InterMat Wrestling – Virginia at #20 Pittsburgh Preview

2021 ACC Finals with Nino Bonaccorsi (left) and Jay Aiello (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

Hoos travels north to face the Panthers in a match featuring Steve Garland’s training tree – both Keith Gavin and Jordan Leen trained under Garland at UVA. This is a very good double bass and has some great matches. Courtney/Phillippi could be a really fun match, and so would Cedeno/Matthews, if Cedeno comes back at 100%. Both NCAA finalists will face tough tests; Wenzel has McCoy and Bonacoursi has Ayloo. There are plenty of games out there that I would consider negligent in this duo – we’ll see how much of a role Pete’s home mat feature plays.

125: Patrick McCormick vs #31 Gage Carey

McCormick has had a rollercoaster of the season so far – last week at the Virginia Dulles captured that in short order. He had matches against three ranked wrestlers, losing to Fabian Gutierrez and Anthony Noto, then beating Joey Prata the next day. Curry was a stable force for the leopards. He was initially split matches with Colton Camacho, but he has taken the right place to move forward. He comes in 10-6 with three of those losses to Brandon Courtney, Nick Soriano and Malik Henselmann.

133: #24 Brian Courtney vs #7 Mickey Phillips

This might be a great match, but it will all depend on either wrestler’s ability to break through the other’s solid defense. They are both funky and great wrestlers but have the ability to attack at a high rate when they want to. Courtney comes out on top 6-2 with a last-second loss to Chris Cannon. Felipe is 9-3 with a loss to Lucas Bird and Michael McGee and the end of the defensive match when he faces Maliki Heinz. Phillippi started his career at UVA and went to Pittsburgh when Coach Gavin took over and Coach Leen joined the squad, so there’s a lot of history in this game.

141: Dylan Cedeno vs #20 Cole Matthews

Matthews may be the most exciting wrestler in the country right now. He has a 5 pin win in a row – 4 pin and an 11-5 win over Stefan Micic. Cedeno has been very limited in his role this year due to injuries – he’s sitting 2-2 on the year. Before the season, coach Garland said Cedeno had to be monitored and his potential was going beyond the roof – hopefully he can get through this injury and finish the year on that track.

149: #30 Jarrod Dress Vs. Dan Mancinek

The first match that clearly tends to Hoos. Verk has looked great since transitioning to UVA. He comes in 15-4 with a loss to Josh Hill, PJ Ogonsanya and Yahya Thomas. Mancini split with Luke Kemerer to start the season but took on the role full-time; Comes with 11-8 records.

157: #28 Jake Keating vs #21 Elijah Cleary

Good game sneaky here. Keating was knocked out in the first half of the season but it’s been 8-2 since his comeback. Cleary is 12-4 with three of those losses to Jakuri Timmer, Will Lewan and Josh Humphreys. Cleary is a strong defensive wrestler, but he’s shown even more offensive power – especially in his run towards the MatMen Open title. Keating can score in groups and is great on top. I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen of Keating since my return and with Cleary giving away two losses – despite the loss of quality – I give Keating a slight edge here.

165: #15 Justin McCoy vs. #13 Jake Wenzel

This would be one of the notable matches of the duo; They have no previous meetings as McCoy has risen from 157 this season. Wentzel was a NCAA Finalist last year and had a great season. This season has been more difficult for him, but he still comes out with a 9-4 score. All four losses were to rated opponents, including Anthony Valencia and Carson Carcilla. McCoy comes undefeated 10-0 and would be the highest ranked wrestler he has met this season. McCoy is great on his feet and has a solid performance at the top. Wentzel loves the control ties from the neutral and is a great punishing wrestler. I’ve been looking forward to this match since I found out McCoy was moving. I think this is a very exciting match.

174: Justin Phillips vs. James LeDoux

Lledo dropped from 184 and made big noises last week with a pin that helped propel the Panthers to victory over Arizona State. He is 15-7 on the year and 4-1 since dropping to 174. Phillips has held the starting point for most of the year and is 14-5. Both are great fighters and have high attack rates, so it’s probably a high-score operation.

184: #23 Michael Batista vs #31 Greg Harvey

This will be an important match in determining the winning team for the duo. Harvey is 6-3 the year Mark Hall, Zach Bruneghel, and Caleb Romero lost. Batista is 11-1 on the year with his only loss to Kyle Cochran, who has been on a tear lately. They are both very physically great neutral wrestlers and have great gas tanks. I’ve been impressed by Batista’s ability to win matches this year. A huge improvement for him over previous seasons.

197: #11 Jay Aiello vs #9 Nino Bonacoursi

Another duo’s rectangular match will pit the U23 teammates against each other. Aiello sat through the first half of the season, so he could slowly drop to 197 from his 213-pound free weight after winning a bronze medal at the Under-23 World Championships. Since his comeback, he’s 7-0 with a fall of 3. Nino reached the NCAA Finals last season and is 8-2 this year, losing to Greg Polsack and Patrick Brocki. Aiello has been aggressive and constantly on the offensive ever since his return wrestling like a man on a mission. Bonacoursi has wrestled well and has been a huge part of Pete’s team success so far this year. Nino has the advantage of facing off with a decision in the doubles last year and an important decision during his NCAAs career last year. It looks like Nino has a Jay number, but I can see a potential surprise here.

285: #26 Quinn Miller vs. Jake Slinger

Miller has quietly put in a good season so far at 9-4. His losses include White Hendrickson and Lucas Davison. Slinger had the claw of the leopards, shutting the door to win some duos; It comes with number 9-9. Both are very active weightlifters and can put up points, so this match can be fun.

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