It was a successful Thursday for the ACC in the opening day of competition at the NCAA tournament. After two rounds, NC State sits in third in the team race with 21.5 team points, six points behind leader Penn State; Virginia Tech sits in seventh with 14.5. 31 ACC wrestlers continue on to day two; 12 of these wrestlers are in the quarterfinals.
Both Finesilver brothers are alive in the consolation bracket after going 1-1 on Thursday. Josh will wrestle Colin Realbuto and Matt will face Chris Foca in the next round. Both will have tough tests, but are in a good spot to keep moving on.
Cole Matthews is the lone Panther in the quarterfinals. He was put to the test on Thursday winning both by decision, the later match in sudden victory. He will face a very dangerous Sebastian Rivera in the morning round. Here are the consolation matchups for Pitt in the first round Friday.
Micky Phillippi: Oliveri-Rutgers
Elijah Cleary: Keating-UVA
Jake Wentzel: Cassella-Binghamton
Nino Bonaccorsi: Pentz-NDSU
The Tar Heels had both heartbreak and celebration on day one. Returning National Champion Austin O’Connor continues to wrestle through a knee injury that is clearly impacting his matches and dropped his opening round bout to Dazjon Casto of The Citadel. He came back in the evening session and won so will move on to day two.
Clay Lautt handled his business winning by a 7-point decision and a major decision to move to the quarters. He will face ACC foe Mekhi Lewis in the quarterfinals; Lautt is 0-2 against Lewis this season.
Kizhan Clarke pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament on Thursday, dropping 2 seed Jaydin Eierman with a beautiful takedown in sudden victory. He handled himself incredibly well during the 5 minute song and dance of Iowa challenging the call. Clarke has an awesome draw in the quarterfinals, as the 7-seed was knocked off in the first round. He will face 10-seed Jakob Bergeland of Minnesota.
Joe Heilmann: Koderhandt-Navy
Zach Sherman: Artalona-Penn
Austin O’Connor: Wright-Wyoming
North Carolina State
The Wolfpack had a fantastic day on Thursday and are in a podium position moving into day two. They brought 10 and all 10 are still alive for the podium on day two. The Wolfpack will have four in the quarterfinals and six fighting on the backside.
Tariq Wilson handled his matches, but wasn’t as dynamic as we had seen him at the ACC tournament. I expect him to be more offensive today. He will face big-move Ridge Lovett of Nebraska. I don’t think Lovett is as dangerous with big moves as is Bryce Andonian, and Wilson handled that chaos twice this year.
Ed Scott looked fantastic all day on Friday. He won his opening match by pin and beat a dangerous Justin Thomas by a 9-6 decision. He will face Quincy Monday of Princeton in the quarterfinals. Scott beat Monday in the dual in January in an incredibly well-wrestled 6-4 decision. It will be a tough task to beat Monday again, but I like Ed’s odds.
Hayden Hidlay was on a mission on Thursday. He picked up a first period pin and a major decision to move to the quarterfinals. He will face a very tough-but dinged up-Michael Kemerer in the quarterfinals. I love the way Hayden matches up here and expect to see him in the semifinals.
Trent Hidlay did his job and picked up two wins on Thursday, but like Wilson, didn’t look as dynamic as usual. I expect him to pick up the pace on Friday. He will face Trey Munoz of Oregon State in the quarterfinals.
Jakob Camacho: Ayala-Iowa
Kai Orine: Drury-Utah Valley
Ryan Jack: Kinner-Rider
Thomas Bullard: Olejnik-NIU
Isaac Trumble: Aiello-UVA
Tyrie Houghton: Traub-Oregon State
The Hoos had a wild swing of emotions in round two going from the high of Brian Courtney pulling off a big upset to the very low of Jay Aiello “losing” to Max Dean in what seems to be the yearly officiating abomination at the NCAA tournament. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Jay throughout his time in Charlottesville; he is one of the most genuine, hard-working, caring young men that you’ll come across. I’m absolutely gutted for him. But knowing him, he’s probably handling this setback better than most of the people in the UVA/ACC/NCAA wrestling orbit. My hope is that he’ll be able to bounce back and end up on the podium where he belongs.
Brian Courtney has been one of the stories of the tournament so far. He knocked off the 8-seed Rayvon Foley when he finished on top of a wild scramble at the end of the third to take the win. In his second round match, he was down 5-1 to Michael Colaiocco when he hit a wild takedown to the back to get a 6 point swing. He held onto the lead and pulled off his second upset of the tournament to move into the quarterfinals. He will have a taller order to move into the semifinals–he will face returning National Champion Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State to open the morning.
Jake Keating: Cleary-Pitt
Justin McCoy: Formato-App State
Jay Aiello: Trumble-NC State
The Hokies had a great day on Thursday and are positioned well for a podium run. They brought 8 to Detroit; 4 are in the quarterfinals and 7 are still alive on day two. Sam Latona and Bryce Andonian have both pulled off “upsets” along the way to get to the quarterfinals, while Mekhi Lewis and Korbin Myers wrestled to seed.
Sam Latona has looked phenomenal. He had two controlling victories to start the day and based on seeds, upset Devin Schroder to start the tournament. He will have to pull off a major upset of the 1-seed Nick Suriano to move to the semis, but it’s definitely possible.
Korbin Myers just continues to quietly do whatever he needs to do to win matches and advance. He picked up a 12-0 major in the first round and was up 8-4 over Hudkins before he was injured and defaulted. Myers will have a big match to start the day against 5-seed Austin Desanto. Safe to say that anyone not wearing black and gold will be pulling for the Hokie here.
Bryce Andonian is just so fun to watch and has been putting on a show in Detroit. BA has put up 25 points in his first two matches, both of which never seemed to be in question. This quarterfinal matchup may have 25 points scored by each wrestler. He faces another wide-open wrestler in Austin Gomez of Wisconsin this morning. I had this match circled when I filled out my brackets and can’t wait to see the show that is put on.
Mekhi Lewis has also quietly done his job in the first two matches; he had a 15-7 major and an 8-5 decision to move to the quarterfinals. He will face a familiar opponent Friday morning in Clay Lautt from North Carolina. Lewis is 2-0 against Lautt this season, beating him in the dual and in the ACC finals.
Connor Brady: Casto-The Citadel
Hunter Bolen: Kent-Mizzou
Nathan Traxler: Reid-Lock Haven