NC State Associate Head Coach Adam Hall and Trent Hidlay(photo courtesy of SJanickiPhoto.com)
What a week for ACC wrestling! We saw Pitt take control of the race for the ACC dual title while Virginia Tech and NC State put up big wins to stay in the hunt for a shared title. We also were treated to a gem of a non-conference dual between Pitt and Iowa State. Let's take a look at the action.
#7 Virginia Tech at Duke
Not a whole lot to say about this one. The Hokies went down to Durham wanting to bounce back from a tough loss to Pitt and they blanked the Blue Devils, scoring bonus points in nearly every match. The lone decision win was a 12-5 win from Connor Brady. Bryce Andonian picked up a fall--he now has two majors and a pin in ACC competition. Eddie Ventresca made a mark in his return to the lineup with a 17-2 tech fall; Caleb Henson added a tech fall at 149. Sam Latona, Tom Crook, Sam Fisher, TJ Stewart and Hunter Catka won by major decision.
After watching this dual, I was disappointed in the lineup management by Duke. I understand they have incredible hurdles thrown at their program from an uninvolved administration, and their roster is smaller than the majority of schools in the country; they only have one 174 listed on the roster. So while I don't like seeing a forfeit, especially at a home match, I understand the situation. I was frustrated to not see Jonah Neisenbaum against Hunter Catka. Neisenbaum is 2-0 in the ACC and has an SV win over Catka at the Keystone Classic. I would have loved to see a rematch.
Duke will travel north to face UVA on Friday in a battle of teams looking for their first conference win. The Hokies will head to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels with ACC dual title implications; the winner will be in position for a potential share of the ACC dual title depending on the outcome of the NC State/Pittsburgh dual.
#7 Hokies - 45, Blue Devils - 0
125 - Eddie Ventresca TECH FALL Ethan Grimminger 17-2
133 - No. 7 Sam Latona MAJ DEC Logan Agin 15-5
141 - No. 12 Tom Crook MAJ DEC Christian Colman 11-2
149 - No. 8 Caleb Henson TECH FALL Patrick Rowland 18-3
157 - No. 5 Bryce Andonian FALL Logan Ferrero 2:40
165 - No. 26 Connor Brady DEC Gabe Dinette 12-5
174 - No. 3 Mekhi Lewis Forfeit
184 - Sam Fisher MAJ DEC Luke Chakonis 15-6
197 - TJ Stewart MAJ DEC Brayden Ray 14-6
285 - No. 23 Hunter Catka MAJ DEC Connor Barkert 14-6
#8 NC State at Virginia
The Wolfpack left Charlottesville with a lopsided win over the Hoos. Justin McCoy was the lone victor for Virginia, blanking Derek Fields 8-0 for the major decision. The dual started with back-to-back ranked matchups at 141 and 149. Brian Courtney was able to slow down Ryan Jack but couldn't create his own offense in a 4-1 decision for the Wolfpack. Jackson Arrington took out Jarod Verkleeren with a 10-2 major decision. Ed Scott followed up with a major decision over Jake Keating.
Alex Faison controlled the match in a 6-1 decision over Hudson Stewart at 174. In another ranked matchup, Trent Hidlay did Trent Hidlay things and poured on the offense against Neil Antrassian, though Antrassian did have a few great flashes of his own offense, in a 21-9 major decision. Michael Battista slowed down a very dangerous Isaac Trumble, but was unable to generate any of his own offense; Trumble and his mustache took a 3-1 decision. Colden Dorfman got the call at 285. This marked at least the fourth starter at the weight for the Hoos, who have been hammered with injuries at the top weight. Owen Trephan put on an offensive show in a 17-2 tech fall. Jarrett Trombey and Kai Orine wrapped up the dual with back-to-back major decisions.
Virginia will host Duke on Friday; both are looking to break through with their first ACC win. NC State will host the first-place Pitt Panthers at Reynolds Coliseum. Pitt is 3-0 in the conference while NC State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina are all 2-1. NC State controls its own destiny in this dual--if they win, they open up the possibility of a shared conference title; if Pitt wins they all but wrap up the ACC dual title, with only Duke remaining on their schedule.
#8 NC STATE 34, VIRGINIA 4
141: No. 4 Ryan Jack dec. No. 29 Brian Courtney 4-1
149: No. 17 Jack Arrington major dec. No. 26 Jarod Verkleeren 10-2
157: No. 7 Ed Scott major dec. Jake Keating 12-4
165: No. 17 Justin McCoy major dec. Derek Fields 8-0
174: No. 29 Alex Faison dec. Hudson Stewart 6-1
184: No. 3 Trent Hidlay major dec. No. 17 Neil Antrassian 21-9
197: No. 9 Isaac Trumble dec. No. 24 Michael Battista 3-1
HWT: No. 12 Owen Trephan tech fall Colden Dorfman 17-2
125: No. 28 Jarrett Trombley major dec. Patrick McCormick 10-2
133: No. 25 Kai Orine major dec. Marlon Yarbrough II 18-4
#25 North Carolina at #16 Pittsburgh
This dual featured the two remaining unbeaten teams in the ACC, with the winner taking sole possession of first place in the conference and putting them in the driver's seat to win the title. Pitt opened with back-to-back wins and never looked back, winning 21-11 over the Tar Heels.
The dual opened at 197 with Nino controlling the match in an 8-2 decision; this was followed by true freshman Dayton Pitzer pitching a shutout in a 6-0 decision over Brandon Whitman. The Tar Heels got on the board in a fun match at 125; both Jack Wagner and Colton Camacho have been on a good run and were 2-0 in ACC competition. They traded multiple takedowns and went to sudden victory, with Wagner picking up the winning takedown to get the 10-8 decision. The Panthers took back the momentum with a 6-2 decision from Micky Phillippi over Jace Palmer.
In the most anticipated matchup of the dual, we saw #3 Cole Matthews shut down the high-powered offense of #13 Lachlan McNeil in a 3-2 decision. Both wrestlers were able to get in on takedowns, but Matthews was able to keep McNeil from finishing. This has the potential to be a semifinal match at the ACC tournament. I hope we get to see it again, I want to see the adjustments that McNeil will make. Tyler Badgett followed up with a 2-0 decision over Jayden Scott who was filling in for an injured Zach Sherman.
Austin O'Connor continued his unbeaten season and looked phenomenal in a 24-8 tech fall over Jared Keslar. O'Connor has impressed all year and is on a collision course for a wild matchup with Bryce Andonian next week.
At 165, Holden Heller won a 12-5 decision over Joey Mazzara. This was followed by a massive upset for Luca Augustine over #8 Clay Lautt. Lautt was wrestling his second ACC match, having wrestled against Duke in his first match back from a knee injury. After a scoreless first period, the two traded escapes in the second and third to send it to sudden victory. Augustine was able to find an angle and run down Lautt to get the winning takedown. In the final match of the night, we saw a tight bout between Gavin Kane and Reece Heller, with Kane picking up the 6-3 decision to move to 3-0 in the ACC and extend his win streak to 13 matches.
North Carolina will be at home on Friday against Virginia Tech with the winner being positioned for a potential share of the ACC dual title. Pitt will be at NC State and will control their own destiny; if they win, they lock up the ACC dual title, if they lose, they will need to beat Duke in their final dual to earn a share of the title.
#16 Pitt 21, #25 North Carolina 11
197: No. 2 Nino Bonaccorsi dec. Max Shaw 8-2
285: No. 5 Dayton Pitzer dec. Brandon Whitman 6-0
125: No. 19 Jack Wagner dec. No. 33 Colton Camacho 10-8 SV
133: No. 6 Micky Phillippi dec. Jace Palmer 8-2
141: No. 3 Cole Matthews dec. No. 13 Lachlan McNeil 3-2
149: No. 29 Tyler Badgett dec. Jayden Scott 2-0
157: No. 3 Austin O'Connor tech. fall Jared Keslar 24-8 5:43
165: No. 23 Holden Heller dec. Joey Mazzara 12-5
174: Luca Augustine dec. No. 8 Clay Lautt 2-1 TB
184: No. 13 Gavin Kane dec. No. 18 Reece Heller 6-3
The Panthers followed up this huge win with a heartbreaking loss, on criteria, to #3 Iowa State in a phenomenal dual. Des Moines Register wrestling reporter Cody Goodwin and I broke this dual down on his podcast "In The Room" if you want to check out the wrap up.
#3 Iowa State 16, #16 Pitt 15
125: No. 33 Colton Camacho dec. Caleb Fuessley 3-1 SV
133: No. 6 Micky Phillippi dec. Zach Redding 5-4
141: No. 3 Cole Matthews dec. No. 24 Casey Swiderski 5-4
149: No. 10 Paniro Johnson dec. No. 29 Tyler Badgett 5-3
157: No. 27 Jason Kraisser dec. Jared Keslar 8-5
165: No. 2 David Carr dec. No. 23 Holden Heller 7-3
174: Luca Augustine dec. MJ Gaitan 6-4
184: No. 4 Marcus Coleman dec. No. 18 Reece Heller 10-5
197: No. 2 Nino Bonaccorsi dec. No. 5 Yonger Bastida 6-4
285: No. 10 Sam Schuyler dec. No. 5 Dayton Pitzer 4-3 (ISU wins, 16-15 on criteria)