Another weight class where the Big 10 is top heavy, as the top 3 wrestlers in the country all wrestle for Big 10 schools. With such good competition, some might think the individual title is up in the air, but nothing could be farther from the truth. With that, onward into the profiles!
Brent Metcalf, Sr., Iowa: Metcalf has had quite an interesting time in college, taking his redshirt year at Virginia Tech, then following coach Tom Brands to Iowa along with one of the best recruiting classes college wrestling has ever seen. Metcalf was forced to sit out his first season at Iowa due to transfer rules, and since he first stepped on the Mat as a sophomore has lost only 2 matches, each to Darrion Caldwell. With Jake Herbert leaving, Metcalf is easily the most dominant wrestler in the country, compiling a 37-1 record last with with an unheard of 20 pins, 6 techs, and 7 majors. After losing his title in the championship match last year, it wouldn't surprise me if he has forgone sleep in order to train non-stop for this year. I don't care how good anyone at Michigan has gotten, the best hope for us is to try and hold him to a tech fall. I highly recommend watching him this year at the Big 10 tournament, held in Ann Arbor.
Lance Palmer, Sr., OSU: Also a very, very good wrestler, Palmer is a 3 time All-American, with an 8th place finish and two 4th's. He finished last year 27-3, with 7 pins and a handful of majors and techs. He's ranked 2nd coming into the year, and that will probably end up where he's ranked going out of it. I'm not sold with his number of pins that Michigan won't be able to find someone able to take him the distance, but a major is probably the most likely outcome.
Kyle Ruschell, Sr., Wisconsin: Ruschell finshed last years NCAA tournament in 3rd place, and he picks up right where he left off, ranked 3rd at the moment. Ruschell should challenge Palmer this year for 2nd in both the Big 10 and NCAA tournaments, but I don't think either will have a realistic shot at 1st. His lack of bonus points against Big 10 competition should mean Michigan can escape with a major here, but he is talented enough to get more.
Andrew Nadhir, Sr., Northwestern: Nadhir is currently ranked 15th in a weight class that sees dramatic talent dropoff after #3, so I'm not entirely sure what to think of him. He's a solid wrestler, and has actually beaten Palmer once before, but he doens't have the accolades to show he can consistently compete against the top dogs. Michigan might be able to pick up a win here, but if they can't I wouldn't expect Nadhir to get anything more than a decision.
Wow, the Big 10 will lose a lot of talent here after this year, with all 4 ranked wreslters being seniors, and 3 of them multiple All-American performers. Michigan has decent options here so I'm not worried about this weight class all that much, I'm sure at least one Big Ten freshman, maybe David Taylor if he got big enough, will step up and make some noise, but overall its kind of feast or famine here, Michigan is either going to have a shot to win this matchup or they are sending a kid out to try and stay off his back.