Pittsburgh All-American Cole Matthews (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
It was another busy weekend in the ACC and the final countdown (do do do doo) has begun for ACC duals on Friday. Let's take a quick look at some highlights and important happenings from the weekend.
Duke: The Blue Devils were off this week, so I hope their highlight was to get rested and healthy before facing Central Michigan on Thursday and North Carolina on Friday.
Ranked wrestler: #22 Jonah Neisenbaum-285
North Carolina: The Tar Heels swept their weekend duals in New England over Harvard and Brown. They had five wrestlers go undefeated on the weekend: Jack Wagner (125), Jace Palmer (133), Lachlan McNeil (141), Austin O'Connor (157), and Gavin Kane (184). Max Shaw won in his only match at 197; Aydin Guttridge got the nod at 285 and went 1-1 with a close 2-1 loss to #9 Yaraslau Slavikouski.
Ranked Wrestlers: #22 Jack Wagner-125, #25 Zach Sherman-149, #4 Austin O'Connor-157, #9 Clay Lautt-174, #14 Gavin Kane-184
The lineup for the Tar Heels continues to solidify and they should have most, if not all, of their starters back in action against Duke to open ACC competition.
North Carolina State: Not a lot of notes for the Wolfpack; they hosted Army on Friday and took care of business and finished their non-conference slate with a perfect 10-0 record. They got bonus points from half of their lineup against the Black Knights. Owen Trephan led the way with a tech fall, while Isaac Trumble, Trent Hidlay, Ed Scott and Kai Orine all added major decisions.
Ranked Wrestlers: #29 Jarrett Trombley-125, #25 Kai Orine-133, #6 Ryan Jack-141, #15 Jackson Arrington-149, #6 Ed Scott-157, #32 Matty Singleton-165, #32 Alex Faison-174, #3 Trent Hidlay-184, #6 Isaac Trumble-197, #12 Owen Trephan-285
The Wolfpack move into ACC competition looking to add another dual and tournament title to their trophy case. They have nine ranked wrestlers and will face arguably their toughest ACC opponent when they travel to Blacksburg Friday night.
Pittsburgh: The loss to West Virginia clearly left a bad taste in the mouth of the Panthers; they came out against Buffalo looking to send a message. They blanked the Bulls 37-0…message received.
The Panthers also got bonus points from half of their team; Colton Camacho and Cole Matthews both won by tech fall while Micky Phillippi, Tyler Badgett and Nino Bonaccorsi all won by major decision. We saw Dazjon Casto back in the lineup at 157, where he picked up a decision win; Jake Slinger also got a decision win at 285; still curious whether we see Dayton Pitzer in any ACC action.
Ranked Wrestlers: #7 Micky Phillippi-133, #3 Cole Matthews-141, #29 Tyler Badgett-149, #31 Holden Heller-165, #17 Reece Heller-184, #2 Nino Bonaccorsi-197, #5 Dayton Pitzer-285
The Panthers will travel to Charlottesville to take on UVA for their first of two back-to-back weekends in Virginia.
Virginia: The Hoos had an excellent weekend at the Virginia Duals. Going into the weekend it was a question of how they would perform with several starters out with injuries. Simply put, the team stepped up and went 3-1 on the weekend. UVA took lopsided dual wins over Ohio, Navy and Kent State before dropping a very competitive dual with former ACC-rival Maryland 22-14.
Michael Battista had a fantastic weekend, going 4-0 with ranked wins over #29 Jake Koser and #11 Jaxon Smith. True Freshmen Garrett Grice and Nick Hamilton also went 4-0 on the weekend. Grice finished with three bonus wins in four matches; a pin and two major decisions. Another True Freshman, Michael Gioffre went 3-1, including a pin of #32 Kody Komara.
In one of the most intriguing stories in the ACC, we saw the return to the mat of Brian Courtney. He lost a heartbreaker in the blood round in Detroit after a great start to the tournament. He had been teaching 7th grade in South Carolina before talks of his return started with Coach Garland. Courtney placed 4th at Midlands while unattached, and started off his final run in a UVA singlet with a 2-1 weekend. He and Dylan Cedeno will continue to battle for the starting spot at 141, so don't be surprised if you see both in ACC action. They will also both be hitting the open circuit hard during the final weeks of the season to get additional mat time.
Ranked Wrestlers: #33 Garrett Grice-133, #29 Brian Courtney-141, #30 Jarod Verkleeren-149, #33 Jake Keating-157, #15 Justin McCoy-165, #20 Neil Antrassian-184, #24 Michael Battista-197
The Hoos will host the Pitt Panthers to open the ACC season on Friday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies traveled to hostile territory to take on a very game Appalachian State squad in Boone. App State is consistently a tough team, and Coach Bentley has done a phenomenal job building the culture and creating a tough environment for visiting teams.
The biggest win for the Hokies came from true freshman Caleb Henson who upset #8 Jon Millner in sudden victory. This is the third All-American that Henson has beaten this season. Sam Latona also picked up a ranked win in sudden victory over #24 Sean Carter. Andy Smith and Hunter Catka both earned bonus points with major decision victories for the Hokies.
Ranked Wrestlers: #20 Eddie Ventresca-125, #5 Sam Latona-133, #12 Tom Crook-141, #9 Caleb Henson-149, #6 Bryce Andonian-157, #20 Connor Brady-165, #3 Mekhi Lewis-174, #7 Hunter Bolen-184, #26 Andy Smith-197, #23 Hunter Catka-285
The Hokies will welcome the Wolfpack into Cassell Coliseum on Friday night for a top-10 showdown that will set the tone for ACC competition.