By Pablo DiMaria
High School Correspondent
Virginia Duals Preview
The Virginia Duals, Known as “The grand daddy of them all”, is celebrating its 33rd year of hosting this event. It started back in 1981 when North Carolina State won the first ever National College Division. Years later in 1999, the Virginia Duals added the American/Small School Division, won by Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa. Since then on, wrestling powerhouses like Oklahoma State, Minnesota and Penn State have participated in this event.
High school teams were first included in the event in 1995 with the National High School Division, Parkersburg South, West Virginia won the first championship. Two additional divisions were added for high school competition the following year. The American High School Division that serves as dual-meet with a mix of national, regional, and local teams; while the Black and Blue High School Division is mostly made up of Virginia local teams.
Over the Eighteen years many elite teams have won this event, teams like—Nazareth(PA), Great Bridge(VA), Archbishop Moeller)OH), Grundy(VA), Northampton(PA), Christiansburg(VA), Wyoming-Seminary(PA) and most recently Canon-McMillan(PA). Great Bridge high school is the only team that has won this event four times and has been a finalist eight times.
Championship first round matches start on Friday at 9 a.m. ET in the upper bracket and continue with lower bracket matches at 11 a.m. Quarterfinals and consolation first round matches will follow at 1 p.m. (upper bracket) and 3 p.m. (lower bracket). Wrestling will then continue on Saturday at 8 a.m. with a pair of matches involving squads that went 0-2, then at 10 a.m. with the consolation second round. The championship finals will kick-off at 2:00 p.m., two rounds of consolation at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., before the first and third place matches at 8:30 p.m.
Wrestlers ranked wrestling in this event:
10. Coy Ozias (Christiansburg)
1. Joey Dance (Christiansburg)
3. Brandon Jeske (Cox)
6. J.R. Wert (Christiansburg)
8. Scott Delvecchio (South Plainfield)
11. Dennis Gustafson (Forest Park)
4. Anthony Ashnault (South Plainfield)
13. Neal Richards (Matoaca)
6. Fox Baldwin (Osceola)
9. T.J. Miller (Camden Catholic)
17. Troy Heilmann (South Plainfield)
19. Jack Clark (McDonogh)
15. Chad Walsh (Camden Catholic)
8. Myles Martin (McDonogh)
10. Josh Llopez (St. Mary’s Ryken)
7. Zach Epperly (Christiansburg)
20. Chris Pagan (Osceola)
6. Aaron Bradley (Nazareth)
11. South Plainfield (NJ)
36. McDonough (MD)
37. Christiansburg (VA)
South Plainfield (NJ) is the clear favorite and the No. 1 Seed at this event. They finished 3rd in 2012 and 2010, in 2011 they finish in 4th place. In the first round they will meet Cave Springs High (VA) and should wrestle the winner of the Nazareth (PA) and Ocean Lakes (VA) dual. Nazareth is one of the few schools that have participated in this event since the first Virginia dual tournament in 1995. Nazareth has won the National division three times and has been a top four team eleven times. Camden Catholic (NJ) the No. 6 rank team in single class state New Jersey, should wrestle St. Christopher’s (VA) 11 time Virginia Prep state champions in the first round. Waiting for either Camden Catholic or St. Christopher’s will be either Freedom (PA) or Christiansburg (VA) 11 time Virginia Class AA state champions.
The bottom bracket will be fun to watch with four Virginia teams, one from Colorado, New Jersey, Florida and Maryland. No. 3 seed Colonial Forge (VA) will dance with fellow Virginian school, New Kent High in the first round. Colonial Forge should advance and wait for the winner of the Arvada West (CO) versus Kissimee Osceola (FL). Second seed McDonough (MD) should meet and win over Smithfield High(VA) in the first round, to meet with the winner of the Timber Creek(NJ) versus Forest Park(VA).If Timber Creek advances and meets McDonough High in the quarterfinals, we might see a match with No. 19 at 145 pounds Jack Clark versus three-time New Jersey state placer, Brandon Keller.
The finals should be pitting South Plainfield versus McDonogh in a rematch of last year’s third place match won by South Plainfield. It should be a physical match with both teams exchanging the team lead until probably the final match of the dual-meet.