The NWCA All Star Classic is finally here and it has a loaded card! Even better news for us Wisconsin folk is we have tie’s to 30% of the Men’s matches! The three main weights to watch if you’re a Wisconsin fan will be 157, 165 and 184. All of it can be watched live on Flowrestling at 6pm central.
#1 Nolan Hertel UW La Crosse (DIII) vs #1 Nick Novak St. Cloud (DII)
Up first is the Wisconsin guy through and through #1 in D3 Nolan Hertel. The UW La Crosse Eagle won a National title at 157 pounds last year and is a native of Marshfield Wisconsin. Hertel will be taking on #1 Nick Novak who won a D2 National Title last year. Truth be told this is one of the matchups I am most excited for on the entire card! I love seeing a cross between D2 and D3 champs. I have watched Hertel and his opponent Novak wrestle many times and they are both gamers. Both individuals are very tough to score on, which makes me feel like this could turn into a chess match. When Hertel wrestles you may not notice something flashy, but he always seems to rack up points very workmen like. He applies constant pressure and it is a big reason why he has all bonus point victories so far in this young season.
#4 Dean Hamiti, Wisconsin vs #6 Izzak Olejnik, Oklahoma State
Our guy DJ Hamiti will be wrestling in the All Star Classic for the second time in back to back years! Last year he faced Keegan O’toole; this year he wrestled Izzak Olejnik, a familiar opponent! Hamiti has wrestled Olejnik 3 times in his career and 3 times he has defeated him. Last year Hamiti beat him 7-3 at nationals and 6-0 at Midlands. The third time was Hamiti’s freshman year where he pinned Olejnik at the Cougar Clash. For all of those previous meetings Olejnik wrestled for Northern Illinois, but this year he has transferred to Oklahoma State. Olejnik is currently undefeated this year with all bonus point victories, 2 pins and 3 major decisions, including a 10-2 win over Wisconsin native Noah Mulvaney. Last time out Hamiti was a lot more patient in his approach as he took on Carr from Iowa State, however this time I anticipate a more aggressive approach from Hammiti. Hammiti has already TF the #8 ranked wrestler in the country this year, a big win here against #6 could be a major statement.
#1 Parker Keckeisen, Northern Iowa vs #2 Bernie Truax, Penn State
Parker Keckeisen is the third guy wrestling with ties to Wisconsin, but as of late it seems he wants to sever those tie’s by wearing a Miami Heat and Detroit Red Wings jersey. None the less we still ride with Swaggy P…for now. Keckeisen will be one of 4 matches this evening where the #1 spot in the country will be on the line. Keckeisen is an all gas no breaks kind of wrestler. Constantly attacking and pushing himself to exhaustion, his opponents are almost always in worse shape as he racks up points. His opponent last year wrestled at 197 for Cal Poly, but 2 years ago he was at 184 and squared off with Keckeisen twice at nationals. They traded matches, as Truax beat Parker 6-5 on the front side and then Keckeisen defeated Truax 6-4 in the 3rd place match. Previous to that they had never wrestled. This year Truax has transferred to Penn State and is back at 184. He will be competing with a home field advantage as this event takes place in State College.
Hopefully as Wisconsin fans we can pull off the W in all 3 matches, but I will say they are all likely going to be close! If I was a line maker I would say we are favored in 2 of 3 matches. The 1 we are not being D3 National Champ Heretl as he takes on the D2 National Champ, but I am ZERO percent surprised if Hertel gets the job done. Keckeisen and Truax I predict will have the closest match so I would hypothetically advise betting the money line, but what do I know. Overall, it should be a fantastic event and we will see some really high level wrestling so kick back, put your feet up and enjoy!