Thursday, November 10, 2022

Virginia Tech Vs Ohio State Preview (11-11-22)


Of all the great duals & tournaments to take place this weekend, this barnburner between #15 Virginia Tech & #4 Ohio State is going to be a classic.  Both teams have some veterans with something to prove & at the same time both teams have some rookies looking to continue making names for themselves. This will be a good one. 

125 lbs
#28 Eddie Ventresca Vs #11 Malik Heinselman 

We got a great one here between a very talented freshman & a seasoned senior. Eddie Ventresca already ranked #28 is looking to climb that rankings ladder & what a climb it'd be if he were able to knock off Malik Heinselman! Heinselman on the other hand is one of the best seniors in the nation yet to be an All American. In route to hoping to end up top eight by year's end, a win over Ventresca would be a nice one to put on the resume. 

133 lbs
#13 Sam Latona Vs U.R. Jesse Mendez 

Sam Latona suffered an upset loss last weekend against Franklin & Marshall's Pat Phillips and if he isn't careful he very well could get upset again this weekend.  True freshman Jesse Mendez has thus far looked fantastic in his first four collegiate bouts. Wins over Utah Valley's Haiden Drury & All American Lucas Byrd of Illinois so far to start out the season. 

141 lbs
U.R. Tom Crook Vs #7 Dylan D'Emilio OR U.R. Jordan Decatur 

Whether it's Dylan D'Emilio or Jordan Decatur, either way this match against Tom Crook is going to be good. Crook, another outstanding young freshman looked phenomenal this past weekend. Wins over Virginia's Dylan Cedeno, Columbia's Matt Kazimir & North Carolina's Lachlan McNeal, there's no doubt the next time rankings come out, his name will be on the list. Decatur won the wrestle-off against D'Emilio but I wouldn't be 100% sure that he'll get the nod here. Anxious to see who Ohio State puts out on the mat. 

157 lbs 
#6 Bryce Andonian Vs #23 Paddy Gallagher 

On paper this should be a comfortable decision for NCAA champion contender Bryce Andonian, but the last thing I would do is overlook a young, hungry freshman like Paddy Gallagher. Often times because of mental mindset, wrestling can be a young man's game. While elder wrestlers can develop conservative, reserved styles in order to try and protect their ranking/status, the younger guys often go out into a match with a nothing to lose, give it Hell approach. Andonian won't want to go into this one cautious. He'll want to wrestle like he did at the NCAA championships. 

165 lbs 
#29 Connor Brady Vs U.R. Bryce Hepner OR #6 Carson Kharchla 

My guess would be that Ohio State is going to send Bryce Hepner out onto the mat. He won the wrestle-off & now that he has beaten Carson Kharchla, I would think that they would want to see him against other ranked competition. While a win over someone you know really well is nice, it can be a different ball game out under the lights. I think whether it's Hepner or Kharchla this match favors the Buckeyes but Brady is no slouch. The win will have to be earned. 

174 lbs
#2 Mekhi Lewis Vs #6 Ethan Smith 

I'll tell you the general consensus on both of these guys right now.  Mekhi Lewis is someone that the wrestling world is looking at as one of the top contenders for the NCAA title this year. Ethan Smith is someone the wrestling community figures will finish someone within the top 8 at the NCAA tournament. Few are taking Smith as a serious threat at the title.  They very well could after tomorrow's dual.  The last Lewis & Smith met, Lewis won a tight 6-4 decision.  This will be our Marquee match, I guarantee it. 

184 lbs
#11 Hunter Bolen Vs #4 Kaleb Romero 

An All American in 2021, Hunter Bolen slipped a little last season. He needs a big, monumental victory to propel himself back into the top eight & what better way to do it than with a win over Kaleb Romero? Much, much easier said than done. Either way, I think these two, strong and agile athletes will give one another a battle. Could see this one going into sudden victory or even the tiebreakers. 

197 lbs 
U.R. Andy Smith Vs #9 Gavin Hoffman 

After a long search, Gavin Hoffman found himself last season. As said in my Ohio State preview a few months ago, it was rewarding to see him wrestle at his potential. With that said, it doesn't escape my memory that consistency had been a problem for him in the past. He recently lost in the finals of the Michigan State Open to Illinois' Zac Braunagel. Anxious to see how this effects him mentally. Andy Smith won't be a guy to look past or look over. 

#19 Hunter Catka Vs #7 Tate Orndorff 

Slimmed down, cut & chiseled, Tate Orndorff looked great throwing around a much less experienced opponent in the recent Ohio State wrestle-offs. The question is, can he look that solid & smooth against a top twenty wrestler? We'll find out as he'll take on a very tough Hunter Catka. 

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