Looking back at 2014, it’s tempting for college wrestling fans to think, “Wow, not much happened”… especially compared to the previous year. After all, consider all that history-making events that generated plenty of headlines in 2013: the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board decision to eliminate wrestling as a core sport from the Olympics, starting in 2020 (only to reverse itself a few months later)… Cornell University’s Kyle Dake becoming only the third college wrestler to win four NCAA titles, and the first to do it at four different weights… and Boston University announcing on April Fool’s Day 2013 it would be eliminating its wrestling program at the end of the 2013-14 season. In fact, in reciting the Top Ten stories of 2013, College Wrestling Examiner cited an “overabundance” of major news stories affecting the sport in incorporating additional stories that didn’t quite make the cut.
While 2014 may have not been as tumultuous as 2013, there were some major stories worth acknowledging, including those College Wrestling Examiner has highlighted in individual stories already posted, such as the huge number of coaching changes this past year (including new head coaches at a dozen NCAA Division I programs)… nearly a dozen new college wrestling programs announced in 2014 (a continuation of a positive, ongoing trend of mostly small-town, small colleges seeing the value in adding the sport to differentiate themselves from similar schools)… and the deaths of a number of major figures in college wrestling, with the loss of a number of active (the three Case Western Reserve wrestlers killed in a private plane crash, for instance) or recently-active wrestlers (Ohio State’s Kosta Karageorge, among others) being especially upsetting.
There are other major wrestling news stories that should be included in any look back at 2014, including Penn State winning its fourth consecutive NCAA Division I team title in thrilling fashion in the finals, with a three-way battle in the finals which also included Oklahoma State and Minnesota, only to have the outcome determined in the next-to-the-last match… a generous gift of $5 million to the Franklin & Marshall wrestling program from one of their mat alums… the disappointing 2014 World championships for the US men’s freestyle team, with only two medals – both bronze – for past college mat champs Jordan Burroughs and Tervel Dlagnev… and the unveiling of additional new professional wrestling ventures with amateur-style competition for post-college athletes, including Global Wrestling Championships, and Flo Premier League from the amateur wrestling website Flowrestling.org.
What were the top stories according to College Wrestling Examiner readers? Here is the list of Top Ten most-read stories, in terms of numbers of readers tallied by Google Analytics:
No. 10: Historians name all-time greatest college wrestlers for “Amateur Wrestling News” (1,975 readers)
No. 9: Rick and Scott Steiner, Randy Couture, Gerald Brisco guests on the Takedown Wrestling radio broadcast. (2,089 readers)
No. 8: Weigh-in dramatics — comparing the public drama of mixed-martial arts weigh-ins to the privacy of those in amateur wrestling, with some exceptions, such as the Bubba Jenkins-Frank Molinaro weigh-ins at Grapple at the Garden 2, or some of the new pro wrestling ventures. (2,197 readers)
No. 7: Montana State University-Northern freshman wrestler Brandon Dumont dead at 18. (2,210 readers)
No. 5: Joe Heskett leaves head coaching position at Army to accept associate athlete director job at West Virginia University. (2,458 readers – tied) http://zoomdune.com/article/heskett-leaves-army-head-coaching-job-for-west-virginia-associate-ad-position
No. 5: Article from 2011, ties in with “Foxcatcher”: Fifteen years ago, Olympic wrestler-coach Dave Schultz murdered by John du Pont. (2,458 readers – tied)
No. 4: Ty Moore, four-time Pennsylvania state champ, University of North Carolina wrestler, dead at 43. (3,049 readers)
No. 3: Kent State indefinitely suspends Sam Wheeler for anti-gay tweets. (3,358 readers)
No. 2: “Foxcatcher” to debut in city-by-city rollout over the next couple months. (4,395 readers)
No. 1: Meet some of the wrestlers in “Foxcatcher” — includes link to photo-page of wrestler/actors (4,755 readers)
As you can see, at least three College Wrestling Examiner stories relating to “Foxcatcher” – the movie about Olympic gold medal-winning brothers Mark and Dave Schultz and their relationship with multi-millionaire John du Pont, being slowly released nationwide – are among the most-read stories in 2014, including a four-year-old story about the actual crime that is depicted in the movie.