One of my favorite things to track during the opening weeks of the collegiate season is the progress of the freshmen, true and redshirt. Most come into their respective schools with a ton of high school accolades and plenty of hope for the future. Then reality sets in. College is a whole different ballgame and some freshmen thrive while the majority struggle. Now, there are plenty of freshmen that experienced early bumps in the road and righted the ship to have an excellent career. Today we’ll look at some of the notable freshmen that took the mat for the first time last weekend and how they fared. What makes this fun is that some are freshmen that we all expected to be great while others are yet to household names. For this exercise, we’re only looking at freshmen that are now starting or stand a reasonable chance to get into their team’s lineup.
Nic Aguilar (Rutgers) - Even though he was not in the lineup for Rutgers’ three duals on Saturday, Nic Aguilar had a strong weekend. At the Princeton Open, Aguilar picked up a pair of wins over some solid sophomores in Joe Manchio (Columbia) and Dylan Ryder (Hofstra). He made the finals after scoring a 5-3 decision over fellow freshman Sean Pierson (Princeton). In the finals. Aguilar lost via tech fall to All-American Patrick Glory (Princeton).
Michael Colaiocco (Penn) - Finished fourth at the Michigan State Open. Michael lost a one-point decision to Brock Hudkins (Indiana) in the semi’s and fell to Devin Schroder (Purdue) for third. Earlier that tournament, Colaiocco had beaten Schroder. Michael also tech another NCAA qualifier, Bryce West (Northern Illinois).
Jace Koelzer (Northern Colorado) - Koelzer started the Cowboy Open with an 8-3 win over freshman Graham Shore (Air Force). A match later, he secured a place in the finals by downing 2019 NCAA qualifier Cole Verner (Wyoming), 6-4. For the championship, Koelzer fell to Shore’s Air Force teammate, Sidney Flores, 9-4.
Sam Latona (Virginia Tech) - At this point, true freshman Sam Latona probably redshirts, but there could be an opportunity for him to fight his way into the Hokie lineup. Projected starter Korbin Myers is expected to miss extended time. His replacement, Joey Prata, got a nice win over Dack Punke (Missouri) in Virginia Tech’s season-opening win over Missouri. Latona came away with a title from the Southeast Open after defeating a tough customer, Fabian Gutierrez (Chattanooga), 6-3 in the finals. If Prata stumbles, don’t be surprised if the Hokie staff turns to Latona.
Patrick McKee (Minnesota) - Minnesota only had one dual meet this week, but McKee shined with a fall over Alex Hernandez-Figueroa (CSU Bakersfield) in under a minute.
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