Duke's NCAA qualifier Matt Finesilver (Photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Duke: The Blue Devils headed to Boone, NC, for the Mountaineer Open this weekend. They were led by Matt Finesilver (#8 at 174), who brought home the title for the second straight week. Josiah Neisenbaum is off to a great start this year at 6-2; he finished in 2nd this week, falling to Cohlton Schultz (#4) of Arizona State in the finals. Josh Finesilver (#12 at 149) finished in 3rd place; he fell in the semifinals to Jonathan Millner (#9) of App State in a rematch of last year's NCAA Bloodround match. Finesilver beat #30 Graham Rooks of Indiana for Bronze.
North Carolina: Though there was no official team competition, UNC sent some wrestlers to the Wolfpack Open to compete attached. Gavin Kane (#21) brought home silver at 174, while Sonny Santiago finished in 3rd at 165. Rounding out the attached wrestlers, Joe Heilmann finished in 5th at 133 while Joey Mazzaro finished in 5th at 165. Two redshirts that the coaching staff are very high on, finished on top of the podium on Sunday. Lachlan McNeil won at 141, while Mason Phillips brought home the title at 149. UNC (#13) is back in action on Wednesday, traveling to face the Huskers (#10) in another top-15 showdown.
NC State: NC State hosted the Wolfpack Open in Raleigh this weekend and had a showing that illustrated the lineup's depth. There was an all-Wolfpack matchup at several weights in the finals and medal matches; some of the matches were wrestled, others were a no-contest. At 125, Jakob Camacho was 3-0 in his contested matches, finishing in the 3-4 match with teammate Stevo Poulin. At 133, Kai Orine beat Jared Trombley in the finals 2-0 with an escape and a riding time point. Ryan Jack finished in 2nd at 141, while Hunter Lewis ended in 4th. Reversing last week's result at 157, Ed Scott pinned AJ Kovacs in the finals. Thomas Bullard made his season debut at 165, winning the title with a tech fall over teammate Donald Cates. At 197, the top three steps on the podium belonged to NC State. Isaac Trumble and Jacob Ferreira had a no contest in the finals while redshirt Brock DelSignore finished in 3rd. We didn't see Owen Trephan and Deonte Wilson scrap for the third week in a row at 285, but they both made the 3rd place match where it was a no contest.
My biggest takeaway for the weekend, aside from the impressive depth of the Wolfpack, was the performance by super-senior Nick Reenan. Reenan was back down at 184 and went 5-0 on the day, while picking up two major decisions and a fall on his way to a 10-3 decision over a tough Caleb Hopkins from Campbell in the finals. NC State will open its dual slate, hosting West Virginia next weekend.
Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh hit the road for two duals this weekend, but left home three NCAA qualifiers, including NCAA Runner-up Nino Bonaccorsi, who competed in Serbia last week. Though it may not be the starting lineup they roll with for the full season, the Panthers were able to pick up two wins on the weekend, with Jacob Slinger icing both duals with pins at 285. In the only ranked matchup, #5 Micky Phillippi topped #21 Derek Spann 4-2. Jake Wentzel made his season debut with a 3-0 decision, while Hunter Kernan continued his hot start with his 6th win of the year at 174. Slinger put his stamp on the dual with a pin at heavyweight and Pitt topped the Bulls 21-12.
The Panthers headed to Edinboro Saturday and ended with a much tighter victory that required some bonus points for Pitt. Micky Phillippi and Hunter Kernan both tallied tech falls, while Elijah Cleary and Jacob Slinger added pins to counter two pins and a tech fall from the Fighting Scots. The dual was back and forth and the bonus points caused big swings in momentum throughout. Slinger played the iceman again in this dual--Pitt was up 22-20 going into 285, his pin sealed the 28-20 win for the Panthers. Pitt has another big in-state dual this week traveling to Lehigh on Sunday.
Virginia: UVA traveled to Maryland for a Friday night dual. The Cavaliers controlled the dual from the outset and won 24-9. Jarod Verkleeren led the Hoos with the only bonus-point victory of the match, winning by 16-0 tech fall. In ranked versus ranked matchups, #19 Justin McCoy beat #31 John Martin Best 8-4 at 165 and at #21 Quinn Miller won 8-2 over #32 Zach Schrader. UVA will host their first home match of the year this week, taking on Campbell.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies did not have an official competition this week, but had several wrestlers competing at the Wolfpack Open. They were highlighted by Cooper Flynn winning the title at 125 and Hunter Catka finishing as runner-up at 285. The Hokies will be at home for two duals this week against Ohio State and Gardner-Webb.