Pittsburgh 184 lber Reece Heller (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Going into the season, it seemed as though there were two clear favorites for the ACC dual title in Virginia Tech and North Carolina State…we are two weeks into the ACC schedule and that notion can be thrown out the window. Pittsburgh and North Carolina share the lead at 2-0 with VT and NC State close behind at 1-1 and Duke and Virginia at 0-2. This battle is far from over, though we will have a single team in the lead after next week since Pitt and UNC will meet on Friday.
We have three more weeks of ACC duals and this battle for the top of the conference is far from over. Adding to the chaos is that there is no tiebreaker for the ACC dual title--it could theoretically be shared by three teams if they go 4-1 or four teams at 3-2. It will be a fun run through February! Let’s take a look at how last week shook out:
Duke at NC State:
Coming off a tough loss to Virginia Tech, the Wolfpack were looking to make a statement in their conference home opener against Duke. The Wolfpack won nine straight matches, eight by bonus, before losing their shutout in the final match. Pretty solid statement.
The bonus parade was led by falls from Jarrett Trombley, Ed Scott, Isaac Trumble and Dylan Fishback, the true freshman was making his dual debut filling in for Trent Hidlay. Trombley moves to 2-0 in the ACC while Scott and Trumble bounced back after opening ACC competition with losses at Virginia Tech. Alex Faison received a forfeit to wrap up the six-point bonuses. Kai Orine added a tech fall in an offensive explosion, while Ryan Jack and Jackson Arrington won by major decision and Luke Ahrberg picked up a 7-2 decision.
The lone win for the Blue Devils came from Jonah Neisenbaum in the final bout of the night. Neisenbaum reversed the result of last year’s dual with a 5-4 decision over Tyrie Houghton; this moves his season record to 20-3.
The Wolfpack will travel to Virginia next week to face Virginia while the Blue Devils will host Virginia Tech.
No. 8 NC State 46, Duke 3
125: No. 26 Jarrett Trombley (NCSU) def. Ethan Grimminger, Fall 2:50
133: No. 25 Kai Orine (NCSU) def. Logan Agin, 21-1, Tech Fall
141: No. 5 Ryan Jack (NCSU) def. Christian Colman, 13-4, Major dec.
149: No. 17 Jackson Arrington (NCSU) def. Patrick Rowland, 10-2, Major dec
157: No. 7 Ed Scott (NCSU) def. Logan Ferrero, Fall
165: Luke Ahrberg (NCSU) def. Gabe Dinette, 7-2 dec.
174: No. 31 Alex Faison (NCSU) vs. Conor Becker, Forfeit
184: Dylan Fishback (NCSU) vs. Luke Chakonis, Fall
197: No. 6 Isaac Trumble (NCSU) def. Brayden Ray, Fall
285: No. 22 Jonah Niesenbaum def. Tyrie Houghton (NCSU), 5-4 dec.
Virginia at North Carolina:
The Hoos were looking to get in the win column after a loss to Pitt at home, but the Tar Heels were able to control the dual from the opening match to move to 2-0 and take a share of the lead in the ACC dual standings.
The dual opened at heavyweight with a decision for Adyin Guttridge, followed by a major decision for Jack Wagner over Patrick McCormick. This moves Wagner to 18-5 on the year. Jace Palmer broke out late in a 6-1 decision over Keyveon Roller.
At 141, Lachlan McNeil continued his stellar run with a pin of Dylan Cedeno. Cedeno got in on a single early that McNeil was able to counter and lock up a cradle for the first-period pin. In a ranked-versus-ranked matchup at 149, we saw Jarod Verkleeren earn a 6-4 decision over Zach Sherman. It was a tight match going into the third with Sherman holding the lead before he injured his shoulder on a shot. Verkleeren was able to get the winning takedown while Sherman gritted through obvious pain.
Austin O’Connor showed his offensive arsenal in his dominating major decision win over Jake Keating. O’Connor had the points to earn a tech fall at the buzzer, but he released Keating thinking that he needed an additional takedown; with the escape, Keating was able to keep it to a major decision. Justin McCoy evened his ACC record at 1-1, picking up a decision over Joey Mazzara after dropping a bout to Holden Heller last week. In an injury-shortened match, Michael Goldfeder took the injury default win over Vic Marcelli; they hit heads awkwardly on an early shot and Marcelli was unable to return. In one of the most anticipated matches of the dual, Gavin Kane edged Neil Antrassian on the strength of a third-period takedown. In the final match, Michael Battista evened his ACC record to 1-1 with a decision over Cade Lautt.
The Hoos will host the NC State Wolfpack on Friday while the Tar Heels will travel to Pittsburgh for a tilt between undefeated teams that will determine the lead for the ACC dual title.
No. 26 North Carolina 30, Virginia 9
Jan. 27, 2023 | Carmichael Arena | Chapel Hill, N.C.
125: No. 19 Jack Wagner (UNC) over Patrick McCormick (UVA) (14-4 MD)
133: Jace Palmer (UNC) over Keyveon Roller (UVA) (6-1 Dec)
141: No. 13 Lachlan McNeil (UNC) over Dylan Cedeno (UVA) (Fall 1:58)
149: No. 28 Jarod Verkleeren (UVA) over No. 25 Zach Sherman (UNC) (6-4 Dec)
157: No. 3 Austin O'Connor (UNC) over Jake Keating (UVA) (23-8 TF)
165: No. 17 Justin McCoy (UVA) over Joey Mazzara (UNC) (6-4 Dec)
174: Michael Goldfeder (UNC) over Vic Marcelli (UVA) (Injury Default)
184: No. 13 Gavin Kane (UNC) over No. 18 Neil Antrassian (UVA) (6-4 Dec)
197: No. 24 Michael Battista (UVA) over Cade Lautt (UNC) (9-7 Dec)
285: Aydin Guttridge (UNC) over Ethan Weatherspoon (UVA) (8-3 Dec)
Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech
The Panthers made their second trip to Virginia in two weeks and left with their second win and a share of the lead for the ACC dual title. The Hokies were coming off a huge win over the Wolfpack in what, on paper, was the battle for the ACC dual champion.
Pitt entered hostile territory and controlled the dual from the opening bout--a 44-second pin from Colton Camacho over Cooper Flynn. At 133, we had a top-10 battle between Sam Latona and Micky Phillippi. Latona was able to get to Phillippi’s legs several times, but Micky’s defense and scrambling ability kept him from finishing the takedown. The bout went to tiebreakers after a scoreless sudden victory period where Phillippi won on a nine-second advantage in riding time. This is going to be a great rematch to see at the ACC tournament.
At 141, Cole Matthews was able to control Tom Crook in a 6-2 decision, making the score Panthers 12 Hokies 0. The Hokies were able to get on the board with dominating performances from Caleb Henson and Bryce Andonian; both of them earned major decisions and were working to get tech falls to help the team get back in the dual. Henson took a 14-2 major over Tyler Badgett while Andonian won 14-1 over Dazjon Casto. Holden Heller earned a 2-0 decision over Connor Brady at 165 to stretch the Panthers lead.
Mekhi Lewis was the final Hokie to win on the evening, putting on an offensive display in a 14-4 major over Luca Augustine. At 184, Hunter Bolen was in the lead over Reece Heller and started the second period on top. Heller was able to create hip space and gained the leverage he needed to secure a defensive fall against Bolen. Heller has been impressive from the bottom all year and has won multiple matches on this strength in this position. In the final two bouts, we saw Nino Bonaccorsi win a low scoring 3-1 decision over Andy Smith at 197, then we saw the ACC debut of Dayton Pitzer at 285. Pitzer moved his record to 6-1 on the year, but got a good challenge from Hunter Catka. For the second week in a row, Catka went to sudden victory in the final match, dropping to 0-2 in ACC competition.
The Hokies will be on the road and looking to rebound against Duke on Friday. The Panthers will be back home in a dual to determine the top of the ACC standings against North Carolina.
#24 Pitt 26, #7 Virginia Tech 12
125: Colton Camacho (Pitt) pins Cooper Flynn (VT), 0:44 (Pitt leads, 6-0)
133: No. 7 Micky Phillippi (Pitt) dec. No. 5 Sam Latona (VT), 3-2 TB (Pitt leads, 9-0)
141: No. 3 Cole Matthews (Pitt) dec. No. 12 Tom Crook (VT), 6-2 (Pitt leads, 12-0)
149: No. 9 Caleb Henson (VT) maj. dec. No. 29 Tyler Badgett (Pitt), 14-2 (Pitt leads, 12-4)
157: No. 5 Bryce Andonian (VT) maj. dec. No. 33 Dazjon Casto (Pitt), 14-1 (Pitt leads, 12-8)
165: No. 23 Holden Heller (Pitt) dec. No. 25 Connor Brady (VT), 2-0 (Pitt leads, 15-8)
174: No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (VT) maj. dec. Luca Augustine (Pitt), 14-4 (Pitt leads, 15-12)
184: No. 19 Reece Heller (Pitt) pins No. 7 Hunter Bolen (VT), 3:32 (Pitt leads, 20-12 – penalty point)
197: No. 2 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) dec. No. 22 Andy Smith (VT), 3-1 (Pitt leads, 23-12)
HWT: No. 5 Dayton Pitzer (Pitt) dec. No. 23 Hunter Catka (VT), 5-3 (Pitt wins, 26-12)
Appalachian State Open
Several ACC schools sent wrestlers to the Appalachian State Open in Boone on Sunday.
Eddie Ventresca (VT) 1st
Peyton Fenton (UVA) 2nd
Robbie Hunt (UNC) 4th
Spencer Moore (UNC-UNAT) 1st
Joey Melendez (UNC) 3rd
Jace Palmer (UNC) 5th
Max Martin (UNC) 6th
Brian Courtney (UVA) 2nd--Medical FFT in finals
Kyren Butler (UVA) 3rd
Jayden Scott (UNC) 1st
Jackson Spires (VT) 1st
Mason Stefanelli (UVA) 3rd
Derek Fields (NCST) 1st
Gino Esposito (UNC) 3rd
Marcus Murabito (UNC) 6th
Hudson Stewart (UVA) 1st
Brock Delsignore (NCST) 2nd
Kolton Clark (VT) 3rd
Don Cates (NCST) 4th
Justin Phillips (UVA) 5th
Haydn Danals (UVA) 1st
Joey Milano (NCST) 2nd
Sam Fisher (VT) 3rd
Christian Knop (NCST) 1st
Krystian Kinsey (UVA) 3rd
Cade Lautt (UNC) 4th
Brandon Whitman (UNC) 2nd
Chase Horne (NCST) 3rd