It’s that time of year wrestling fans. Schools are mostly back in session. Schedules and rosters are being released and calendars are getting marked up for future match dates.
I’m reaching out to coaches that I know to get their projected line ups for the coming season. Lots of things can happen between now and March but these are best guesses as of September. Having done this for a couple of years you get to know some coaches are open to talking, some are not and some like to spread misinformation or generate talk.
I generally repost what they tell me and I’ll make note of my own opinions.
North Carolina State
No coach input on this one. I’m making educated guesses here and adding some thoughts. I’m projecting the early season lineup. I don’t think the final lineup will be set until Midlands at the end of December. NCST has a ton of young non blue chip talent. The Skip does one of the best jobs of coaching them up in the country. The way Pat Popolizio coaches his kind of wrestler up it’s hard for me to see less than 4 All Americans for the Pack. Depending on the level of AA finish a top ten team finish isn’t out of the question. If I had to predict, which I’m mediocre at best, they finish #11.
125lbs Wade Cummings best of the true freshman.
133lb Sean Fausz Will start the season here. He looks to big for 125 but I’m guessing that he’ll be down at 125 by January 1st?
141lbs Kevin Jack In the hunt for an NCAA title come March. I think that Jack is the best wrestler in recent times out of Connecticut.
149lbs Sam Speno is yet another stud out of wrestling powerhouse Mt Kisco NY.
157lbs Max Rohskoph is down form 165. Strong at 65 and unorthodox attack angles, should be a mid level All American.
165lbs Bullard brother? I don’t think that Reenan starts here if Daniel or Thomas can’t solidify the weight class maybe Reenan is here by midlands.
174lbs Nicky Reenan.
184lbs Michael Macchiavello
197lbs Malik McDonald
285lbs Mike Boykin
No coach input on this one. I’m making educated guesses here and adding some thoughts.
125lbs Nick Suriano TFr. Suriano has great hips, is tough to finish on and has a top-flight mental approach. Will true freshman lumps affect him mentally? Can he get to his attacks versus the top level?
133lbs Jared Cortez RSo.
141lbs Jimmy Gulibon Sr. Jimmy has been hard to figure out. Is his inconsistency mental or technical? I think that it’s a bit of both. He could be in the finals come March or looking in from the outside.
149lbs Zain Retherford RJr. Will Spartacus be stopped? I think that he’ll finish as the most dominant wrestler this season. Meaning the highest average points scored per match. Zain may be the top mental game wrestler of anyone competing at D1 this season. Very few guys ever want to see him because of his style and reputation on the mat and even fewer want to see him a second time.
157lbs Jason Nolf RSo. Shark attack might be more fun to watch than Zain if you want more neutral action but I think that he’ll finish 2nd in the most dominant category.
165lbs Vincenzo Joeseph RFr. Cenzo handily beat Geno Morelli in the room last season. I see Morelli challenging up at 174.
174lbs Shakur Rasheed RSo. & Geno Morelli Sr. Although not listed anywhere I think that Rasheed is taller than everyone on the team minus Nevills. Was the weight cut the cause of his cardio problems last season? If yes does the extra 9lbs help? Morelli is a very good defensive wrestler. Shakur has shown himself to be a dynamic competitor in the first period. I wonder how the staff will figure out the starter. I’m guessing that it won’t be just wrestle offs but maybe at the Keystone Classic where teams can enter more than one wrestler per weight class. In the past it was a total or 15 per team. I prefer Shakur’s style and if his cardio is good see him ultimately winning the spot
184lbs Matt McCutcheon RJr. & Bo Nickal RSo. I think that this will be the battle. McCutcheon has good defense and low attacks. Nickal is aggressive and can chain scramble from anywhere. Nickal has some susceptibility to low attacks, below the knee, and MM usually goes one move at a time. I don’t see MM moving from his weight class for anyone. Nickal is tall and looked noticeably bigger over the summer. Nickal is long term at this weight for international competitions. MM hasn’t learned how to stay out of bad positions for his body and competing with Nickal won’t help that. I’m taking Nickal.
197lbs Anthony Cassar RFr. Coming back from a 2nd shoulder surgery? Does Kellan Stout RFr. move up here until Cassar is 100%? Does McCutcheon move up here if he looses to Nickal? Does Nickal move up if he loses? PS. Nickal will never see 174lbs again.
285lbs Nick Nevills So. Can he stay healthy? I was high on Nevills during his red shirt year I watched him dominate acting like 165lb wrestler. I think that he hasn’t figured out how to stay out of unhealthy body positions either. As Morgan McIntosh told me last season it took him 4 years to fully commit to staying out of dangerous positions for his body. Nevills doesn’t have that much time to reach his potential.
I did my most in-depth preseason analysis a few weeks ago only to have it be lost to a faulty hard drive. Penn State has health and weight questions but come March Zain and Jason will likely out-score the best 3 wrestlers from any other team. I’d bet on Iowa’s tandem of Gilman and Clark to be my choice for 2nd highest duo for point totals but it’s not to far-fetched to think that the Penn State duo could score as many as Clark, Gilman and Sorenson at NCAA’s. I hope that everyone stays healthy so we can see it all unfold.
Last year Edinboro finished 2nd at the EWL and 32nd at NCAAs. The previous season’s 3rd place is a distant memory.
125lbs Sean Russell RSo 1st 2016 EWL
133lbs Anthony Rivera RSr DNP 2016 EWL will wrestle for the spot with Korbin Myres RFr coming off Redshirt
141lbs Tyler Vath DNP So & Nate Hagan, Ozzy Lugo Fr. will all battle it out for this spot
149lbs Patricio Lugo So 3rd 2016 EWL 12th at NCAA’s
157lbs Austin Matthews RJr 1st 2016 EWL knocked off by Ray Bethea in opening round of NCAA’s and lost to Palacio in the wrestle backs
165lbs Chase Delande RSr. May be the front runner but nothing is certain at 165/174.
174lbs Ty Schoffstall RJr. and Fritz Hoehm So. One of these guys may end up at 165 too.
184lbs Dakota Geer Fr.
197lbs wide-open no idea Corey Beck Jr., Chris Laird RSo., Shawn Reynolds RSr., Andrew Shomers So. all could be in the running.
285lbs Billy Miller RSo 2nd 2016 EWL
Edinboro will be showcasing a young team
Flo is still simulcasting their home matches
Last year the Scarlett knights had a breakout season in many ways. While they might not have closed out March the way that they wanted to, they served notice all season long that they aren’t going to be a B1G gimme. Knocking off traditional powerhouses like Cornell, Nebraska along the way and Lehigh during the NWCA Dual series was a wake up call for those not paying attention to the changing D1 wrestling scene. Coach Goodale’s building the program up with a lot of support from the administration. The next step for them is a top 10 finish and more than 2 wrestlers on the podium in the spring. This might be the deepest team Rutgers has ever fielded. They have some quality wrestlers sitting behind this projected starting lineup. Anthony Ashnault will be in the hunt for a national title this season. On a side note I don’t think that there is another D1 wrestling team in the country with 4 Anthony’s on the squad. Go Jerz. Keep an eye on Nicholas Gravina he’s had some big wins last season but beating TJ Dudley at Grapple at the Garden in convincing style was a high point. The last 2 weights are the biggest question marks for this squad, especially during the rigorous B1G dual season. I think that a 5th place finish at the B1G Championship would be another solid performance. If the best RU wrestlers do well in St Louis in March finishing around 10th place is realistic.
125lbs Sean McCabe 8th B1G NQ
133lbs Tyson Dippery 6th @149lbs 2016 B1G NQ dropping 2 weight classes. This isn’t a common thing to do but 141 isn’t happening. Coach says the Dip is about 140 right now and feeling good. Dip will compete with national qualifier Scott Delvecchio for this slot. This should be a competitive battle.
141lbs Anthony Ashnault 1st 2016 B1G 4th NCAA’s
149lbs Anthony Giraldo 6th 2016 B1G NQ at 133 will compete Ken Theobold a NQ in 2014&15.
157lbs Richie Lewis 5th 2016 B1G’s NQ
165lbs Anthony Pafumi
174lbs Phil Bakuckas 7th 2016 B1G NQ
184lbs Nick Gravina 4th 2016 B1G NQ. I like watching Gravina wrestle. He can be physical and tough like Gabe Dean. He just needs more consistency come March.
197lbs Anthony Messner Jr will battle it out with Matt Correnti for the starting spot. Can the freshman make the leap to big time wrestling as a true freshman?
285lbs Razohn Gross who has played football for Rutgers the last 3 years but was a NJ high school champ in 2013 will fight for the starting spot with Ralph Normandia.
Penn Wrestling Update
Coach Tirapelle is entering his 3rd season at University of Pennsylvania. Like many teams, they didn’t have the March that they wanted but there is much to be excited about. The RTC based out of Penn & Drexel is gearing up quickly with the arrival of Coach Slay, staff and wrestlers. Penn is the only Ivy league school with an RTC in a big city. Despite what many wrestling fans think about Philadelphia the University City area is a very desirable location for college age boys.
Penn lost a significant amount of senior talent to graduation. At least 25% of their team will be Freshmen. Ivy rules don’t allow official practices for more than a month so the following assessment is seriously open to change.
125lbs Jeremy Schwartz Sr. DNP at 2016 EIWA’s
133lbs Caleb Richardson Sr 4th 2016 EIWA’s NQ. Richardson shows glimpses of being a higher caliber wrestler but then sometimes doesn’t.
141lbs Marc Mastropietro Jr. Returning starter DNP 2016 EIWA is the favorite but will be challenged by AJ Vindici and Freshman Patrick Munn.
149lbs Joe Oliva Jr. is the favorite but can also expect a challenge.
157lbs May Bethea Jr. 6th 2016 EIWA’s NQ. Bethea can go with almost anyone from the neutral position. His finals against Chad Walsh at the 2015 Keystone Classic was epic.If he continues to improve his mat wrestling he’s a threat at NCAA’s. That said Senior Brooks Martino may challenge at this weight class. He was a NQ 2 seasons ago.
165lbs Look for Joe Velliquette, Brooks Martino and Dan McDevitt to battle it out here.
174lbs Casey Kent is a local Norristown wrestler that took 4th at last years NCAA’s. He’s in his 5th season having been granted a medical hardship year. Can he keep himself healthy for the grind? I hope so he’s fun to watch when firing on all cylinders.
184lbs Joe Heyob Jr. he was behind former AA Lorenzo Thomas the last couple of years. Joe wrestled tough when I’ve seen him at the Keystone Classic. Don’t be surprised if he makes some noise this season.
197lbs Frank Mattiace Sr. 6th 2016 EIWAs
285lbs Tyler Hall So. Returning starter Patrik Garren is taking a year off from school.
Can Penn improve upon their 10th place finish at EIWA’s last season? There are a lot of questions for this team to answer. For now I think that the balance of power in Philadelphia wrestling has shifted a few blocks north to Drexel University. We’ll see…
While the top of the D1 heap is very strong and getting stronger, teams from #5-#20 are varied, interesting and surprising.
I’m starting with 2 teams that I covered many times over the last couple of years.
Drexel has a strong up and coming team featuring 4 returning NCAA qualifiers and the addition of Garrett Hammond. Coach Azevedo has added a middleweight coach Josh Dziewa this season, which should help the talented middle line up of the Dragons. They are in the process of finalizing their schedule. Drexel University has made a commitment to supporting their wrestling program; its continually improving facilities combined with its location should attract lots of talent in the coming years.
125lbs Zack Fuentes 3rd @ 2016 EIWA’s National Qualifier
133lbs Kevin Devoy 2015 EIWA Champ
141lbs David Pearce 7th @ 2016 EIWA’s
149lbs Matt Cimato 2016 EIWA Champ NQ
157lbs Garrett Hammond 10th 2015 B1G Championships. Hammond appears to be a very nice addition to the Drexel program having made the switch from PSU to join his brother Ian on campus – a retired wrestler (injury).
165lbs Austin Rose 7th 2016 EIWA’s
174lbs Nick Elmer 8th 2016 EIWA’s
184lbs Alex DeCiantis –Coming off a Red Shirt 1st ESU and Shorty Hitchcock opens.
197 Josh Murphy
285lbs Joey Goodhart -7th 2016 EIWA’s, NQ and 3rd Jr. World Team Trials
Can Devoy regain his success from 2 seasons ago? He went up to 141 at the beginning of last season and didn’t look comfortable or confident for most of the season. Devon and Pearce are switching places as we speak. Cimato had a break out season last year. Can he keep getting better? Hammond couldn’t get back into the PSU lineup last season. He’s a solid unflashy wrestler that could be a confidence booster and role model for the team. Hammond last competed at 165 but is expected to wrestle at 157 this season. I’m guessing that his power style is more effective at this weight class.
Drexel finished 8th at last years EIWA’s, nearly 10 points higher than cross town rival Penn. If Devoy regains his previous success and Hammond delivers Drexel could have 4 competitors in the EIWA finals. Can Drexel crack a top 5 finish? That would be something.
Coach Chris Ayers and his staff have Princeton on the rise without the benefit of redshirt seasons and easy academics. The Tigers finished 5th at last seasons EIWA championships. They bring back returning All American Brett Harner. Harner was the Tigers’ 1st AA in more than a decade. They also insert talented freshman Matt Kolodzik who didn’t enroll last season but wrestled a ton. Add to that 3 returning NCAA qualifiers and you got a solid foundation for making some noise this season. It’s tough for Ivy schools to field solid dual teams, even the creative Rob Koll is struggling to get his team talent as high as it was a couple of years ago. Keeping the guys healthy and ahead of their schoolwork takes coaching skill. Princeton has a serious schedule that includes Rutgers (Battle at the Birthplace), Cornell, VT, Lehigh and Midlands. They will be battle tested come March. If Schleifer can regain his form Princeton could have 3 wrestlers in the EIWA finals and send 6 or 7 guys to nationals. That puts them in a battle for top 3 at EIWA’s.
Coach Ayers’ staff seems unique at the D1 level, super loose and serious at the same time. I always enjoy interacting with these guys. Am I becoming a Jersey guy? Nah. But I do like these guys.
It takes a special talent to throw a team into the fire repeatedly and keep the less developed boys from getting down or losing belief in themselves. The home match atmosphere is awesome and should be on your checklist this season. How will they sort out some of the openings that they have? Can they get their true freshman ready for a serious D1 schedule in just over a couple of months?
125lbs Ty Agaisse or Matteo Devincenzo Both incoming freshmen
133lbs Pat D’Arcy 6th 2016 EIWA @ 125
141lbs Matt Kolodzik Impact freshman
149lbs Jordan Laster 5th 2016 EIWA’s N. Q.
157lbs Mike D’Angelo 7th 2016 EIWA’s
165lbs Joe Tavoso
174lbs Jonathan Schleifer 2016 NCAA Qualifier
184lbs Kevin Parker incoming freshman looks to battle Sam Button for the starting spot.
197lbs Brett Harner 2016 NCAA AA 8th 2016 EIWA Champ
285lbs Ray O’Donnell 4th 2016 EIWA’s NQ