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American, Army, North Carolina and Wyoming Square Off at AU Duals

AU Duals

On Friday, January 6th, 2017, beginning at 3 pm eastern some NCAA wrestling teams that are unfamiliar with each other historically, American, Army, North Carolina, and Wyoming, will gather in Washington, D.C. to compete. Their head coaches are the common thread here with Teague Moore (American), Kevin Ward (Army), Coleman Scott (North Carolina), and Mark Branch (Wyoming) all having done their college wrestling at Oklahoma State. I’m sure there will be friendly greetings and some reminiscing before and after these duals, but there will be some serious competition during.

The schedule pits Wyoming against American and Army against North Carolina at 3 pm. Round two begins at 5 pm and features Army against American and North Carolina against Wyoming. The final rotation begins at 7 pm with North Carolina against American and Army against Wyoming. These teams rarely meet in duals. In the case of Wyoming and American, they’ve never met. The Cowboys have wrestled North Carolina (1976) and Army (2002) once each. The eastern teams are a little more familiar with each other, but not much. American has wrestled Army and North Carolina just five times each. Army and North Carolina are bitter rivals, by comparison, facing off 10 times over the years with the Tar Heels holding a 7-2-1 advantage all-time.

As seems to be the case at most NCAA wrestling events this season, 141 pounds is loaded with three of the four wrestlers ranked in the top-11 nationally. Fourth-ranked Joey Ward (North Carolina) is coming off of a second-place finish, to defending NCAA champion Dean Heil (Oklahoma State), at the Southern Scuffle. Ward beat fifth-ranked Joey McKenna (Stanford) in the semi-finals there. Eighth-ranked Bryce Meredith (Wyoming) upset McKenna in last year’s NCAA semi-final before also losing to Heil. Meredith has not yet met Ward. Ward has wrestled #11 Logan Everett (Army). Everett dealt Ward his only loss of the season on November 6th at the Southeast Open. That rematch takes place in the 3 o’clock duals and could set the tone for the later matches both have against Meredith. Whoever American send out at 141, it will likely be Jack Mutchnik or James Giaccia, will be in for a long day.

At 157 pounds, #12 Russell Parsons (Army) will square off with #13 Archie Colgan (Wyoming) in a 7 pm dual. On paper, it looks likely to be a close match. At last season’s Southern Scuffle it was just that with Colgan falling to Parsons, 3-1, in sudden victory. That eliminated the Wyoming grappler while Parsons went on to finish sixth. Joey Moon (North Carolina) has had some nice wins this season, including an upset over #10 Jake Short (Minnesota). He’ll get two more chances to upset ranked opponents Friday. Don’t be surprised if he picks off Parsons or Colgan.

Other ranked wrestlers scheduled to compete are #15 Josh Terao (American) at 125, #7 Cole Mendenhall (Wyoming) at 149, #9 Branson Ashworth (Wyoming) at 165, and #7 Ethan Ramos (North Carolina) at 174. Also, keep an eye on Esteban Gomez-Rivera (American) at 133, if he is back in the line-up, and Rocco Caywood (Army) at 197, who has had an inconsistent start to the year, but has a lot of potential.

Wyoming isn’t bringing a 197 on this trip. Instead, they will weigh in Kyle Pope and Chaz Polson at 174 along with Luke Paine at 184, then bump guys around to cover the lineup. This puts what would otherwise be the strongest lineup in the competition at a bit of a disadvantage. North Carolina could be in a position to capitalize, especially if Ward can beat Meredith and Moon upsets Colgan. All of these duals could be close, though the hosts, American, could struggle depending upon who is wrestling for them. The Wyoming versus American dual, at 3 pm, will be broadcast live, for free. All the other matches will have live results available through trackwrestling.

Projected Line-ups:

American

125 – #15 Josh Terao (So)

133 – Esteban Gomez-Rivera (Sr) or Angelo Barberio (Fr)

141 – Jack Mutchnik (So) or James Giaccia (So)

149 – Tom Page (Sr) or Michael Sprague (So)

157 – Cole Moseley (Sr)

165 – Michael Eckhart (So)

174 – Conner Allshouse (Fr) or Joe Salvi (So)

184 – Jason Grimes (Sr)

197 – Jeric Kasunic (Jr)

285 – Brett Dempsey (Jr)

Army

125 – Trey Chalifoux (Fr)

133 – Austin Harry (So)

141 – #11 Logan Everett (Sr)

149 – Matthew Kelly (Jr)

157 – #12 Russell Parsons (Sr)

165 – Andrew Mendel (Jr)

174 – Ben Harvey (Fr)

184 – Samson Imonode (Sr)

197 – Rocco Caywood (So)

285 – Trevor Smith (Sr)

North Carolina

125 – James Szymanski (So)

133 – Tyrone Klump (So)

141 – #4 Joey Ward (Sr)

149 – Troy Heilman (Jr)

157 – Joey Moon (Sr)

165 – Jack Clark (So)

174 – #7 Ethan Ramos (Jr)

184 – Elijah Kerr-Brown (Fr)

197 – Daniel Chaid (Jr)

285 – Cory Daniel (So)

Wyoming

125 – Gunnar Woodburn (Sr)

133 – Drew Templeman (Sr) or Ronnie Stevens (Jr)

141 – #8 Bryce Meredith (Jr)

149 – #7 Cole Mendenhall (Sr)

157 – #13 Archie Colgan (Jr)

165 – #9 Branson Ashworth (So)

174 – Kyle Pope (Jr) or Chaz Polson (Jr)

184 – Luke Paine (Jr)

197 – Void

285 – Brandon Tribble (Sr)

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