photo courtesy of ODU athletics
Every weekend we get more and more teams beginning their dual seasons. This weekend we’re treated to Oklahoma State and Iowa jumping into the season, as well as a few others. We’ve once again put together the 10 matches you need to watch this week, starting with a bout from TOM’s Dual of the Week.
125: Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) vs. Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh)
I hope Iowa fans don’t get too upset about this one. While it should be fun to watch Spencer Lee’s season opener this weekend, this match will also be a very exciting one to watch. No. 4 Piccininni opens his season against No. 10 Paetzell, who is already 3-0 on the year. Paetzell began his year with a championship at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic last weekend in New York.
Piccininni is coming off a career year for the Cowboys. He finished the regular season undefeated in 2018-19 and claimed his third-straight Big 12 title. He earned All-American honors for the second time, placing fifth at the NCAA Championships.
The dual between Oklahoma State and Lehigh should be a good one, and the match at 125 will likely be the highlight of the event.
133: Micky Phillipi (Pittsburgh) vs. Quinn Kinner (Ohio State)
How about another top-10 matchup at 133 pounds? That’s what we’ll get when No. 4 Phillipi and No. 10 Kinner take the mat on Friday in Pittsburgh. The Panthers host Ohio State in a big early-season matchup, and Phillipi will look to continue his undefeated start to the season. He’s already 5-0 on the year with a chance to add a big win this weekend.
Kinner has gotten his career in Columbus off to a hot start. The redshirt freshman is 5-2 on the season so far. He picked up a win in Ohio State’s dual against Stanford last Sunday, defeating Brandon Kier 7-1 to help Ohio State to a win over the Cardinal. He’ll have a tougher test this weekend when he faces Phillipi on the road.
141: Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) vs. Mitch Moore (Virginia Tech)
Another Ohio State wrestler is featured in our matchup to watch at 141 pounds this week. Pletcher remains at the top of his weight class after an overtime 3-1 decision over No. 15 Real Woods of Stanford on Sunday. He’s now off to a 6-0 start to his senior season. After traveling to Pittsburgh on Friday, the Buckeyes return home on Sunday to host Virginia Tech.
Pletcher will face a talented sophomore in Mitch Moore. Moore is the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year and he’s off to a good start to the 2019-20 season. Neither of his two matches have made it out of the first period as he’s pinned both of his opponents. Moore racked up 10 falls in his freshman season, so he’s already on pace to pass that mark this year. He’ll be returning to his home state of Ohio for this weekend’s dual, where he’ll have his toughest test to date.
149: Austin O’Connor (North Carolina) vs. Requir van der Merwe (Stanford)
O’Connor has yet to make his season debut, but it will be highly anticipated. Coming off one of the best seasons in Tar Heel history, the redshirt sophomore is ranked No. 1 in the country. With his third-place finish at the NCAA Championships last year, he became just the seventh freshman All-American in UNC program history. With a full year of competition under his belt, he’ll be looking to improve upon the success of his freshman year.
He’ll face van der Merwe in this weekend’s dual at Stanford. The redshirt junior is ranked No. 18 in the 149 weight class and is off to a 3-2 start and coming off a close 3-1 loss at Ohio State last weekend. He’ll look to rebound with a big upset of the top-ranked wrestler in his class.
157: Hayden Hidlay (NC State) vs. Larry Early (Old Dominion)
We are in for a treat this weekend at 157. Hidlay makes his season debut as NC State opens up the dual season against Old Dominion. Ranked No. 1 at 157, the redshirt junior will take on No. 4 Early of ODU.
Hidlay has had a fantastic first two seasons of his career, winning back-to-back ACC Championships and earning All-American honors both years. He starts his junior season trailing only Nick Gwiazdowski in the program’s winning percentage.
Early, on the other hand, is off to a 3-0 start in his senior season. An All-American last year, Early upset Hidlay in last season’s dual between the Monarchs and Wolfpack. He’ll look to have a repeat performance this weekend in Raleigh.
165: Alex Marinelli (Iowa) vs. Andrew Nicholson (Chattanooga)
Here you go, Hawkeyes fans. Marinelli comes into this season ranked No. 2 at 165 pounds. The two-time All-American placed seventh at last year’s NCAA Championships after winning the Big Ten title. He got off to a 25-0 start before his first loss of the season at the national tournament. He’s got a real shot at the national title again this year, with Vincenzo Joseph the only wrestler ahead of him in the rankings.
His opponent this weekend is Chattanooga’s Andrew Nicholson, a sophomore who’s off to a 1-1 start. Nicholson suffered a loss to Illinois’ Dan Braunagel last weekend before defeating Army’s Mason Smith in his next bout. He’ll have to bring his A-game this weekend when the Mocs travel to Iowa City.
174: Bryce Steiert (Northern Iowa) vs. Tyler Morland (Northwestern)
Steiert makes his season debut this week after reaching All-American status for the first time in his career last season. The redshirt senior is a three-time NCAA qualifier, but he’s moving up a weight class for his final year of competition. He’s wrestled at 157 and 165 in the past, so it will be interesting to see how he fares at 174 in 2019.
Morland already has one match under his belt this season. A redshirt sophomore from Brighton, Michigan, Morland defeated Virginia Tech’s Cody Hughes 6-1 in last weekend’s dual. Steiert will be a challenge for Morland, but it should make for an exciting match.
184: Dakota Geer (Oklahoma State) vs. Chris Weiler (Lehigh)
A transfer from Edinboro, Geer had a strong season last year for the Cowboys. He went 30-7, placing third at the Big 12 Championships and earned All-American honors for the first time. Now a redshirt junior, he’s ranked No. 2 in the country at 184 pounds.
He’ll face Weiler, who’s off to a 5-2 start, in this weekend’s match. He’s a senior who reached the NCAA quarterfinals in 2018. He’s already taken third at both the Princeton Open and the Journeymen Collegiate Classic this season. He split time between 184 and 97 last season, but he’s starting this year’s dual season at 184 pounds when he faces Geer on Saturday.
197: Drew Phipps (Bucknell) vs. Joel Shapiro (Iowa State)
Coming in at No. 17 at 197 pounds, Phipps will have one match under his belt before he faces Shapiro. The Bison take on Northern Illinois on Friday before traveling to Iowa State on Sunday afternoon. Phipps qualified for the NCAA Championships last season for the first time in his career. As a senior this season, he’ll look to improve on that performance in his final year.
Shapiro is in his redshirt freshman year for the Cyclones. He went 26-5 last season wrestling unattached, winning titles at three different tournaments. He took third at the Cyclone Open last weekend, so he’s already off to a solid start this season.
285: Garrett Hoffman (Bucknell) vs. Gannon Gremmel (Iowa State)
Another one from the Bucknell vs. Iowa State dual, featuring No. 16 Hoffman vs. No. 18 Gremmel. Hoffman is a senior who qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2017, but hasn’t been able to make it back since then. He suffered an injury during his sophomore season that caused him to miss all of his junior season as well. When he gets back out on the mat this weekend, he’ll be looking to show that he’s completely back and ready to compete at a high level this year.
Gremmel is coming off a championship at the Cyclone Open last weekend, winning the open division at 285 pounds. He had the best season of his career last year, placing fifth at the Big 12 Championships and qualifying for NCAAs. He’ll look to improve this year, starting his dual season off against Hoffman.
Those are your matches to watch for this weekend in NCAA Division I wrestling. Plenty of ranked bouts and plenty of entertainment is coming your way, so make sure to clear your plans and catch each of these matches as they go down.