sanderson deadpanned this week during practice.

"I think there are a lot of coaches who probably haven't beaten Iowa during their careers. Iowa's just had some great teams, some great coaches, a lot of great athletes. It's not something that I'm worried about."

Sanderson's next chance comes Sunday when the second-ranked Hawkeyes visit the No. 3 Nittany Lions at Rec Hall.

Penn State, the defending NCAA champion, is 3-0 in its last three dual meets, all against Big Ten foes on the road. The Nittany Lions won 28 of 30 individual bouts and outscored their opponents 117-9.

"I think we're a more talented team. I'm proud to say that," said Penn State's 149-pounder Frank Molinaro. "We've got more athletes on our team and we've got guys who are better wrestlers, I believe. I believe we're going to win."

According to InterMat's latest individual rankings, eight Penn State wrestlers are ranked among the top 12 at their respective weights, including four ranked either 1 or 2: No. 1 Molinaro (149), No. 1 David Taylor (165), No. 2 Ed Ruth (174), No. 2 Quentin Wright (184), No. 6 Cameron Wade (285), No. 8 Nico Megaludis (125), No. 8 Dylan Alton (157) and No. 12 Morgan McIntosh (197).

Iowa counters with six ranked wrestlers: No. 2 Matt McDonough (125), No. 2 Tony Ramos (133), No. 3 Montell Marion (141), No. 6 Mike Evans (165), No. 9 Ethen Lofthouse and No. 12 Bobby Telford (285).

Despite the edge in ranked wrestlers, the match figures to be close.

"If we have the chance to get bonus points, we absolutely need them," Sanderson said. "We've got to win the close matches, the tight matches. Those are the matches that win these dual meets. Our guys have got to want it and we have to go fight for it."

Even if the Hawkeyes repeat the 22-13 win they posted a year ago, the Nittany Lions said they won't let it derail their goal of repeating as Big Ten and national champions.

"Win or lose, we plan on winning, it's not going to make our season either way," Sanderson said. "We're going to move on and prepare for the Big Ten (tournament). Do we want to win this dual? Absolutely. It's as big as it gets for us."

MMA is the cure for wrestlers who don t want to end career on the mat

October 20th, 2011 by Tom

mma wrestling By Danny Udero

There is a broad question that has enveloped the wrestling world.

What do wrestlers do when their careers are over? Mixed martial arts has seen to be the cure for the grappler that can t get enough of contact sports. And, the newest wrestler to throw his hat into the octagon is scheduled to fight Dec. 2.

Arizona State University 2011 Division I wrestling champion Bubba Jenkins announced that his MMA debut will be in the Tachi Palace Fights (11 - Redemption) at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif.

MMAJunkie.com described Tachi as one of the sports top regional promoters. They stated that Tachi has produced a small army of prospects many of whom have gone on to fight in the UFC. Jenkins looks like he might be one of their most promising prospects yet.

The former Sun Devil will fight at 155 pounds. He is expected to move down to 145 pounds for future bouts. His intentions were made after the NCAA championships in March as after Jenkins won his title he stated that MMA was next. He said that he had fast hands and fast feet and that the camera is going to love him.

Jenkins signed with Gorilla Management in May, and then later joined American Top Team which is located in Florida. The two-time NCAA finalist fell in the 2008 championship and then after having a falling out at Iowa State, transferred to Arizona for his final year of eligibility. He was 94=24 in his collegiate wrestling career.

Taking a look at some other top wrestlers that

have made it big in mixed martial arts had me thinking that half of the top UFC champions have extensive backgrounds in wrestling. The biggest wrestler that comes to mind is Brock Lesnar, who also was a WWE superstar before his MMA career kicked off. He was a NCAA heavyweight champ for the University of Minnesota. Ironically, the man who took the title from Lesnar is also an All-American in wrestling Cain Velasquez from Arizona State.

I think amateur wrestlers began to take notice that they could earn money in the octagon, and began to make the transition to MMA. After all being a WWE superstar is a one in a million shot, and getting to fight realistically for money in a controlled setting made more sense to the wrestlers.

Velasquez was a two-time state wrestling champion in Arizona. He posted a record of 110-10. After graduation, Velasquez went on to wrestle for Iowa Central Community College and became a NJCAA National Champion. He transferred to Arizona State and in three seasons as a Sun Devil, Velasquez became a two-time All-American, earning fourth and fifth place finishes at the nationals.

Lesnar went undefeated his senior year in high school, at 33-0. He attended Bismark State College where he found success on the wrestling mat. He was a two-time NJCAA All-American and captured a national title. He then earned a scholarship to wrestle for Minnesota. He was runner-up his first year at the nationals, and then dominated the competition the next year to win his title.

Josh Koscheck is another wrestler turned MMA star. He was runner-up in the Pennsylvania High School State Championships. He attended Edinboro University, and became a four-time All-American on the mat. Koscheck improved every year finishing fourth, third, second and first in the NCAA finals. He was also an assistant wrestling coach before starting his MMA career.

Other wrestlers come to mind, but these are the most decorated that I can think of. Keep an eye out for Jenkins. He is going to be a wrestler that will make an immediate impact in the sport of MMA.

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