Opening week is in the books and we saw some up-and-down performances across the ACC. Let’s take a look at how it all shook out and what lies ahead this week.
The Blue Devils made a west coast trip to open the season with duals against Rutgers, Cal Poly, and Stanford. They went 0-3 on the weekend, suffering shutout losses to Rutgers and Stanford while picking up two wins against Cal Poly from freshman Aidan Wallace at 165 and sophomore Connor Barket at 285.
The Blue Devils are back in action in Morgantown, West Virginia on Sunday with duals against Kent State, Cleveland State, and West Virginia. I’m looking forward to the Kent State and Cleveland State duals. I mentioned in their preview that I think these two duals against similarly ranked and experienced teams will be a good gauge for where they are to open the season and they have another set of duals before conference season against Chattanooga and Gardner-Webb that will help show the progress they have made throughout the season.
The Tar Heels opened their season hosting the Carolina Duals, taking wins over Greensboro College and Queens and dropping a back-and-forth dual to Oregon State. They took lopsided wins over Greensboro 48-3 and Queens 41-10, before dropping a close dual to the Beavers 24-13.
Spencer Moore picked up a huge upset win over #11 Brandon Kaylor to open the dual, followed by Caden McCrary topping Gabe Wisnehunt (PAC12 Wrestler of the Week) giving him his only loss of the weekend. #3 Lachlan McNeil continued the streak, picking up a dominant major decision over #20 Cleveland Belton. The momentum didn’t continue for the Tar Heels. They dropped the next two matches from Jaydon Scott and Danny Nini on 2-1 sudden victory decisions; they also dropped decisions at 174 (Sabino Portella) by decision and 184 (Chris Salazar) by fall; #6 Gavin Kane did not compete last week. The Heels took another win from #18 Max Shaw at 197 before dropping the final match at 285 from #33 Aydin Guttridge. The dual was closer than the final score---losing back-to-back heartbreakers in sudden victory (one on a penalty point after a called takedown) shifted the momentum for the Beavers and they were not able to recover.
They will travel to Pennsylvania for Journeymen Wranglemania this weekend where they will face Buffalo and Arizona State. There will be some high-caliber matchups to watch--especially against the Sun Devils.
125: #32 Spencer Moore v #2 Richie Figueroa
133: #22 Caden McCrary v #15 Julian Chlebove
141: #3 Lachlan McNeil v #18 Jesse Vasquez
197: #18 Max Shaw v #30 Anthony Montalvo
North Carolina State:
The Wolfpack arguably had the best week out of all the teams in the ACC picking up two dual wins while only dropping one individual bout. They opened at the Battle at Liberty with a dual against Presbyterian at Ft. Liberty and followed that up with a Friday night dual in Boone against Appalachian State.
The Wolfpack featured several younger wrestlers against Presbyterian in a lopsided dual 48-0. Dylan Fishback (184) opened his season with a pin as did Chase Horne (285). Jacob Cox (133), Jackson Arrington (149) and AJ Kovacs (165) won by tech fall. Alex Faison (174) and Christian Knop (197) both won by major while Tyler Tracy (141) and Zach Karagias (157) won by decision; Jakob Camacho opened his season with a forfeit win.
They traveled to Boone for another dual Friday night, picking up the second win of the season 40-3. The dual started at 149 with a major decision from #7 Jackson Arrington over #25 Cody Bond, followed by a decision win from #5 Ed Scott over #20 Tommy Askey. #33 AJ Kovacs and #22 Alex Faison picked up decision wins before #29 Dylan Fishback got his second pin in as many matches at 184. #5 Trent Hidlay made his 197 debut and looked phenomenal in a 19-4 tech fall; he looked strong and fast at 197 and was still able to utilize his underhook to initiate offense. Hoagie Boy at 197 is going to be fun. #8 Owen Trephan earned a fall at 285 and #12 Jakob Camacho put together a 19-3 major decision in his first match of the season. The lone loss was at 133 where Jarrett Trombley took the mat, not #4 Kai Orine. Trombley wrestled a solid match but dropped a 4-2 decision.
NC State will be heading north to compete in their first Journeymen event of the season at Wranglemania. They will face Bloomsburg and Purdue. There will be some solid matchups against Purdue--with the marquee match being at 125 with Jakob Camacho and NCAA runner-up Matt Ramos. I love this matchup for Camacho and I think he can dictate the match and pick up the win.
125: #11 Jakob Camacho v #3 Matt Ramos
133: #4 Kai Orine v #29 Dustin Norris
184: #28 Dylan Fishback v #33 James Rowley
285: #8 Owen Trephan v #26 Hayden Copass
The Panthers sent a partial lineup to the Clarion Open on Sunday. They ended the day with titles from #16 Mac Stout at 197 and #14 Reece Heller at 184 both bringing home the gladiator helmet. Heller went 5-0, picking up bonus points in every match (2 pins, 2 tech falls, 1 forfeit) to win his first Clarion Open title. Stout earned his second straight title at Clarion, this time without surrendering an offensive point.
Redshirt Freshman #32 Vinny Santaniello also made the finals and dropped a tight match to high school phenom Bo Bassett. Stantaniello picked up a huge win in the semifinals over #8 Nic Bouzakis. Transfer Finn Solomon made an immediate impact for the Panthers making the finals by beating #26 Dylan Chappell before dropping to #5 Dylan D’Emilio to get a silver in his first outing for the Panthers.
Also placing for the Panthers were Briar Priest: 3rd place at 141, Anthony Santaniello: 4th at 141, Jack Pletcher: 6th at 149, and #30 Jared Keslar: 4th at 157.
The Panthers will travel south to Annapolis for the Navy Duals on Sunday where they will face Navy, Morgan State, and VMI. The dual against Navy could be sneaky good. The Midshipmen knocked off #23 Illinois last weekend and are coming home ready for another upset. There will be several ranked vs ranked matchups to keep your eye on.
133: #10 Vinnie Santaniello v #17 Brendan Ferretti
141: #7 Cole Matthews v #23 Josh Koderhandt
165: #11 Holden Heller v #23 Andrew Cerniglia
174: #22 Luca Augustine v #30 Danny Wask
184: #13 Reece Heller v #18 David Key
285: #9 Dayton Pitzer v #13 Grady Griess
The Hoos sent a small group to Roanoke for the Southeast Open on Saturday coming home with eight placers. Coach Garland was very upfront that he thought the team underperformed last week and he has higher expectations for this crew than what they saw on Saturday. There were bright spots for the Cavs and he highlighted those as well; there were some great wins and finishes in both the freshman/sophomore and open divisions.
In the freshman/sophomore division, they were led by Stephen Burrell, at 197, who won four straight by bonus points before falling in the finals to finish in 2nd. Cooper Rudolph went 2-1 to finish in 3rd at 285 and Michael Murphy went 5-1 to finish in 5th at 157.
In the Open division, they were led by Kyle Montaperto (125), #21 Jack Gioffre (141), and Dylan Cedeno (157) who all finished in third on the day. Gioffre had a great match against Sammy Hillegas to open the tournament and went 3-1 on the day after falling to #22 Jordan Titus in the semifinals. Cedeno seems much more comfortable at his new weight and went 3-1 with a semifinal loss to #19 Peyton Kellar before winning his final match.
Gable Porter and Nick Hamilton both made the 5th/6th match. Gable won to take fifth and Hamilton had met his match limit so he couldn’t wrestle and settled for sixth. I was very impressed with the poise of both who came back from early-round losses and strung together multiple wins--Gable went pin, major, tech, decision and Hamilton went pin, pin, major, major after their losses.
The Hoos will be back on the road for the App State Open in Boone this weekend. I’m expecting a more focused and disciplined UVA squad this week.
The Hokies were also at the Southeast Open; this will forever and always be the Hokie Open to me, but a huge shoutout to Coach Yetzer in Roanoke for taking the reins of this great opening tournament. They sent a younger lineup for the tournament, with only three likely starters wrestling last weekend.
#4 Caleb Henson won his third straight Southeast Open title at 149 going 5-0 with all bonus point victories and didn’t surrender any offensive points. Safe to say the All-American is ready to roll again this season.
#3 Sam Latona suffered his seemingly annual Southeast Open loss in the semifinals to Gabe Wisenhunt in a very scrappy match. Just like I said both other times, I’m not worried about it and I’m not going to put a lot of stock in that loss. Sam has shown that he can win when it counts the most and will use this as a learning experience for the new scoring system. I love Sam and he knows that; which is why I can say that it amazes me that he has more All-American finishes than Southeast Open titles. The good news is he has an amazing bounce-back opportunity Friday night against Nic Bouzakis.
#24 Sam Fisher also made the finals, going 3-0 before falling to #3 Trey Munoz to finish in 2nd. Clayton Ulrey was the last finalist for the Hokies; he went 4-0 before falling to #19 Peyton Kellar in the finals. Also placing in the Open division was Tom Crook, 5th at 149.
The Hokies fared very well in the freshman/sophomore division, bringing home four titles. Logan Frazier (133), Hunter Mason (141), Luke Robie (149), Rafael Hipolito (157) all finished on top of the podium for Virginia Tech.
The Hokies have a huge match Friday night to open dual competition; they will welcome #7 Ohio State to Cassell Coliseum for a top-10 battle. The last two years have come down to the final match and I expect fireworks again this year. All ten bouts will feature a ranked wrestler with eight ranked-versus-ranked matchups. We will have a full breakdown of the dual later this week and I will be in Blacksburg to provide pre and post-match coverage on Friday.
133: #7 Sam Latona v #14 Nic Bouzakis
149: #4 Caleb Henson v #5 Dylan D’Emilio
157: #6 Bryce Andonian v #16 Paddy Gallagher
165: #16 Connor Brady v #18 Bryce Hepner
174: #3 Mekhi Lewis v #7 Carson Kharchla
184: #21 Sam Fisher v #11 Gavin Hoffman
197: #14 Andy Smith v #19 Luke Geog
285: #16 Hunter Catka v #20 Nick Feldman