Week Two of Friday Night Duals will see some in-state rivalries taking top billing. Rock and Shawn will have North Carolina at NC State at 8:30pm on ACCNetwork. Pitt will travel to Durham to face the Blue Devils at 7pm on ACCNetwork Extra. The final dual will feature the Hokies coming up 81 to Charlottesville to face Virginia in the John Paul Jones Arena at 7pm on ACCNetwork Extra. There are heavy favorites in each dual--NC State, Pitt, Virginia Tech--but there are some potentially incredible matchups to keep an eye on.
#20 Pitt at Duke:
The Panthers are coming off a loss to NC State and will be looking to rebound and get back on track against Duke in their first of back-to-back weekends in North Carolina - they will face the Tar Heels next week. I’m looking to see how several people respond after a loss last week.
157: Jared Keslar v Logan Ferrero
I have this as a toss-up match that will play a big role in ACC tournament seeding.
165: #15 Holden Heller v Gaetano Console
Heller started the season 7-0 before he ran into the top-5 gauntlet of Julian Ramirez, David Carr, and Izzak Olejnik to go on a 0-5 slide. He desperately needs to reset and this match is a great opportunity; Gaetano is no slouch though and will not make that an easy task for Heller.
#12 Virginia Tech at Virginia
I will be at JPJ to catch the Commonwealth Clash where the favored Hokies will face a newly healthy UVA lineup. This will be a major uphill battle for the Hoos, but they will look to pick up some early upsets to get some momentum on their side. There are a few intriguing matchups in this dual as well.
174: #2 Mekhi Lewis v #14 Justin McCoy
Captain v Captain. Reigning ACC Champs. Final Commonwealth Clash. These two have both had lengthy stints at their respective schools, but have been at different weights, until this year. I’ve had this one circled since last year when McCoy told me he would be moving up. They are both incredible competitors and great leaders for their programs. I think this will be a fun one.
141: #13 Tom Crook v Jack Gioffre
Crook is coming off a huge upset win over Lachlan McNeil; Gioffre is back to full strength after being sidelined by injury. Very contrasting styles, but could be fireworks if they both open up.
285: #20 Hunter Catka v #33 Ryan Catka
Battle of the Brothers. The loser doesn’t get Christmas presents next year. Any wrestler who has a sibling who wrestles knows this dynamic. Big brother Hunter will be looking to show little brother that he is the big dog in the conference. This could be a preview of an important match at ACCs as well.
North Carolina at #7 NC State
The Wolfpack fans have made it clear that they want to show the new coaching staff in Chapel Hill who is the top program in the state. The Tar Heels will be coming into a rowdy Reynolds Coliseum looking to snag some matches from the Wolfpack and rebound after a tough outing in Blacksburg last week. In a bit of gamesmanship, NC State has listed two options at each weight, so I’m hopeful that we will see the best matchups possible.
125: #26 Spencer Moore v #22 Jakob Camacho or Jarrett Trombley
This could be an early chance for the Tar Heels to steal a match. Moore is coming off a close loss to Cooper Flynn last week and has looked solid all year. Trombley dominated Colton Camacho at Pitt last week while Camacho went to the App State Open to get some matches and get back on track. Either option will be a good matchup against Moore and this could be a big match for seeding at ACCs.
141: #5 Lachlan McNeil v #4 Ryan Jack
Unexpectedly, both top-5 wrestlers are coming off upset losses last week on the road. McNeil lost to Tom Crook while Ryan Jack fell to Cole Matthews. This was expected to be the ACC final and an early loss for each will make this match even more important. Buckle up, this should be a fun one.
184: #23 Gavin Kane v #10 Dylan Fishback
Kane came back from an early deficit to top TJ Stewart in the Tar Heels only win last week. Fishback dropped a tough match to Reece Heller and will be looking to get back on track with a ranked win over All-American Kane. Kane has had some early-season hiccups but has looked solid of late and will be looking for an upset win to move up the rankings.