NC State 125 lber Jakob Camacho (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Duke: The Blue Devils are off this week--they will host Citadel and Bloomsburg next week.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels are off this week--they return to action with a dual at App State next week.
North Carolina State: The Wolfpack travels to Boone to meet the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Sunday.
125: #5 Jakob Camacho vs. #30 Caleb Smith--Should be a fun match, but Camacho has been on a different level lately. His offense has been very impressive.
133: Jarrett Trombley vs. #24 Codi Russell--Trombley isn't ranked because he's been splitting time with #17 Kai Orine, who is 7-0. Russell is a two-time SOCON champ who spent his redshirt year at NC State before transferring to Boone. This could be one of the better matches of the dual--at least in terms of both guys being competitive.
141: #18 Ryan Jack vs. Anthony Brito--Jack has started the year 9-1 and has looked solid every time he's stepped on the mat. He's providing some helpful consistency for the Wolfpack.
149: Matt Fields vs. #7 John Millner--Unfortunately, we will not see #3, Tariq Wilson, this week against All-American John Millner; we will see sophomore Matt Fields making his season debut. Not sure what to expect from Fields, but Millner is a two-time SOCON champ and placed 8th at the NCAA Championships last year.
157: #25 Ed Scott vs. Cody Bond--Ed Scott has been a force this year. He is 11-1 with 10 bonus point wins, including five pins already this season. His lone loss is to teammate AJ Kovacs and his only non-bonus point match is to another teammate-Derek Fields. I expect Scott to continue his impressive start and add some more bonus points for the Wolfpack.
165: #15 Thomas Bullard vs. #26 Will Formato--One of our two ranked versus ranked matchups is a match we've seen several times before. Bullard holds a 3-1 record against Formato, with his last win in the opening round of the NCAA tournament last year. Bullard is 5-1 on the year with all wins by bonus points. Formato is 5-2 with four bonus-point wins. We should see some points on the board in this match!
174: #5 Hayden Hidlay vs. Thomas Flitz--We will see Hayden for the second time this year. In his first match, he picked up a 20-3 tech fall against WVU. This should be a good tune-up match for him to get some mat time prior to the Collegiate Duals next week. Expect bonus points for Hidlay.
184: #3 Trent Hidlay vs. Barrett Blakely--Speaking of bonus points for Hidlayâ€¦we should see another set here for Trent. Hidlay has wrestled two matches but less than seven minutes total--grabbing a 0:23 second pin and a 3rd-period tech fall. We should see Trent put on a scoring display and raise the roof in Boone.
197: #15 Isaac Trumble vs. Mason Fiscella--Trumble is also off to an excellent start for the Wolfpack. He has started the year 10-0 and has seven wins by bonus points. After a slow start at the Citadel Open, Trumble has been putting points up in bunches. I'd expect to see the same here and more possible bonus points for NC State.
285: #27 Owen Trephan/Deonte Wilson vs. Michael Burchell--In the one match that NC State hasn't released a starter, they are favored with either option. Trephan holds the edge in head-to-head matches and they have traded starts in duals for the Wolfpack. Both are 5-2 and are dangerous when they get their offense going. I would expect a win for the Wolfpack but wouldn't pencil in bonus points.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers are heading to Columbus for a dual against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday.
125: #24 Gage Curry vs. #14 Malik Heinselman--Curry gets the nod this week to face Heinselman. Curry is 6-1 and has been trading dual starts with Colton Camacho, while Heinselman has started 9-1, suffering his first loss last week at CKLV. Both wrestlers are positionally sound and don't give up a lot of points, so look for a low-scoring bout.
133: #6 Micky Phillippi vs. Brady Koontz--Phillippi looks to build some momentum moving into break and The Midlands. Phillippi has started 3-1 in his dual appearances, with his lone defeat on a last-second defensive pin. Koontz is 3-5 on the season and Phillippi should be able to control the match and look for bonus points.
141: #16 Cole Matthews vs. #24 Dylan D'Emilio--D'Emilio has had a busy season so far. He has started the season 13-3 while Matthews only has two matches under his belt at 2-0. These guys are pretty evenly matched and I would consider this a toss-up with a slight edge to Matthews in his ability to control the match. I would expect a low-scoring bout and probably no bonus.
149: Luke Kemerer vs. #2 Sammy Sasso--The goal for everyone who has wrestled Sasso is to slow him down and minimize damage. He is a very dangerous wrestler who scores in bunches and is always looking for a pin. Sasso is 11-1 with his one loss to some guy from Ithaca named Yianni. Kemerer is 2-2 on the year and will be looking to minimize team points.
157: #30 Elijah Curry vs. #26 Bryce Hepner--Cleary makes his return to Columbus after transferring to Pittsburgh this season. Cleary has started 3-1 while Hepner is 11-4. Looking at results, Hepner has put up a lot of points against lower-tier competition, but has struggled against ranked guys. Cleary controls the match and looks to win low-scoring matches in most cases. I think this will be one of those low-scoring bouts and give the edge to Cleary based on his experience in these situations.
165: #9 Jake Wentzel vs. #8 Carson Kharchla--This is a match where we can learn a lot about both wrestlers. Wentzel is an NCAA finalist but hasn't looked as strong or controlling as he did last year. Kharchla is a highly touted recruit who took his first college loss last week in the CKLV finals to National Champion Shane Griffith in a 5-4 bout. This will very much be a clash of styles and whoever is able to control the match with their style will take the win. This is an opportunity for Wentzel to make the statement that he is in the mix for a title again this year.
174: Hunter Kernan vs. #6 Ethan Smith--Kernan started the year off on a 7-0 run, but has lost his last two matches and is looking to get back on track. Ethan Smith will be a very difficult opponent to get back on track against, however. Smith was an All-American last year and has looked even more impressive--and more offensive this season. Kernan will look to minimize damage here, but Smith will be hunting for as many bonus points as possible.
184: #31 Gregg Harvey vs. #10 Kaleb Romero--Romero returned to the lineup last week and won the CKLV over Tate Samuelson of Wyoming. Harvey picked up a win over Lehigh in his only appearance this year. He will have a tough assignment for match number two as Romero looks to continue his undefeated season. Harvey has the skills to keep this close, but I think Romero takes it in a lopsided decision.
197: #2 Nino Bonaccorsi vs. #21 Gavin Hoffman--The Panthers will have a chance to get some points back after two tough matches before. Nino is 2-0 in his limited bouts after returning from the U23 World Championships, while Hoffman is 6-2 to start the year. I think Nino controls this match and looks for bonus points--he has six and seven-point decisions on the year, so he hasn't quite earned bonus points.
285: #31 Jake Slinger vs. #13 Tate Orndorff--Slinger is 6-2 to start the year, including three pins and an ACC Wrestler of the week honor after sealing two wins for the Panthers. Orndorff is 10-2, taking two losses last week in Vegas. This will be a low-scoring affair with both big guys trying to control the mat and score at the end to win. The edge goes to Orndorff, but this is a great chance for Slinger to get a statement win.
Virginia: The Cavaliers are off this week--they return to action at The Midlands.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies are off this week and will face Hofstra, Arizona State and one opponent TBD at the Collegiate Duals in Florida on December 20-21.