Pack Preview: First Round Matchups

Tomorrow, we kick off the NCAA National Championships.  All the action will be on the ESPN Networks (ESNP3, ESPNU, and ESPN).  Here is a look at our opening round match-ups...

125 pounds - Joe DeAngelo will take on Christian Cullinan of Central Michigan.  Cullinan is a redshirt senior with a 21-7 record.  He has been ranked in the top ten most of the season but had a disappointing MAC Tournament so is unseeded.  He finished 3rd at the Midlands Championships and 2nd at the Michigan State Open this season.  He is big for the weight class as he has wrestled at 133 and 141 pounds in his collegiate career.  He is a good rider on top and throws a leg in.  On his feet, he likes to attack a high crotch.

133 pounds - Sam Speno matches up with Derek Steeley of Binghamton in the first round.  Steeley is a senior who is 15-12 on the season.  Steeley is coming off of a runner-up finish at the CAA Championships.  Steeley is a three-year starter for Binghamton after wrestling for a season at Neosho Community College.  Steeley is a talented and dangerous wrestler.  He has the ability to put his opponent of their back from almost anywhere with his flexibility and funk.  He is difficult to score on and has good leg attacks.

165 Pounds - Nijel Jones takes on the #9 seeded Josh Veltre of Bloomsburg.  This will mark their second meeting of the season as Veltre beat Jones 6-4 at the early season Keystone Classic.  Veltre holds a 32-5 record and has not lost since November.  Jones is looking to snap Veltre's 25 watch win streak.  Veltre is a redshirt junior that won both the PSAC and EWL Titles this season.  Veltre is solid and steady as he stays in good position and is good in all positions.


Breaking News: Bracket Shake-up at 165

Due to the exit of Corey Lear (Bucknell) from the 165 bracket, Austin Wilson (Nebraska) was added.  As a result, the bracket has been redrawn.  Nijel Jones will now face Josh Veltre of Bloomsburg in the first round and either Nick Sulzer (UVA) or Bret Baumbach (Stanford) in the second.  The complete updated bracket is here.



Below are screenshots of each of the 125, 133 & 165 brackets where Joe DeAngelo, Sam Speno, and Nijel Jones find their starting point for the NCAA Championships.  In total, the ACC qualified 34 wrestlers to the tournament. A link to the complete brackets is here.

If you can't make it to Des Moines to watch - ESPN will be broadcasting ALL SESSIONS on their family of networks.  More information here.

Joe DeAngelo takes on Christian Cullinana from Central Michigan first round and will then face either Kevon Powell of Ohio or Nico Megaludis of Penn State. 

Sam Speno faces Derek Steeley of Binghamton in the first round, and will then face either Rosario Bruno of Michigan or A.J. Schopp of Edinboro.

 Nijel Jones takes on Tyler Caldwell from Oklahoma State in his first round matchup, and will then face either Corey Lear from Bucknell or Pierce Harger of Northwestern.


Pat's Pop Ins

Note: Tomorrow at 1PM the NCAA will announce their selections for wild card slots at Nationals.  Also, at 6PM, the NCAA will release seeds & brackets!


ACC Pairings Released


GREENSBORO, N.C. – The University of Maryland is set to serve as the host school for the 59th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship, which is set for Saturday at Comcast Arena in College Park, Md.

The all-day event will feature 18 wrestlers currently ranked among the nation’s Top 20 in their respective weight classes and nine ranked among the top 10, including Virginia Tech’s Jarrod Garnett (5th), North Carolina’s Nathan Kraisser (7th) and Virginia’s Matt Snyder (9th) at 125 pounds; North Carolina’s Evan Henderson (6th) at 141; Virginia Tech’s Nick Brascetta (9th) at 149; Virginia Tech’s Jesse Dong (9th) at 157; Virginia Tech’s Pete Yates (4th) and Virginia’s Nick Sulzer (7th) at 165; Maryland’s Josh Asper (5th) at 174, and Maryland’s Jimmy Sheptock (7th) at 184.

The doors to Comcast will open at 10 a.m., with first- round action set to begin at 11 a.m. The semifinals are set for 1 p.m., followed by the semifinal consolation matches at 3:30. The consolation finals are set for 5 p.m., followed by the championship matches at 7 p.m. All seating for the ACC Championship is general admission. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door, with ages 3 and under admitted free.

All rounds of the 2013 ACC Wrestling Championship will be carried live by ESPN3, which plans dual mat coverage.

Please see the attached file for complete brackets and seeding for each weight class. Seeded No. 1 are UNC’s Kraisser at 125 Maryland’s Alexander at 133, North Carolina’s Henderson at 141, Virginia Tech’s Brascetta at 149, Dong at 157 and Yates at 165; Maryland’s Asper at 174, Sheptock at 184 and Christian Boley at 197; and Virginia Tech’s David Marone at 285.

The 125-pound bracket showcases the last four ACC champions in that weight class. Garnett took the title for three straight years from 2009 through 2011 before taking a medical redshirt last season. Virginia’s Snyder claimed the championship last season.

Other defending ACC champions expected to compete Saturday include Virginia Tech’s Brascetta at 149, the Hokies’ Yates (the 2012 ACC Championship’s Most Valuable Wrestler) at 165 and Maryland’s Boley at 197. The Terps’ Sheptock captured last year’s 174-pound title but has moved up a weight class and will be competing in this year’s championship at 184. Virginia’s Jon Fausey, last year’s 184-pound champion, is now competing in the 174-pound class.

The final ACC standings saw Virginia Tech (16-3 overall) finish with a perfect 5-0 mark in ACC dual matches. Virginia (16-4) placed second at 4-1, followed by two-time defending champion Maryland (14-8, 3-2), North Carolina (9-6, 2-3), Duke (9-10, 1-4) and NC State (5-6, 0-5).

Virginia Tech finished the regular season ranked seventh in the NWCA/USA Today poll, while Virginia is 13th and Maryland 24th. InterMat, which ranks teams according to NCAA Tournament projections, places Virginia Tech tied for 11th, Maryland 20th, Virginia 24th and North Carolina 25th. Both Duke (tied for 51st) and NC State (49th on Feb. 5) were listed in the InterMat rankings at some point during the regular season.

In addition to a team championship, ACC wrestlers will be competing to fill the conference’s 30 automatic individual weight-class spots in the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 21-23 at Des Moines, Iowa. The ACC is also hopeful of earning several spots among the 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 13.

The breakdown of the ACC’s automatic NCAA qualifiers by weight class is as follows: 125 - 4; 133 - 5; 141 - 4; 149 - 2; 157 - 2; 165 - 3; 174 - 3; 184 - 4; 197 - 2; 285 – 1.

Maryland leads all schools with 24 ACC Championships. North Carolina owns 17 ACC wrestling titles, followed by NC State with 14 and Virginia with four. Maryland is hosting the ACC Wrestling Championship for the 16th time and for the first time since 2008.

Link to original ACC press release here.


Mentality Monday: Spring Break 2013

Also, don't forget about our twitter chat tomorrow night with Coach Popolizio! Tune in to twitter at 6:00 and use hashtag #PackMentality to ask a question.


Twitter Chat with Coach Popolizio!

Curious as to how the Wolfpack is preparing for the ACC Tournament? Join us this TUESDAY, 3/5 at 6:00pm as Coach Popolizio hosts his second twitter chat! Use hashtag #PackMentality when asking a question. The chat will last until approximately 7:00.