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Portillo Bros Wrestling - Wrestlers of the Week (11.16.23 - 11.22.23)

Portillo Bros Wrestling - Wrestlers of the Week (11.16.23 - 11.22.23)

Two NAIA #1’s Go Down

The NAIA saw two #1 ranked wrestlers in the country go down this weekend. At the Spire Duals, Northwestern’s Luke Jenness had a redeeming weekend after going 0-2 at the Grand View Open. While many would sulk in agony from such a weekend, Jenness got himself right back on track. Against 184 #1 and top-ten pound-for-pound J.D. Perez, he won an 11-8 thriller. Elsewhere, Embry-Riddle’s Keller Rock took out returning national champion, #1 Rysan Leong at the Roadrunner Open.

133 in the NAIA also got shaken up a bit. Unranked Nathan Rizek of Doane pinned #4 CaRon Watson in a dual, while #17 Simon Graeber of Southern Oregon was a huge piece of his team upsetting Eastern Oregon in their dual when he took out #6 Braden Carson. Another huge dual win was Reinhardt taking out Southeastern, propelled by unranked Devin Griffen beating #14 Andreus Bond at 157. Also at the Roadrunner Open, previously unranked Sheldon Cole of Embry-Riddle split matches with #6 Kana’i Tapia.

Grand Valley’s Grand Return

It’s been since 1993 - over 30 years - since Grand Valley State saw a sanctioned program take the mat. Head coach Joey Simcoe (who previously guided Tiffin for 12 years) is not playing around. They’ve already got 4 guys ranked by Open Mat, many jumping after a great weekend at the Findlay Open, where they earned three champions and another finalist. Josh Kenney (174) took the highest jump for them, moving to #6 after taking out the current #7 Casilio by major and scoring 53 points in four matches. Wyatt Miller (197) jumped to #11 on his way to the title, taking out the #10 & #16. Chris Donathan (149) could be their most dangerous - he pinned his way to the title, while also receiving injury forfeits from the #2 and #5 ranked wrestlers on the way. The last emerging piece of GVSU’s puzzle (for now) is 125 Aaron Lucio, who debuts at #13 after making the finals in a tough bracket with his big upset coming over #12 Shore. We have a feeling the Lakers are just getting started. 

Also at the Findlay Open was a wild 141 bracket, won by Cayden Henschel of Wisconsin-Parkside. Henschel didn’t record any upsets himself, but beat two others who got upsets themselves: Ray Rioux and Khyvon Grace.  #13 Grace of West Liberty knocked off #2 Jake Niffenegger, while unranked Ray Rioux of Indianapolis took out #8 Corey Gamet. Another Parkside guy had a great Findlay Open, as #20 Brady Schuh took out #5 Alec Cook.

UNK Open Updates

Perhaps the most impressive performance from the UNK Open was from Northwest Kansas Tech’s Otgonbayar Batsuuri at 174. In the semis, he pinned Nebraska-Lincoln’s Brown Ton with a classic Mongolian Whipover. He capped off his run with a dominating 15-5 victory over #3 in D2 Cole Hernandez of Western Colorado in the finals. Another big day was had by Nebraska-Kearney’s Jackson Kinsella at 197. While not ranked at the time, he recorded 3 ranked wins, the most notable being over #4 All-American Tereus Henry of Fort Hays State. Cody Thompson of Colorado Mines also looked great in his UNK Open title at 149, beating #14 in NAIA Drake Vannoy and #17 in D2 John Burger.

Missouri Valley Open

The Missouri Valley Open saw some of the best female talent in the NAIA, NJCAA, NCAA.  The Hawkeyes brought home 6 championships this year, but they weren’t the only impressive performers. Julia Richey of Simon Fraser had a great tournament at 191 and was perhaps the surprise champion of the weekend.  She defeated #4 NCAA Madeline Hodges (Sacred Heart), #5 NCAA Alivia White (Iowa), #2 NAIA Maquoia Bernabe (Cumberlands), and #12 NAIA Siara Arrington (Ottawa). Considering Richey went 0-2 at NCAA’s last year, this could signal a big breakout from Richey this season. Sterling Dias earned the #1 ranking in the nation thanks to a win over #3 in NAIA Jelacic, who just got done teching the previous #1 in the NCAA. 123-pound NAIA national champ Carolina Moreno of Southern Oregon has changed weights, bumping up to 130 and winning the tournament. Perhaps the match of the finals was Iowa’s Esther Han taking out Friend’s Gianno Moreno at 136.
Written by Justin Portillo 
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