|174||Starter||Next Man Up||Keep your eye on|
|SO||Cordell Eaton||Alex Bleeker|
In his first year of Big 12 competition, three-time Iowa state placewimmea Cordell Eaton made a nice statement. Eaton was 17-15 overall, including 9-10 in dual meets and came on strong at the Big 12 tournament with a sixth place finish. The top five at the weight class qualified for nationals, and Eaton lost a barn burner 14-11 to Iowa State’s Marcus Harrington in the fifth place match. Expect Eaton to hold down the spot and make a strong run at the NCAA tournament. The likely number two for the Bison is Illinois native Alex Bleeker, who Eaton defeated by major decision 17-6 last season. Bleeker was 14-7 last season finishing first at the Dragon Open.
|165||Starter||Next Man Up||Keep Your Eye On|
|FR||Brandon Metz-Possible Redshirt|
Most of you know West Fargo 3X state champion Brandon Metz, but if you don’t know Dan Stibral, you should. Stibral was a Junior Freestyle All American for the state of South Dakota after his senior year of high school and waited his turn last season behind Bison NCAA qualifier Ben Tynan. With Tynan now gone, Stibral is the the next man up, and is absolutely capable of finishing high in a watered down Big 12 heavyweight division that doesn’t feature a single wrestler ranked in Flowrestling’s preseason top 20. Stibral was 9-8 last season and won two dual matches in replacement of Tynan.
With that information in front of you, the question now becomes whether the pride of North Dakota Brandon Metz can beat Stibral, and also if head coach Roger Kish would consider lifting his prized recruit’s redshirt if that is the case. Kish has shown that he is willing to pull a redshirt given the right conditions (see Nein, Taylor), I just don’t think this is that situation. Stibral is capable of qualifying for NCAA’s, so even if Metz can win consistently head to head over his teammate, why not let Metz develop this year? Pay attention to what happens in the intersquad in November. If Metz and Stibral wrestle, it likely means Kish is considering using Metz in competition this season. If Metz doesn’t, I think it means the redshirt will stay on. Either way, 285 is a weight to watch for today and the future.