InterMat Wrestling – ACC Conference Recap (1/17/22)

2021 NCAA runner-up Nino Bonaccorsi (Image via Sam Janicki,

duke: The Blue Devils fell in front of the Appalachian mountain climbers at home on Thursday despite running at the top weights. Mountaineers have relied on the power of their light weight to leap to an early front that they will never give up. #27 Caleb Smith beat Logan Agin with the Masters at 125, followed by No. 28 Cody Russell, earning a technical touchdown on Drake Doolittle at 133 and losing Patrick Rowland by decision at 141. In tonight’s game, at 149, we saw #8 Josh Finsilver compete with No. Jonathan Milner 5 All Americans – The only Finesilver loss for the year up to this point was for Milner. Finesilver got some great shots early, but couldn’t finish. Milner wrestled incredibly from space and used his quick replays to dominate the match. Milner walked away late to score 8-3 and handed Vinsilver his second loss of the season.

App State continued its streak to take the next two games; Wade Unger lost by a wide margin to Cody Bond #32 in 157, followed by Gabe Dennett dropping a 7-4 decision to #21 Will Formato in 165. The Blue Devils finally got on the board at 174 and ran the table for the rest of their games, but it wasn’t enough to get past the Mountaineers. #13 Matt Vinsilver dominated the match against #33 Thomas Fleets and made the 4-0 decision, but was disappointed with the result, as he was looking to score a bonus. At 184, Vincent Becker took a surprise win, followed by Caden Russell in a show on his feet to win 7-1. Jonah Niesenbaum ended Duke’s double with a 5-2 victory over Michael Burchill.

This wasn’t the best duo we’ve seen from the Blue Devils this year, but they have identified some areas they need to improve in their battle with UNC next week. They travel across town to face the Tar Heels for the opening conference duos on Friday.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels have been suspended this week and will return to work with Duke to open the ACC dual conference on Friday, before facing Little Rock’s former assistant coach Neil Erisman on Sunday.

North Carolina: Wolfpack was off the week and will be back in action at this year’s double ACC iteration last season, hosting Virginia Tech at the Reynolds Coliseum on Friday.

Pittsburgh: The #19 Panthers might have made the biggest noise of any ACC team this weekend when they knocked out #6 Arizona in front of their home crowd at Fitzgerald Field House. The Panthers took an unusual path to a team victory, winning only four of the 10 games, but all of them were Pete’s six points. When I said there was a path to victory for the Panthers – that wasn’t quite what I had in mind! Pete lost a few close matches, but managed to overcome that deficit and rise to their #PINZBURGH tag streak with three pins and a fourth elimination win.

At 125, #32 Gage Curry was able to slow down the pace of #4 Brandon Courtney and keep him in the winning decision. Then at 133, we tackled a high-profile match between #7 Mickey Phillippi and #4 Michael McGee; It was a tough match, but McGee was able to win by decision. #22 Cole Matthews continued his hot streak and made the Panthers even on the board with a pin from the first period over Julian Schleboff that got the fans on their feet. It didn’t last long as they reached the middle of the Sun Devil lineup. #11 Kyle Barco dominated a key decision 16-2 over Dan Mancini at 149. #21 Elijah Cleary wrestled well against Jakuri Timmer #3 but was unable to finish any offensive tackles; Timer scored a late goal to continue his lead in a close match to win 6-2. Halfway for the duo, ASU was 13-6 above the Panthers.

In one of the most anticipated matches at 165, #6 Anthony Valencia was able to hold out against #13 Jake and go down 6-3. The match had a strange back-and-forth feel, complete with Wentzel calling the stall with the cradle locked, but I could. Wentzel looked great and punished up front, but was unable to get the benefit of his feet, even though he was able to slow down the very dangerous Valencia. With the team leading in 174m by 16-6, it wasn’t great for Pete. Enter James LeDoux, who retracted from 184; Lledo came out with a shot and took Zane Coleman on his back for a pin in the first period. With a hint of momentum, #31 Greg Harvey brought in an uncompromising pace and punished Josh Nomer for the better part of three spells. While Harvey was on tech fall, Nomer was disqualified after being hit for stalling five times to put another 6 on the board to lead the Panthers 18-16. #8 Nino Bonaccorsi was set for a top-ten battle with #10 Kordell Norfleet, but instead ASU sent Jake Ortiz, with #3 Colton Schultz looming at 285, Pitt needed extra points from Nino to win the duo. Nino was delivered with a first period pin, a duo icing for panthers. ASU was penalized a point for the team after the game and at 285, Jake Slinger lost to Schultz with an important decision to make the team’s final score 24-19 in favor of the Panthers.

Pete may not have wrestled his perfect duo, losing two throwing matches they were hoping to win, but it’s hard not to be satisfied with that result. Incredible team match for panthers and impressive work to reduce damage from some dangerous gladiators and earn extra points in every possible match. This gives Pete plenty of impetus to usher in the ACC double season when they host Virginia next Friday.

Virginia: Hoos faced a tough challenge this week as COVID precautions within the program significantly restrict the roster for Virginia Duals. “These guys were ready to go and we – and a big thank you to our athletic trainer for going to the racket for them – fought to be able to compete this weekend,” said coach Garland. “The guys who went took most of their chances and I’m really proud of the way they competed this weekend.”

125: Patrick McCormick went 1-2 at the weekend by defeating Joey Prata #23 and losing to #22 Fabian Gutierrez and #27 Anthony Noto.

133: #14 Brian Courtney went 3-1, defeating Vidlac and Tanner of Oklahoma and Strickland of Lock Haven. He lost to #21 Brayden Palmer of UTC.

149: Unbeaten Jarod Verkleeren over the weekend, racked up four wins, including a pin and a key decision. He won the decision over Dom Dimas of the Oklahoma All-American. He also won by decision over UTC’s Noah Castillo. He made a major decision on DeShawn Farber of Lock Haven and installed Tyler Johnson of Kent State. An excellent weekend for Virk and he’s been up on his game in every game.
157: Jon Eriko went 2-1 with two pin wins.

157: Jake Keating made a big comeback to the lineup, going 3-1 at the weekend and his only loss to #16 Justin Thomas of Oklahoma. He had a win decision against Lock Haven and UTC and received a technical touchdown against Kent State.

165: #16 Justin McCoy went 1-0 in his only match against UTC.

174: Robbie Patrick went 0-1, falling with a surprise win in his debut of the year against UTC.

184: Michael Batista has had a great weekend and looks ready to smash his entry into the ACC. It was 4-0 at the weekend with a big win over #21 Darren Roberts of Oklahoma 3-1. He’s also got a win decision against UTC, a major decision against Lock Haven and a technical touchdown against Kent State.

197: #14 Jay Aiello continues to admire his return to the UVA lineup; He went 4-0 at the end of the week. His biggest win came against All-American #11 Jake Woodley of Oklahoma, where he made a convincing 6-1 decision. He also scored a pin and a technical fall against Lock Haven on day one and on day two, finished with a pin over South Dakota State, after upsetting Woodley.

UVA has made the most of a tumultuous weekend and is moving into conference competition with its last formation after several rookies came off with injuries. They travel to Pete to open the conference duos on Friday.

Virginia Tech: Hockey hosted their fourth event at the Moss Center for the Arts, where they faced George Mason for center stage at the Performing Arts Center in Blacksburg. We were able to see some young talent in the Hokies as some rookies rested in preparation for the ACC duets starting next week. The biggest takeaway was the return of #7 Bryce Andonian, which we haven’t seen since the Mizzou duo. It looked like he didn’t miss a move and opened the duo with a pin at 149. He also added a second pin in an extra match after the duo finished.

#16 Sam Latona looked strong and was on the offensive throughout the match to win the Major. Brandon Wittenberg made a compelling decision at the age of 133 on his double debut. Colin Girardi ranked 141 and won by decision 5-2. After the Andonian pin, Jake Hart dropped a decision with a 3-1 at 157. Clayton O’Leary came off shooting and was more aggressive than I think I’ve seen all season. He looked great and he’s really getting close to being fit for the Hokies; He dominated his way to a key decision 13-3. George Mason was able to get the duos back in the next two games. Logan Messi pinned Austin Dempsey at 174 and Simon Holmes lost through injury by default to Kyle Davis. The last two weights were all hockey. #33 Dakota Howard showed off his offensive firepower en route to a 22-7 Tech downfall. #13 Nathan Traxler made his Moss debut in a quick show, taking his fastest pin of the season at 33 seconds.

The Moss duo is always a great event, and it was nice to see some of the guys getting into the squad at this venue. The Hokies are locked in and ready for this year’s double rematch from last season as they travel to Raleigh to face the Wolfpack on Friday.

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