Sam Latona (left) and Jakob Camacho in the 2021 ACC finals (photos courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
The brackets for the ACC Championships were just released here and we have some solid wrestling lined up for Charlottesville on Sunday. We also have a couple weights where there will be a lot of discussion--some of it louder and more boisterous than others-about the seeding. I'll run through the brackets here and give you my immediate thoughts.
Here is the seeding criteria used:
No big surprises here, Sam Latona grabs the one seed and Jakob Camacho gets the two. We were treated to a great and scrappy match between them last week in Raleigh and there is a good chance we'll see it again Sunday night. We round out the top four with Gage Curry and Patrick McCormick.
This one shook out pretty well in spite of it being a weight where they all beat up on each other. While there is room for discussion of how 2-4 shakes out, I think they work out in the end. Myers was undefeated in-conference (15-1 overall) and grabs the one seed.
Heilmann 2 seed: wins over Phillippi, Orine, Doolittle. Losses to
Phillippi 3 seed: wins over Orine and Doolittle. Losses to Heilmann and Myers.
Orine 4 seed: wins over Courtney and Doolittle. Losses to Heilmann, Phillippi, Myers.
An interesting first-round match to watch here will be Courtney from UVA and Orine. This was a tight match at the dual that got blown up late by Orine. Courtney has looked solid and I would expect a good match here.
There is clear separation at the top of this weight class with Cole Matthews at the 1 seed. He was undefeated in-conference and gave Kizhan Clarke his only loss of the year. Clarke gets the 2 seed with a 14-1 record overall. Ryan Jack is the three and Collin Gerardi is the four; he will see a dangerous Dylan Cedeno in the opening round.
At one of the deeper weights in the conference, we have five ranked wrestlers, including two in the top-10 and two in the top-20. Tariq Wilson gets the one seed with an unblemished record and a controlling win over Andonian in the dual. Andonian sits at the two seed and comes in with a 7-2 record (his other loss is to Sammy Sasso). Josh Finesilver and Zach Sherman are the three and four seeds; Sherman will draw Jarod Verkleeren in the opening round for a nice matchup.
Pretty cut and dry at 157; Austin O'Connor is the one seed; he is undefeated in-conference and only has one loss on the year to Peyton Robb. Jake Keating is the two seed, his only conference loss at the weight was to AOC. He bumped to 165 to wrestle Jake Wentzel against Pittsburgh. Ed Scott is the three seed with a loss to Keating, while Cleary is the fourth seed with losses to AOC and Scott. I am very interested to see which version of Connor Brady we see. We saw a different type of wrestling from him in the conference season, opposed to early in the year; hopefully, he returns to form in time to make this bracket even tougher.
Another pretty clear weight here and the bracket shapes up nicely. Wentzel is the one seed and is undefeated in-conference. Thomas Bullard is the two seed with his only loss in tiebreakers to Wentzel. Justin McCoy is the three seed. He also only has one loss to Bullard but was injured and did not wrestle in the Pittsburgh dual. Clayton Ulrey rounds out the four seed and will face Isaias Estrada from UNC in the opening round; Estrada was a late redshirt pull by the Tar Heels and could be dangerous.
And. Here. We. Go.
There will be a lot of discussion about this weight throughout the country. We have three top-10 wrestlers in the ACC with #5 Hayden Hilday, #6 Mekhi Lewis and #8 Clay Lautt. The final weekend threw this weight into chaos, with Hidlay beating Lewis in overtime after getting pinned by Lautt on Friday night. There was no good way to seed this, but I am disappointed that we won't see Lewis/Hidlay as a final.
Hidlay: 12-1 (4-1 in ACC) only loss is to Lautt. Wins: Thomas Flitz, Austin Murphy, Peyton Mocco, Nelson Brands, Matt Finesilver, Mekhi Lewis. Wrestlestat-4. Coaches' Rank 4
Lewis: 17-1 (4-1 in ACC) only loss to Hidlay. Wins: Ethan Smith, Peyton Mocco, Chris Foca, Matt Finesilver, Clay Lautt. Wrestlestat-1. Coaches' Rank 6
Lautt: 14-4 (4-1 in ACC) losses to Lewis, Thomas Flitz, Mikey Labriola, Rocky Jordan-at 184. Wins: Austin Murphy, Andrew McNally, Hidlay. Wrestlestat-8. Coaches' Rank 8
This could have shaken out a few ways, but I am surprised that it came out this way. They all beat each other in-conference, so that's basically a wash. The criteria comes down to common opponents and quality matches. I expected Hidlay at 1, Lewis at 2 and Lautt at 3 based on how it has worked out in the past. Feel free to let me know what you think of the seeds and how you think they should have staked up!
Here is another weight that has some top-tier talent, but shook out pretty cleanly in terms of bracketing. Trent Hidlay grabs the one seed being undefeated on the year. Gavin Kane has really come on this year and gets the two-seed with a win over Bolen. Hunter Bolen is the three seed with a decision loss to Hidlay and a Sudden Victory loss to Kane. Michael Battista is the four seed and will see Gregg Harvey in the opening round.
Isaac Trumble is coming into the tournament on a 7 match winning streak and hasn't lost since December. He grabs the one seed with an undefeated run in-conference. Nino Bonaccorsi is the two seed with his only loss in the ACC to Trumble. Jay Aiello is the three seed with a decision loss to Bonaccorsi and a sudden victory loss to Trumble in a great match in Raleigh. Max Shaw rounds out the top four and will face the always dangerous, endless gas tank of Dakota Howard to open the tournament.
This one ended up working out well despite the wrestlers having a lot of mixed head-to-head results. This one could have shaped up differently, but I think the separations work out well. Nathan Traxler got the one seed, while his beautiful head of hair got the 1a seed. He is 4-1 in conference with his only loss to Quinn Miller--he wrestled Owen Trephan against NC State, not Tyrie Houghton. Houghton gets the two seed, even though he is undefeated in the conference. Houghton did not face Traxler head-to-head and Traxler has a better overall record and quality wins. Jake Slinger is the three seed and Quinn Miller is the four seed; Miller draws Jonah Neisenbaum in the opening round while Slinger gets Brandon Whitman. Both have upset potential.