AWN / The Open Mat 2012-2013 ACC Preview

The Open Mat Amateur Wrestling News 
Link to original article here
By: Christian Pyles, AWN Contributor
The ACC has been slowly but surely improving as whole. Maryland, Virginia Tech and UVA have been the dominant forces the last few years with NC State, UNC and Duke still building for the future. Maryland has claimed the last two ACC titles and will be looking for their third. Virginia Tech and UVA are the two biggest threats to de-throne the Terrapins.
The ACC returns a handful of All Americans and Nationally Ranked wrestlers.
ACC By the Numbers
Returning National Champions: 0
Returning All Americans: 3
Returning ACC Champions (2012) 
*weight listed is the weight they won
  • 125: Matt Snyder – Virginia
  • 149: Nick Brascetta – Virginia Tech
  • 165: Pete Yates – Virginia Tech
  • 174: Jimmy Sheptock – Maryland
  • 184: Jon Fausey – Virginia
  • 197: Christian Boley – Maryland
125 pounds
  • Jarrod Garnett – Virginia Tech
  • Matt Snyder – Virginia
  • Shane Gentry – Maryland
  • Brian Bokoski – North Caolina
  • Peter Terreza – Duke
  • Patrick Hutton – N.C. State
This is among the ACC’s more top-heavy weights. Though small in stature this weight returns plenty of fire-power and two ACC champions. Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech returns after redshirting last season. He comes into his senior year looking to take his ACC title back. The always tough Matt Snyder of Virginia will use his unique counters on his feet and uncanny riding ability to look to stay on top as the ACC’s premiere lightweight. Maryland’s Shane Gentry is a returning ACC finalist who adds good depth to the weight.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Jarrod Garnett – Virginia Tech
  2. Matt Snyder – Virginia
  3. Shane Gentry – Maryland
  4. Patrick Hutton – N.C. State
133 pounds
  • Geoff Alexander – Maryland
  • Eric Spjut – Virginia Tech
  • Joe Spisak – Virginia
  • Pat Owens – North Carolina
  • Sam Speno – N.C. State
  • Brandon Gambucci – Duke
A sigh of relief could be heard sweeping the ACC with the news of Devin Carter’s redshirt. Virginia Tech’s Carter has had a stranglehold on this weight for the last two seasons. Four capable contenders emerge in his absence as potential replacements for the ACC crown. Virginia Tech’s Eric Spjut returns to the VT lineup to a more natural weight of 133 pounds. He was a national qualifier for the Hokies last year at 125 pounds. Joe Spisak of Virginia redshirted last year and was an ACC finalist two years ago. North Carolina’s Pat Owens is a solid contender and Geoff Alexander of Maryland looks to improve on his placement from last season.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Joe Spisak – Virginia
  2. Eric Spjut – Virginia Tech
  3. Geoff Alexander – Maryland
  4. Pat Owens – North Carolina
141 pounds
  • Zach Neibert – Virginia Tech
  • Evan Henderson – North Carolina
  • Matt Nelson – Virginia
  • Tanner Hough – Duke
  • Brendon Jorge – N.C. State
  • Frank Goodwin – Maryland
Another very competitive top four for the ACC. Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech, who reached the Round of 12 last year at NCAA national tournament, will look to claim his first ACC title. Neibert will be challenged by a number of worthy opponents lead by North Carolina sophomore Evan Henderson. Henderson announced himself last year when he pinned Ohio State’s Hunter Stieber. Henderson wavered late last season but will look to improve on last year’s performance. Matt Nelson of Virginia is up a weight from 133 pounds and brings experience and strength to this weight class. Duke’s Tanner Hough rounds out the list of contenders.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Zach Neibert – Virginia Tech
  2. Evan Henderson – North Carolina
  3. Matt Nelson – Virginia
  4. Tanner Hough – Duke
149 pounds
  • Derek Valenti – Virginia
  • Nick Brascetta – Virginia Tech
  • Marcus Cain – Duke
  • Danny Oren – Maryland
  • Cohl Fulk – N.C. State
  • Christian Barber – North Carolina
Returning All-American Derek Valenti of Virginia is back after a redshirt year and will look to dethrone reigning ACC champion Nick Brascetta of Virginia Tech. Brascetta had a strong true freshman campaign highlighted by his ACC title. These two seem to be in a class of their own with other ACC wrestlers having much to prove before they are in the conversation at 149 pounds.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Nick Brascetta – Virginia Tech
  2. Derek Valenti – Virginia
  3. Danny Oren – Maryland
  4. Cohl Fulk – N.C. State
157 pounds
  • Jesse Dong – Virginia Tech
  • Jedd Moore – Virginia
  • Matt Nereim – N.C. State
  • Ryan Harrington – North Carolina
  • Immanuel Kerr-Brown – Duke
  • Dominic DeRobertis – Maryland
Virginia Tech’s Jesse Dong is back for his final run at another ACC championship and his elusive All-American honors. He will be the front runner to win this weight. His main opposition will come from Jedd Moore of Virginia and N.C. State’s Matt Nereim. Both wrestlers have shown glimpses of promise, but will have to make strides to be able to circumvent the weight.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Jesse Dong – Virginia Tech
  2. Jedd Moore – Virginia
  3. Matt Nereim – N.C. State
  4. Dominic DeRobertis – Maryland
165 pounds
  • Peter Yates – Virginia Tech
  • Josh Asper – Maryland
  • Nick Sulzer – Virginia
  • Randy Roden – Duke
  • Nijel Jones – N.C. State
  • John Staudenmayer – North Carolina
Another tough and top-heavy weight for the ACC. Peter Yates of Virginia Tech is the returning champion. Maryland’s Josh Asper was the champion the year prior. These two seem to be on a collision course for another ACC finals match. Yates struggled with Asper for much of his career, but made great strides last season earning wins over Asper at ACC’s and NCAA’s. Nick Sulzer of Virginia returns after a promising freshman season. Nick has the talent to break through and get to the finals, but it will take a lapse from one of the front runners. Yates could make the move up to 174.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Peter Yates – Virginia Tech
  2. Josh Asper – Maryland
  3. Nick Sulzer – Virginia
  4. Nijel Jones – N.C. State
174 pounds
  • Jon Fausey – Virginia
  • Jimmy Sheptock – Maryland
  • Trey Adamson – Duke
  • Austin Gabel – Virginia Tech
  • Patrick Davis – N.C. State
  • Frank Abondonza – North Carolina
This weight features two returning ACC champions. Jon Fausey of Virginia will enter his junior season down a weight from 184 pounds. He will be challenged by Maryland’s very skilled Jimmy Sheptock. Both wrestlers wound up just short of All-American honors last year and should be hungry to emerge as both ACC champions and All-Americans. Austin Gabel from Virginia Tech could provide a surprising challenge to the big two.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Jon Fausey – Virginia
  2. Jimmy Sheptock – Maryland
  3. Austin Gabel – Virginia Tech
  4. Trey Adamson – Duke
184 pounds
  • Diego Bencomo – Duke
  • Nick Vetterlein – Virginia Tech
  • Stephen Doty – Virginia
  • Alex Utley – North Carolina
  • Brett Peltier – N.C. State
  • Ty Snook – Maryland
Several wrestlers should compete for the top spot at this weight. With no clear front runner, there are a few tough wrestlers who could emerge as ACC champion. Duke’s Diego Bencomo returns and is back at 184 pounds. He’s had some success at 184 in the past, but young talent may surpass him. Nick Vetterlein of Virginia Tech is down from 197 pounds to a more natural weight. Vetterlein had some good wins last year at the higher weight and should be a force down at 184 pounds. Stephen Doty was a big recruit for Virginia and should have the potential to break into the finals.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Nick Vetterlein – Virginia Tech
  2. Stephen Doty – Virginia
  3. Diego Bencomo – Duke
  4. Ty Snook – Maryland
197 pounds
  • Christian Boley – Maryland
  • Derrick Borlie – Virginia Tech
  • Mike Salopek – Virginia
  • Connor Hartmann – Duke
  • Antonio Giorgio – North Carolina
  • Josh Lackey – N.C. State
Another interesting weight in the ACC features another returning ACC champion. Christian Boley of Maryland will be looking for more than just an ACC title this year as he missed All-American honors in 2012. Boley’s main challengers will be Mike Salopek of Virginia, North Carolina’s Antonio Giorgio and Derrick Borlie of Virginia Tech. Borlie, a transfer from Wisconsin, will look to show why he was such a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school. Virginia’s Mike Salopek returns after missing last year, and Antonio Giorgio of North Carolina will look to build on his past results.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Christian Boley – Maryland
  2. Mike Salopek – Virginia
  3. Derrick Borlie – Virginia Tech
  4. Antonio Giorgio – North Carolina
285 pounds
  • David Marone – Virginia Tech
  • Derek Papagianopolous – Virginia
  • Michael Chapman – Duke
  • Carl Buchholz – Maryland
  • Eloheim Palma – N.C. State
  • Jake Barnhart – North Carolina
The biggest and best of the ACC will be a group with much to prove. Virginia Tech’s David Marone will look to complete his senior season as an ACC champion. His main challengers (with the redshirt of Spencer Myers) will come from Virginia’s Derek Papagianopolous and N.C. State’s Eloheim Palma. Both wrestlers were highly-touted out of high school but have not been able to reach the next level at this point.
TOM’s conference tournament predictions
  1. Derek Papagianopolous – Virginia
  2. David Marone – Virginia Tech
  3. Eloheim Palma – N.C. State
  4. Michael Chapman – Duke

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