Keystone Classic Preview

The following NCSU Wrestlers are expected to compete on Sunday at the Keystone Classic:  Sam Speno (133 pounds), Mike Avelar (141 pounds), Gabe LaVey (141 pounds), Matt Nereim (157 pounds), Mardel Gabriel (157 pounds), Nijel Jones (165 pounds), Patrick Davis (174 pounds), Josh Lackey (197 pounds), and Mike Kosoy (285 pounds).  This will be Speno’s collegiate debut.  Nereim and Avelar will be competing for the first time this season.

Here is a look at the other 14 teams competing at the Keystone Classic this weekend and some of the top performers from each team…

Northwestern – Northwestern is led two All-Americans, Jason Welch at 157 pounds and Mike McMullan at heavyweight.  They have three other top fifteen ranked wrestlers in their line-up in Levi Mele (133 pounds), Pierce Harger (165 pounds), and Lee Munster (174 pounds).  Northwestern is the team to beat this weekend and are ranked #13 in the country.  125 pound wrestler, Dominick Malone is a high impact freshman.  They won the Keystone Classic Title last season.

Pennsylvania – Has two highly ranked wrestlers in 125 pound Mark Rappo and returning All-American Micah Burak at 197 pounds.  Burak is a returning two-time Keystone Classic Champion and Rappo is a two-time Keystone Classic place winner.  Kyle Cowan is a former Keystone Classic Champion at heavyweight.  Casey Kent at 165 pounds made the finals of the Binghamton Open last week.  Ian Korb at 174 pounds is a retuning EIWA place winner.

Bloomsburg – Has two top twenty wrestlers in Frank Hickman at 157 pounds and Justin Grant at heavyweight.  They have five other wrestlers to watch:  Sean Boylan (125 pounds), Nick Wilcox (133 pounds), Josh Roosa (149 pounds), Josh Veltre (165 pounds), and Andre Petroski (184 pounds).  The huskies are 3-0 in dual meets this season.

Indiana – The Hoosiers have three top 20 ranked wrestlers that should wrestle this weekend:  Taylor Walsh (157 pounds), Ryan LeBlanc (165 pounds), and Adam Chalfant (285 pounds).  All three of them wrestled at the NCAA Tournament last season.  Quinton Murphy (133 pounds) is IU’s top freshman and is 8-2 on the young season.  Joe Duca (125 pounds) was 4th at the Hokie Open and Luke Sheridan (184 pounds) finished 6th.

American – AU is led by returning NCAA Qualifier, 149 pound, Kevin Tao.  Blake Herrin, a heavyweight, was the top performer for the team last weekend winning the Oklahoma Gold Classic.  David Terao (125 pounds), Phillip Barreiro (165 pounds), and Keithen Cast (174 pounds) were all Oklahoma Gold finalist.  Thomas Barreiro (184 pounds), Esteban Gomez-Rivera (133 pounds), and Marcos Peralta (165 pounds) all finished on the podium last weekend.

Rider – Zac Cibula returns at 157 pounds and is a former CAA Champion.  Ramon Santiago was a champion at the Binghamton Open at 165 pounds last weekend.  174 pound wrestler James Brundage made the finals of the BU Open.  Jimmy Morris (133 pounds), Clint Morrison (184 pounds), and Donald McNeil 9197 pounds) all placed last weekend and will look to do the same again this week.

Boston – The Terriers have three returning NCAA Qualifiers in their line-up:  Kyle Czarnecki (174 pounds), Hunter Meys (197 pounds), and Kevin Innis (285 pounds).  Nestor Taffur was BU’s top performer last weekend, taking 2nd at the Binghamton Open.  Mitch Wightman finished 3rd at the Binghamton Open last week.

Harvard – The Crimson had three finalists last season at the Keystone Classic:  Walter Peppelman (157 pounds) was a champion, while both Steven Keith (141 pounds) and Cameron Croy (184 pounds).  Jeff Ott was a Binghamton Open finalist last weekend at 125 pounds.  James Fox (197 pounds) is another wrestler to watch this weekend.

Duke – The Blue Devils have seen early season success coming from Diego Bencomo (184 pounds) and Conner Hartman (197 pounds).  Bencomo finished in the top twelve at the 2011 NCAA Championships.  Hartman is 8-1 and was the ACC Wrestler of the week last week.  Brandon Gambucci (133 pounds), Tanner Hough (141 pounds), and Marcus Cain (149 pounds) anchor the lightweights.

Princeton – Garrett Frey (133 pounds), Zach Bintliff (149 pounds), and Dan Santoro (184 pounds) are the team captains.  Frey has been in the national rankings for the last couple of years.  Bintliff was 5th last weekend at the Binghamton Open, as was Abram Ayala and Judd Ziegler, sharing that place at 165 pounds.  Scott Gibbons is a freshman that placed in the tournament last weekend at 184 pounds.

Cal Poly – The Mustangs had three place winners last weekend at the Roadrunner Open.  141 pounder Brandan Rocha, 184 pounder Sean Dougherty, and 285 pound wrestler Atticus Disney finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the Roadrunner Open respectively.  Evan McKirdy (125 pounds) and Devon Lotito (133 pounds) both are freshman that have been solid for Cal Poly thus far.

Brown – The team’s top returning performers are Billy Watterson (125 pounds), Ophir Bernstein (184 pounds), and Sterling Hecox (197 pounds).  Giuseppi Lanzi (174 pounds) has been on the verge of a breakout performance in the last few years.  Zach Tannenbaum and Cort Choate have the ability to place high this weekend.

Appalachian State – The Mountaineers are 3-0 so far this season.  They had a break-out season last year with two All-Americans and a top 25 NCAA tournament finish.  However, ASU graduated quite a bit of their line-up and are young but talented.  Dylan Cottrell has impressed at 149 pounds as a freshman.  Dominic Parisi at 125 pounds and Jake Smith at 133 pounds have also placed in tournaments this season for the team.

VMI – The Keydets best wrestlers are heavyweight Jaun Adams and Urayoan Garcia at 197 pounds.  Adams has placed in both the Wolfpack Open and the Hokie Open over the last two weekends.  Garcia finished 3rd at the Wolfpack Open last weekend.  165 pound wrestler, Mark Darr, has won several matches this season.  Also, watch for Andriy Onufriyenko at 133 pounds.

Here is a link to the University of Pennsylvania release on the Keystone Classic

@packwrestle will be tweeting our results

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