MoTW: Pete Willson Invitational

The Match of the Week this week is the Pete Willson Wheaton Invitational hosted by Wheaton College today and tomorrow. This top late season tournament is one of the best small school events in all of college wrestling, bringing together a good number of top teams and individuals. Number three ranked Wisconsin-La Crosse heads the field, but other tough teams will brave the ice and snow to get to King Arena for the tournament. #6 Heidelberg, #9 North Central, and #10 Wisconsin-Whitewater are other top ten teams competing. Other teams in the top 30 are Elmhurst, Messiah, and Olivet. Along with these Division III teams, Division II Wisconsin-Parkside, Truman State, and Indianapolis will vie for the team title.

Numerous wrestlers ranked in the latest individual rankings should be competing in this NCAA tuneup as well as others who have done well at the tournament in the past. 125 could see a rematch of last year’s final between Vallejo of Manchester and Oster of Elmhurst. Oster won the title at Wheaton, but Vallejo got revenge at the NCAA tournament.

Johnson of North Central and Kolinski of La Crosse could also repeat last year’s final, won by Johnson, but do not overlook Shane Perkey of Indianapolis.

Sanchez (Heidelberg) and Batista (Whitewater) are the top two at 141. Spence of MSJ and Kastel of Elmhurst look to be the top two d3 wrestlers at 149, but Lahar of Olivet and Mauseth of La Crosse could be looking to pull an upset.

Joe Pflug goes for his 3rd straight Wheaton title at 157, and Brew of Olivet will look to avenge an earlier loss this season.

Tim Palmer of La Crosse is a heavy favorite at 165, though Zempel of Messiah, Hoover of Maranatha, and Ben Youel of North Central could challenge.

Chelf of La Crosse at 174 may be the top wrestler in Division III this year and Vanderhyde of Olivet hopes to get a rematch of last year’s NCAA final; unranked, but undefeated, Boltz (Wheaton) may look to have a top performance for the home crowd.

Gabe Youel of North Central won the tournament last season at 184, and Zabel of La Crosse looks to be the top challenger from D3.

197 is a top heavy weight class with Fogliano (Heidelberg), Hartt (Lakeland), Schmalfeldt (Oshkosh), Moore (Lax), and Schmidt (Whitewater) all in the mix.

To round it out at 285, there is Rutledge of Knox who placed 3rd in the NCAA last year, Laurent (Lax), Sutter (Lakeland), and Evans (Whitewater) just in the last top ten, but they will be challenged by Corsello (Elmhurst), Katzmann (Etown), and Campbell (Wheaton).

Event Website Predictions
Team: UW-La Crosse
125: Eracleo Vallejo (Manchester)
133: Shane Perkey (Indianapolis)
141: Matt Irwin (Indianapolis)
149: Jeff Kastel (Elmhurst)
157: Joe Pflug (Heidelberg)
165: Tim Palmer (UW-Lax)
174: Josh Chelf (UW-Lax)
184: Gabe Youel (North Central)
197: Paul Hartt (Lakeland)
285: Jaran Rutledge (Knox)