#AskNWW Wrestling Q&A No. 4: Braxton Amos, Cheesehead, and Spencer Lee

After a week off between the holidays (and so you guys and gals didn’t get sick of me), we’re back at it for another edition of #AskNWW Wrestling Q&A.

As always, a huge thanks to those of you who submitted questions.

Just a reminder, you can ask questions at any time by using #AskNWW on Twitter or by emailing me at nwwrestle@gmail.com.

Now that the housekeeping is done, away we go:

From Luke Louison (via Twitter): 

What’s the maximum achievement where you’d call Braxton [Amos] a bust and the minimum where you’d call him a success? 

Hey Luke, always great to hear from you. Thanks for the question.

For those of you who don’t know, Luke is referring to Wisconsin commit Braxton Amos (Parkersburg South HS, West Virginia) who is currently ranked as the No. 2 wrestler in the Class of 2020 by FloWrestling. He projects to compete at 197 for the Badgers.

This is a tough one.

You don’t want to put too much pressure on a kid who hasn’t stepped foot on campus. But, at the same time, seemingly every indication is that Amos is incredibly special.

I mean, check out this resume:

The bar for Amos has to be pretty high. I would be shocked if he wasn’t an All-American on more than one occasion during his college career.

Given your follow-up to your question, you and I are both in agreement that a career without an AA finish is a bust, even if he makes the tournament all four years.

I will go so far as to say anything short of two podium finishes at NCAAs is a bust. That’s my cutoff. And I don’t say this lightly. But that’s how good I think Braxton Amos is.

From @CityWrestle (via Twitter) 

How Many Cheesehead titles does Wisconsin keep in-state this year? 

Thanks for the question and your regular engagement on Twitter. It is much appreciated.

Off the top of my head? Two for sure. I think Nicolar Rivera of Stoughton and Keegan O’Toole of Arrowhead are both money at their weights.

O’Toole is the No. 1 wrestler in the country at his weight, according to most major outlets and I think he’s going to prove that this weekend.

Rivera is also ranked nationally by several outlets. He is one of the better Wisconsin high school wrestlers I have ever seen in my nearly 10 years of covering the sport. The sophomore still hasn’t lost a high school match and I think he will emerge victorious at a tough 126-pound weight class this weekend in Kaukauna.

Wisconsin has a wrestler ranked No. 1 in the state competing at six other weight classes as well. But, no disrespect to those guys, being ranked No. 1 in Iowa or Illinois is a completely different ballgame than being ranked at the top of your weight class in Wisconsin. Those states continue to be significantly ahead of where Wisconsin is from wholistic viewpoint.

That said, I think Brooks Empey of Stoughton has a good shot at 220 pounds. It’s also hard to bet against Matty Bianchi of Two Rivers at 145. He’s not the highest-ranked at that weight, but he’s no stranger to high-level competitions and competitors.

So I guess my final answer is: 3. Rivera, O’Toole and one other wrestler from the Badger State will find a way this weekend.

From Lucas Meyer (via Twitter)

What was up with Spencer Lee medical forfeiting at Midlands?

Hi Lucas, I believe this is your first question submission and I appreciate you joining the party. Thanks a bunch.

As far as I know, Lee is OK. He does have a history of injuries, but I don’t have any indication that something new happened last weekend.

Medical forfeiting out of tournaments is starting to become a more regular occurrence. You see this a lot at Big Tens. Once someone knows they’ve punched their ticket to NCAAs, they will MFF out of their remaining bouts.

From my point of view, this happens for some combination of these reasons:

  1. The wrestler is legitimately injured.
  2. The wrestler has a history of injury or is just banged up and the coaching staff wants to minimize the risk of something more serious occurring
  3. A wrestler and/or coaching staff does not want to face a particular opponent until they are forced to (i.e. at NCAAs).

I think Spencer’s case falls somewhere within the guardrails of No. 2. He got back into “folkstyle mode” and earned some team points. The Hawkeyes were well on their way to winning the team title at the onset of Day 2 and there wasn’t much of a need for him to compete, particularly given the fact he recently got done competing for (and winning) a Senior Nationals title in freestyle.

But that’s just my opinion.

According to my man Cody Goodwin over at Hawk Central, it was a “coaches decision.”

It’s also worth noting that medical forfeits do not count as losses. This has been, and will continue to be, a source of debate around college wrestling circles.

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