New challenger on the horizon

In the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” the two bandits were always asking “Who are those guys?” about the posse trailing them.

Well, No. 1-ranked Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota and No. 2-ranked Darrion Caldwell of North Carolina State might be saying “Who is that guy?”

That guy is Boston University’s Mike Roberts, who won the 149-pound title and Outstanding Wrestler at the Southern Scuffle last week in Greensboro, N.C. He beat both Schlatter and Caldwell.

Roberts, a junior, beat Caldwell with a pin early in the two-day event and then topped Schlatter 3-2 in the finals.

Roberts hails from Albany, N.Y. and was a New York high school champion at Colonie High. He went 1-2 in last season’s NCAA tournament, including a loss to Penn State’s Dan Vallimont.

Minnesota, with four champions in the first five weights, took the team title at the Southern Scuffle with 182 points. Edinboro was second with 30.5.

The champions were 125, Jayson Ness, Minnesota; 133, Mack Reiter, Minnesota; 141, Manual Rivera, Minnesota; 149, Roberts; 157, C.P. Schlatter, Minnesota; 165, Mack Lewnes, Cornell; 174, Alton Lucas, Hofstra; 184, Kirk Smith, Boise State; 197, Hudson Taylor, Maryland; 285, Ed Pendergast, Navy.

Iowa’s dominance

Those lucky enough to see the finals of the Midlands Tournament on the Big Ten Network witnessed a dominating performance by Iowa. The Hawkeyes had four champions from five finalists and walked home with 185 points, easily topping Iowa State with 139.

Mark Perry, the defending NCAA champion at 165, was the Outstanding Wrestler and Champion of Champions (voted by the tournament champions) as he had four pins and a major decision.

The other Iowa champions were Joe Slaton at 133, Dan LeClere at 141 and Brent Metcalf at 149. Jay Borschel was second at 174.

If the names above seem familiar it’s because they are the four transfers from Virginia Tech who followed coach Tom Brands when he moved last year. All four are sophomores.

The Hawkeyes also finishing third were Charlie Falck (125), Alex Tsirtus (141). Phil Keddy (184) was fourth and Ryan Morningstar (157) finished fifth.

Other champions were 125, Angel Escobedo, Indiana; 157, Mike Poeta, Illinois (over State College High graduate and Pitt senior Matt Kocher); 174, Keith Gavin, Pitt; 184, Jake Varner, Iowa State; 197, Josh Glenn, American; and 285, Dustin Fox, Northwestern.

Varner used a takedown in overtime to beat Northwestern’s Jake Herbert, reversing a loss to Herbert in last March’s NCAA tournament. Herbert is taking an Olympic redshirt year.

Thacker dies

Tab Thacker, a national champion for N.C. State in 1984 and was a three-time All-America, died last week in North Carolina. He was 45.

During his N.C. State time, Thacker weighed more than 400 pounds. He also had a brief acting career appearing in two “Police Academy” films and “Wildcats” with Goldie Hawn.

In recent years Thacker, who had diabetes and who had lost both legs to the disease, operated a nightclub and bond bail business.

Tough roadtrip

The dual season keeps getting darker for Lehigh’s Mountain Hawks. The Hawks dropped three duals on Sunday at Michigan losing to Buffalo 22-9, Eastern Michigan 20-16 and Michigan 33-9. Michigan also beat Eastern Michigan 33-6 and Buffalo 35-6. Eastern Michigan beat Buffalo 21-12. Lehigh dropped to 4-9 after the Michigan trip.

Upcoming action

Friday: Bucknell at Missouri; Ohio State at Kent State; Cornell at Penn State; Nebraska at Oregon State; Stanford at Lehigh; Saturday: Oklahoma State at Iowa; Saturday: Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Navy, at Lone State Duals, Dallas; Sunday: Edinboro, Central Michigan at Hofstra; Army, Penn at Sun Devil Duals, Arizona State; Northern Iowa, Kennesaw State at UT-Chattanooga.

John Huckaby reports on college wrestling for the CDT. He can be reached at