Hayden Hidlay in the 74 kg finals at Senior Nationals
ACC wrestlers went hunting for stop signs in Coralville, Iowa, last weekend at the Senior and Junior level. Current wrestlers for NC State, UNC, UVA, and VT earned All-American honors, including three wrestlers bringing titles back to the east coast. Bryce Andonian earned top honors at 70kg Juniors, while Jakob Camacho and Hayden Hidlay picked up Senior US Open titles at 57kg and 74kg, respectively.
NC State took a large contingent at both levels and brought a lot of hardware back to Raleigh. In the Senior US Open, Camacho took an 8-6 decision over Ethan Rotondo in a back and forth match to win the title at 57kg. Hidlay dominated his way to three tech falls to face off with Mizzou grad Joey Lavallee in the finals. Hidlay controlled the low-scoring defensive match to pick up the 2-1 win. The Wolfpack had another finalist at 86kg, where Trent Hidlay dropped a tight bout to former Penn State national champ Mark Hall 5-4. Rounding out the Senior field, Isaac Trumble finished 5th at 97kg while Nick Reenan doubled up with 6th place finishes in both freestyle and Greco. The Wolfpack RTC also had a championship from 2x NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski at 125kg.
On the Junior side, the Wolfpack brought home three All-American honors. AJ Kovacs finished in 8th at 74kg, Isaac Trumble came in at 6th at 92kg and Ed Scott fell in the best-of-3 finals at 70kg to fellow ACC wrestler Andonian from Virginia Tech. Associate Head Coach Adam Hall was impressed by the effort shown in Junior's, "We urged our guys to use this tournament to focus on their growth through the shortened season we had. They got a lot of benefits both mentally and physically by ending this stretch with so many high-level matches". The Wolfpack had two wrestlers pull double duty: Nick Reenan placed 6th in both Greco and freestyle while Isaac Trumble placed 6th in Juniors and 5th in Seniors--qualifying for World Team Trials. "We wanted to challenge Isaac, but we left the choice up to him," said Hall, "he really answered the challenge and now is qualified for WTTs, so we are really happy with his effort."
The Hokies/Southeast Regional Training Center sent six to Iowa and brought back six medals. Their performance was highlighted by a Junior title and a trip to Worlds for Bryce Andonian at 70kg. Current Hokie, Clayton Ulrey, also earned All-American honors with a fifth-place finish at 74kg. On the Senior side, SERTC had four athletes competing. They were highlighted by James Green earning the US Open title at 70kg. Hokie sophomore, Andy Smith, finished in 3rd at 97kg, former Hokie All-American Ty Walz finished 4th in his first event at 125kg, and Nashon Garrett ended the weekend in 6th at 61kg. Coach Frayer was pleased with the performance overall. "I was really happy with the way our guys competed out there, from the Senior level guys to our incoming freshman. All 6 we brought placed in the top 6 and incoming freshman Cooper Flynn had a great run to 4th at 57kg". Frayer also praised the effort from Bryce Andonian, "I'm really excited for Bryce making his first world team and a chance to compete for a world title in August!"
UVA brought three All-Americans back to Charlottesville in Seniors. Jake Keating finished in 8th at 70kg, Justin McCoy took 7th at 74kg and Michael Battista finished in 4th at 86kg. Head Coach Steve Garland was proud of the progress shown by all of his wrestlers. "Keating will be moving down to 157 next year, so it was great prep for him to make weight. He did what he always does and competed really hard...his matches were insane, as usual; he leaves it all out there and is really fun to watch". Garland also said the weight adjustment was helpful for McCoy. "Justin is moving up to 165, so this tournament was a good test for him. He took 3rd at the UWW Juniors in the fall, so it's great to see the consistency". Garland was very impressed by the work at 86kg. "Battista was the story of the tournament for us. He is a great kid and beat some really tough dudes and competed against two returning NCAA champs. It was a great experience for him".
North Carolina brought a young contingent to Juniors. Associate Head Coach Tony Ramos was impressed by what he saw. "It was great to be back on the mat and see some of our younger guys compete again. All of them got valuable mat time against some of the best in the world and the USA". The Tarheels brought one All-American finish back to Chapel Hill; Max Shaw finished in 4th at 92kg.
Overall, it was a solid weekend for the ACC programs. Three ACC wrestlers bring home championships while another 13 earn All-American honors. Bryce Andonian will represent the USA at the Junior World Championships in August in Ufa, Russia, while Ed Scott will represent the USA at the Junior Pan-Am Championships. The top five placers in the US Open qualify for the World Team Trials to be held later this year.