InterMat Wrestling – #10 Virginia Tech at #20 Pittsburgh Preview

Mickey Phillipe (left) and Corbin Myers at the 2021 ACC Finals (Photo courtesy of Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)

Virginia Tech in Pittsburgh

The Hokies head north to take on the Panthers in their first ACC double of the season. The two teams agreed to push the duo from Friday to Sunday to allow additional time for some of the VT wrestlers to return to the lineup, with both teams as close to full strength as possible. Both teams should be ready to get rid of the extra rest and we have some great games to look forward to in this game. To start us off, Latona-Curry will give us a sneak peek at whether Latona is back on top or if Curry’s stingy defense will be too much. Phillip Myers will be a fight. Brady-Cleary is a great low-key match and so is Bolen-Harvey. The Hokies are energized and ready to go after last week and the Panthers emerge with two back-to-back wins – a surprise sixth-place finish at Arizona State and a decisive victory over Virginia last week. Sunday noon should be fun for the ACC show.

125: #21 Sam Latona vs. #31 Gage Carrey

After a slow start to the season, Latona seemed to find his groove and looked much stronger in the previous two games. The All-American is back 6-6 in the season, but all his losses have been to ranked wrestlers, including current wrestlers 3, 4, 10, 13, 14. He doesn’t have any “bad losses,” but he certainly doesn’t look like the best version From the same in the first half of the season. Curry has looked going strong since moving from America and is 11-6 in the year. He took a conference win last week over UVA’s Patrick McCormick.

133: #5 Corbin Myers vs. #7 Mickey Phillipe

This is going to be the biggest duo match and it’s going to be fun. Myers comes in at 11-1 and his only loss is to Michael McGee of Arizona State. He’s wrestled incredibly well all season and has been an important part of Hokie’s squad. Phillip is 10-3 and losing to McGee, Lucas Bird and Malik Haynes, he took a technical win over UVA last week. Myers and Phillippe have met five times in their careers, with Phillippe taking a 3-2 advantage, but Myers took the final win with a 3-1 win to win the ACC title last year. All of their matches were close – the biggest win was by two points – and I don’t expect this match to be any different.

141: Colin Girardi vs #18 Cole Matthews

Girardi had a solid season holding 141st place and coming in with a record 8-4. Matthews was in a hot streak and won 6 consecutive wins including 4 falls and a major decision against UVA last week. Girardi’s goal could be very difficult to score, so we’ll see if Matthews can break through to continue the race he’s been in.

149: Sam Hellegas vs Luke Kemmerer

Sam Hillegas will start this week against Luke Kemerer (possibly Dan Mancini) for the Panthers. Heligas has been out for most of the season due to injury, but has lost 4-2 since his return. Kemerer dropped the 7-2 decision to Jarod Verkleeren last week in the double UVA.

157: #23 Conor Brady vs. #21 Elijah Cleary

This could be fun – they are both great defensive wrestlers, but they can put on an offensive display. Brady is 11-2 in the season losing to Quincy Monday and Jakuri Timmer. He’s looked great all season and made some big points for hockey. Cleary has had a great season since moving from Ohio State; He is 9-4 in the year and won in a decision win over John Erico of UVA.

165: Clayton O’Leary vs. #14 Jake Wenzel

O’Leary has been a fighter all year and has shown improvement each time as he is on a seven-game winning streak. Wentzel had the best chance of all as a returning NCAA Finalist and lost some close decisions but still came in with a solid 10-4 record and won an important decision over Jake Keating last week.

174: #3 Mickey Lewis vs. James LeDoux

Mekhi looked exceptional at 174. He looked strong and healthy at the top weight and was wrestling like crazy. He’s 13-0, and has 8 wins over hockey extra points. Lledo dropped from 184 and wrestled well at the lower weight; He’s 4-2 at 174 and lost by big decision to UVA’s Justin Phillips last week.

184: #12 Hunter Boleyn vs #32 Greg Harvey

Bolen is back in his first game since The Southern Scuffle and will be auditioned at Gregg Harvey, who appears to have an endless gas tank. Pauline is 16-2 on the year, while Harvey is 6-4. Harvey will be a great test for Pauline to come back and should be a good gauge of where he comes into the ACC duets. Pauline has a 2-0 advantage in head-to-head matches with Harvey.

197: #33 Dakota Howard vs. Dakota Howard. #8 Nino Bonacoursi

Dakota Howard is one of the most fun wrestlers to watch in the country. He gives his all in every game and I don’t expect it to be any different than going back to the NCAA Final at Bonaccorsi. Howard is 11-5 in the year with 8 bonus points wins. Bonaccorsi comes in at 9-2 with his only loss to Greg Bulsak and Patrick Brucki.

285: #14 Nathan Traxler vs. Jake Slinger

Traxler has been virtually flawless ever since I got on the mat for the Hokies. He is 13-1 since moving from Stanford, with his only loss by 3-2 decision to #13 Tate Orndorff. He’s entering this duo in nine straight games to face Slinger, who comes with a surprise win over UVA’s #32 Quinn Miller. Slinger has had a hit for the Panthers in several duos this year and will be looking for his second ACC win.

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